How to write Art Criticism

First appeared in Luna Park Quarterly Her mother was happiest in the Arctic. She, on the other hand, seems most content reading and writing about art, happiest—if there must be a place—in the pages of an arts magazine Robert Fulford has called “indispensable.” She is Meeka Walsh, editor of that indispensable arts magazine, the Winnipeg-based Border Crossings. One Saturday afternoon at the Ottawa Art Gallery, I attended Walsh’s workshop on reviewing, held as part of the Gallery’s Articulation series on writing art criticism. Before discussing the nature of reviewing and the expectations she has for material published in Border Crossings, Walsh got political. Arts magazines, she said, are essential outlets… Read More

Continue Reading

Aristotle, Rhetoric And Modern Media Culture

Squeeze a dollop of today’s society out onto a petri dish, stare at it for a while, and inevitably you’ll come to realize that most of those bright little colourful clusters flitting about in the slime are powered by a potent, barely visible urge to dominate. Crank up the lens another fold or two and you’ll notice that these same, multifariously motivated, now bigger-looking clusters, spend virtually all of their time trying to penetrate, twist and manipulate the minds of each of the millions of half-witted free floating cells contained in the self same great grey gelatinous goop that clouds the dish. (Dispensing with metaphor for the sake of clarity:… Read More

Continue Reading

Beer and Book Collecting

First appeared at www.biblio.com Book collecting finds its best start in your passions. If you love something, you’re going to want to learn as much about it as you possibly can. Let’s say for example it’s beer. Everything about it fascinates you – its taste, color, texture, the process by which it’s made, the bottles it comes in, the good-time television commercials that promote it, the sporting events and gear it sponsors, the parties it enhances – everything. Books have been around for more than five hundred years, which means that mountains of words have been written on every topic imaginable. Beer is no exception. Search Biblio.com’s inventory using the term “beer”… Read More

Continue Reading

Q & A with Nigel Beale: On the Function of Book Blogging

First appeared in D.G. Myer’s A Commonplace Blog What are the non-electronic precursors of book blogging? Short answer: anything that enabled the A) storage and/or B) sharing of ideas. A) Given that I call my site “a commonplace book blog”: “A place to quote, abridge, and commonplace passages of rhetorical, dialectic and factual interest, mix them with comment and reflection, and index them to facilitate retrieval and use, notably in the composition of my own prose,” I’d say that the commonplace book is the obvious precursor, but anything that facilitated the storage of thoughts—one’s own and others’—would qualify I think: journals, letters, notebooks. So, a place to store ideas: “A… Read More

Continue Reading

Interview with Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life and Times

Jburlinson First appeared in Guerilla Magazine Charles Foran: Mordecai Richler was a person of notable contradictions: a Jew accused of being anti-Semitic; an ‘un-Canadian’ Canadian; a dutiful son who hated his mother. Nigel Beale: How do you think this kind of ‘definition by opposition’ played out in relation to Montreal, the city in which he grew up? CF: His ardor for Montreal was, by comparison with the complexity of his relationships with other great forces in his life — Judaism, Canada, his family — fairly straightforward. It was the only city in Canada he took seriously. Montreal was ‘grown up,’ mature in its appetites and secure, at the best of… Read More

Continue Reading