I went to MOCCA this morning to have a look at the summer show, Pulp Fiction; you’ll see what I had to say in the paper on Sunday. But in short, I loved it; it’s breezy, charming, accessible silliness, all the product of the homespun do-it-yourself aesthetic that has bubbled up from under in art scenes all over the continent in recent years. It’s the work of collectives (like Vancouver’s The Lions) and individuals, but there’s a pervasive all-for-one sense to the show — a band of outsiders, re-assuring each other that they’re not working in a vaccuum. To that end, there’s a ton of crossover — collaborations, or just helping hands — between the artists, suggesting a reassuring sense of community.
Not so long ago, in Officialdom, art of this kind would be quickly dismissed as so much juvenile noodling; and you know what? Much of it is. But I fail to see why that’s a problem. Generations of politically-activated work, interwoven with academ-ese, intellectualism, critical theory, psychoanalysis and an attentuated lament for the failed utopias left in the wake of the Modernist experiment — hey, great stuff. Many of my favourites are found in that dense field.
But I won’t feel guilty about enjoying Peter Thompson’s finely bizarre ink-on-paper drawings, or Marc Bell’s, or Jason McLean’s oven-baked black-laquered socks (hey, you had to be there); or, surely, the outstanding installation by James Kirkpatrick (that’s part of it, up top). To quote a famous intellectual much synthesized in art, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. That was Freud. And he’s right. Everything you need to know is right on the surface here. And that’s a good thing.