Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mumbai Diaries, Part 3: An Artist Profile of M.A. Jafar

by Erin Campbell

Kala Ghoda  is the centre for art in Mumbai. At the centre of Kala Ghoda is Jehangir Art Gallery, where artist M.A. Jafar sells his paintings on the sidewalk outside of this monumental building. He creates his paintings alongside palm-readers, rice-writers and a host of sketch artists who promise to draw your portrait in five minutes or less.

Photograph by Sharell Cook
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Beat Nation, Mastering Tradition with Urban Youth

by Janine C. Grant

"Indian" by Nicholas Galanin, Vancouver Art Gallery

The exhibition of Beat Nation begins even before you enter the Vancouver Art Gallery. Carved into the cement by the Hornby Street entrance, the stylized logo ‘Indians’ of the Cleveland Major League Baseball team physically imprints the sidewalk with new meaning.  Interweaving the history of Vancouver with contemporary re-appropriation, Nicholas Galanin’s piece sets the tone for the work found inside. In the past, the gallery building held the Land Title office of still un-ceded Coast Salish territory. The enlightening play between space, medium and meaning throughout the gallery presents re-interpretations of tradition and the lived experience of Aboriginal people today.

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The Business of Art in the Digital Age

by Liza Montgomery

sEdition Screen Grab
In his influential 1936 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, German cultural critic Walter Benjamin examined the effects of a changing technological environment on the status and function of art. While Benjamin’s predictions—that new reproductive technologies would diminish the symbolic and ritual authority of the “original” art object—have since been contested by art theorists, his work continues to highlight the need to attend to the relationship between changing technologies of representation and the value and function of art in a society.

Seventy years later, the development of the internet along with a rapid succession of new digital technologies has ushered in a new technological era: a digital age in which the “original” has become conceptually indistinguishable from its copies. Characterizing this new culture, and reflective of the internet itself, is the increased accessibility and free flow of information and images that threaten capitalist notions of space, private property, and ownership.

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Camera Absentia: B/I

by Sean Michael Nelson

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

How does one express the grief over the loss of a loved one? Roland Barthes wrote several works in the wake of his mother’s death, among them Camera Lucida, a personal reflection on the essence of photography. In it, Barthes notes that the “photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been.” Ishiuchi Miyako’s (石内 都) photographic series Mother’s (2000 – 2005) is one instance where photographs say what-is-no-longer through what-has-been. Continue reading