Saturday, October 31, 2020

Suppose a Sentence (2020)

This brand new book by Brian Dillon is a thoughtful confection devoted to the pleasures of the sentence. Each of the book's 28 short essays begins with one, from Shakespeare to Anne Boyer. 

Shakespeare's sentence comes from the deathly Hamlet -- "O, o, o, o."   -- as in, "-- the rest is silence. O, o, o, o." Dillon does not mention T.S. Eliot's use of the unpunctuated, all caps string of Os in Line 128 of "The Waste Land" -- "O O O O that Shakespearean rag --/ It's so elegant/ So intelligent" -- but that's to be expected -- even Eliot questioned the staying power of his best known poem.

For my part I played off Eliot's "O O O O" in the second poem of my hole-y O poem sequence from my book 9x11 and other poems like Bird, Nine, x and Eleven (2018). "POtiOn" opens like this:

O O O O that Peruvian rag

the alpaca O O O who stOOd

fOr it O O beside O O the fire

(The attempt here was to do what poets Judith Copithorne and Steve McCaffery regretted of their early works, and that is mix concretist and expressive rhetorics -- the O an uncorked opening of the genie-releasing "Vial" in the previous poem, the first in my untitled sequence.)

Suppose a Sentence draws on a range of styles. Writers from all walks, including visual artists Robert Smithson and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (the cover is a montage by John Stezaker). Like the world's population, this book is comprised of slightly more women than men.

Friday, October 30, 2020

No mas(ks)

Why is my head so full of lies

Why is my head so full of lies

Because I’m free, leave me be

-- from “Birthday” (2003), Lucie Idbout

Freedom. As in, unburdened, free to do as we please. Or worse, labouring under its illusions, the kind that only ideology can provide.

Are we free to shirk our responsibilities? Freedom implies we are. Are we free of the consequences? Yes. Because we are free.

America. "Land of the free and the home of the brave." The last line of "The Star Spangled Banner" (1814), one of the few, if only, national anthems that has "bombs" in it -- "bombs bursting in air."

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was written by a lawyer, Francis Scott Key, while watching the British Navy bomb Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. I am not sure where Lucie Idbout was when she wrote the lyrics to "Birthday", but I assume she had seen enough of freedom to know something of its contradictions.

When Jimi Hendrix was invited to Woodstock in August 1969, he said he would appear -- but on one condition: that he could close the festival. Which he did, with an instrumental version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- wordless but for those "bombs" he brought to life with his guitar.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

"I want you to ask her stuff that will make her angry so she can tell you real things."

Yesterday I mentioned hearing Lucie Idlout's "Birthday" on CBC's Unreserved. After the post I went looking for more on Idlout and found Alan Zweig's documentary There is a House Here (2017). Idlout and Zweig met on the phone five years prior to the making of the film and kept up a correspondence. Eventually Idlout invited Zweig to visit her in Iqaluit, Nunavit, which she had described to Zweig as "a fucking Third World." There is a House Here is the story of these visits, but of course it is more than that.

I have not read the reviews of There is a House Here, nor do I have any idea how the documentary was received in Nunavut and beyond. I am sure there are those who refuse the film because it was made by a non-Inuk filmmaker, just as there are those who assess it less on its attempt to depict or represent the Inuit and their relationship to the Government of Canada than as a lesson in the documentary form. Idlout is with Zweig throughout the making of this film, taking him and his crew to visit those who Idlout thinks Zweig should be speaking with.

For me the most compelling part of the film comes at 103:00, when Idlout takes Zweig to visit Marie, a woman of Idlout's mother's generation who "always takes good care of me ... we go out hunting together, we go out fishing together ... she's a spitfire and that's why I wanted you to speak to her, because she's real." But when the conversation doesn't go as Idlout wants it to, she intervenes, and in her frustration we see something of Idlout's gyres.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Soundings: an Exhibition in Five Parts


Visited Soundings: an Exhibition in Five Parts at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery yesterday. Curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson, the exhibition seeks to "move beyond the mere acknowledgement of land and territory ... [by] ... offering instructions for sensing and listening to Indigenous  histories that trouble the colonial imagery." Participating artists include Tania Willard, Maggie Groat, Greg Staats, Raven Chacon and Cristóbal Martínez (see image above).

