In an article in Apollo, Caroline A. Jones asks the question, “Is the international art world too elitist?” I’m here to tell you that the answer is, not always. I just returned with my wife from Victoria and Vancouver (in Canada – a foreign country) and we saw lots and lots of art. Full disclosure here: Talking about the 10th Berlin Biennale, Caroline goes on to say
The biennial’s highly educated and fluent art-world operators are elites by any measure, particularly in their own countries of origin. An invitation to be on a curatorial team in a country other than your own, or to fulfil a commission from the prestigious Berlin Biennale, would anoint any curator, educator, artist, or art writer as part of a global elite.
I did not receive an invitation to the 10th Berlin Biennale.
I’m still processing our trip and arranging my snapshots. We rubbed shoulders, so to speak, with many heavyweights whose names are barely heard south of that border. The redoubtable Emily Carr is enshrined in the Vancouver Art Gallery. Susan Point (66 y/o), of the Coast Salish tradition, is represented by commissioned monuments at important public facilities, acknowledged in rock-and-brass floor inscriptions, and on full display in multiple national museums. Charles Edenshaw and Bill Reid are champions who kept the Haida tradition alive in spite of at least two extinction-level events: a flu epidemic that reduced Haida numbers to around 600, and egregious government policies designed to eliminate and “absorb” the indigenous cultures. Northwest Coastal art is literally in renaissance since 1970; brilliant contemporary artists are using ancient principles and new technology to enrich our world.
Still musing. More on that later.
Susan Point, Spindle Whorl, at Vancouver International Airtport