Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The current Douglas Coupland exhibition at the CCA in Montréal, Super City, which consists of building block sets such as Lego™ and Tinker Toy™, is a conundrum. It is far too designed to be art, yet far too artful to be design. Coupland is certainly prolific, and even if other people manufacture his installations, his skill as a project manager alone should put many designers to shame. A critically acclaimed author, artist, designer and now playwright, he makes a fantastically large target for criticism from any of the four separate disciplines he inhabits. His industry has at least given hope that if you work hard, are polite, thoughtful, articulate and playful you can accomplish an awful lot. Perhaps it is that so much of his work hits a personal nostalgic vein that endears him to some and repels others. Is that level of nostalgia healthy for an artist? Though some may shrug off his visual and written work as more pop than art, there is a comfort and accessibility to it that would be hard to deny. Through it all, he may unwittingly be Canada's most successful designer. On a personal note, I find it hard not to be jealous of the guy. I want to doodle and scribble and make stuff and be interviewed about it too. The connecting thread here is Coupland's ability and talent as a designer and author, which is not a common combination. Imagine if Bruce Mau could write like Coupland how much better any Mau-ist tome might be. Super City, Douglas Coupland is on at the CCA until November 20, 2005 (or save yourself the trip and see a clip of the exibit here - Quicktime required).