Friday, June 30, 2017


In advance of a thirty pound bird.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Yesterday's view of the pasture was northeast. Today's midday view of the hops and the valley below is southwest.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

First Cut

At 3pm yesterday I turned off Hwy 97S (from Monte Lake) onto Westside Road. The rising waters I had heard so much about after leaving Woodhaven in mid-April were in decline. Unfortunately, what was revealed was not the land but erased beaches and septic fields whose contents are now part of Lake Okanagan.

Before turning up Six Mile Creek Road I stopped at Little Kingdom to see if they had any pies left. Last year the place was brimming with tank-topped dudes and dudettes stocking their campers with chips and mixer, only this year it was like the ghost town in The Andromeda Strain (1971).

Where is everybody? I asked a cashier, at which point I was shown some press releases stating that the campsites would not be opened over the Canada Day long weekend, and that the beaches are not safe for swimming -- this despite radio ads I was hearing in Vancouver about how the Okanagan has returned to normal and is open to tourists.

Later that day, on an after dinner walk to the upper pasture, Brian told me about the floods in Peachland, where a section of the highway was washed away, and a no-wake warning that, on the positive side, prohibits speed boats and jet skis.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Free Weeklies

The last of Vancouver's free weeklies: the Georgia Straight and the Westender.

It was Amy who noticed that both publications have the Jazz Festival on their covers, and that in both instances the Festival is represented by white men.

Something else worth noting: the absence of ads by developers and real estate marketers in the Georgia Straight. Is this an editorial policy or a response by the development community?

Below is the back page of the Straight's May 5th, 2017 50th anniversary issue. Westbank's towers brought together -- for a bow.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

"(nothing more nothing less)"

The Mainlander's Andrew Witt (or Andrew Witt, writing in The Mainlander,) contributes yet another article on Vancouver and photography. Is it worth reading? Of course!

But Andrew -- this:

The common refrain heard over and over again when looking at Herzog’s photographs is often the following: “I remember that building…” or “That’s the back of my house!” (nothing more nothing less) — a position that sounds something like “Once upon a time ….” Regretfully, the photograph is approached not formally or socially, but is read through the hazy filters of personal (not collective) memory. Encouraged by this tendency, the spectator is emboldened to feel wistfully nostalgic towards the city and its past, rather than advancing an interpretive or critical position towards the image and its complicated history.

How is it that a news service that positions itself as a voice of the people can reduce people to their personal remembrances "(nothing more nothing less)." As someone who has written on Herzog's work (I am a co-author of the 2007 Herzog book that Andrew Witt attributes only to VAG curator Grant Arnold), I have discussed "formal and social" aspects of Herzog's work in relation to the emergent market city. What's more, the overwhelming public response to the VAG's 2007 Herzog exhibition marks a turning point in a city that for the longest time saw History as something that got in the way of making money. This shift is measured not only in an acceleration of interest in the city and its histories, but, as a result of this interest, a revival of a COPE party by those too young to remember Herzog's city of the 50s, 60s and 70s, but who see in it something worth fighting for.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Claude Breeze

What to make of Claude Breeze's Sunday Afternoon: From an Old American Photograph (1964-1965) after Dana Schutz's Open Casket (2016)?

Thursday, June 22, 2017


For a second I thought this Harper's article was subtitled "Who owns black paint?" and was about Anish Kapoor's struggle to secure the exclusive rights to Vantablack.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Hand of the Landlord

An artist's version of negative billing: graffiti that requires a similar action from the landlord, provided the landlord is against such actions.