The tone of these instructions, both visually and sonically, is generally low-key, almost solemn, consisting of traditional "soundings", be they Indigenous, classical or electro-acoustic. I wish there were more interruptive elements, like what I heard on CBC's Unreserved while driving back from the gallery -- Iqaluit musician Lucie Idlout's gorgeously Hendrixian "Birthday". Too much of this exhibition felt like a sunny Sunday at the Anglican Church of Canada.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Samuel Beckett's Translation of a Poem by Paul Éluard (1895-1952)

Second Nature

In honour of the dumb the blind the deaf
Shoulderings of the great black stone
The things of time passing simply away

But then for the others knowing things by their names
The sear of every metamorphosis
The unbroken chain of dawns in the brain
The implacable cries of shattering words

Furrowing the mouth furrowing the eyes
Where furious colours dispel the mists of vigil
Set up love against life that the dead dream of
The low-living share the others are slaves
Of love as some are slaves of freedom.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Duane Linklater: primaryuse at Catriona Jeffries, October 24 - November 24, 2020

The show is readable, and could have done with more room (it is almost a tradition for the gallery’s artists to test the spatial abundance/limits of the gallery). Which is not to say the show felt cramped, that moving through it had me watching my footing (that, too, is a desirable effect when need be). Any more room and that "third" tipi would have to be erected (too).

The lack of room suggested by the unassembled "third" tipi tells me the artist, like his peeps, needs more land -- as in all of it, as in returned, and that an art gallery is only a symbolic ground, not a literal one -- so a political space (or forum). The "crests" gathered on the "third" tipi's whitewashed Woodland poplar poles demonstrates an awareness of Eurowestern art history (Goya, Ackerman, Marker?), popular culture (Warhol's Edie) and their domestication (exotic house plants).

The passage of red paint and, like forest surveyor tape, pink paint is noted. The arrowheads lie like spent cursors -- the desk-led effort it took to distribute those reds and pinks -- the large spray-painted rectangle supplied under the artist's direction by a non-painting Haida artist and a Musqueam Salish cultural anthropologist(?). The wall-bound canvas tipi wraps are partially unbuttoned because they are ready, in motion, not because they look better that way.

The three-monitor installation primaryuse (2020) was for me the formal highlight, though it is hard to believe the figure walking stiffly through those unclothed tipis is a dancer. Unless that's the point -- that she was performing under duress. Curtis'ed, as it were. A salvage anthropology of the aequalis corporis. But by formal I mean the application of red paint onto the monitor screens, which reminded me of another gallery artist, Ian Wallace, his photo-paintings, the pairing of the pictured body with the painted monochrome. Wallace has urged us to think of the monochrome in his photo-paintings as a flaneurial derive space: where the subject has come from and, once pictured (seen), where they go from there. But no, I was told, the red paint is there to cover the non-pictured black space (made available through the transfer of 8mm film?). To what end, I don't know.


These are pretty much my notes, a record of my visit, taken at an opening only because there were people there that I didn't want to talk to. (The best defense a critic has in these situations is to be working.) Happy to report that the show remains inside me, capable of generating more -- and hopefully more thoughtful -- writing.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Moving Statements


Friday's Vancouver Sun (online) featured an interview with the Vancouver Art Gallery's new CEO and director Anthony Kiendl. As usual, the focus is on a new building, with a review of what is now a 12-year effort to break ground at the designated site (Larwill Park) and of Kiendl's past work as a fundraiser/builder at Winnipeg's Plug In and Regina's MacKenzie.

There's lots to read between the lines in this interview, but something that stood out was Kiendl's use of language. On the topic of the new VAG, Kiendl is now using the promise of a green building to woo a $100 million in funding from a climate-sensitive federal government, yet in describing the partnership he formed with the University of Winnipeg towards a purpose-built Plug In, he drops a fossil-fuel metaphor: "That's what gave us the gasoline and critical mass to make that project happen."

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Provincial Election

Election day in Canada's colonial province of British Columbia. Currently, the Liberal Party has 43 seats, the New Democratic Party has 41 seats and the Green Party has 3 seats. The NDP/Green coalition has held power for the past three years, but the NDP are tired of it. 

