Our group of twenty was the twentieth group to have "graduated" from the program, available in both English and French. The topics for the five evenings were
- the Museum of Contemporary Art (We met with director / head curator John Zeppetelli.)
- the artist in her studio (We visited painter and Concordia professor Janet Werner in her private studio.)
- the artist's gallery (We visited Parisian Laundry in St.-Henri.)
- a corporate collection (We toured several floors of Fasken Martineau, a law firm located in the Tour de la Bourse, led by curator Marcel Forget.)
- a private collection (We were guided through the home of Paul Desmarais III and his wife Mary Dailey Pattee by the curator of Power Corp's corporate collection, Paul Maréchal.)
Véronique Lefebvre, coordinator of SéminArts, did a fine job of herding us through these various locales. Several sites are available in each category, so no session is quite the same as another. We were given a useful little handbook listing galleries, museums and artist-run centres, and including a bibliography. Wine and cheese were served at each venue.
Many, many questions were posed to our hosts, and there were a number of lively discussions. How is a corporate collection different from a private collection? Why do corporations invest in art? How does a private collector build his collection? How do galleries choose artists to represent? What can an artist expect from a gallery?
|7 Jours dans la Ville, Thomas Corriveau|
Fasken Martineau collection
Here's the thing about contemporary art.
First, it's not the same as modern art. Modern art (think Matisse, Picasso, Nevelson) I can access on a visual level, but that's sometimes not true of contemporary art, which includes conceptual, installation, video and multi-media. I want to make the effort to connect with what's going on now in the art world. Even if I don't like it. Even if I often suspect the emperor has no clothes. I don't want to be like those contemporaries who dismissed the Impressionists and the Fauves out of hand, saying "That's not art". Often, with contemporary art, you need to know the back story to understand what the artist is trying to do. And SéminArts reminded me of that.
SéminArts also gave me access to a studio, a home, and a corporate office that are not normally open to the public. Another group will be organized this fall. For more information, please go to www.macm.org/en/activites/seminarts-fall-2015