In 2003, expect crafts, japanese pop, fancy-pants architects running around in hard hats, the sun rising in the east and the Bus breaking down in the west. Oh what a year it will be.On the invitations to a now-closed holiday show, art team Bucky & Fluff's Craft Factory hand-wrote the words "save crafts." Save crafts indeed.
Naive art is flourishing and will only gain strength this year. More and more artists seem to be cobbling together their works with an emphasis on spirit rather than skill.
Artists like Bucky & Fluff's Lex Vaughn and Allyson Mitchell or Libby Hague create whimsical pieces from everyday objects and common materials. Quick, cartoonish drawings like those of Graham Hall (who's forsaken Toronto for Montreal) are in vogue.
But don't be fooled by childish appearances -- this art is very smart. It just happens to also be a lot of fun.
Fun is also a good descriptive for the Japanese pop art that's gaining a huge following in the West. In Britain, top galleries are showing Japanese artists whose works are based on the anime films and toys of their pop culture.
It's not just the Japanese who are being swept up in the excitement. Korean artist Lee Bul's karaoke machines, currently on display at the Power Plant, are bulbous beacons signalling the arrival of this trend in the Big Smoke.
Speaking of the Power Plant, it suddenly finds itself without anywhere to sit in the game of architect musical chairs that has gripped Toronto's major museums.
With the Royal Ontario Museum set to erect its Daniel Libeskind crystal, OCAD asking Brit William Alsop to prop its design students in a sky-borne shoebox and the AGO getting something Frank Gehry, it's increasingly obvious that the Power Plant will be seen as a former factory with some white walls and some art.
What the Power Plant does have on its side is that it knows how to throw a party. Rather than following the lead of the Tate Modern in London -- which hired architects Herzog and de Meuron to do some fancy renos -- director Wayne Baerwaldt may choose a path closer to that of PS1 in Brooklyn, which throws art parties every Saturday in the summer using hot DJs to attract young hipsters in droves. There's more than one way to skin a reputation.
There are rumblings that T.O.'s other contemporary art gallery, MOCCA, is on the move, heading down into the new Gooderham & Worts distillery district, something the gallery will neither confirm nor deny. The area is drawing galleries like moths to bright lights. Monte Clark moves in to join Jane Corkin and Sandra Ainsley, among others, at the historic site, cashing in on the lofters who are invading en masse.
The success of galleries in the Queen West loft area solidified the new gallery district there. This exodus may do the same for the east -- until now the west end's far poorer cousin.
While the east end will rebuild in 2003, the west will lose its art public transport system when the Bus Galleries disappear (in name). Katharine Mulherin, who owns the two Bus galleries as well as her eponymous space at 1086 Queen West, will bring all the galleries under her moniker this year.
And thus will end an era that began with the first Bus gallery, deep in Parkdale, where you felt in constant danger of being struck by a piece of falling plaster.
Out with the old. In with the new.