MARK LOMBARDI at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West) through December 5. $12, stu/srs $9, Wednesdays free after 6 pm. 416-979-6648. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Last Wednesday's Global Theory Slam held against the backdrop of Mark Lombardi 's diagrams of corruption at the AGO could have been a lot more animated.
With artists Luis Jacob , John Marriott and the ex-Lola art theorist Sally McKay at the helm, I'd hoped for a barrage of people voicing their wildly inappropriate conspiracy theories, especially considering Lombardi's convenient suicide in 2000, but everyone was quite sensible. Wish I'd spoken up.
But, then, Lombardi's work speaks loudly enough. On large sheets of paper, the New York-based artist drew graphite diagrams that connect politicians and corporations to gangsters and their bankers.
He described some of the biggest scandals of the last 30 years, and it's worth mentioning that the FBI paid a visit to one of his exhibits after 9/11 in order to piece together al Qaeda's financing .
The gracefully arching diagrams take two basic forms: a linear timeline tracing events over years, following the growth and demise of different institutions; and more spherical works in which the absence of time provides a more cohesive snapshot of events. Stringing together the stories of these scandals from the names and lines is a complicated but rewarding task.
Lombardi's obsessively maintained database of 14,000 index cards, gleaned solely from public records, eventually overwhelmed him, and he first created these diagrams in order to refresh his memory of how the people and organizations in his cards were connected.
The invaluable lesson is that you don't need a licence to kill to find out how corrupt our officials are - just a little information management. Like, now wouldn't be a bad time to note that almost every ship George W. Bush has ever sailed has sunk while he rowed off with the riches.
The drawing's on the wall.