Review: The Artist Project 2012.

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Artist Project is celebrating their fifth year. Containing 400 individual artists, their works are set in booths and then gridded out over the large terrain of the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place. The vast majority of those on display were Toronto based but there were some from Montreal, Ottawa, a few foreign cities and quite a few of the many smaller cities that dot Ontario. I’d never attended this art fair before so I was struck mostly by how it was different from others.

Tong Shen

The choice to organize everything on an artist by artist basis gave the event an air of intimacy far greater than its main competitor, The Toronto International Art Fair, with their gallery-based design. This way of personalizing it also numbed the sense of hype and there were far fewer people haggling loudly over money. Most of the artists nervously and awkwardly stood around or ran off to drink. Because of the scale of the event, I can only make a few broad generalizations about the content here. Most of the works on display were on the smaller side, some even miniatures, and this sense of scale helped maintain whatever level of intimacy is possible under such display conditions. Most of the works were also relatively inexpensive, the names of majority of the artists being less established and their styles less overtly distinctive. In general, the work was largely craft based, sometimes charming, always inoffensive, definitely commercial.

Diane Black

A little roomier and less frenetic than other art fairs, it had an odd mood as drag queens dotted the crowd and down-tempo versions of Britney Spears songs were sung from a stage. Early in the evening, the crowd was different: mostly artists and mostly on the younger side. This was accented by a concentration put on emerging artists, many of them just finishing art school. As the evening wore on, the space filled up with the usual array of Ceascuescu haired hipsters and middle age fashion victims.

Elly Smallwood

The Artist Project runs from March 1-4.

– Matthew Purvis


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