Winter 2011 Newsletter
allí afuera! Viva la rebelión! Viva la AGYU!

Revolutionary Sundays and the Centre for Incidental Activisms

19 January – 13 March 2010

Opening reception: Wednesday, January 19, 6 – 9 pm

Revolutionary Sundays

See Cuba before it’s too late!

What better way to see Cuba before it’s too late than through the lens of the early years of the Revolution—and especially through the role women played? The 28,000 images of the Ante Archive provide a thirty-year window on the Cuban Revolution, yet were lost from sight until they were discovered in a Mexico City antique shop. (The archive is now housed in Colombia.)

Gilberto Ante (1925 – 1991) was a sugar cane worker who took up photography in 1950, collaborated with Castro’s 26th of July Movement, and became a photographer for the Presidential Palace press department on the success of the Revolution, where he was responsible for the official portrayal of the regime, for instance, photographing Castro’s speeches.

The exhibition is not, however, only the typical view of the Revolution and its socialist iconography. There are two sides to it, reflecting, on the one hand, Ante’s official work depicting socialist leadership and labour and, on the other hand, his off-time portraying daily life, with concentration here on the activity of women both in work and in play—for the Revolution also had its Sundays.

Revolutionary Sundays is organized by La Central, Bogotá. Special thank you to Familia Ante, Simon Hernández, Julian Lede, Héctor de la Cruz, Guillermo Santos, Francisco Toquica, and Katy Hernández and Beatriz Lopez, co-directors of La Central.

The Centre for Incidental Activisms (CIA)

Deanna Bowen, Eugenio Salas, Elle Flanders + Eshrat Erfanian + Tamira Sawatzky

Deanna Bowen

“…Do I remain a revolutionary? Intellectually – without a doubt. But am I prepared to give my body to the struggle or even my comforts? This is what I puzzle about.”

Deanna Bowen is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist and Lecturer at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. She received a Masters degree in Visual Art at the University of Toronto (2008) and a Diploma of Fine Arts from Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1992). Recent works have been shown at Diaz Contemporary, The Images Festival, Thames Gallery, and Art Gallery of Peterborough and her solo exhibition Stories to pass on… is touring nationally through 2013.

Eugenio Salas

Does new media open up possibilities of greater truth and a potential for community-building amongst culturally engaged citizens? Or does it persist in fueling our desire for spectacle and our fascination with conflict and violence?

The code of ethics for photojournalists insists that no news photograph should be staged, posed, set up, or recreated.  Given the tension between these norms and the G20’s carefully constructed photo-ops, a platform is created to stage and remix G20-related content in order to interrogate notions of truth and processes of documentation across mediums and technologies. Gathering a community of academics, designers, videomakers, and writers to explore questions of media ethics, representation, and responsibility in the aftermath of the G20 held in Toronto this past June, we propose to challenge the ephemeral condition and status of social media content, pushing its temporal limits by making it archivable.

Eugenio Salas was born in Mexico City in 1976. His artistic practice is based on performative actions that employ intervention, video, film, animation, photography, slide projection, artist books, and installation media. His single-channel videos have been screened in a number of festivals in Canada, United States, Mexico, Spain, and Italy.

Elle Flanders + Eshrat Erfanian + Tamira Sawatzky

What emerges from an art practice committed to examining the problematics of our contemporary world? Objects? Images? Captive moments? Public Studio is a transitory collective of artists whose work often defies the gallery space by positing what the relationship between the gallery and the art object is and who controls the archives and articulation of history? In this way their work attempts to reactivate a space creating a relationship and ongoing dialogue with current political climates.

At the Centre for Incidental Activisms, Public Studio questions the very ability to create work in an ever-voracious consumer society by addressing the question: Is art still relevant? In our unconventional approach to finding an answer to some of these questions we turn the gallery space into a research practice in order to re-examine the role of activist art in relationship to the history of art rather than the traditional exhibition space.

Elle Flanders is a filmmaker and artist based in Toronto. She was raised in Montreal and Jerusalem and holds both an MA in Critical Theory and an MFA from Rutgers University. Her work has been screened and exhibited at the Berlin International Film Festival, the MOMA, and festivals worldwide. Flanders is a PhD candidate in the Visual Arts at York University where she also teaches.

Tamira Sawatzky is an architect and artist working in Toronto. She was raised in Winnipeg and holds a BA in English from the University of Winnipeg and a MArch from the University of Manitoba. She has been working for the award-winning firm MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects since 1998, designing community centres and libraries.

