Pendant que je peignais au quai, un monsieur m’a approché en demandant « c’est toi la fille avec qui l’on peut négocier ? » Il avait fait le tour du Symposium et par hasard, il était venu à la plage et il m’avait vue de loin sur le quai.

GAGNON, Clarence. In the Laurentians, Winter, 1910 traded for a lived experience.

09 July 2006, Atwater Market, Montreal
GAGNON, Clarence. In the Laurentians, Winter, 1910, oil on canvas. 60.0 x 81.3 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Accession no. 357. (Reproduced from Canadian Art : Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa. Vol. 2 / G-K. Ed. Pierre B. Landry. Ottawa : National Gallery of Canada, 1994. p. 15.) Traded for an experience lived in his place.

On a passé un peu de temps ensemble. Il était en vacances avec très peu des possessions personnelles et c’était difficile pour lui de trouver quelque chose à échanger. Je lui ai proposé de prendre quelque temps pour réfléchir et qu’il pouvait me rejoindre à Montréal pour faire le troc. Il m’a répondu qu’après aujourd’hui il n’existe plus.

Continue Reading »



I had a conversation recently with the person responsible for Acquisitions at the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives. She wanted to buy 3 copies of Picturesque Views of the Quartier for their collection. However, when she followed the links to purchase through lulu.com, there was a screen asking her to sign up for a binding legal Membership Agreement. Not only is she reticent to sign up as an individual for this legally binding agreement on behalf of her institution, but the online ordering system conflicts with the systems of acquisitions that the institution has set up for ordering publications (primarily from traditional dealers). As print-on-demand and “creator driven” online services seems to be the direction in which many artists and small publishers are moving, it will be interesting to see whether the institutions that collect them will be able to adjust their modes of working.

While one could be tempted to attribute her reticence to a generational opposition to online practices, this would be a misleading assumption. It is not that she is opposed to ordering online due to a discomfort with technological change. She purchases regularly through sites that do not require purchasers to sign legally binding membership agreements or to provide personal data on behalf of an institution that will “retain any of your Personal Data only for so long as is reasonably required to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected.”

There is little reason why lulu.com needs to gather the personal membership information from purchasers other than for the purpose of datamining. On other sites (such as abebooks.com) membership is an option for purchasers rather than a requirement. The lulu.com model of ecommerce positions purchasing as a service, “a service to enable Users to publish, and other people to purchase, digital content in on-line,” In this way, the company capitalizes of off both ends of the transaction through hidden fees associated with it (shipping) and datamining “to conduct research, to contact you, to contact those who purchase your Content (if you have selected to use the Lulu Thank You Note program) and to improve Lulu services,” as a potential method of monetization of a “free” service.

The end result of this transaction is that I will order the books for her on my creator’s account at lulu (they already have my data, but then they are also providing me with a service of POD publishing). I will ship them to the NGC and then I will invoice them separately, likely including a premium for my time.

The end conclusion? They would rather pay the creator more money than give lulu the data in exchange for a “free” service.


Click here for the Perfect-bound paper-back book

And here for the PDF download

This book includes a critical essay on Elizabeth Simcoe by Denis Longchamps, and has been added to the list of required readings for Cynthia Hammond’s, City as Palimpsest graduate seminar at Concordia University.

I wanted to try out print on demand online publishing, as a recent iteration of democratic distribution of information, so here is the result from Lulu.com : a little pocket book that resumes my encounters in the Quarties des Spectacles in 2008. I think it looks pretty nice and the response so far has been positive. As far as the POD experience goes, overall I was pleased with how easy the Lulu interface handled my files, and it was a fairly painless process. Shipping prices to Canada are exaggerated, and although the user forums promise that this will be resolved soon, I wanted to make sure that a download was available as another shipping-free option (although I recommend the paper experience). I kept the costs as low as possible but you can still contact me if you want to make a trade for it.

Description : Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe (1762-1850) was an early tourist passing though Montréal she traveled with her husband on his way to found the city of Toronto. Felicity Tayler and Denis Longchamps study the relationship between Simcoe’s picturesque watercolours and the present-day touristic development in the heart of downtown Montréal. For more history on the project, search Simcoe or Quartier des Spectacles on the blog.

