Saturday, September 17, 2011

Richest Canadian Artists

This comes to me courtesy of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver.
People love to find out about our world in a vertical order: Who’s richest, who’s the best and worst dressed, which is the greatest city to live in, and so on. Art is no exception. Art Review, for example, publishes its ‘Power 100’ list every November since 2002, to give us insight of whom we should be rubbing shoulders with at the next private view. We all agree that art in its purest form can only be subjective, and therefore a hierarchical ordering will seem to some as misleading. But the politics and practicalities of art as commodity inevitably demand an objective value for artworks in the real world, creating tensions between what the market determines as valid and what art professionals acknowledge as credible. M_KOS actually find this tension healthy, and as opposed to over-protecting itself by isolation, art needs to come to terms with its own commodification, which is nowadays the condition for art to circulate and be seen. The later rings particularly true with Canadian art. Inversely, the total absence of artist accomplishment guidelines would probably allow more relativity than subjectivity, leaving us stranded in an unchartered constellation of self-proclaimed stars. Many web resources already provide analytical information about art and its market, such as ArtTactic, ArtFacts and MuturalArt. These all host their own list of top contenders for different categories. Surprisingly, virtually no such list is present online for Canadian art. Is this because the Canadian market is totally out of league with what is happening globally? It seems so, according to Don Thompson, a Toronto based economist and the author of “The $12 million stuffed shark”. Thompson tells us, in an interview with Leah Sandals of Canadian Art Magazine (Oct 2008): The book talks about London and New York and the major evening auctions and dealers. And there’s no parallel in Canada to that art market. The best comparison I can give you is that [Damien] Hirst brought in $200 million with his two-day September auction, and that is four or five years of Canadian sales, period.
New York and London are undoubtedly the two biggest art trading centres in the world, hard to beat by any standard. For example, at the time this article is published, New York is hosting Armoury Week (March 3–7), with over ten different art fairs held simultaneously in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In addition to the Armory Show itself, we find ADAA’s The Art Show, Volta, Scope, Pulse, Independent, Red Dot, Pool, Moving Image, Verge Art Brooklyn and Fountain. Whilst we wait for any one city in Canada to come out of the margins, M_KOS propose Armory Week as the perfect time to publish its Top 100 Canadian artist list. Hopefully it will spark debates, but also bring more attention visual arts form Canada, within, so-called, the Art Eco-system. Simply, M-Kos have digged into ArtFacts.net’s existing worldwide database to extract a directory of 100 top Canadian living artists. ArtFacts houses the data of nearly 282,000 Modern and Contemporary artists worldwide and position them on point systems. Points are awarded for every artistic activity – exhibitions at commercial galleries, public institutions and museums, acquisitions in public collections, in which city an artist has been shown, and more. By no means arbitrary, ArtFact’s ranking system merely reflects the quantity of artistic activity rather than the quality of an artist’s work, which is impossible to ascertain without taking into account a vast variety of contexts. Enough said, lets see what results the list has to offer.



1 (44) Rodney Graham / 1949 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


2 (69) Jeff Wall / 1946 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


3 (248) Stan Douglas / 1960 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


4 (305) Angela Bulloch / 1966 / Rainy River, ON / London, UK and Berlin, Germany


5 (417) Mark Lewis /1958 / Hamilton, ON / London, UK


6 (443) General Idea / Formed in 1969, by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal / active until 1994


7 (508) Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller / JC: 1957, GBM:1960 / JC: Brussels, ON, GBM: Vegreville, AB / Grindrod, BC and Berlin, Germany


8 (535) Michael Snow / 1929 / Toronto, ON / Toronto, ON


9 (566) Edward Burtynsky / 1955 / St.Catherines, ON / Toronto, ON


10 (624) Jana Sterbak / 1955 / Prague, Czech Rep. / Montreal, QC


11 (669) Terence Koh / 1977 / Beijing, China; raised in Mississuga, BC / New York, USA


12 (715) Marcel Dzama / 1974 / Winnipeg, MB / New York, USA


13 (727) Ken Lum / 1956 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


14 (1031) Brian Jungen / 1970 / Fort St.John, BC / Vancouver, BC


15 (1374) Steven Shearer / 1968 / New Westminster, BC / Vancouver, BC


16 (1382) Roy Arden / 1957 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


17 (1487) David Rabinowitch / 1943 / Toronto, ON / New York, USA


18 (1568) Tim Lee / 1975 / Seoul, S.Korea / Vancouver, BC


19 (1578) David Altmejd / 1974 / Montréal, QC / New York, USA


20 (1603) Ian Wallace / 1943 / Shoreham, UK/ Vancouver, BC


21 (1687) Callum Morton / 1965 / Montréal, QC / Melbourne, Australia


22 (1858) Rebecca Belmore / 1960 / Upsala, ON / Vancouver, BC


23 (1989) Geoffrey Farmer / 1967 / Eagle Island, BC / Vancouver, BC


24 (2049) Lisa Milroy / 1959 / Vancouver, BC / London, UK


25 (2249) Luis Jacob / 1971 / Lima, Peru / Toronto, ON


26 (2272) Germaine Koh / 1967 / Georgetown, Malaysia / Toronto, ON


27 (2298) Janice Kerbel / 1969 / Don Mills, ON / London, UK


28 (2306) Scott McFarland / 1975 / Hamilton, ON / Vancouver, BC


29 (2397) Terence Gower / 1965 / BC / New York, USA; Mexico City, Mexico


30 (2491) Ron Terada / 1969 / Vancouver, BC / Vancouver, BC


31 (2577) Althea Thauberger / 1970 / Saskatoon, SK / Vancouver, BC; Berlin, Germany


