This year marks the 5th Manif D’Art Biennale (actually the Manifestation internationale d’art de Quebec), a contemporary arts convocation hosted in Quebec City, Quebec. The Manif’s program consists of a series of exhibitions throughout May and into June throughout Quebec City of major national and international artists. That is a splendid time of the year to be in Quebec City (well, pretty much anytime is a good time of the year to be there). More on the Manif can be found at this link: http://manifdart.org/en.
A pleasant surprise is seeing several Atlanta connections to this major arts event. The first is the appointment of Sylvie Fortin, the Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta-based Art Papers magazine, as the curator for this biennale. This seems to me a brilliant choice, given the prominence of Art Papers and the direction that Fortin has taken it during her tenure over the past five years or so.
In the late 1990s, I did a good bit of art-related writing for a wonderfully quirky local publication called bluemilk. This was partly as a sort of hobby and outlet for my creative writing interests and also part of an effort to educate myself better about the artistic process at a time when I was teaching myself to paint (but only at best as a so-called “Sunday painter”). The dozen or so of us bluemilk-ers had a great deal of enthusiasm, creativity and chutzpah, but we were all candid about the fact that, while we had respectable foundations in art history and art technique, none of us had a strong grounding in the deeper dialogues and debates among the cognoscenti of the contemporary arts scene. We mainly knew what we liked and went with that. But what we also knew was that the folks over at Art Papers were definitely in the know about the underpinnings driving the direction of contemporary arts and we respected them greatly for that knowledge. So, Fortin’s appointment as curator validates that respect.
Fortin will be curating the Manif with the theme of “Catastrophe? Quelle Catastrophe!” The initial group of artists announced for the Manif hale from Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Copenhagen, New York, Miami and Atlanta, among other places. The two announced Atlanta artists are Katherine Taylor, noted for her haunting painted images of decay and devastation (represented by Marcia Wood Gallery: http://www.marciawoodgallery.com/artist/taylor_katherine/intro.html), and Sarah Emerson, remarkable for her colorful and whimsical abstracted landscapes (represented by Whitespace Gallery: http://www.whitespace814.com/artist_emerson.html).