Housewarmings, or the truth about your artistic abilities

This weekend I hosted a housewarming. Truthfully, a bit late to really be called that, but my alternative party name for the e-vitations was “Drink-Kool-Aid-and-wait-for-the-spaceship-to-arrive party” and it felt like a cumberson thing to write. I digress.

My partner and I held off on the party for so long for a number of reasons, but mostly it was to wait until we had sufficient seating. And to personalize the place a bit with trinkets and pictures and a little bit of ‘art’. It’s art in the loosest sense, because it’s stuff I’ve made. A little papier-mâché canoe, some paintings. All decorative, I’m a hobbiest not a trained artist.

A conversation about my latest piece — a newspaper-boat folded from the escort pages at the back of the paper pasted onto a textured blue background, which my partner immediately dubbed Hoely Water — turned into a debate about what true artistic ability is. Bolstered by libations, some friends asserted that they could go into my spare room, (which we’ve zoned as an arts-and-crafts room/bike-and-board repair room,) pick up a paint brush for the first time since early elementary school and replicate the work of a master. Uh-huh.

The conversation showed me just how much we really are suffering without more arts education. Especially post-grad. It seems that we need both practical exposure as well as history lessons in order to appreciate one’s own abilities as well as the ability of those who dedicate their lives to their art and are skilled masters. My intelligent, creative friends would no doubt benefit from a crash course. Maybe yours would too?!

As if there aren’t already a million opportunities to be exposed to fine art at Art Toronto this year, we’re also running some really great programs to get our visitors involved in the conversations happening in the art world. Art Toronto 2009 is presenting a full program of talks, forums and tours to engage art lovers of all levels of expertise. Power Talks and Power FORUM feature top figures in the art world, while artACCESS clarifies art collecting for beginners. 

Power Talks (presented in collaboration with Power Plant) are conversations featuring taste-makers, career-shapers and professionals at the core of the current contemporary art world. Our keynote speakers include Richard Flood, chief curator of the New Museum in New York, and Adrian Searle, the London Guardian’s chief art critic.

We’re also hosting Power FORUM, a day of workshops. Participants include museum directors, curators and critics who will discuss their current projects and reflect on the state of the art world in a time of flux. Complementing the talks and events for insiders is artACCESS, a program of talks and tours for first time collectors. In collaboration with ADAC, the Art Dealers Association of Canada, artACCESS is geared towards audiences interested in purchasing art but who are intimidated by the sometimes enigmatic ways of galleries. Art consultants will address fundamentals, including how to navigate an art fair, meet dealers, discuss prices and set up payments.

There’s more information on our website. And if you’re not on our mailing list yet, sign up! We send out regular messages chock-full of great info you’ll want to have as we get closer and closer!

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