I decided to venture to the Scotiabank CONTACT MOCCA opening on Friday solo, as sometimes it’s just easier to weave around the crowd and take it all in minus a high maintenance sidekick. Upon arrival, it was no surprise that the courtyard was overflowing with gallery owners, art directors and Queen Street culture enthusiasts. Between the bar, the Bar-B-que, DJ, the Mechanical Bride group show – it was a sensory overload.
David LaChapelle, The Rape of Africa in MOCCA Courtyard
Certainly most talked about was David La Chapelle’s enormous and biblical Rape of Africa which encompasses the entire east facade. One could have easily remained on the exterior the entire night and been engulfed in conversation exclusively about this piece; I find myself still somewhat hesitant as to how this extraordinarily colourful yet ominous piece makes me feel. Like The Rape of Africa – all the work inside was curated as a response to McLuhan’s theories in his first book The Mechanical Bride: The Folklore of Industrial Man. From what I gather, the photography is meant to evoke a response to the advertising world – and specifically examine the way women are objectified within this context. Truly, it deserves an afternoon to observe and experience properly – and perhaps with the guidance of a wise lecturer.
On a Friday night where booze is flowing and people are taking a load off from their work week, bopping to the DJ and mingling through the crowd – conversations are practically schizophrenic. In between runs to the bar we talked to Toronto Life’s Artistic Director Jessica Rose about the latest issue to hit stands, giggled as a circle of OCAD grads relayed Jubal Brown’s famous barf scandal at the AGO (when, in the mid-nineties, the controversial artist upchucked on a Mondrian to make an artistic statement) to being quite simply mesmerized by punky-looking sixty-something Istvan Kantor, I’m not going to lie, it’s a tricky scene to compare and contrast Lady Gaga – seemingly on high voltage from an electric chair – with Inuit girls riding bicycles. It begs the question – what is the objective of an opening?
Nevertheless, it provided good fodder and a super stylish backdrop for a hob-knobbing art party. We will have to return on a quiet afternoon to soak it up properly, digest and critically respond….or even just respond. Certainly stunning photography and an impressive range of technique and style that deserves proper attention that wasn’t to be had on a night when I was practically twirling – talking to everyone, from four-year old little Aurora to big gun art dealer Clint Roenisch, a random dancing German man….I mean, I even conversed with a dog named Nadar.
What was obvious is that it was a celebration, everyone was in a good mood and just as crowds began to depart for the next party, a dance floor struck up. Good thing no one sloshed their red wine on the work, unfortunately the same cannot be said for my new shirt.
At four years, Aurora is the youngest to attend the opening.
Her Dad is a photographer, clearly I am not.