By the time you read this it will be too late to catch Douglas Coupland’s Gumhead — a
gigantic sculpture of the preeminent artist’s own noggin that spent the last few months inside the Holt Renfrew at Bay and Bloor, inviting passersby to cover it with their chewing gum. And you’ve only got until late April to catch his retrospective Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everything at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. (It’s worth seeing for the piece entitled Towers alone — 50 bright-coloured sky-scrapers, most six-feet tall, made from Lego.)
But if you miss both of these and run the risk of being labelled a ‘philistine’ by your peers, you’re not out of options for staying in conversation — Coupland’s work is everywhere in this city. You probably pass a piece on your way to work.
There’s the giant silver and gold toy soldiers (Monument to the War of 1812) at Fleet and Bathurst, or the towering pencil-crayon- -inspired Four Seasons spires up at Sheppard and Don Mills. At Canoe Landing Park you can see three of Coupland’s signature nods to Canadiana: the giant red Tom Thomson’s Canoe, the bright fishing-lure Float Forms, and the Beaver Dam made from real beaver-chewed logs.
Or, the next time you’ve got a meeting at Davies or a lunch with your pals at Paliare Roland, just stop in the lobby of the RBC Centre and take in Coupland’s A History of the Fur Trade in Canada. It looks like a giant Scrabble board done in classic Coupland pop-bright colours and apparently it’s a reference to Canada’s founding fathers of technology studies.
Consider yourself primed for cocktail party conversation.
This story is from our Spring 2015 issue.