Checked-in at the Ryerson image centre today, a vastly under-appreciated cultural resource in Toronto. Not only do they put on first-class exhibitions (we’ve seen Avedon, Karsh, Goldin and more) and charge absolutely nothing for them, they are also genuine photographic keeners – and as friendly as can be!
Today’s exhibit was about the perilous state of the environment, and featured an extraordinary array of approaches, dramatic (Trinity site) banal (a looping film of an ancient wooden-rocker oil well near Petroila) humorous, (plastic toys recontextualized to make fun of the oil industry that begat them) and the outright heartbreaking (can’t even say, it’d do you no favours).
They even had an original print of the very first Earth Day 1970 poster – (Robert Rauschenberg’s version) Zowie!
But the best thing of the day turned out to be the film running in the little theatre which is also part of the exhibition program there.
It was about ‘Shift’ a huge landwork sculpture by Richard Serra, near King City – and the interview segments with the sculptor himself were SUPERB!
Not only was the film a completely persuasive argument about the value of the work (currently inaccessible and under threat from housing developers) – it was also a totally convincing argument about the value of the Ryerson documentary program – since it was made by a 2014 graduate!
Then of course, one is always happy to see some of the students out doing the very serious work involved in being student photographers – funny animal costumes and all!
In the background of this shot, behind the soon to be operating round skating rink (with an inexplicable collision-hazard boulder in the middle of it) is the image-centre itself.
Just East of Sam the record man’s old corner and across. Check it out – great free culture day!
(In January they’re doing Attica and the Black Panthers – we’ll be back!)