Fall 2014 Newsletter
25th Anniversary Exhibition Year: Strike Out There!

Is Toronto Burning?

1977 | 1978 | 1979

Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene

17 September – 7 December 2014

Opening Reception: Wednesday September 17, 6 – 9 pm

The late 1970s was a key period when the Toronto art scene was in formation and destruction—downtown, that is. In 1977, Toronto thought itself the country’s most important art centre, but history has shown that the nascent downtown art community, not the established uptown scene of commercial galleries, was where it was happening. Conflicts within the newly instituted artist-run system were coming to the fore with a “coup” at A Space and, with its advocacy of Red Brigade-style kneecapping, the Center for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC) self-destructing.

It was a political period. Beyond the art politics, art itself was politicized in its contents and context. Art’s political dimension was continually polemically posed—or postured—by artists in these years. Beyond politics, posturing, in fact, was a constant presence as the community invented itself.

It was also a period rich in invention of new forms of art. Punk, semiotics, and fashion were equally influential, not to mention transgressive sexuality. It was the beginning of the photo-blowup allied to the deconstructed languages of advertising. Video and performance aligned in simulations of television production as the “underground” mimicked the models of the mainstream for its own satiric, critical purposes. With no dominant art form and the influence of New York in decline, there were no models and anything was possible: even the invention of the idea of an art community as a fictional creation.

Is Toronto Burning? features artworks by Susan Britton, David Buchan, Colin Campbell, Elizabeth Chitty, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Judith Doyle, General Idea, Isobel Harry, Ross McLaren, Missing Associates (Peter Dudar & Lily Eng), Clive Robertson, Tom Sherman, and Rodney Werden alongside archival documents, with a room devoted to the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC).

The exhibition is curated by AGYU Director Philip Monk

Get on the Performance Bus!

How to Use Art History to Your Advantage: Find Love, Earn Millions, and Cure Cancer.

Art History isn’t only an easy “A” in high school and first-year university, it can change your life!

AGYU welcomes Toronto artist Peter Kingstone for this iteration of our award-winning Performance Bus, guaranteed to be a radical mind-altering experience. On Wednesday, 17 September, en route to the opening reception of Is Toronto Burning?, Peter gives riders a primer on how to  view the exhibition and on how to use the work in the show to change their life.

The free Performance Bus departs OCADU (100 McCaul Street) at 6 pm sharp and returns downtown at 9 pm.

Peter Kingstone is a single channel and installation video artist. He holds a Philosophy/Cultural Studies Degree from Trent  University in Peterborough, and Masters of Fine Arts from York University. Kingstone has exhibited extensively and has presented at many conferences on the ideas around storytelling and social engagement. He has taught at Toronto School of Art and York University and has worked in a variety of administrative roles for many Toronto artist-run centres. Kingstone is currently the Visual/Media Arts Officer at Toronto Arts Council.

CEAC: Radical Experiment or Exercise in Self-Destruction: An Afternoon of Panel Discussions

Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 1 pm @ AGYU

When it opened in a new space in September 1976, the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC) was the only artist-run centre to purchase its own building. By May 1978, it had lost all its funding, as well as its building, and closed. In between it rivaled A Space for the quantity and diversity of its program, rivaled General Idea’s FILE magazine with its own publication, Art Communication Edition, later to become Strike, but was unique in engaging the resources and profile of the institution as an ideological vehicle for its program of revolutionary politics.

Join the original protagonists of the CEAC experiment—Diane Boadway, Ron Giii, Bruce Eves, Lily Eng, Peter Dudar, and John Faichney—along with Mike Hoolboom, Philip Monk, and Dot Tuer for a series of panel discussions on the forgotten history of and renewed interest in the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication.

The CEAC archives are housed at York University.

