title: everybody knows -canada council grant application
year: 2016
material: words and a very tired worn-out dash of faith
dimensions: variable
image credit: the artist

15kes2016everybodyknows

Everybody Knows

…the deal is… Cohen has been to the dark side. he has experienced mental illness, been hospitalized. he knows where we have been. take it to the streets. cuz shit…

The project “Everybody Knows” marks with “full artistic freedom” Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation. I am imagining a brand new chapter in her/his story.
A chapter which begins by juxtaposing people with drastically different public power while playing with established economic values to find the cracks. All this complemented with a fuddle-duddle to marketing strategies and assumptions.

“Everybody Knows” exploits four beautiful givens and mines their subversive potential:

1) “A Crack In Everything” is the title the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has given the Leonard Cohen exhibition to take place from October to December 2017.
2) “A Crack in Everything” is presented in collaboration with the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary.
3) “Everybody Knows,” the Leonard Cohen song, is regarded as a social commentary on our times.
4) The Canada Council launches a new grant called New Chapter that employs language and sentiments taken from a marketing lexicon.

“Everybody Knows”, the project, complicates this already delicious dialogue through mashing up symbols of poverty (cardboard signs) and power (politicians, union leaders, chief of police, etc.) –i.e. the homeless produce the signs, the politicians hold the signs.

The sign makers: Members from the Saint James Drop-In Centre are commissioned to produce fourteen signs using found cardboard.

The sign holders: Fourteen political figures are invited to hold one of the signs while standing in a row in front of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal during the opening of “A Crack in Everything.”

The sign: The phrase, taken from Cohen’s song “Everybody Knows” displayed over the 14 cardboard signs is:

1)  everybody
2)  knows
3)  that
4)  the boat
5)  is leaking
6)  everybody
7)  knows
8)  that
9)  the captain
10)  lied
11)  that’s how
12)  it goes
13)  everybody
14)  knows

As a slow drum-roll lead-up to the fourteen political figures public performance at the opening of the “A crack in Everything” exhibit, the artist will hold one sign per day at the exact location where the public figures will stand in front of the Musée d’art Contemporain. “Everybody Knows” postcards will be handed out to the public with a link to the project blog (domain already secured as everybodyknows2017@wordpress.com.)

Our fourteen invited political figures are chosen for their relation to the “Everybody Knows” phrase via their public persona. The gesture of the invitation is part of the “Everybody Knows” project and is considered to be material for dissemination. The invited will include: Couillard (current Premier of Quebec), Pierre Karl Péladeau (Canadian businessman and former Leader of the Opposition in the Quebec National Assembly from his election as leader of the Parti Québécois), Manon Massé (MNA of Ville-Marie where the MACM is located), Coderre (Mayor of Montréal and of l’arrondissement), Hélène Laverdiére (MP for the riding – ousted Gilles Duceppe), Justice France Charbonneau (Presided over the Charbonneau Commission, officially the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (student activist best known for his role during the 2012 Quebec student protests as co-spokesperson of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudieante (Classe), to name a few (see images for full list.)

In addition to being invited to perform the fourteen political figures will also be offered “first refusal” regarding the acquisition of the art (the cardboard sign) for the same remuneration offered to the performers for performing. In short, the remuneration of $714. offered to the performers equals the sale price of the cardboard sign the performer will hold. All proceeds from the sales of the art (the cardboard signs) will go to the members of the Saint James Drop-In Centre.

Given that it would be unlikely for all fourteen invited to perform – an alternative list of performers will be contacted from a women’s shelter located in Montréal (currently to remain unnamed for privacy reasons, but with whom I have previously worked.)

The performances (the artist’s and the political figures) are captured via photography and video. The video is to be screened outdoors in the Quartier des Spectacles during the Leonard Cohen exhibition as facilitated by ELLEPHANT, a gallery presenting works at the confluence of media art, performance and current issues. The photographs and the video are also used as content for the “Everybody Knows” blog, postcard, poster and newsprint tabloid.

*From I’m Your Man (released 1988) “Everybody Knows” is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and collaborator Sharon Robinson. The full stanza is:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded/Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed/Everybody knows that the war is over/Everybody knows the good guys lost/Everybody knows the fight was fixed/The poor stay poor, the rich get rich/That’s how it goes/Everybody knows/Everybody knows that the boat is leaking\Everybody knows that the captain lied/Everybody got this broken feeling/Like their father or their dog just died/Everybody talking to their pockets /Everybody wants a box of chocolates/And a long stem rose/Everybody knows

to read how the project underscored the use of language within the very form of the grant application itself click on the links below for the full application.

