Arts·Hi Art

Carrie Mae Weems, Luminato, Mallwave and more of our current obsessions

If you spent last week reading about nothing but "Aunt Becky," here's everything you missed.

If you spent last week reading about nothing but 'Aunt Becky,' here's everything you missed

Carrie Mae Weems. Untitled, 2017. (Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival/Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

Hello! You're reading the CBC Arts newsletter, and if you like what you see, stick around! Sign up here, and every Sunday we'll send you a fresh email packed with art, culture and a metric truckload of eye candy, hand-picked by our small and mighty team. Here's what we've been talking about this week.

Hi, art lovers!

What were we reading this week?

(Luminato Festival, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, Vimeo)

If the college admissions scam counted as an arts story, you'd be getting about 20 "Aunt Becky" memes for every link in this newsletter (and this New Yorker think piece serves as a tidy explanation of why that scandal captured our imaginations, and every last second of our spare time, since the news broke). So now that we've got that trashy confession out of our system — on to some culture!

Toronto's Luminato Festival made a big programming announcement this week, giving the first hint of what you can look forward to seeing this June. Expect a production from puppetry star Ronnie Burkett, a 200-voice choral project featuring music by Cris Derksen and a "multisensory installation" that appears to be a massive funhouse mirror maze. The city's Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival also released some new programming info, including the list of public installations. American artist Carrie Mae Weems is the top get. She'll be presenting three site-specific works, and the festival marks her first solo exhibition in Canada. So if you ever needed a reason to revisit this comprehensive Weems profile from T: The New York Times Style Magazine, this would be the time. (Bonus: The story includes a few sumptuous photos of the artist by Mickalene Thomas.)

Another long-ish read that caught our attention was this trend piece about "Mallwave," music that's sort of like '90s Muzak composed in an alternate dimension. Per the headline, "The teens who listen to 'Mallwave' are nostalgic for an experience they've never had" — a thought that had us flashing back to our legit mall rat days. So beyond reminding us that we are very, very old, it also got us thinking about all the art that'll probably wind up as b-roll in a Mallwave video (if it hasn't already). Both of these examples feature West Edmonton Mall, because in our hearts, it really and truly is the "Eighth Wonder of the World." These 1992 photos by Vikky Alexander are such a throwback we can practically smell the food court just looking at them. And in "Waterpark," a 2013 short film by cinematographer Evan Prosofsky, take a dreamy visit to the strange indoor oasis that is WEM's World Waterpark.

What (else) are we watching?

More '90s nostalgia! "Bel-Air" imagines The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a gritty, coming-of-age drama. On a more serious note, don't miss this smart bit of storytelling from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: the show asked women in animation to draw their #MeToo story. And Mitski's "A Pearl" music video ranks as one of the most beautiful things we've seen all week (even if we're a little late to the game discovering it). Animated by Saad Moosajee and Danaé Gosset, the video is an emotional free-fall through a sunset-pink palette. They spoke to The Fader about how they made it.

Because we promised you eye candy


How's this for a beautiful (and terrifying) reminder of climate change? Artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho used a simple beam of light to show you what the not-so-distant future will look like. That white line? It represents predicted sea levels. This time-lapse video shows you how they made the project work.


Maybe it's time to redecorate. Check out these paper window coverings by Natchar Sawatdichai.

Maybe it's time to spend the rest of our lives in a Mexican art gallery. Like blogger The Jealous Curator, we're now dreaming of Ik Lab in Tulum.

You've got to see this

(Courtesy of The Rooms)

An art curator's guide to The Rooms - Every day is a day at the museum for Mireille Eagan, but who could get tired of a kraken? For our latest museum guide, we head to St. John's, where Mireille (the curator of contemporary art at The Rooms) will give you an insider tour of the must-see things inside this must-visit venue. (Worth clicking for photos of the museum's ocean views alone.)

(CBC Arts)

Good Morning, Viet Mom - That's the title of an acclaimed one-man show from Toronto's Franco Nguyen. It wrapped a run at Victoria's Belfry Theatre on Saturday, and it's the story of Franco's relationship with his mother — a reflection on bridging the generation gap, told through their family history. In the video, he talks about the origins of the project.

(CBC Arts)

You won't learn this in art school - We're back with another episode of Art Hurts, and this time around you'll meet Nomi Chi, one of the most popular tattoo artists in Vancouver. But that wasn't Nomi's original plan. Click for their story.

Follow this artist

(Courtesy of Saida Saetgareeva)

Saida Saetgareeva (@saidamagic) - Ever seen one of those old, '70s blacklight posters? Think of Saida's Instagram as the 2019 version. The Vancouver-based motion graphics designer was our Exhibitionist in Residence last week.

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Until next week!


About the Author

Leah Collins is the Senior Writer at CBC Arts.