As expected, a debate between the three parties was arranged. But rather than breeze through it, the NDP leader, on the question of "white privilege", claimed "colour blindness", while the Liberal leader, who is a medical doctor, boasted of having babies named after him in some of northern B.C.'s Indigenous communities (nations). For her part, the Green leader led off with an equally frightening line -- "All people are not equal" -- but quickly qualified it by acknowledging systemic racism and what steps need to be taken to dismantle it.

Tone is everything at a time of extremes, and the B.C. Green leader's tone was, in contrast to her barking male counterparts, slow, soft and steady. Just how many votes her debate performance will earn her party will not be decided by tonight's vote but by the 478, 000 ballots cast through the mails (B.C.'s total population is 5.071 million). A pencil sketch, with colours to come. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Grease Lightning


Last week it was the Copa Cafe on Cambie. Yesterday it was Frenchies on Main. Covid has wreaked havoc on restaurants. I'm surprised more of them aren't catching fire. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020


 This is the ERA we are living in.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Poem by Bertolt Brecht (H.R. Hays, trans.)

The Mask of Evil

On my wall hangs a Japanese carving.
The mask of an evil demon, decorated with gold lacquer.
Sympathetically, I observe
The swollen veins of the forehead, indicating
What a strain it is to be evil.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Anti-Immigrant Bear Suspected in Killing of Saanich llama

Don't let the sad eyes fool you -- this bear is believed to be a cold-blooded killer! Officials insist it has lost its fear of humans and will return -- to potentially kill again!

Monday, October 19, 2020


Haircut for Stan’s Birthday


Elizabeth arrives

the girls behind her

they enter the kitchen

Stephen behind them -- “Michael,”

he says, “you look like Himmler!”

all whites look like Nazis now

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Last week I went to the pharmacy at the northeast corner of 1st and Commercial to get my flu shot. I was given a slip of paper and told, "Here's the address. You have to book online now." I thanked the clerk and left the shop.

"No!" I was told back at the house. "There's a pharmacy at Fraser and King Ed, next to Lee's, that does walk-ins." So off I walked to Fraser.

Funny all the signage on Fraser Street, instructions on how to wait before entering buildings. The one up top caught my eye: 2 metres is not 6 feet, nor are they 11 inches (the length of the paper these numbers are printed on). But that's just me being literal.

More than ever people reserve the right to take things literally, if only to vent. In 2006, Canadian Art sent a Canadian art critic to Antwerp to review a show of Canadian artists and, not surprisingly given the Belgian's acceptance of complex emotions, the critic's rage cleared customs.

What followed was a critique that began with the customs officials and only amplified once the critic was met by the exhibition curator who, sensing the critic's indisposition towards the art and its artists, toured him through the show in a manner most facetious. The critic's response was to take the curator at his word, as in literally. The result was a piece of writing that had more in common with the petulance of the critic (and the curator) than an assessment of the exhibition on the terms it set out for itself.

Last week it was announced that the critic has been missing since Monday. I admit, when I first heard the news I did not take it seriously. For here is someone who is as fond of pushing borders as he is of maintaining them. For example, in 1998 the critic crossed the doctor-patient line when he and his psychiatrist began a two-year affair, only to publish an article about it once the relationship ended. An example of border maintenance can be summed up in a line from the critic's Canadian Art review, where, in assessing the work of an artist who uses garbage not as an example of waste but of excess, declared: "Garbage is garbage." 

But now, with the critic missing for more than a week, I am taking the news literally. I am concerned about him and I ashamed of my initial reaction. I continue to google his name, clicking optimistically, yet with overtones of dread. It was trouble that led this person to a psychiatrist, that led him to write about their affair, and it was trouble that seasoned much of his criticism. More and more we are surrounded by trouble, infected by it. Literally.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

1400 Robson

Upon its completion in 1973, the 42-storey Sheraton Landmark (later renamed the Empire Landmark) was the third tallest building in Vancouver, and its tallest hotel. Located at 1400 Robson, the Sheraton was one of two Vancouver towers topped with revolving restaurants (the other was Harbour Centre on West Hastings).

