this is paradise at Peter Richmond Gallery (122 Peter) to April 27. 416-979-9609. Rating: NNNN
cary leibowitz at Art Metropole (788 King West) to May 17. 416-703-4400. Rating: NNNN
As a culture, for better or worse, though it's likely worse, we buy a lot of stuff. Then there's the artwork that comments on the pitfalls of all that consumption. You usually can buy it, too.This Is Paradise is an eclectic gathering of some talented young artists who've created eye candy with brains. In Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay's I Am A Boyband video, four Bennys croon such refrains as "I faint, I die in deadly pain and misery."
It's not exactly N'Sync, though Ramsay does cover off all the boy types: the bad boy, the hipster, the greasy guy, etc. The electro-pop tune, with Ramsay providing harmony for himself, is very catchy -- better than anything I heard at the Junos -- and the production values are great. Record execs take note: with Ramsay playing all four roles, the profit margin would be excellent.
Kate Terry has covered a small section of wall with knick-knacks made from colourful plastics, wires and circuits. It's the kind of stuff the Kinder Toys people will probably insert into their eggs when they run out of ideas for small toys, which at the rate they're going could be soon. Across from her piece is Zoe Stonyk's elaborate display around a fireplace mantle. It's a shrine to all past failed relationships in history -- a place to worship failure, in particular the poor example set for us by celebrities with marriages that can last all of one day.
Daniel Borins and Jennifer Marman have crafted a modern table that plays with the new trend of multifunctional designer furniture. Instead of being able to use the tabletop as, say, a bench when you're not eating off it, a lightbox housed within it illuminates two clear boxes that cover two calculators flashing the number "666."
It becomes apparent that the two boxes signify the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Embedded vertically in the table is a flat screen playing doctored footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Borins and Marman have seamlessly edited the scene where the apes get riled up by the monolith, replacing that single object with the two towers. It's a well-crafted installation whose finely tuned message is amplified by the beaten up old Middle-Eastern rug upon which it stands.
Across from it, creating a strange counterbalance, are the colourful underoos of Will Munro. The male knickers might have been a better fit with Cary Leibowitz's multiple artworks over at Art Metropole -- perhaps placed under the pennants reading "Homo State" and "Go Fags."
Leibowitz, aka Candyass, rides himself pretty hard for being gay, sad, Jewish and a lover of colourful junk. This show makes Art Metropole look more like a souvenir store than an art shop. The walls and display cases are literally filled with bags, Frisbees, T-shirts, posters and other stuff.
There are sad and revealing phrases on almost every object, like "My mom thinks I'm a loser" and "If you're depressed, follow me to the gay bar."
It's total crap. And it's totally disarming and firstname.lastname@example.org