Another Bill worth posting:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

80s Poem Revis(it)ed

Shared House
 for Cornelia Wyngaarden

northdown kickass princess kid all bossy with fear arrives is
indifference as’m goddess thick with instance is’m
dandered at the lack of patricular resistance as in said gesture
mattered not on consensus chorewheel clacking done-thats
but on toilet seats with hinges

a wall away tucked into the den’s red deco chair inez stares
as nothing’s unplugged television reflects the hallway behind her
bicep vein-twitch eyed by passing royalty
a tremor sent and registered as inez counts back from ten
awaiting her return

still new to her room as if breathing it in for the first time then out 
some unseen hole her highness draws the blinds
dumps her bag on the futon before taking more forward steps 
back down the hallway to claim the wall opposite inez
as if to say

yes it’s sisters but my star beats yers 

tamsin is screamed because the house is in her name and it’s royalty
who refuses to be told it’s her turn to do anything inez says
it’s yers cause if it isn’t then it’s powerflex so no more
ponytalk it’s tamsin’s to decide because it’s her alamo
and it’s inez who was first within’t 

what started as a painting was cut up to decide itself
left to map performance’s haptic handstand whorls
lifted from the floor and entered into trauma’s grid
a match because it’s based on grandma’s trapline 
left to rest at the foot of the bed

what’s this says inez unmasking judgement knowing that it’s excellent
what’s this but a three-point teaching moment turned on her
when she was royalty’s age just loud enough that enough come running
inez’s critique powered by what little she knows
but enough to fill those lower lids

of royalty’s left to explain her art as if first met by those come running
the melt felt from fresh eyes feeding fires behind familiar faces
the stink of rethink as royalty is reduced to the sum
of her defenses on the morning of an interview
for a job she thinks is beneath her

Monday, June 19, 2017


At 5:05PM Saturday I left the house near Kingsway and Knight and walked to 5th and Burrard for the 6:30PM screening of My Cousin Rachel (2017).

The walk itself took just under and hour, with a ten minute break outside the Cancer Control Agency, where I bumped into Lisa Prentice, and a 30 second break two blocks west, where I stopped to take a picture of VHG/UBC poster boy George Bowering.

The link for George is to a Western Front reading he did in 1974. The book he reads from is one of my favourites -- Curious (1973) -- "a book of meditations," he says, or a "picture book" and/or a "portrait book," as Ed Dorn told him.

One of George's literary heroes is Gertrude Stein, who wrote portraits of her fellow artists (Matisse, Picasso). Like Stein's portraits, George's are not only affirmative complimentary, but also critical complimentary and entertainingly ambiguous.

More recently Andrew Berardini has taken up portrait writing.

I have nothing positive to say about the current film adaption of Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, where we are encouraged to feel aghast at "Philip"'s immaturity, while "Rachel"'s complexity is left flapping.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Cool Breeze

A Neil Campbell painting at Griffin Art Project's A Cool Breeze exhibition.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Paper Hound

On my way back from North Van I stopped at the Paper Hound to see what's new in used books. Rod was at the desk, which is always a pleasure because I have known Rod a long time and it's good to catch up.

Atop a cabinet across from the desk stood a number of books. I picked up one of them, only to take note of its holder.

"It's a coat hanger," I said to the book holder.

"Kim made those," said Rod. "She made one, we liked it, now she can't stop."

I asked if I could take its picture. Rod said he didn't think Kim would mind.

"It looks like a hound," I said. "It looks like a hound as if van Tee had drawn it."

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Polygon Gallery

Earlier this week I took the Seabus to North Vancouver for a tour of the Polygon Gallery (to the right of the Q Tower below).

Scheduled to open in November, 2017 the Polygon's various spaces are more or less defined, with a white oak upper-floor to be installed next week.

Unlike some recent buildings, the Polygon has chosen to name only those spaces where artworks (pictures, sculptures, publications) are displayed.

One space I returned to more than once during the tour is a small south-facing room with a view of downtown Vancouver. This space, according to Polygon officials, is intended largely as a place of rest, relaxation and reflection.

I love this space, and I love it that the Polygon extended the window from its original plan so that those enjoying it can see for themselves why it is a good idea.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

There is fighting outside. They are at it again. They are always at it.

Someone took someone else's picture and didn't ask permission. The subject is demanding that the picture be deleted -- and wants to see it deleted.

Too late -- the taker deleted the picture while the subject was explaining why it "isn't cool" to take someone's picture without asking permission. Now the taker has nothing to show the subject, and the subject thinks the taker's a liar.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


What can I say -- it's Can!

