Velvet John Baird and Poker-Playing Dogs

Nobody else seems to have caught on to what would usually be an instant poopstorm, so allow me.

Edmonton is on track to win a bid for a National Portrait Gallery. See, the federal government, whose power base is the west, doesn’t like that all the good stuff goes to Ottawa, so they opened up the location of the NPG to private-sector bids in nine Canadian cities, including Ottawa. Turns out Edmonton is a favourite, with a bid to locate it in the new Epcor building downtown. There has been much debate over the “proper” location of a gallery, and I do not wish to wade into it; there are excellent arguments both for and against. However, Jim Gray of the Ottawa Citizen has some opinions on the matter, not least of which have to do with the quality and seriousness of an Edmonton-based gallery. In a story on the Ottawa bid, he writes and I quote:

The gallery would normally be the purview of Ottawa – you know, musty paintings of the Duke of Somewhere, Governor General Something or Other. But the most recent acquired collections in the spirit of Western culture at the Edmonton portrait gallery/P3 livery stable would be so un-Ottawa: Environment Minister John Baird in black-light poster; Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon finger-painted; and the prime minister himself, Stephen Harper, on velvet or whatever medium is playing well in Fort McMurray these days. Doubtless, they would all look good in the Elvis wing, certain to be the most popular exhibit in the Edmonton gallery besides the poker-playing dogs. Those cute little pooches always knock ’em dead with the dice-on-the-rearview-mirror set. Found art to be sure.

Pardon my (implied) French, but WTF?

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