Monday, 26 October 2009

Cook to speak at IFOA this Friday


Charles Taylor Prize Winner Tim Cook to Read at IFOA
Who: Tim Cook, winner of the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction headlines Non-Fiction Night at Harbourfront’s International Festival of Authors.

What: Tim Cook will read from his award-winning book Shock Troops which follows the Canadian fighting forces during the titanic battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passchendaele, and the Hundred Days campaign. Shock Troops builds on Volume I of Cook’s national bestseller At the Sharp End.

When: Friday, October 30, 2009; 8:00 p.m.

Where: Brigantine Room, York Quay Centre, Toronto.

Why: Signature Non-Fiction event at highly regarded 10-day authors’ festival.
Tim Cook, Charles Taylor Prize founder Noreen Taylor, and Charles Taylor Foundation trustee David Staines will be available for media interviews.
The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is presented annually by the Charles Taylor Foundation with the support of its partners: AVFX, Ben McNally Books, Book TV, Bravo!, Canada Newswire, CBC Radio One, The Globe and Mail, Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, Quill & Quire publications, and Windfields Farm.
Previous Winners of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction:
2000 Wayne Johnston for Baltimore's Mansion: A Memoir
2002 Carol Shields for Jane Austen
2004 Isabel Huggan for Belonging: Home Away from Home
2005 Charles Montgomery for The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia
2006 J.B. MacKinnon for Dead Man in Paradise
2007 Rudy Wiebe for Of this Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest
2008 Richard Gwyn for John A.: The Man Who Made Us
2009: Tim Cook for Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917–1918,Volume 2
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are Michael Bradley (Toronto), Judith Mappin (Montreal), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto).

CUTLINE: Noreen Taylor and this year's winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, Ottawa historian Tim Cook. Cook won the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for his book Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917 – 1918, Volume Two, published by Viking Canada. The prize of $25,000 was awarded Monday, February 9, 2009, at a gala luncheon held in the historic Sovereign Ballroom of Toronto’s Le Meridien King Edward Hotel. Photo by Tom Sandler

King City Artist Ed Bartram - To Attend His First McMichael Canadian Art Exhibition

Artist Ed Bartram to attend preview
King City landscape artist has first McMichael exhibition

The media is invited to attend a special Media Preview of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s new exhibition Ed Bartram: The Eye Within. This McMichael-curated exhibition looks at how Ed Bartram interprets the Georgian Bay landscape through a series of seventeen large-scale prints juxtaposed with two almost century-old Georgian Bay prints by Group of Seven member J.E.H MacDonald.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Tour the exhibition with the artist and with McMichael’s curator, Chris Finn.

In 1912, J.E.H. MacDonald spent the summer in the eastern Georgian Bay region. Captivated by the beautiful landscape, MacDonald produced several landscape drawings in an effort to preserve his cherished memories of the experience for others to know. From these drawings, he then created a series of one-colour print images. Like MacDonald, contemporary artist Ed Bartram spends his summers in the Georgian Bay area. His prints, produced using a range of innovative printmaking techniques, visually celebrate and share his connection, understanding, and memories associated with Georgian Bay. “My work interprets the forces of nature found on these Precambrian surfaces [which have been] revealed by the cleansing and polishing power of ice and water.”

McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, Ontario. For directions, visit
Media contact:

Stephen Weir, Publicist
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Quick and the Really Dead - Two Toronto October Media Events

Nuit Blanche - Yorkville gallery hires artist to body paint muscles on a living model. At Ontario Science Centre it's Body Worlds 3 exhibition strips skin and exposes muscles of dead models.