Monday, June 12, 2017

How It Is (1964)

then on my elbow I quote I see me prop me up thrust in my
arm in the sack we're talking of the sack thrust in count the
tins impossible with one hand keep trying one day it will be

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Garage Sale

An invitation to attend a transnational real estate company's fifth annual multi-venue neighbourhood garage sale.

Fifth annual? Really? First I've hear of it.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Un fecicapo entra in un museo e chiede, "Hai Manzoni in un lattina?"

Friday, June 9, 2017

Edgemont Village, 1966

Vancouver's Trips Festival took place on the PNE grounds July 29-31, 1966. A more Dionysian gathering took place three months later at Edgemont Village in North Vancouver.

I found the Sun's November 1st, 1966 front page while doing research towards a project on the cultural history of North Vancouver. Is it coincidental that the space that frames these five vertical images approximates prison bars? Makes me curious about what else is going on "in" the pictures from which these images were cropped. I wonder if they still exist?

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Yesterday's post opened with a picture of Heriot Bay, looking west. Today's picture was taken from the same spot at the same time, looking east.

Yesterday's post carried a picture of Derek helped along by Khan and Ron. The picture above is of Derek moments after suffering what a Campbell River ER doctor later diagnosed as a "mechanical failure." The fellow standing is Tommy; the shirtless one is Ron; the one dressed in black is Khan.

The person moving towards the camera is Amy, who wrote the exhibition text that appears on the flip side of Sharona's poster and who did most of the shopping and cooking.

The picture of Amy and the one of Derek, Tommy, Khan and Ron belong to one picture -- this one:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Heriot Bay Gang

Our base of operations: Heriot Bay, Quadra Island.

Khan made a tin foil box for the vegetables.

Sharona accepted Ron's flower.

She also designed the Vapours' concert poster

and performed with them.

Later, she infused Russian sage in gin.

Derek threw his back out on the first tent peg, but felt well enough at the end to document Emily's exhibition.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


The Vapours performance was part of Emily Hill's Looks exhibition at the Campbell River Art Gallery. In addition to Emily's rug paintings, the exhibition featured a video by Feminist Land Art Collective members and Exercise co-founders Nicole Ondre and Vanessa Disler. Emily had a studio at Exercise and participated in a number of its events.

Looks is organized by artist and former CRAG curator Julia Prudhomme, who, during her short run at the gallery, developed a contemporary program (Sonny Assu, Amy Malbeuf + Jordan Bennett, Samuel Roy-Bois, Derya Akay) that was attentive to the particularities of the local cultural ecology while at the same time expanded the limits of painting and sculpture. Why the CRAG's director did not show up to help open the exhibition and offer parting words for Julia could be indicative of where the CRAG is -- and isn't -- headed. But if that's the case, oh well -- yet another instance of time over space.

Best of luck, Julia!

Monday, June 5, 2017

What'_ Mi_ _ ing in Vapour_

Nicole cut off a foot of Emily's hair, dipped the tip in white paint and wrote VAPOURS on Big Rock.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Handbags & Gladrags

Yesterday's opening of SFU Audain Gallery's Maps and Dreams exhibition had me taking the 19 bus downtown at 2pm to visit Erin Templeton's shop in advance of a 4pm talk with the exhibition's curators and artists.

What a strange day it was. First off, the bus was late. And when it did arrive, it was packed. The doors opened to an unsettling scene between a beleaguered middle-aged woman and her hissy-fitting four-year-old grandchild.

Once inside I made my way to the back where I found a seat beside a young woman from Old Massett who was unhappy to be on an unhappy bus on her way to a job where her co-workers would be "just as unhappy -- if not unhappier."

"I don't know, there's something in the air today, something not right," she kept saying, and I agreed with her.

Is it cheque day? I wondered. (It was.) "Covfefe!" someone speculated from across the aisle, but the laughter from that gaffe had passed.

It had been ages since I was inside Erin's shop. On this visit I noticed its spare layout, but also the perfection of her "non-statement" handbags and wallets.

Everything is right about Erin's work. If someone I knew was looking for a handbag and wanted something simple yet swinging, I would send them to Erin Templeton.