Eshrat Erfanian is a visual artist based in Toronto and a PhD candidate at York University, where she also teaches. She has an MFA from University of Toronto, and is an alumnus of the Whitney Independent Study Program in NYC. Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Europe, and Canada.

Get on the Performance Bus:

The AGYU and Anitra Hamilton do it doggy-style!

On Wednesday, January 19, ride out there to the AGYU’s winter exhibition openings on the award-winning Performance Bus with Anitra Hamilton and her side-kick Scott McGowan. The Jeff Koons Performance Bus departs OCAD at 6 pm sharp and returns downtown at 9 pm.

Anitra Hamilton is a Canadian-born artist. Her work has been shown here, stateside, and abroad. Her works appear in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Retrospective on Parade was presented at the AGYU in 2007. Anitra has upcoming projects in New York and China. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto.

Audio Out

After being told to Shh! in the hallway by Richard Windeyer, the upcoming Audio Out artist Anna Friz will be jamming your transmission with her own airwaves outside of the AGYU doors. From 4 January – 20 February 2011 the wake up call turns into a broadcast as Friz utilizes radio as the source, subject, and medium. Known for producing dynamic, atmospheric sound works for theatre, dance, and solo performances, Friz’s work reflects upon public media culture and reveals interior landscapes.

With their ears to the ground feeling the pulse of the campus and beyond, Assistant Professor of the Fine Arts Cultural Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Marc Couroux’s class will be bringing their own fieldwork to the speakerbox from 21 February – 6 March 2011.

In the special projects room

Photovoice

1 – 28 February 2011

AGYU is pleased to collaborate with the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (OPACY), Westview Centennial Secondary School, and The Spot on Photovoice, a photography exhibition that will be held at AGYU from 4 – 20 February 2010. Photovoice is a participatory action research tool that uses creative arts, dialogue and storytelling to enable young people to identify and express the issues in their community and to explore the connections to the systemic policy issues that affect them through OPACY. Join us on Friday, February 4 from 5 – 8 pm for the opening celebrations.

Featuring work by Faduma Abshir, Ademola Adewusi, Marshan Beals, Melanie Halasz, Keira Herry, Noterlee Johnson, Khalid Khan, and Nana Tieku

[OPACY logo folder: jane-finch logo, SBL logo, The Spot]

LOST and FOUND: (Finding) Hidden Beauty In the ‘Hood

March 1 – 13 2011

The M.A.D. Poet (aka Melissa A. Dean) makes her curatorial debut with this group exhibition featuring works by emerging and senior artists: Cade M. Davies, Che Kothari, Tajwayne Ruddock, Sun aka the Real Sun, and Quentin Vercetty.

AGYU @ The Department

Rob Kovitz, Ice Fishing in Gimli

8 – 27 February 2011

Opening reception: 11 February 2011 @ 7 – 10pm

Gallery hours:

Tuesday – Wednesday, noon – 4pm

Thursday – Saturday, noon – 6pm (extended hours for this exhibition only)

1389 Dundas Street West, Toronto

“Ten years in the making, Ice Fishing in Gimli is an 8-volume image/text montage bookwork by Winnipeg artist/writer Rob Kovitz. Set in and around a strange small town and a large frozen lake in the uncharted center of Canada, it’s an epic citation saga of desire, ambition, weather and landscape …”

Testing the fair dealing copyright exemption to the limit, and probably slightly beyond, Rob Kovitz’s Ice Fishing in Gimli is a citational tour de force. Extending to 4,750 pages, this eight-volume novel consists exclusively of quotations, textual or otherwise, which coalesces into a strange yet compelling narrative. Settled in 1875 by Icelandic emigrés, Gimli is located on the south-western shore of Lake Winnipeg and is currently the sole location for the distilling of Crown Royal whiskey. While still certainly an artists’ book project, Ice Fishing approaches sculpturality in its heft. The installation of the work aims to provide its readers with the ideal study-room environment to browse, to study, and to contemplate.

Ice Fishing in Gimli was the 2010 Artists’ Book of the Moment (ABotM), an open competition for artists’ books presented by the Art Gallery of York University.

Concurrently:

Not to be missed at the back of the gallery is a public presentation of the submissions to the 2011 Artists’ Book of the Moment competition. Short-list and finalist to be announced in the future.

STUDIO BLOG

Studio Blog: Artist/Curator collaboration

Excerpts from a Curatorial Sartorial

“These days I am designing uniforms for non-uniformed work.  I’m not really sure if I think that work is what makes us human, as Bataille has said, but I do think it has defined me at times.

“I’m developing uniforms for individual curators to symbolically reflect on what they do and why, to chronicle a recent history of the practice and to define styles of curating.  Through conversations with curators I am attempting to recognize motivations, processes, and interests and translate them into a customized garment, including accessories.