32 (2611) Micah Lexier / 1960 / Winnipeg, MB / Toronto, ON


33 (2645) AA Bronson / 1946 / Vancouver, BC / New York, USA


34 (2655) Dorothea Rockburne / 1932 / Montréal, QC / New York, USA


35 (2677) Jon Pylypchuk / 1972 / Winnipeg, MB / LA, USA


36 (2689) Geneviève Cadieux / 1955 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


37 (2730) Angela Grauerholz / 1952 / Hamburg, Germany / Montréal, QC


38 (2735) Liz Magor / 1948 / Winnipeg, MB / Vancouver, BC


39 (2744) Graham Gillmore / 1963 / Vancouver, BC / Winlaw, BC ; New York, USA


40 (2774) Kelly Mark / 1967 / Welland, ON / Toronto, ON


41 (2796) Laura Letinsky / 1962 / Winnipeg, MB / Chicago, USA


42 (2887) Miles Coolidge / 1963 / Montréal, QC / LA, USA


43 (2903) Pascal Grandmaison / 1975 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


44 (2988) Karin Davie / 1965 / Toronto,ON / New York, USA


45 (3061) Susan Turcot / 1966 / Montréal, QC / London, UK: Berlin, Germany


46 (3199) Alex Morrison / 1971 / Redruth, UK / Vancouver, BC


47 (3387) Bruce LaBruce / 1964 / Southampton, ON / Toronto, ON


48 (3390) David Rokeby / 1960 / Tillsonburg, ON / Toronto, ON


49 (3395) Ed Pien / 1958 / Taipei, Taiwan / Toronto, ON


50 (3448) Conrad Bakker / 1970 / Urbana ON / Chicago, USA


51 (3481) Stephen Andrews / 1956 / Sarnia, ON / Toronto, ON


52 (3614) Robert Polidori / 1951 / Montréal, QC / New York, USA


53 (3615) Miriam Schapiro / 1923 / Toronto, ON / USA


54 (3778) Francesca Gabbiani / 1965 / Montréal, QC / LA, USA


55 (3804) Françoise Sullivan / 1925 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


56 (3830) Jayce Salloum / 1958 / Kelowna, BC / Vancouver, BC


57 (3957) Robert Adrian / 1935 / Toronto, ON / Vienna, Austria


58 (4087) Michel de Broin / 1970 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC; Europe


59 (4195) Jean-Pierre Gauthier / 1965 / Matane, QC / Montréal, QC


60 (4258) Deborah Grant / 1968 / Toronto, ON / New York, USA


61 (4279) Damian Moppett / 1969 / Calgary, AB / Vancouver, BC


62 (4281) Nancy Davenport / 1965 / Vancouver, BC / New York, USA


63 (4296) George Legrady / 1950 / Budapest, Hungary (Raised in Montréal) / Santa Barbara, USA


64 (4311) Suzy Lake / 1947 / Detroit, USA / Toronto, ON


65 (4317) Atom Egoyan / 1960 / Cairo, Egypt / Toronto, ON


66 (4428) Roland Poulin / 1940 / St.Thomas, ON / Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, QC


67 (4449) Nicolas Baier / 1967 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


68 (4569) Brendan Fernandes / 1979 / Nairobi, Kenya / Toronto, ON


69 (4674) Julie Moos / 1965 / Ottawa, ON / Toronto, ON


70 (4682) Kim Adams / 1951 / Edmonton, AB / Toronto, ON


71 (4689) Laura Kikauka / 1963 / Hamilton, ON / Meaford, ON; Berlin, Germany


72 (4733) Philip Pocock / 1954 / Ottawa, ON / Karlsruhe, Germany


73 (4817) John Massey / 1950 / Toronto, ON / Toronto, ON


74 (4906) Tony Scherman / 1950 / Toronto, ON / Toronto, ON


75 (4918) Claude Tousignant / 1932 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


76 (4964) Sarah Anne Johnson / 1976 / Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg, MB


77 (5122) Dianna Frid / 1960 / Mexico City, Mexico; raised in Canada / Chicago, USA


78 (5144) Kent Monkman / 1965 / St.Mary’s, ON / Toronto, ON


79 (5162) Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay / 1973 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC; Berlin, Germany


80 (5205) Pierre Dorion / 1959 / Ottawa, ON / Montréal, QC


81 (5209) Larry Towell /1953 / Chatham, ON / Lambton County, ON


82 (5275) Jackie Winsor / 1941 / St.Johns, NL / New York, USA


83 (5390) Annie Pootoogook / 1969 / Baffin Island, NU / Ottawa, ON


84 (5402) Rober Racine / 1952 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