As a child I remember watching the construction of the Sheraton with my father, who lived at the western end of Nelson. A couple years ago, it was the Empire's piece by piece demolition. Last week I stopped to take in the signage announcing what will be two smaller 31- and 32-storey mixed-use towers containing 237 market units and 63 social housing units.

Lots of fanfare for the market units, yet nothing imagining life in the "social" spectrum.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Colette (1873-1954)

"The human face was always my great landscape."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Heroine (1987)

I met Gail Scott in the very late 1990s. She was in town doing something at UBC,  I think, which meant no one knew about it who wasn't attached to the institution. Or maybe it wasn't UBC; maybe it was a smaller bookstore when we had more of those. I said UBC because she was staying at Richard Cavell and Peter Dickinson's place, and I assumed because Richard was at UBC he was somehow involved in her being here. The book she was touring with was My Paris (1999).

Gail's best known book is Heroine (1987), and I tried for years to read it. Now, nowhere near any meaningful anniversary of its publication (33.3 years?), it occurred to me that the book's own sense of anniversary (the Montreal narrator reflecting on ten years since Canada's 1970 "October Crisis") might occasion a ninth try. Heroine is set ten years after the events that led up to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's 1970 declaration of the War Measures Act and begins, for the most part, in a Montreal bathtub. Not the bright wildly coloured Bonnardian bath tubs that make us think of spring, but a rooming house tub on a grey autumn day.

And I'm loving it! Just as Erin Mouré did, who noted its "density and beauty" on the book's back cover. Renata Adler writes similarly, but without the beauty. It's a hard thing to do -- density and beauty -- just as it's a hard thing to become the kind of reader who appreciates these qualities, together. I am a way better reader than I was when I first met Gail. 

Some lines I underlined:

Oh dream only a woman's mouth could do it as well as you. (9)

Even a WASP, if politicized, can recognize a colonizer. (13)

People were freer then. (13)

Refusing to explain how I'm using the place for an experiment of living in the present. (14)

Maintenant tu vas prendre un bon verre. (15)

In a lighted square, a white-clothed man with a thin dog leaned back playing his flute to lions of stone. (17)

The feminist nemesis was, the more I felt your love the harder it was to breathe. (19)

Heroine can be ordered directly from the publisher. Here's some writing on the book from Eileen Myles, who wrote the foreword to the latest edition. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Braun Bottles

The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) is a half-hour TV series featuring the life and times of mild-mannered Chicago psychologist Bob Hartley. The opening credit sequence, known for its horn-driven David Davis/Lorenzo Music theme, is comprised of sixteen shots, from Bob picking up his phone at his office through his commute home, where he is met in the apartment he shares with his wife, Emily.

Shot 12 is my favourite: zooming-out from a moving "L" train to reveal the BRAUN BOTTLES sign on the city's Canal Street. Apart from the series' titles, this shot carries the only example of text in the landscape.

So who was Braun? I did some looking and came up with W. Braun, a cart pushing Polish immigrant who, in the early 1900s, began a bottle recycling business. Eventually his son Morris took over and the company expanded to include bottle design and distribution. 

Here's a link to another Chicago bottle collector -- the Chicago Bottle Digger

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Relational Documentary Portraiture

The artist Bill Reid (1920-1998) was the son of a Scottish-German settler father and a Haida mother who raised Reid as an assimilated subject. Reid worked as a jeweller and a CBC broadcaster before connecting with his Haida roots, after which he worked in larger sculptural forms, including Raven and the First Men (1983).

Any artist who has come to public attention has been asked to pose beside, before, within or atop their art. Reid's appearance atop the clamshell womb of Raven and the First Men (photo: Bill McLennan) brings to mind not only his mother's insistance on raising her son in the Western mode, but her suppression of his Haida ancestry. What was originally intended as a publicity photo is suddenly a work of relational  documentary portraiture -- that of a mother's son.

Monday, October 12, 2020


Naikun on Haida Gwaii is a beach where Raven heard a sound, opened a clamshell and discovered the First Men. (Women came later, after Raven tossed chitons onto some of these men.)