“Tartan patterning will form the basis for articulating clans of curators.  Tartan is emblematic of both punk and pedigree.  As soon as it’s established as one, it is subsumed by the other; a perpetual cycle that lends itself well to describing a vocation that is constantly re-appropriated.  Curators and tartan clanship share an uncertain history of which these uniforms are an utterance.

“Excerpts from my research will appear on AGYU’s Studio Blog over the course of the next year.” – Camilla Singh, 2010

Camilla Singh is an artist and curator living in Toronto who shares Catherine Opie’s view that “…it’s transgressive just to try to live your life the way you actually want to live it.”

Studio Blog: Toronto and Winnipeg

Finding a common love for butter chicken (among other things) this past summer while in residence at the Summer Institute at Plug In ICA, Toronto artist and educator Pamila Matharu and Winnipeg/New York based artist Divya Mehra continue their relationship on AGYU’s Studio Blog. Matharu engages Mehra in a discussion about her use of humour in works in a variety of media that deal with cultural appropriation, displacement, and hybridization, paying particular attention to work produced for her recent exhibition Turf Wars at Platform Gallery, Winnipeg.

Divya Mehra is a multimedia artist who recently earned her MFA from Columbia University, New York. Recent screenings and exhibitions include: The Queens Museum of Art, Hendershot Gallery (New York, USA); The Beijing 798 Biennale (Beijing, China); Plug In ICA, PLATFORM (Winnipeg, Canada); The Images Festival, A Space (Toronto, Canada); Groupe Intervention Video (Montreal, Canada); and Gallery OED (Cochin, India).

Pamila Matharu (Birmingham, UK, 1973) completed her degrees in Visual Arts and Fine Arts Education at York University. Her work primarily consists of installation-based art with photography, film & video, text, found images, and ephemera.  Upcoming 2011 exhibitions include Come Up To My Room 2011 (Gladstone Hotel, Toronto) and Screening Alterity, (Art Gallery of Peterborough).

Foreign Agent

The Foreign Agent series continues with a trip to Istanbul with Eshrat Erfanian as tour guide. Erfanian’s pictorial travelogue feels like a home slide show as she illustrates how a city steeped in cultural history can be seen through the lens of contemporary art.

Latin American Speaker Series

This year AGYU is a proud supporter of the 2011 LATIN AMERICAN SPEAKERS SERIES

“To stop being a ‘Latin American art’ means to distance oneself from a simplified notion of art in Latin America and to highlight the variety of artistic production in the continent”. Gerardo Mosquera

The Latin American Speakers Series is an opportunity to present meaningful cultural exchange and contextualize Latin American art here. International guest speakers Alfredo Jaar (January), Tania Bruguera (March), and Humberto Vélez (April, co-presented by AGYU) are paired with local Latin American moderators.

The series is presented by Latin American Canadian Art Projects and is curated by Tamara Toledo.

Winter Contemporary Art Bus Tour

On Sunday, February 20, join us at the Art Gallery of York University for a guided tour of the exhibitions. The free bus tour starts with the Koffler Gallery’s off-site project, Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W), at noon and heads to the AGYU, Blackwood Gallery, and Doris McCarthy Gallery, returning to the Gladstone at 5:00 pm. Seating is limited. Contact Mona Filip at 416.638.1881 x 4270 or mfilip@kofflerarts.org to reserve.

Programming Reports & Special Announcements

AGYU @ La Otra, Bogotá

Having participated in Bogotá’s “official” art fair, ArtBo (2009), in fall 2010 AGYU presented the work of Daniel Santiago at La Otra, Bogotá’s alternative art fair with a print version of Santiago’s Studio Blog project, Diary of Distance.

AGYU @ Art Toronto

This year’s Art Toronto was a smash hit with Colombian artist and DJ Mateo Rivano. The hard to miss mind-map of hand-drawn images and brilliantly coloured mural glowed like a beacon calling out to everyone at the art fair. It was not to be missed! Rivano completed a whirlwind, month-long residency with AGYU at the Drake Hotel where he constructed the booth for the art fair, produced new work for the installation, and created a ghoulish chalk mural for the lobby of the Drake Hotel just in time for Halloween. When he wasn’t getting down with his new artist friends in Toronto, he was making sure Toronto artists got down at the Drake, turning it into a sweaty, pulsing dancehall with his tropical beats for Art Toronto’s artists’ party!

Yay, It’s OAAG Award Time!

