As I continue on my journey of rediscovering Toronto’s budding and bountiful art-scene, I recently stopped by MOCCA (Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art) and became instantly enthralled by their TBD installation (on view until October 26th). As the programme flyer illustrates the TBD acronym takes on many different forms from it’s usual To Be Determined associations in this project, to include: To Be Discussed; To Be Defined; To Be Deleted; To Be Decided to name a few. The version of TBD that particularly grabbed my attention was To Be Destroyed, where architects were asked to submit design ideas and concepts that destroy the existing notions of art galleries and to re-imagine their future existence… now this is art that makes you think!
Without getting too bogged down in the theoretical and conceptual connotations of this excellent thought provoking exercise (perhaps a blog entry on Wolfflin and Panofsky, the great art historical geniuses is best suited to another time…), an exhibition of this nature lays bare the basic concept of an art gallery: cultural havens that reflect what we, as a collective society, hold up as sacred expressions of our civilization. Creating an interesting paradigm of communities dictating what is considered art, as value, that are subsequently projected upon these same communities . An art gallery, as a cultural institution and architectural hub facilitates discussion, but also dictates how information is shared and disseminated between creators (architects and artists alike) and viewers – this particular exhibition makes light of all of these rather postulatory concepts.
Below are my top four highlights of TBD: To Be Destroyed that deserve notable mentions…and applause:
1. Baharash Architecture‘s “Google Gallery” (photo credit: MOCCA)
This concept runs hand-in-hand with our ever increasing digital existence – considered, ‘museum add-ons’, these interactive pods will supplement current museums/galleries’ status quo by serving as an educational tool to enhance art experiences.
In this rendition, Cheng & Ljubanovic are rather bleak in their predictions for the future of contemporary art galleries – becoming obsolete, relics in the sand such as the ancient pharaohs lay in decay as tombs of past civilizations (as the title aptly plays upon).
3. Modern Office of Design + Architecture‘s “Art is for Everyone” (photo credit: MOCCA)
MoDA’s image is striking, a homeless man clutching to Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, while masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and van Gogh’s Starry Night hanging surrounded by a mess of tangled wires. Re-appropriating art to the people, countering the notion of art as something exclusively for the delights of the rich (although galleries are public forums for everyone to enjoy, no matter one’s finances. This can be countered by the super rich buying up masterpieces that are forever withheld from public view, a current challenge in today’s art market).
4. Wesley Perrott’s “What is a contemporary art gallery?” (photo credit: MOCCA)
Perrott’s design addresses the future of galleries, a free-form flow of unstructured, interactive experiences where viewers and artists become interweaved, aptly defined by Perrott as “divisionless”. This chaotic vision of museums/galleries of the future results in a breakdown of creators and observers, adding in equal measure to the cultural discussion and creations.