Arts·Hi, Art

Travelling to see these art installations? Good luck not taking a photo

Our new short doc on Nicolas Sassoon got us thinking about the gram. That and more in this week's newsletter.

Our doc on Nicolas Sassoon got us thinking about the gram. That and more in this week's newsletter

Nicholas Sassoon selfies in progress. (CBC Arts)

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!

Who else got wrapped up in this cautionary tale about an Ontario sunflower farm? It's been all over our newsfeeds this week, but in case you spent the last five days without WiFi, doing a yoga photo shoot in a lavender field or something, here are the basics:

  • Farm opens grounds to Instagrammers.
  • Everyone and their dog (Jiffpom?) goes nuts over the pics.
  • Crowds swarm, chaos ensues and the farmers declare their photo op "closed forever."

The tragedy of a family's trampled crop aside, the whole bizarre story is fascinating — a case study on how we're all suddenly "doing it for the gram," a phrase that's as embarrassing as the act itself. Photos drive us to seek things out in the first place, and then once we're there, the main attraction is taking more photos.

Selfies wound up being a major talking point when we interviewed Vancouver artist Nicholas Sassoon for this CBC Arts short doc.

Sassoon does a lot of work in digital animation and video projection, and he says just about everyone who sees his psychedelic art instinctually fumbles for their camera.

"It's really like being a caveman and having a torch and seeing your shadow and playing with your shadow," he says. "There's something really sort of visceral and primitive about it."

Look, we're only human. And if we're being honest with ourselves, there's no way we could visit these three art installations and NOT take a photo. So if you're travelling to see them summer, just promise us one thing: don't go ruining things for the rest of us.

    Sparrow Mart! Spam, cereal, soy sauce, you name it. All    31,000 items inside this supermarket are    made out of felt, making it the biggest project yet for    Lucy Sparrow, a U.K. artist known for opening corner stores (and even a    Montreal sex shop) stocked with huggable, DIY goods. It runs all month at    The Standard in L.A.



Wonderspaces! Like the title implies, this travelling exhibition (currently located in San Diego) promises room after room of immersive art, including a light installation by Nonotak, a VR alien abduction and this — a giant golden dragon that you can crawl inside. We stumbled on the show when we noticed Quebec's Martin Messier, one of our past featured artists, was on the roster. Here's a peek at his electrifying piece, Impulse.




Funhouse! Chuck E Cheese, eat your pizza-clogged heart out. New York design firm Snarkitecture is the focus of an exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and while the retrospective re-creates plenty of their photo-worthy monochromatic work, the centrepiece is definitely an all-white indoor swimming pool, brimming with pearly plastic bubbles and begging visitors to jump right in.


You've got to see this


(CBC Arts)


Not your typical Hollywood remake - There's a new version of Night of the Living Dead, but this take on George Romero's horror masterpiece has been stitched together using scenes from other movies and TV shows. How? And, um, why? Artist Dave Dyment reveals how he re-animated the original zombie classic.


(Museum of Failure)


Total fail - As we once read on some random Pinterest board, "The only failure is when you say 'I give up.'" But the person who Photoshopped that inspirational quote never heard of Colgate lasagna. Take a trip inside the The Museum of Failure, a collection of strange and delightful corporate flops, appearing now at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.



A coming-of-age movie — for women in their 60s - In case you missed it, watch Meditation Park and its companion episode of The Filmmakers. Our summer movie series continues with Into the Forest this weekend, and you can catch all the episodes (plus full-length films) online.


I He(art) My City


Any of you spending time in the Thousand Islands this long weekend? These tips from fellow reader Pete Vander Velde might come in handy. Here are his favourite things about his home turf, Brockville, Ont.

What's the most magical spot in your hometown?


"The most magical place in Brockville is our railway tunnel. Unused for decades, it has been restored complete with lighting effects and sound. [It's] a half kilometre long walk through the oldest railway tunnel in Canada."


Who's your favourite local artist?


"Bill Millward. He is a photographer and body painter."


What's the best place to see art?


"So many artists I can't decide. I enjoy browsing all the galleries we have here regularly."


What's going on in your hometown?


See those questions above? Answer them! And then send us those answers in an email!


That goes double for readers in the Maritimes. So far, we've been getting recos from people all over, but there's not been a peep from the East Coast. Don't be shy! There's still a few weeks of summer left, and we'll be featuring readers' tips here in Hi, Art as a companion to our travel series, I He(art) My City. You could be next.


Follow this artist




Auré​lie Guillaume (@mlleguillaume) - We've been recruiting artists to re-design our logo each month, but this is the first time anyone's delivered in 3D! Aurélie Guillaume is an incredible jewelry artist from Montreal who turned our classic CBC "gem" into a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. More where that came from, too. Follow her and see!



Got questions? Story ideas? Selfie tips?


We're always around. Hit us up over email and we'll do our best to get back to you.


And if someone forwarded you this message, and you like what you've read, here's where to subscribe for more.


Until next time!




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Leah Collins

Senior Writer

Since 2015, Leah Collins has been senior writer at CBC Arts, covering Canadian visual art and digital culture in addition to producing CBC Arts’ weekly newsletter (Hi, Art!), which was nominated for a Digital Publishing Award in 2021. A graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University's journalism school (formerly Ryerson), Leah covered music and celebrity for Postmedia before arriving at CBC.


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