I am sure Raven did not know how to spell Naikun, but knew how it sounded. A lot like the North Vancouver building contractor whose name is not explained on its website.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

At Spruce and West 11th

There I sat, cross-legged at the edge of the lawn at the northwest corner of Spruce and West 11th, early for a studio visit, my bike beside me, head down as I wrote in my palm-sized dollar store scribbler a question that occurred to me on the ride over, when a figure approaches, diagonally across the intersection, her voice a piercing scoff, "Creepy!" she says, and I look up: a woman, mid-30s, dressed in practical 9-to-5 black, skirt, heels, a handbag over her shoulder, staring at me, non-stopping. "What's creepy?" I ask, and she says, "You sitting by the roadside writing a note to yourself." She veers to her right, onto the sidewalk to my left. "What's so creepy about that?" I ask, and she turns again, this time from anything resembling a civilized conversation. "You approached me!" she says passing by. I tell her I did not, and she says, "Yes, you did! And I am within my rights to tell you to FUCK OFF!" And then, over her shoulder now, "Watch your face!" And I think about this as I return to my scribbler and add to it our exchange, hoping I can make sense of it as writing.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Hunger Games (2008)

The neighbourhood kid who watches me shoot hoops in the back alley and whose parents told her "He's a writer" tells me she's reading The Hunger Games ("again"), and do I know Suzanne? I tell her no, and she asks me if I have read the book. I tell her that in the days of air travel I saw the movie on the backseat of the person sitting in front of me, and she says the movie isn't as good. A couple days later a copy bagged in clear plastic hangs from my gate post.

At the moment I am on Page 115. Katniss, the narrator, has just found out her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta has chosen to train alone. Leading up to that, where Katniss came from (West Virginia?), how her father died in a mine explosion, the rebellion that happened before that (What incited it?), her skill as a hunter and gatherer, and the annual Hunger Games survival competition (broadcast throughout the kingdom? the dictatorship? the feudal oligarchy?).

Katniss is a futuristic subject, yet her temperament is contemporary. She is angry, fatalistic, sarcastic, mistrusting and intolerant. Parents are generally weak or cruel people. The state is fixed and does not have her best interests at heart. In preparation for the Hunger Games she and her fellow tributes are given makeovers ("styled" to attract sponsors), which she seems to enjoy. Same too with how that translates televisually, which, despite her sensitivity to the natural world of hunting and gathering, she seems to know quite a lot about.

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Confessions of St Augustine (379-400 AD)

A couple years ago, when the question of how to make a proper apology was entering the realm of genre, I resolved to read The Confessions of St Augustine (379-400 AD). Although I am barely through the second book (nicely translated and introduced by Henry Chadwick), I have to say, this work is less a confession to God than a sly autobiography by a remarkable man who began life on an Algerian farm, only to become a bishop in the imperial court of Milan. 

Below is a passage (21, from "Book I", without attributions) that had me thinking, What social media platform most stands in for God today -- besides all of it?

"What is more pitiable than a wretch without pity for himself who weeps over the death of Dido dying for the love of Aeneas, but not weeping for himself dying over his lack of love for you, my God, light of my heart, bread of the inner mouth of my soul, the power which begets life in my mind and in the innermost recesses of my thinking. I had no love for you and 'committed fornication against you'; and in my fornications I heard all around me the cries, 'Well done, well done'. 'For the friendship of this world is fornication against you', and 'Well done' is what they say to shame a man who does not go along with them. Over this I wept not a tear. I wept over Dido who 'died in pursuing her ultimate end with a sword'. I abandoned you to pursue the lowest things of your creation. I was dust going to dust. Had I been forbidden to read this story, I would have been sad that I could not read what made me sad. Such madness is considered a higher and more fruitful literary education than being taught to read and write." 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Advice from a Shiba Inu

park dog, all smiles

everything you chase

will fail you

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Lowest Lonsdale

Early for my 1pm meeting I walked from the SeaBus terminal to the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 3rd and Lonsdale where I inspected the fifty feet of seven foot-high book shelves, my head tilted to align wth the spines, bending forward, sometimes stoping on my haunches, then up again, moving on, bending forward, etc.

