The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, Andrei Ujica (2010)
The 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) seemed particularly hysterical. Toronto crowds have proved reliable predictors of future box office success – Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was rescued from straight-to-DVD obscurity at TIFF, and Precious (2009) was an audience favourite here before becoming an Oscar contender. It’s a track record that contributes to the sense that TIFF has arrived, it now being considered second in importance only to Cannes in terms of industry weight. Burnishing this image is the glamorous new TIFF Bell Lightbox, home to the festival and the branding of its corporate sponsor Bell, the hated pretty much by everyone Canadian telephone conglomerate. Not that we live in an age where anyone cares about this kind of thing. One of the main venues for TIFF screenings was a big commercial movie complex that is mystifyingly (to me at least) branded with the name of a bank. Regardless, the Lightbox is a glorious addition to the city’s art ecosystem, a reassuring sign that, better late than never, Toronto has caught on to the prestige and economic power that culture can bring to a city.

Jack Pierson: From Here to Eternity

Jack Pierson (Pyramid, pink) 2010 © Jack Pierson Courtesy Regen Projects Los Angeles
If you saw Jack Pierson’s “Some Other Spring” in Los Angeles, you might believe the show to be about that place. On the level of the facts, you’d be wrong. Images in the exhibition were taken in a variety of locations: Egypt, Las Vegas, southern Spain, Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris apartment…the specifics hardly matter. Pierson’s artworks are of a piece in terms of the sensibility that created them. Like the highway billboard advertisements that form one aspect of their provenance, he presents his luscious pigment prints as blown-up posters, unframed and complete with folds typical of far less valuable pieces of paper. Helping to nail down a more exact location for the work are the artist’s trademark text pieces, which consist of words assembled out of letters from commercial signs. Eternity is the relevant time frame here, or, in Pierson’s words, A THOUSAND YEARS, as spelled out in letters on the wall.