Harold Hudson – Exhibition Animator

Water + Pigment + Paper.
Experiments in Watercolour from the AGGV Collection, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Victoria, BC (exhibition animation)

Performance: Various (January 30 – May 23, 2016)

Animator’s Bio: Harold Hudson (Born 21 February 1969) was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. He is a 6th generation Victorian. His family was one of the first families to arrive on Vancouver Island and assist in the colonization of Victoria and the surrounding region. His eldest grandfather and most acclaimed ancestor, Geoffrey Hudson played a role in the incorporation of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the development in methods of trade with local indigenous populations and made considerable gains in territorial expansion.

Hudson earned his PhD in Art history from Cambridge University in 1999, with a specialization in Romanticism and early British Landscape painting. In 2007, he returned home and began his professorship in Art History at the University of Victoria, a position which he holds to this day. He contributes to the arts community in multiple ways such as by being a docent at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, appraising painting in commercial galleries and speaking on a variety of panel discussions regarding British watercolour landscape painting.

Explanation: In order to animate the exhibition, Water + Pigment + Paper. Experiments in Watercolour from the AGGV Collection, which highlights the history of watercolour from a British perspective and a local Victoria perspective, I thought to exaggerate the dominant colonial narrative inherent in the exhibition in order to invite a critical response to the exhibition from participants. Harold Hudson is the epitome of the pompous, elitist colonizer. I invited participants to partake in the celebration of the colonial conquest of North America, since Victoria, B.C. is a quintessential example of a British colony. Hudson is an embodiment of the traditional expert art docent that babbles on in art tours, uncontrollably spewing specialized knowledge that only the few educated in art can understand. He proliferates this notion that you can not learn about or enjoy art unless you have a certain class capital or preformed knowledge to enjoy the art. Thus, Hudson satirizes the notion of an art docent and the class structures that rest within art institutions.

Some participatory activity highlights from the animation sequence include talking to paintings and having participants wrap me in toilet paper so that I could be lit on fire as a way to introduce a local Victoria watercolourist, Herbert Siebner, who was known for carrying out that party trick.