work > Popularity

This public intervention involved coordinating over 750 counterfeit public visits to a single art exhibition.

The project is an attempt to effect statistics that measure the number of people who attend an art exhibition. Using funding awarded by the CALQ (Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Quebec), I paid people to visit a Montreal art gallery and act as authentic spectators of the exhibition.

In this piece I paid 35 people per day to attend an art exhibition every day throughout the five weeks that the gallery is open to the public. The visitors are instructed to behave as any art spectator would, to stand in the gallery looking at the work. Each visit to the gallery is counted by gallery staff and submitted to an online database measuring the popularity of the gallery in relation to other galleries.

Any arts organization that receives Federal Canadian funding is required to report to CADAC, a web based application dedicated to the collection, dissemination and analysis of financial and statistical information about Canadian arts organizations. I am suspicious about the implied link between the popularity of art and its support through funding initiatives.

Each day that they are ‘counted’ the false inflation in the gallery’s publicity creates a statistical anomaly in this gallery’s CADAC report. This action was executed unbeknownst to the staff of the artist’s run centre or the artist whose show was on exhibit.

An interview about the work was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Canadian Theatre Review, "Performing Products", edited by T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko, Didier Morelli, and Isabel Stowell-Kaplan.

All the invoices for the project