May we suggest

Features / October 19, 2015

Garry Neill Kennedy and Cathy Busby’s Top Tabs

Garry Neill Kennedy and Cathy Busby share their politically inclined online haunts (including satires and sobering reports) with us on election day.

We asked Vancouver-based artists Garry Neill Kennedy and Cathy Busby to share some of their favourite online destinations for Top Tabs, a series featuring the top Internet finds and fancies from artists, curators, dealers and more.

1. Banks

The banks are making too much money yet they’re still nickel-and-diming us. And we have come to take it for granted that we have to pay. They know they have “brand trust” and strong consumer loyalty. And we know that the executives of the Big Five banks are paid far too much. Garry’s exhibition “The Big Five,” which was shown in Berlin last year, made this clear.

As artists we’re hyper-aware that the banks, among other corporations, have entered the art world and are putting in little bits of money here and there and getting a lot of mileage out of it: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, RBC Canadian Painting Competition, etc. The art is brought to you by the banks and is beginning to look like the banks. And as for the artists, we begin to look stupid.

2. Cuts

The first link relates to Cathy’s Budget Cuts work. It’s a reminder from the Aboriginal Peoples TV Network that cuts continue. The second is another take on federal government cuts. We think that being informed about the political world is part of being an effective artist/citizen.

3. Omnibus Bills

This is a useful backgrounder to the re-introduction of the omnibus-bill strategy of the current federal government. This is the kind of information that informs both our work. We’re afraid that art has become increasingly silent. We want our work to contribute to the revival in political engagement in the visual arts.

4. Watchdogs

Environmental scientist Tony Turner’s song and its performance with the Crowd of Well Wishers choir itemizes some of the current government’s policies and actions and it’s very funny. Like these folks, a number of watchdogs are speaking out, including the recently crowned Mrs. Universe, Ashley Callingbull, a member of the Enoch Cree Nation. These are interesting strategies for making a political splash at this crucial time.

Garry Neill Kennedy and Cathy Busby are co-teaching a course in printed matter this fall at the University of British Columbia, and will co-teach an advanced studio course in the spring.

Kennedy’s exhibition “The Last Art College” opens at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in January 2016. He has just completed Quid Pro Quo, 10 canvases in the Colours of Citizen Arar to be gifted to 10 major museum/galleries across Canada.

Busby will be included in “Lalakenis,” which opens at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in January 2016. Her most recent publication is Acquired in 1964 (Confederation Art Gallery, 2015) and her Making the Invisible Visible: Interviews with 5 Artists launches in Canterbury, England, in February 2016.