Art Gallery Expedition

I took a trip to the Alberta Art Gallery yesterday to see the ARENA: The Art of Hockey exhibit, which might be the first time I’ve ever gone to an art gallery. Certainly the first time I’ve ever gone to one on purpose. It was an interesting experience. Some of the pieces were really cool, others seemed like pretentious douchebaggery. My favourite thing was a rink built in the style of those slot-hockey games (the ones where each player is on a peg and you control them with rods like in phooseball), except that each player was a hand-made puppet that could be manipulated. The piece was a re-enactment of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ last Stanley Cup championship (which was in the ’60s, I forget what year exactly), so one team was the Leafs and the other team was the Boston Bruins. Each puppet had a little wire sticking out of its back where the jersey and the pants meet, and the wire was attached to a little metal thingy that could slide around in a slot. Above the piece was a television with video of the entire thing animated to recreate the key moments of the Stanley Cup final with commentary.

On the douchebaggy side were things like a helmet, skates, and mini-sticks covered in honeycombed bees wax. I have no idea what the point of it was, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Most of the pieces had a little card with the title, artist, and an explanation. This one just had the title and artist, probably because nobody could understand why the hell anyone would cover a helmet in honeycomb. There was also one that was a guy imitating Bobby Orr’s famous belly-slide goal celebration, except that he was pretty much just laying there with his arms out, wearing normal clothes. Yeah, that must have took some thinkin’.

On a more positive note, my other favourite pieces included a diorama created using the MacFarlane Toys line of NHL action figures. The figures were all famous old-timers playing a pick-up game on a frozen pond, and it looked really good. There was also an Edmonton Oilers: 30 Years Young retrospective with a bunch of memorabilia from the team’s history. The coolest part of that for me were Kevin Lowe’s Stanley Cup rings (all five of ’em). Those are possibly the most glorious rings I’ve ever seen. They also had Wayne Gretzky’s locker-room stall, including his practice jerseys, a game jersey, gloves, etc. They also had Craig MacTavish’s old stall, although none of the stuff in it was his. Also on display were the Oilers’ first Campbell Conference Championship banner (which was, fascinatingly enough, hand-painted. You could see each layer of paint on it.), all of the retired Oilers jerseys, and a bunch of other stuff.

In other news, I added a pair of inked comic pages to the Illustrations gallery. Both are from the First World War comic I’ve been working on. Check ’em out.

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