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less than supernova

despite being mired in construction, the art gallery of ontario soldiers on, continuing to offer big-name exhibits like supernova a retrospective of early- to mid-sixties works by andy warhol, curated by david cronenberg. there's a lot of potential in this, given the various talents involved, but for some reason, it just doesn't come together.

the exhibition has great focus- images of sex, death and icons exclusively, exploiting a subconscious link between all three- but the focus means that it is fairly limited in size. that doesn't bother me- i'd rather spend my time viewing fewer works in more detail- but the fact that the exhibition has been promoted so heavily means that there is a large crowd stuffed into the two rooms allotted.

it doesn't help that the museum staff seem like they are there fulfilling a community service portion of a prison sentence. "do you want these or not?" is not the way to ask someone if they would like to use the audio guide for the exhibit, people. (i don't like audio guides, because i don't like walking through an exhibit feeling like i'm on my cell phone.) but even beyond that, and this is surprising, given the attention focused on the celebrity curator, the exhibit itself seems poorly organised.

my initial inclination was to give the ago the benefit of the doubt and assume that the look they were going for was a new york loft from the sixties- an open, stripped down setting, cluttered with art. but it's also distinctly possible that these are just the two rooms they could stick this in, with no frills, owing to the construction that's being done all around. even within the two rooms, there seems to be no discernable logic to the order of the pieces (perhaps i should have used the detestable audio guide) and, most bizarre, cronenberg chose to exclude warhol's films almost entirely from the exhibit. (in fact, probably the most interesting piece in the exhibit is the series of "screen tests" by stars of the mainstream and underground, where each sits, silently, in front of a camera for four minutes, trying not to look uncomfortable with the artificiality of the situation.)

it's a good enough experience for the warhol enthusiast, but other may be left wanting a little more.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…