Art movers decide to shake it up

Students move their art out of the gallery and into the street

allison martens

Bridget Keating, a second year painting and drawing student, waits for more traffic through her truck/gallery during the Bourget: White Cube on the Move exhibit. She was just one of 39 graduate students who brought their art to de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Ste. Catherine St.

Photo by marc losier

Who said moving had to be stressful and sweaty? Visitors to the recent art exhibition, Bourget: White Cube on the Move, scampered happily between the ten white moving trucks parked on the downtown campus where the works of 39 fine arts graduate students was displayed.

“People seemed to be really puzzled at first: Some asked which department was moving,” said co-organizer Anna Sprague, who described the exhibit, which took place April 8 to 9, as a “conceptual move.”

Conceived two months ago on the back of a placemat over breakfast by MFA students Sprague and Ian Shatilla, the show was meant to reflect the current situation of the Faculty’s grad students.

Although the MFA program is slated to move into the Integrated Engineering and Visual Arts (EV) Complex in the coming year, for now it remains based in the Bourget Building on Mountain St.

“We don’t know exactly where we’re going yet. We’re in transit, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a show,” Shatilla said.

“The idea of a show in the streets, he said, “brings art to the masses that usually don’t go to galleries. You see people walking down the street to go to work or to shop, and they stop to look at art. It’s great.”

As he spoke, a crowd gathered behind him where performance artist Genviève Sideleau was on her knees, sweeping up a pile of sand as part of her piece, Flow.

Once the heap in front of her had been stashed in her dress, she shook it all out through her specially designed, sieve-like pockets, only to start the process anew.

Meanwhile, the vans brimmed with a variety of works including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and film clips, both inside and out.

A striking, angular blue sculpture was affixed to the outside of van number one. Inside, Open Media student Alexander Wilson had transformed the cube into his Social Reproduction Machine where visitors could witness a human that is “inseminated with meaning” in a smoke and strobe-filled performance.

Photography students Alyssa Andrews, Nicholas Hoban, Susi Brister and Margaret McLean and their interactive exhibit, Wish You Were Here, occupied van number 10. Visitors there were invited to have their picture taken against their choice of backdrops with various props they took from a basket.

“Because it’s such an alternative exhibit space, we wanted to do an alternative project that the viewer becomes a part of,” McLean said, after snapping a picture of a woman who chose to be photographed in front of a winter scene wearing star-shaped sunglasses.

The photos will be sent to the subjects, and the artists plan to use the images in a future collaboration. On the sidewalk outside their van, performance artist Jihee Min hawked free Creamsicles that bore her name in Korean, spelled out in chocolate sprinkles.

Organizers Sprague and Shatilla said all students who applied to show their creations were accepted, in order to give showgoers a taste of the program’s diversity.

“It’s also interesting because you’re talking with people about the idea of the show, instead of individual works,” Shatilla said.