1_kes_project

2_kes_exceptional

3_kes_advance

4_kes_public_when_where

5_kes_project_plan

5_kes_timeline

6_kes_completion

7_kes_fee_determination

2016_cohen_budget

2017_cohen_performer_list_of_14

2017_kes_cohen_cac_list_of_partners

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HEADLINES (LES MANCHETTES)

Une exposition solo de karen elaine spencer

14 janvier – 18 février, 2017

Vernissage samedi le 14 janvier, 14:00 – 18:00

lecture d’œuvres par karen elaine spencer à 15h et 17h

ELLEPHANT
1201 St-Dominique
Montreal (Québec) H2X 2W3
Quartier des spectacles
514-875-0777

21_le_devoir_8_janvier_2015_ils-etaient_acrylic_on_linen_30x30cm_2015

Image: le devoir, 8 janvier 2015, ils étaient charlie, acrylique sur toile de lin, 30cm x 30cm

«La pratique artistique de karen est singulière, exigeante, sensible; elle se caractérise par sa grande complexité et par un engagement socio-politique profond.… Touchant à l’art conceptuel, à l’art action, à l’écriture et au dessin, karen elaine spencer a développé un éventail de stratégies artistiques qui se renouvèlent continuellement.» – Catherine Bodmer, membre du jury Prix de la Centrale Powerhouse 2012

ELLEPHANT est fière de présenter Headlines, une série d’œuvres entremêlant la peinture et le texte, de l’artiste montréalaise karen elaine spencer.

La pratique de spencer est simultanément poétique et engagée d’un point de vue sociopolitique. Oscillant entre le travail dans la rue, les expositions en galerie et la diffusion via le web, ses œuvres se nourrissent des contextes ciblés dans lesquels elles existent.

Dans Headlines, spencer explore la rhétorique médiatique et la production quotidienne de nouvelles à travers un langage visuel transposé en grille, un résultat qui peut être à première vue perçu simplement comme de l’abstraction.

Alors que le rythme frénétique des nouvelles s’adapte à celui d’un monde en perpétuel mouvement, spencer capte cette cadence rapide en utilisant une technique qui requière du temps et de la patience. De même, pour être déchiffrées, ces peintures exigent une attention soutenue du regardeur.

Les grands titres choisis par l’artiste sont basés sur des journaux locaux et situent le Québec dans une perspective mondiale. À travers sa pratique, spencer questionne les hiérarchies et propose une réflexion sur la manière dont nous, en tant qu’êtres transitoires, occupons le monde dans lequel nous vivons. L’acte de documenter l’actualité reflète où nous avons été. Son art saisit ce moment présent et reflète le flux médiatique effréné, la prolifération des nouvelles mensongères et le caractère mouvant et complexe du paysage médiatique, comme en témoigne la victoire de Trump.

karen elaine spencer

Après avoir obtenu une maîtrise en arts visuels en 2001 (UQAM), karen elaine spencer a participé à de nombreuses résidences internationales, incluant celle du Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul (2015), du International Studio and Curatorial programme (iscp) à Brooklyn (2012), celle à la Cité Internationale des arts de Paris (2005), et celle au John Snow House à Calgary (2011). En 2016, spencer fut finaliste pour le Prix en Art Actuel du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec et en 2012, elle fut lauréate du Prix de La Centrale Powerhouse. Son travail fait partie de plusieurs collections privées et publiques, dont celle de la collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Information: Christine Redfern, 514.778.7068, redfern@ellephant.org

HEADLINES (LES MANCHETTES)

solo exhibition by karen elaine spencer

January 14 – February 18, 2017

ELLEPHANT
1201 St-Dominique
Montreal (Québec) H2X 2W3

Opening Saturday January 14, 14:00 – 18:00

Two live readings of the artworks by the artist at 15:00 and 17:00

 

21_le_devoir_8_janvier_2015_ils-etaient_acrylic_on_linen_30x30cm_2015

Image: le devoir, 8 janvier 2015, ils étaient charlie, acrylic on linen, 30cm x 30cm

karen’s artistic practice is singular, exacting and sensitive; her work is known for its intricacy and its deep socio-political concern (…). Touching on conceptual art, performance, writing and drawing, karen elaine spencer incorporates a range of artistic strategies that are always refreshing. – Catherine Bodmer, jury member for La Centrale’s Powerhouse Prize 2012

ELLEPHANT is pleased to present the exhibition Headlines, featuring a series of text-based paintings by Montreal artist karen elaine spencer.

spencer’s practice is simultaneously poetic and socio-politically committed. Oscillating between work in the streets, exhibitions in galleries, and dissemination via the web, her works are often nourished by the targeted context in which they exist.

In Headlines, spencer explores the media rhetoric and the production of daily news through a visual language transcribed into a grid system, which at first can be read as abstraction. As the news’ frenetic rhythms adjust to the world’s perpetual movement, spencer captures these beats using a technique that requires time and patience. To be deciphered, these paintings reciprocally  require a commitment of sustained attention from the viewer.

The headlines chosen by the artist are based on local newspapers and situate Quebec within a world perspective. Through her practice, spencer questions hierarchies and how we, as transient beings, occupy the world we live in. Chronicling the news acts as a reflection of where we have been, her art captures specific moments right now, revealing a media in flux, as evident in the Trump win, the proliferation of fake news, and the changing and challenging media landscape.

karen elaine spencer

Since obtaining her MFA in 2001 (UQAM) karen elaine spencer has been awarded numerous international residency programs, including the Symposium international d’art contemporain in Baie-Saint-Paul (2015), the International Studio and Curatorial program in Brooklyn (2012), the Cité Internationale des arts de Paris (2005), and the John Snow House in Calgary (2011). In 2016 spencer was a finalist for the Prix en Art Actuel du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and in 2012 she was awarded La Centrale’s Powerhouse Prize. Her work is in both public and private collections including la collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Information: Christine Redfern, 514.778.7068, redfern@ellephant.org