Peter Simpson, The Ottawa Citizen
Don’t expect Nuit Blanche Ottawa to be Nuit Blanche Toronto, says the newly appointed curator of the annual, one-night festival of contemporary art, to be held in the capital for the first time later this year.
“As a curator I’m not really interested in doing these sensational projects that cost a lot of money, that are really more show than content,” says Stefan St-Laurent, who has been appointed curator of Nuit Blanche Ottawa 2012, to be held Sept. 22.
Nuit Blanche events in other cities, especially Toronto, are perhaps best known for large, richly funded works of art that make use of, for example, the CN Tower, or the space between the twin towers of Toronto’s city hall. The installations are usually commissioned with the hundreds of thousands of dollars given to the festival each year by the City of Toronto or the event’s major sponsor, Scotiabank.
“There will be some works that utilize spectacle as part of its message,” says St-Laurent, who left his job as curator of SAW Gallery last year to focus on freelance curating and creating his own art, “but in general I don’t think it’s very healthy for people to have that expectation of art, that it has to be spectacular, sensational, big, bright, expensive. I think it gives a very skewed view of what the visual arts are like today.”