At the end of my inspection I had but a single book in hand: George Bowering's Kerrisdale Elegies (1984), an edition signed to "Bill S.", who might well have been Bill Schermbrucker, a long-serving Capilano University English professor who passed away in 2019.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Elevator Pitch

So here's the pitch. The elevator pitch.

Covid has exposed major problems in long-term hospital care, and governments are speaking openly about investing in these areas, in some instances retraining hospitality workers to take up jobs as personal support workers. In this animated half-hour series we follow five former fine dining restaurant workers -- all of them accustomed to four hundred-plus dollars a night in tips -- cleaning bedpans and sponge bathing those unable to do so themselves. Character types can be derived from James Atlas's October 1984 Atlantic Monthly article "Beyond Demographics", which, despite the years, still resonates.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Touch the Donkey #27

Thank you rob mclennan for sending me a copy of Touch the Donkey #27! I have had the minimum two read-throughs, and now the inevitable extractions.

In order of appearance:

You! Chief embarasser of the pub which raised high its monumental hanging baskets

                                            -- Kate Field, "False spring ode"

Clothes become baggy enterprises of older selves, & daughter studies my inability to order the passing

                                            -- Isabel Sobral Campos, from"How to Make
                                                                                              Words Rubble"

Radiant and magnificent, the day 
Arouses our ambivalence; places
Knowledge as a possible nothing in
The world, and retreats into a subject
Choosing to think loosely through the restrictions

                                             --Jay Millar, from "Canto One"                                                                                      

Notice the skin and red, hearable

                                            -- Lisa Samuels, from "Movies for the blind"

A finished thought in rinsing
Is losing its shell

                                               -- Prathna Lor, from "Three Poems"                                                                                         

Did I see McFadden's little car
              zip by?   Cigar
                   between those teeth?

                                               -- George Bowering, from "Mandatory Sod" 

spilling out kensington market
of twenty years ago;
we caressed the velvet vests
and dreamed of top-hat ringmaster
courage, my love

                                                -- natalie hanna, from "Three Poems"

Sunday, October 4, 2020

By the Heat of the Pizza Oven

This structure, comprised of sixty standard bricks and three different paving stone formats, is not a Brutalist maquette but a pizza oven. Capable of generating temperatures of up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit, it will double as an outdoor heating unit for my backyard creative and critical practices workshops this fall and winter. Tarpaulin to follow.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Peoples' Co-op Bookstore

I can't imagine going inside any confined space without a mask -- and it's not just me! Booksellers, scientists and Democratic presidential nominees think so too.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Rapist Deckard Attempts Empathy with Dissatisfied Replicant

DECKARD: Shakes? Me too. I get 'em bad. Part of the business.

RACHEL: I'm not in the business. I am the business.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Guston Exhibition

I never tire of the figurative paintings of Phillip Guston. Not his first figurative works but those that followed an Abstract Expressionist period that ended in the 1960s, when he found he could no longer ignore the literal world of evil, as manifest in the Ku Klux Klan

The recent postponement of the touring Guston exhibition (already delayed eight months due to Covid-19) is not surprising. Americans of all races/racializations and creeds have never been more literal, more polarized, than they are now -- a transformation brought on by a myriad of variables, including a growing disparity between rich and poor, years of state-wide cuts to public education, a local emphasis on community-based decorative imagery and a fear of ambiguity.

Guston's later figurative paintings are cartoonish, but they are also highly ambiguous, and it seems you cannot have both without potentially triggering a gunman. Ambiguous spaces are places for engagement, discourse, but no one has the time. Like the can of Campbell's on the supermarket shelf, we grab it, check it off the list and race down the aisle for the Planter's. Polarization has us clinging to only one of two poles in fear of getting swept away by the inevitable flood. I can't blame people for feeling this way, for acting this way.

Many of the artists who signed the open letter in protest of the exhibition's postponement feel otherwise. I too would have signed a letter in response to an announcement that stated an exhibition would be postponed "until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the centre of Philip Guston's work can be more clearly interpreted." There are no clear interpretations where ambiguity is involved the room, and I guess that's the point. I would say we have lost the ability to revel in art's ambiguities if I didn't think we never truly possessed it.