The environment as a processor of information is propaganda. Propaganda ends where dialogue begins.” — Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. (Toronto : Bantam Books, 1967), 142

One last thought…

17 October 2008, Market Square, Saint John
John Christopher MILES (1832-1911), View at Sheffield, On the St. John River, c. 1885, oil on canvas. 50 x 91.5 cm Saint John Art Club Collection, presented in 1917 by Mary M. Woodman, 1995. New Brunswick Museum Collection, accession no. A65.A22 (Reproduced from an email message to the artist from P. Larocque, September 22, 2008) Traded for support and driving from a to b.

John Marshall and his retired donkey Huey on the last farm remaining outside of the Saint John city limits. He tells me the rural communities have slowly evolved to become suburbs for commuters. John farms beef cattle and is also the coordinator of the Continental Drift International Short Film Festival and Third Space Gallery. A busy and diversified guy committed to a progressive cultural life in a city defined by conservative history and a monopoly of industry. I was struck by his generosity of spirit – and his willingness to drive me everywhere on my short visit to the city and then all the way to Sackville. On my way out of town I left behind the painting by JC Miles in a window installation and thought it would be best that it stay in Saint John as per the historical facts. The pastoral view remains with John and his livestock.

The Artist Researcher

Owens Art Gallery - Research on the Collection

Owens Art Gallery - Research on the Collection

Invisible labour

Hammond at the Tantramar Motel
17 October 2008, Market Square, Saint John
John HAMMOND (1843-1939), Evening, Saint John, New Brunswick, c. 1886, oil on canvas. 62.3 x 75.3 cm. Purchase 1989. New Brunswick Museum Collection, accession no. 1989.71.1 (Reproduced from an email message to the artist from P. Larocque, September 22, 2008)

I spent the week at the Tantramar Motel. Every morning I would make the bed and leave the room. When I came back little had changed. Perhaps I would have a new towel, but the bed had always been remade. Today I left the John Hammond from Saint John behind for the bed maker.

The note says:
Please accept this painting in thanks for your invisible labour this week.
It is a painting of Saint John in 1886.
I made it there last week before I came here.
Kind regards,

Room no 5 Tantramar Motel

Friends of the Owens

Clarence Gagnon, Les Granges, traded for posterity
18 août 2008, Cirque du Soleil, siège sociale internationale
GAGNON, Clarence. Granges, 1926. Monotype sur papier japon, 18.0 x 22.5 cm (image); 20.1 x 24.9 cm (feuille). Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa. Accession no. 3397. (Reproduit de Art Canadien : Catalogue du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa Vol. 2 / G-K. Ed. Pierre B. Landry. Ottawa : Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, 1994. p. 17.)Traded to be willed to the Owens Art Gallery.

Boltenhouse Museum, Sackville

Boltenhouse Museum, Sackville

Saturday included tea and cookies with Mrs. Spatz at the house that was built by her grandfather in the 1920s. She grew up in Sackville but moved away with her husband to Buffalo where she became very involved with the Albright-Knox Gallery. But her husband always said they would retire to Sackville. She is willing her art collection to the Owens Art Gallery (she has some very nice prints by Dali, Miro, Whistler and Goya as well as paintings and sculpture from contemporary Atlantic artists). I left her with one of my paintings of the Quebec landscape to will to the Gallery along with her other well documented works.

Mrs. Spatz continues to be actively involved at the Owens Art Gallery and was instrumental in opening the Gallery to the greater Sackville community with the Friends of the Owens Art Gallery. Symbolically, the “town side” doors were reopened and the John McEwan sculpture was put in place. Another example of the flexible boundary that exists as an interface between the university community and the people who live in Sackville.

She told me many stories about her ancestors. She is the last in the line of a Yorkshire settler family that came over at the end of the 18th century. The Boltenhouse Museum of local history has a full room of artefacts that she has donated to them. She has no children and feels a great responsibility to honor the history of her family and of Sackville.