I guess it’s not very difficult to tell where my head is by looking at these photos. We just got back to New York for what promises to be a fun, art/work filled few weeks but to be honest, I’m counting down the days until April. Usually, our travel plans are pretty last minute but next month, we’re taking an amazing trip that we’ve actually been planning for quite a while. The first stop is Abu Dhabi then Singapore and then we’re going to spend some time exploring Japan. I have an idea of what I want to do in every city but if anyone has any suggestions (amazing restaurants/stores/ places I can’t miss) please send them my way!
I’ll keep this short and sweet. This is the other part of Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is everything is anything – this time, at Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). While, of course, the aesthetic is similar to the works at the ROM, this part had a very different feel. I left this show feeling more Canadian than ever, as if I was in on an inside joke that Coupland was telling and that would, inevitably, leave non-Canadian viewers with a different sense of the exhibition. As you can see from the images, there were also several references to other, more famous works of art only this time, they didn’t bother me. On the other hand, I felt like they really contributed to the dialogue of what makes art “typically Canadian” and the pre-conceived notions of art from the true north in other parts of the world. While Coupland makes it perfectly clear that he intends to be a part of this dialogue, I’m still wondering if nature and landscape in art as a Canadian trademark is something that the artist feels we should be moving away from but if it is then this turns into a Catch-22. In re-opening this conversation, he is once again introducing Canadian art with what has become known as stereotypically Canadian imagery into the contemporary canon even though he is referencing the ultimate examples. Personally, I find these works beautiful and evocative of the Canadian spirit, tradition and the wider dialogue but there is something to be said about changing the perception of visual art from Canada in the rest of the world and not going overboard with this sort of imagery or even using it as a clutch. I won’t name any names but a few years ago at The Armory Show in New York, I was so excited to stumble across the first booth from a Canadian gallery and was devastated to find that their entire booth was made up of photographs of trees.
Ok, so maybe not so short and sweet after all but since I could pretty much go on forever, I think I did alright for a blog post.
Before NY and real life gets crazy again in March, I was able to escape to Italy with my husband for a few days. Neither of us had ever been to Milan so we decided that was the perfect place to go and explore. So, having barely unpacked from our trip to Toronto, we were off again less than two days later. Of course, first stop was the Duomo and it completely blew me away. To say I was geeking out the entire trip is an understatement, and I’m sure any Art History major can back me up on this one – there is something completely mind blowing everywhere you look.
As usual, we were on a tight schedule with so much to see in so little time, so we would usually leave early and not get back to the hotel until before dinner to change then it was back out until after food + drinks. This was the perfect opportunity to really break in my Stan Smiths because (other than the fact that I’m in love with them) we were walking around at a brisk pace for the entire day. Milan was also a nice break from the deep freeze back home, so I was able to actually layer with nice pieces to be warm and comfortable rather than hiding in a giant parka. The fur vest was key – while it wasn’t technically that cold, it was damp, and that will chill you to the bone. The classic white button-down is so versatile and something I never travel without and also, my new 3 x 1 jeans were perfectly comfortable and the clean wash pulled the entire outfit together.
I just got back from a (very) short trip to Toronto where I was lucky enough to experience some of the coldest weather on the planet for a couple of days. Aside from celebrating my dad’s birthday and running around to see various family members, I had one goal – see all three parts of Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Royal Ontario Museum and Holt Renfrew Men.
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian writer and contemporary artist working through diverse media including painting, found materials, lego, installation and crowd sourcing. He explores issues that touch us all, which he calls “the 21st century condition” including the power of technology and language, and puts an emphasis on Canadian cultural identity. Although the show is called a survey, the oldest works on view are from 2000, but the past fifteen years seem to be a great snapshot of the artist’s refined goals within his oeuvre.
I started at MOCCA, not going to lie, but wanted to put these photos from the ROM up first. The works at the ROM seemed a lot more relatable to a wider (non Canadian) audience and mostly tackled technology and how we see the world today vs. 20 years ago. Sure, it’s a basic idea, obvious even, but the scope of the work is wider than you would think (given the theme) as the exhibition included accessible and interactive works that referenced contemporary events and ideas. There was also an emphasis on Pop Art, which, I have to say, is always fun to look at and watch others interact with. These references are certainly relevant to Coupland’s work and are quite obvious to begin with yet as the show goes on, they are pushed to a level that seemed almost insulting to the viewer as the artist attempted to form a dialogue with art-history giants including Andy Warhol. As if a giant panel with the words “POP ART” wasn’t enough (although I understand that this wasn’t necessarily a decision Coupland had anything to do with), visitors are confronted with framed fright wigs and other large scale imitations.
This was the first time I had ever seen contemporary art at the Royal Ontario Museum. Even as I walked through the new front entrance, my mind went straight to the dinosaur bones, bat cave and totem pole in the main stairwell. Although it was definitely a different sort of viewing experience, the show was set up perfectly in the new “crystal” addition of the museum and took advantage of the vast and bright space. Even the corridor set up to enter the exhibition helped to frame the works and transport visitors into Coupland’s colorful and introspectively critical world.
I have lots of jeans. Not only do I have a bunch hanging in my closet, but I have an entire armoire basically stacked top to bottom with denim. Of course, like everyone else, I have a few pairs that are in my day-to-day rotation and are very close to my heart and others that require a little more thought to style, a specific season, or special mood. Lately, my blue and black Madewell jeans have been making a lot of appearances, as well as a grey pair of Paper Denims that I just recently re-discovered. Then, there is an almost mythical pair of pants that I got online by guessing at the size and happened to fit me more perfectly than any other pair in my entire life. They are a pair of skinny, coated, mid-rise jeans from Earnest Sewn and if I had known that the company would soon disappear, I would have bought a pair just like that in every color.
Enter 3 x 1, my new favorite jeans. I’m going to be honest, I got these pants at Aritzia (even though they’re not featured on their website) and had never heard of the brand until I went jean-crazy that fateful day. The perfect fit, cut etc. brought a tear to my eye so I got two pairs - a mid-rise and a high-rise.
Turns out, the pants are made right here in New York at the 3 x 1 Soho factory/boutique (pictured above) – they have ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE types of denim in-stock, ready to make you your perfect pair of jeans. Of course, they have ready-to-wear, but the company prides itself on being a one stop denim shop providing custom/bespoke services as well. What I found magical, however, is that Scott Morrison, the founder of 3 x 1, also founded Paper Denim & Cloth AND… get ready… Earnest Sewn!! This man is truly the denim whisperer, check out Racked NY’s interview with him HERE.