WHO P. Elaine Sharpe , professional snoop
WHERE/WHEN The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), to June 3. 416-531-5042.
WHAT A residency at the Drake led to a photo essay on bedroom sheets after checkout, a video montage showing how people spent an hour in a room outfitted with surveillance cameras, and a series of before-and-after portraits of each guest in this makeshift Love Sexy Hotel . In addition, Sharpe curates Escaping , a fugitive geography show of landscape art at the hotel.
WHY Sharpe says, "This is a continuation in my interest in what happens to things before they're erased. For Checked Out, I had full access to the rooms but no information about the people in them. I was an observer of the person who leaves the trail before somebody comes to clean it up. I'm also interested in this phase of documentary, where surveillance is set up in the expectation that something will happen."
BUZZ If you had an hour in a hotel room to do whatever you wanted, with three video cameras taping your every move, what would you do? Sharpe's innovative Love Sexy Hotel puts viewers (and participants) in tension between a critique of surveillance in a setting where privacy is assumed.
Towers in ashes
WHO Joel Meyerowitz
Where/When : Hewlett-Packard Gallery (441 King West), to May 31. 416-539-9595.
What Aftermath: Images From Ground Zero , rubble and dusty hard-working Americans.
Why At first, no photographers were allowed near the site. One of the first to get in, Meyerowitz writes, "A record was needed... and I knew that it would have to be comprehensive in its depiction of everything so that it could be truly useful in the future."
Buzz This is what OCAD photo-guru Blake Fitzpatrick might call "taming the terror." It might seem a bit off-putting that the Bush administration (after banning photography on the site) sent Meyerowitz's beautiful photos on an international tour that has been seen by more than 4 million people worldwide. Though his work was inadvertently used to garner support for U.S. foreign policy, the artist felt it was important to convey the reality of the destruction.
WHO Wim Delvoye , Belgian conceptual artist and shit disturber
Where Olga Korper Gallery (17 Morrow), to June 4. 416-538-8220.
What Photos of floors inlaid with gorgeous parquet patterns of luncheon meat, monumental cliff faces engraved with last-minute notes and adult personal ads, stained glass windows of a kissing couple in CAT scan cross-sections.
Why Delvoye names three distressing discoveries as the rationale behind his art: "We are not the centre of the universe. We evolved from animals. We don't know what we are doing."
Buzz: He's achieved international recognition for his biochemical masterpiece, Cloaca, a machine that simulates the human digestive process and produces real shit. Whatever medium he works in, he always manages to juxtapose materials and process in ways that wrench you out of your dominant paradigm. It's punk rock scatology executed with Duchampian precision.
WHO Magnum Photo Agency
Where/When Harbourfront Centre's Brigantine Room (235 Queens Quay West), tonight (Thursday, May 12), 7-11 pm. 416-967-4000.
What Slide projections of work by 11 Magnum photojournalists including Ian Berry , Carl De Keyzer and Chien-Chi Chang .
Why Pictures by great photojournalists pop up in newspapers all the time. Usually a single image illustrates a news item, but it's often part of a larger project that tells its own story. As the event's producer, Lesley Sparks, explains, "We just don't see this kind of work in Canada in the media."
Buzz We're used to looking at prints in galleries, but in Europe these salon-style events - where coffee, perhaps a sambuca and some nice conversation are part of the evening - are quite common. Sips and chit-chat continue after the presentation. a