85 (5618) Shary Boyle / 1972 / Scarborough, ON / Toronto, ON


86 (5618) Luc Courchesne / 1952 / St. Léonard d’Aston, QC / Montréal, QC


87 (5685) Arnaud Maggs / 1926 / Montréal, QC / Toronto, ON


88 (5699) Isabelle Hayeur / 1969 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


89 (5730) Shannon Bool /1972 / Comox, BC / Berlin, Germany


90 (5765) BGL / Formed in 1996 / live and work in Quebec City, QC


91 (5776) Royden Rabinowitch / 1943 / Toronto, ON / Ghent, Belgium


92 (5787) Evan Penny / 1953 / South Africa / Toronto, ON


93 (5850) Monique Van Genderen / 1965 / Vancouver, BC / LA, USA


94 (5872) Geoffrey James / 1942 / Wales, UK / Toronto, ON


95 (5884) Adad Hannah / 1971 / New York, USA / Montréal, QC


96 (6251) Aurel Schmidt / 1982 / Kamloops, BC / New York, USA


97 (6311) Melvin Charney / 1935 / Montréal, QC / Montréal, QC


98 (6325) Kevin Schmidt / 1972 / Ottawa, ON / Vancouver, BC


99 (6384) Bozidar Brazda / 1972 / Cambridge, ON / New York, USA


100 (6407) Scott Treleaven / 1972 / Toronto, ON / Paris, France

Art Marketing Conference in Wells BC


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Franke James Vs Prime Minister

She calls it her “blacklisting dilemma." As she tells it, it is a David and Goliath story; her versus the Canadian government. She feels her government is angry with her, but can that be? Can a government be angry with one of its citizens? No, it can’t. Only people get angry, so who is angry with artist Franke James?

Ms James lives in Toronto. She is a prolific and eclectic creator who has a concern for the challenges facing our environment. She has a Masters degree in Fine Arts and she is an active member of several professional artistic associations. Recently, Nektarina, a non-profit Croation organization purchased a series of images by Ms James that they planned to assemble as an exhibition and use as a basis for youth workshops on the environment. They successfully earned the exhibition a sponsor who pledged $75,000 to finance a tour of the exhibition and workshops to other countries.

Ms James sought Canadian government support for aspects of the project, and Nektarina sought support from several Canadian missions in the countries proposed for the tour, and from this point on, things get complicated, but the end result is that the tour is now in jeopardy. The corporate sponsor withdrew their donation and the Canadian missions in the countries proposed for the tour declined to support it.

Ms James believes firmly that all the misfortune that has befallen the project is because our government is angry with her for publishing her visual essay: “Dear Prime Minister, Why are you making us choose between the economy and the environment?” She believes that the Conservative government is angry about her graphic attacks directed against our Prime Minister and that he, in vengeance, engineered the undoing of the project.  

If you go to her website, www.frankejames.com, you can read far more about this incident than I can write here, plus you can see samples of her work. I went to the site, read her posts and several of the articles she generated, and looked at samples of her work, and it left me with the impression that Ms James is a graphic editorialist. I say this because of the style of her work and because of the primary role of text in her imagery (and its subjects, tone and language). Consequently, I am not surprised that her work evokes response; a response is what she seeks. A response is what makes work like hers powerful and effective.

A government, however, should not allow their response to motivate petty acts of vengeance in their mission cultural programming and funding—and that is what Ms James claims our federal government is doing.

But here’s the deal: I would neither know of Ms James nor her work had the Harper government and its missions funded the Nektarina project. All the considerable press referenced on her website is publicity she generated and none of it could have happened without the government persecution she is reporting.  

The government may have acted immorally and unconscionably with regards to Ms James and the Nektarina project. And that is a sad thing for Canadian artists to ponder, but lets look at how cleverly Ms James has turned her disadvantage to an advantage.

She has created scores of thousands of dollars worth of publicity for herself and considerably advanced public awareness of her name. Further, she has put herself in public consciousness as a creative environmental voice and that may open many new doors for her. She has advanced her “brand awareness” beyond the capacity of most artists I know and for a contemporary Canadian visual artist, national exposure can be more meaningful than sales.

Ms James is a sincere person who is passionate about the environment. She did not create this situation and it angered her. Perhaps subconsciously, however, she has achieved something many artists would envy (though not, perhaps her innocent methodology). She is now a fairly widely known and much discussed contemporary Canadian visual artist. There’s a lot to be learned from a careful consideration of Ms James’s story of her project with Nektarina. What that story is, is all in how you look at it.

Victoria Workshop


I invite all of you in Victoria area and its surrounding area to join me at a workshop hosted by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria on Saturday, October 22nd, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Road.

This is the first in a series of developmental workshops for the arts community that the Arts Council intends to offer. Ticket prices are $30; $20 for Arts Council members. For further information or to book tickets, contact the Arts Council at info@cacgv.ca, or call 250-475-7123.