… And the AGYU took its share. It was not as large a haul as the seven from last year—but the satisfaction was just as great. Finally, the vehicle that reconnected the AGYU to the downtown art community was recognized: Emelie Chhangur’s Performance Bus that brought people laughing, singing, kissing, giggling, advocating, telling stories, growing moustaches, and touching snakes for the last eight years to AGYU openings. The Performance Bus received the Ontario Association of Art Galleries inaugural Public Program Award for its innovative invention of a new performance venue and an entertaining free ride to exhibition openings at the same time, orchestrated by the brightest lights in Toronto’s cultural community. Not to be outshone, two of our designers won Honourable Mentions: Bryan Gee for the design of the book and while I have been lying here perfectly still: The Saskia Olde Wolbers Files and Ken Ogawa for the design of the AGYU’s HELLO, OUT THERE newsletter for The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion exhibition.

Education

Using their respective spoken word practices as vehicles for youth engagement and outreach, Lola Lawson and The M.A.D. poet (aka Melissa A. Dean) will perform at various Jane and Finch community organizations during the month of January. In addition to performing, Lawson and Dean will invite youth to participate as community art consultants who will help envision and shape the AGYU’s upcoming Multimedia Art and Spoken Word Program that begins in September 2011.

RISE AND SHINE: A COMMUNITY-BASED TALENT SHOWCASE

Tuesday, 8 February. Door @ 6:30 PM

The Underground, York University Student Centre, Keele Campus

Featuring: Altisha, Tasnim Csak, David Delisca, Domanique Grant, Rian Hamilton, Heavy Steve, Lola Lawson, Cassandra London, Star, and TK.

This event was organized by Lola Lawson, AGYU work/study intern, in an effort to bridge the gap between the Jane and Finch Community and York University.

YOUTH ARTS CONSULTATION FORUM

Wednesday, 9 February, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

The Centre for Incidental Activism in partnership with artists Camille Turner, Naila Keleta-Mae, Melissa A. Dean, and Lola Lawson will hold a forum for youth from the Jane and Finch community to envision and shape the AGYU’s upcoming multimedia art and spoken word program. In keeping with the CIA’s mission of making the process of artistic inquiry visible, this educational initiative provides a perspective on the foundational phase of a youth-driven and designed arts education program.

The M.A.D. Poet (aka Melissa A. Dean) uses her art to reflect upon the struggles of the Black community. A founding member of the Dub Poets Collective Youth Initiative, she recently completed a successful dub poetry tour in Jamaica and Cuba.

Lola Lawson is an emerging actress, spoken word, and hip hop artist. Lawson was awarded second place at the Toronto Poetry Slam at the Drake Hotel in 2009.

Naila Keleta-Mae is an accomplished interdisciplinary artist, educator, and scholar.  A PhD Candidate in Theatre Studies at York University, Keleta-Mae was awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her doctoral research on black performance in Canada.

Camille Turner is a Toronto-based media/performance artist and curator whose inter-cultural engagements explore the social dimensions of technology. She is an MES candidate in Environmental Studies at York University.

Publications

Upcoming:

Stay tuned to the dial, as the next few months will see a flurry of activity in the soon-to-press category. First off will be Terrance Houle’s catalogue, a co-production of the AGYU and Plug-in ICA. Givn’r all over again. Then, there’s the publication for Alex Wolfson and Bojana Stancic’s And so, the animal looked back… … artist book, catalogue, theatrical script, short story, and illustrative interventions by Ken Ogawa — what more could you ask for? How about another from the Pieces series of chapbooks: discover Gimli all over again with a discussion between Winnipeg-based architect and artists Rob Kovitz (see our programming section for more) and Toronto-based DJ and scholar Marcus Boon in part four of the series: Bits and Pieces.

Looking for more to look forward to? Look no further. You might remember The Art Gallery of York University Presents: The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion in the fall of 2009. Remember it in more detail in the major book on General Idea’s early seventies work, written by Philip Monk and designed by Barr Gilmore.

Spring 2011 Performance and Exhibition

Humberto Vélez

The Spirit: A collaborative performance with Toronto’s Urban Runners, the Tecumseh Collective First Nations Community Organization, and the Mississaugas of New Credit: Saturday May 14, 2010 @ the Art Gallery of Ontario. A retrospective of Vélez’s work will take place at the AGYU from April to June, 2011 in conjunction with the performance.

Fall Exhibition 2011

Raqs Media Collective

*Nemiroff, Robert. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words. Adapted by Robert Nemiroff with original drawings and art by Miss Hansberry and an introduction by James Baldwin. Ed. Lorraine Hansberry, (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), p. 249.