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For The Social Butterfly: The Role(s) of the Art Critic(s)

Last night I was at Gallery 1313 as one of six guest panellists in The Role of the Art Critic, the first roundtable discussion (well, rectangular-table discussion) as part of Gallery 1313's ArtSPEAK series, along with Toronto art writers and critics David Balzer, Peter Goddard, Claudia McKoy, the Editor-In-Chief of MIX, Stephanie Rogerson, Timothy Comeau, and last but not least, our moderator Nick Brown.

Gallery 1313's Director, Phil Anderson, did a fabulous job in organizing the event, which packed in a full-house despite the inclement weather of yesterday's "perpetual snow", and everyone involved was simply mahvelous to meet (though some were simply more mahvelous than others -- saucy Timothy Comeau for instance or Stephanie Rogerson, with whom I share a fondness for Claude Cahun -- but I may be biased as they were both on my end of the table).

I was intrigued to find how diverse the six Toronto art critics were, as not only we differed in approaches to the craft of writing but varied in our fundamental philosophies toward art as well. Although I felt a bit like the small player, I was happy to realize one advantage of art blogging -- instant gratification. (Another is the hyperlink).

Art writing is a wonderful vehicle in which to engage with the various arts communities in Toronto, and I am pleased to see so many interested in the practice appear last night. I also look forward to Gallery 1313's next panel discussion, "The Practice of Collecting" on March 26 and encourage all to attend.

Image: The Meeting, or Bonjour Monsieur Courbet


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