FINAL: Two Toronto media events held in early October are strangely linked by the body's muscles and vital organs. A trendy Toronto art gallery paints them on a living model, while at the Ontario Science a traveling exhibition shows bodies with their skin removed, their muscles exposed and vital organs dangling from partial removed spinal cords.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche was held October 3rd, sunset to sunrise in downtown Toronto.
The city's fourth annual Nuit Blanche engaged audiences in a massive participatory celebration of contemporary art.
Two days prior the media was invited to attend a launch at Scotiabank's main branch for the massive art event. Reporters were given an extensive press kit which highlighted some of the more newsworthy "art" happenings that were to take place during Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. One that caught my eye was an entry about the Liss Gallery in the Yorkville Art Gallery District.
Mini-Digital Camera in hand I dropped by the gallery after midnight to watch Canada's edgiest new artist; Jonathon Ball, spray painting the bodies of a man and a woman, both who had the physique of bodybuilders.
Ball painstakingly painted the man to look like his skin had been removed and his muscles,bones and organs were exposed to the air. It was a marvelous exercise in ultra-realism x-ray art. Over the course of an hour about 100 people stopped to gawk. I was the only "media" taking pictures. The gallery was happy for the traffic and were not slighted that the press took a pass on their midnight paint-in.
Five days later I found myself attending another media event again involving exposed muscles and organs. The Ontario Science Centre held a press preview of Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS 3: THE STORY OF THE HEART. exhibition.
This is the second time that a Gunter von Hagen exhibition of sliced, diced and splayed bodies has come to Toronto's Science Centre. Three years ago the show was so popular that the building stayed open 24-hours a day, throughout the last weekend of the exhibition's run.
I attended the first exhibition and came out again to this month's press launch. It is a different show this year and received a much different response from the reporters.
Yes there are more than 200 authentic human specimens on display, including entire exposed bodies, as well as individual organs and transparent body slices. There is also a giraffe, thinly sliced from the tip of its head to its hooves, in the show.
This time the popular exhibition (it has been seen by over 26-million people) strips back the flesh and muscle and looks at the human heart to show the effects of healthy lifestyle choices.
The first time Body Worlds came to Toronto the exhibition was quite controversial(parts of the show were banned this year in Cologne). The Ontario Science Centre was accused of exhibiting desecrated bodies simply to make money. The negative comments didn't hurt the science museum, it was one of the most successful exhibitions in their 40-year history.
This time around the Ontario Science Centre went to great pains to explain that Body Worlds 2 meets the Science Centre’s mission: “To delight, inform and challenge visitors through engaging and thought-provoking experiences in science and technology.” Gunther von Hagens’surgeon wife, Dr. Angelina Whalley came from Germany to speak at the media preview lecturing that all of the bodies on display were self-donations. The willing donors, most of them German (70 Canadians have already agreed to donate their bodies) were aware that their bodies would be stripped of skin, treated in plastic and twisted into life-like poses sans flesh to entertain and educated the masses.
Judging from the reaction to the overflow media crowd (more attended this year than at the September 2005 launch), the explanations were unnecessary. The press understood what the show is all about. So did a group of students who also attended the media scrum - their questions during wrap-up Q&A were not about outrage or sacrilegious money making displays, or concerning indignities to the body, but instead were technical in nature - How Long Does It Take? Do family members know that their mothers and fathers are on display?
So the city "gets it". The media still see it as a newsworthy show. I got "it" too, and I think that it should be compulsory viewing for science student in the province to see BodyWorlds 2 (you will never smoke again after seeing an exposed smoker's lung)here in Toronto.
What has me scratching my head (with the skin still intact thank-you) is why was there no media turn-out for a living BodyWorlds style model standing in the window of a Yorkville gallery? Yet, there was a gaggle of photographers and reporters to on hand to see a display showing two skinless acrobats holding each other while their spines and vital organs are dangling out of their backs? In Yorkville the inner workings of the body were being exposed by a very talented Canadian artist working with two models who have also been sculpting their form for years. No one died to make this exhibit happen.
At Body Worlds 3, the dissection of human bodies has become a major industry encompassing body harvesting, an Asian preparation factory and an aggressive German touring exhibition company which has already presented similar Body Worlds exhibitions this year in Buffalo, Waterloo, London, Philadelphia,and Cologne. This time, Science beat Art - thumbs literally down.

Above: Dr. Angelina Whalley at the Ontario Science Centre podium
Liss Gallery in Yorkville (Toronto, Ontario) hired models for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche all night art celebration. This man stood in the window for an hour being body painted by Canada's edgiest new artist; Jonathon Ball.
Middle: BodyWorlds 3 female acrobat.
Bottom: Photographers and cameramen wait for the press conference start oblivous to the skinless bodies locked in a final pas de deux. The body organs have been removed from the backs of the bodies; those are brains dangling from the exposed spines. The red barrels represent how much blood a human body pumps in one day.