Crack the Sky: La Biennale de Montreal 2007

To everyone outside the gallery scene, this is another “1000 paintings you should see before you die” book, with page upon page of glossy, polished, typified, contemporary art. But look closer in this catalogue of the fifth annual Montreal art biennial to find the indie players making their way alongside the blockbuster art stars: like Ryan Sluggett from Calgary who showed scruffy, comic paintings, and Chris Cran from Ocean Falls, B.C. who showed his fairytale, circus film work that pays homage to William S. Burroughs. The curators chose Paper Rad (www.paperrad.org), an indie art collective from California who refuse to go gloss–and get respect for it. They’re known to fill galleries with magic marker drawings, installations from construction paper and stop-motion animated cartoons. Basically, they transport empty spaces into what might pass as Rainbow Brite’s bedroom after a tornado. The spastic collective were also responsible for doing DIY workshops at the highbrow biennial, happily, because much of the artworld is too stuck up to let loose and pick up a pair of scissors. (Nadja Sayej)

Catalogue, La Centre international d’art contemporain de Montreal, issue 5, $20, www.ciac.ca

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