Tag Archives: Playing Homage

A Take on “Playing Homage”

“Building on the Past”                                                       Katie Sweeney


            Art, science, general knowledge, and culture, all borrow from the past. The Contemporary Art Gallery’s exhibit, Playing Homage, exemplified the idea that the ideas of someone else are not only inspirational, but indispensable. Similar to the argument in RIP: A Remix Manifesto, this exhibit brought forward the argument that the present relies on the past. Rather than stealing the ideas of others, the artists borrowed and built upon them.

            With the exception of Rodney Graham’s piece, where he inhabits his own role as the painter, none of the pieces really stuck out as beautiful artworks. It wasn’t the art itself that was so enjoyable, but the driving force behind the exhibit as a whole: artists coming together, playing roles and paying homage, to respect artists of the past, and define contemporary art of the present. Upon walking through the gallery to see the different forms of art, coalescing to create a unified message, I was reminded of an interesting website. Actor Joseph Gordon Levitt created a website were artists of all kinds (poets, painters, songwriters, cartoonists) can post their pieces for each other to use. To me, that is the whole point of art. I see no point in expressing oneself if it wont be expressed to anyone but the artist.

            By bringing slightly different ideas to the table, the artists of Playing Homage took inspiration from pieces of the past, and brought new themes to life in their own ways. Mark Leckey used Jeff Koons’s Rabbit in a digitally animated form to reflect his own piece. Even Lee’s photographs in Photographic Nude Studies by the Artist and his Father pay homage to his father’s original work but adding a slightly modern touch to the 1950s images. Playing Homage represented the importance of building on the past, in both art and in general, and the respect given to those being paid tribute to.


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Position Paper: A trip to the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery

Position Paper 2
A trip to the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery                James Siddall

On Friday, October 23 our CultureNeT English 100 class forayed out of Capilano University’s mountainous campus to experience and explore Vancouver’s own Contemporary Art Gallery.  This little class expedition was something I was personally excited about; as was the rest of the class I’m sure.  A chance to learn out of the classroom adds a level to the educational process that encourages change and innovation.  I mean, who doesn’t like field trips?  I believe it good to disrupt the usual Monday to Friday routine as it can refresh that original start of school excitement that is so often lost as the months wear on.
The gallery itself is not much more than two largish rooms, so our exhibit tour was more like a briefing and discussion of the different pieces on display by the CAG’s gallery coordinator Jill Henderson.  The exhibition at the time was Playing Homage, which ran from September 11th to the 1st of November.  The Contemporary Art Gallery describes this showcase by saying “In Playing Homage, the persona of artist is the subject matter”.  The art on display was either a reproduction of another piece, or work that simply used a reference for inspiration to create something new.  As one can imagine, this interesting theme made for some equally interestingly works of art.
In one room a projector flashed a film with every character played by artist Ming Wong.  Be it old, young, short, tall, male or female, you name it and he was it (and with a German script no less!)  Another piece, and my personal favorite, displayed artist and musician Rodney Graham posing as a painter with his “late early styles”.  The photograph aims to show an act of the stereotypical view of an “artist”.  The paintings were his, though most of Graham’s work is not as conceptually strait forward.  This creates some interesting layers of art in one piece.  Is the focus the photograph, the act or the paintings themselves?  Other art in the exhibition gave a more identifiable link to another piece of work, such as Christos Dikeakos’ pencil on paper sketch and Evan Lee’s photographic replica of work done originally by his father.
Based on the one exhibit I was able to observe, the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery definitely provokes some thought.  Each work was interesting and in it’s own way left room for a second glance.  However, some required a third glance and a fourth and a fifth.  Considering my piers and myself are fairly learned (I hope), we started to get a bit confused.  The feeling was that some of the “art” was so because that it what its creator classified it as.  I think the question of the day was what can qualify to be officially labeled as a piece of artwork.  Can one take a tomato and nail it to the wall and expect a gallery showing?  As the CAG shows in its name, it is “contemporary”, not “mainstream”. Unlike the Vancouver Art Gallery there seems to be a broader sense of guidelines.  For some broad is good, for others not so much.  For me, the positive outweighed the negative on our little expedition and I left curious for what other exhibitions were to come in the future.

Word count: 555

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Playing Homage: Amusing Challenge against Concept of Arts


As is every modern art exhibition, Playing Homage in the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver makes the audience feel puzzled and question the artists’ aim, or even what their works represent. But with a little bit of information- the copy of Jenifer Papararo’s essay that the gallery prepared or in our case, the curator Jill Henderson’s explanation- the meaning of the title, Playing Homage, dawns on the audience: the artists pay tribute to another artist or the artists themselves; their works are reproduction of another artist’s work, or direct reference of themselves in their works. Therefore, their position as an artist is being questioned: are they simply copying other people’s idea, or their trying can be acceptable? Regardless of the legal copyright disputes, I find Playing Homage is quite amusing, fresh, significant and no reason to oppose it.

In Playing Homage, the artists are not just copying another artist’s work; they recreate another artist’s work in their own way and most importantly in a humorous way. There, one piece of art work supplies the audience multiple dialogues. While watching a piece of work, the audience’s interest is going back and forth from the referrer to the referred, and that is when conversations take place between the artists (both the referred and the referrer) and the audience. Then, there is humor in their sincere attitude remaking another artist’s work or referring their own body as a subject matter, and this humor or amusement is found throughout the works in Playing Homage. Thinking of art as entertainment, Playing Homage is quite a high quality, in that their humor is different from that we see in Hollywood comedies. In Playing Homage, there is cynicism, irony, satire, and strong self questioning.

Furthermore, Playing Homage is significant because the artists are making a new try. Introducing other people’s work directly in their work seems absurd when it is related to creative art works, but they bravely adopt that way, and lead the audience to change the concept of art regarding creativity. They suggest that as an artist, their subject should not be limited even if it is other artist’ work, and they successfully demonstrate it. Whatever copyright law says, their position as an artist does not seem to allow them to stop creating or trying new ideas. I like their challenge and I believe they are doing what they are supposed to do as an artist; if they hesitate making a new try due to legal issues, they are not artists anymore. So, let law makers settle the copyright matters, and artists do their work.

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