Waging Culture

For the past few months, we’re been rolling out the results of the 2012 Waging Culture survey of Canada-resident visual artists on our website. While the broad view is that artist’s economic situation has remained stable since 2007, closer looks reveal a shift in the underlying economy … namely, sales (and gallery representation) has tumbled precipitously, the sex-gap has widened considerably, and overall income disparity within the sector has increased. Follow along as we continue to reveal the results on our website:

www.theAGYUisOutThere.org/wagingculture

Contemporary Art Bus

Sunday, 21 September 2014, 12 – 5 PM | FREE

Tour starts at the Koffler Centre of the Arts at Artscape Young Place (180 Shaw Street) and then departs for Blackwood Gallery, AGYU, and Doris McCarthy Gallery returning to Shaw Street at 5 pm. Seating is limited. Please RSVP by Friday, 19 September, to Juliana Zalucky at j.zalucky@utoronto.ca or 905-828-3789

Special edition of Contemporary Art Bus Tour for Is Toronto Burning?…

Sunday, 2 November 2014, 12 – 5:15 PM | FREE

Join us for a free bus tour of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, the University of Toronto Art Centre, the Blackwood Gallery, and the Art Gallery of York University.  The free bus begins at the JMB gallery at noon and returns downtown to Hart House Circle at 5:15. Space is limited. Please reserve your seat by emailing jmb.gallery@utoronto.ca or by phone at 416-978-8398.

Art Toronto

24 – 27 October 2014

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

http://www.arttoronto.ca

The AGYU has joined with Art Toronto in a cultural partnership. Join us at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as Director Philip Monk tours the fair Saturday, 25 October. Visit Art Toronto website for details.

PEDAGOGY-ACTION-COMMUNITY

Student Engagement

Creative Campaigning

AGYU kicks off the Creative Campaigning: Performance as Resistance series with artist Heather Cassils in October. The commissioned action, “The Human Printing Press,” is implemented in collaboration with a diverse range of student advocacy groups and associations represented by the York Federation of Students (YFS) and is intended to further articulate their vision and needs on campus. Working towards a large performative piece, student leaders learn how to collectively identify issues and understand how art can play a central role in activist strategies. It strives to activate participation campus-wide on sociopolitical issues, educational concerns, and the promotion of equality. Join us for the final presentation at Videofag (187 Augusta Ave) to see the new video work as Cassils discusses the methods of how to creatively and innovatively respond to adversity and conflict. Creative Campaigning is curated by AGYU Assistant Curator Suzanne Carte.

Writing Group: Words for the Real World

Over the fall and winter sessions at York University, AGYU Assistant Curator Michael Maranda will lead a workshop for advanced undergraduate students interested in writing criticism for a non-academic audience. This not-for-credit workshop will focus on writing about visual arts outside the classroom with the aim of giving students an edge in developing a post-“In-this-paper-I-will …” style. For more information, please contact Michael Maranda at mmarand@yorku.ca.

AGYU@WorldPride

A huge rainbow stretching over the city of Toronto was the perfect end to the mass queer gathering of WorldPride 2014. Glitter and sweat was the theme of the festival with scorching hot days and millions of shiny people from all over the world coming together to celebrate the history, courage, and future of the LGBTQ+* communities. It was an emotional weekend of rejoicing in everything that we are and all that we can be through ceremonies, conferences, parties, marches, and rallies. AGYU was there every step of the way with the York@WorldPride contingent as we connected with the spirit of Pride and rose up in solidarity with queer communities and their accomplices.

Under the motto United We Are Different, we showcased the acceptance, diversity, and inclusivity that York promotes while welcoming individuality. Partnering with the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), York Federation of Students (YFS), Trans, Bi, Lesbian and Gay Allies at York (TBLGAY), Glendon Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (GLgbt*), and SexGen York committee, we proudly shared our true colours with agyu-commissioned artist Francisco-Fernando Granados, as he redirected the focus back to the roots of Pride activism. Granados invited students to re-imagine the palette of queer flags by filling in the stripes with colour combinations of their choice. Leading workshops and participating in social festivities, Granados asked the youth activists to focus on what Pride means to them and allow a new individual flag to be born. The accumulation of the flags was the basis of a community banner that was seen by millions on the long parade route as York@WorldPride students danced and shone to the bouncing beats of DJ Quinces.

To see the video True Colours please go to www.theAGYUisOutThere.org/everywhere and to see all of the images of York@WorldPride visit: www.YorkatPride.tumblr.com

In/Out-Reach

During Spring 2014, the AGYU teamed up with Clay and Paper Theatre to offer an exciting mask and puppet-making workshop program for youth from the Success Beyond Limits program. Working alongside veteran puppet maker, playwright, and Artistic Director David Anderson and performance artist Anna Sapershteyn, youth worked with clay, papier maché, and fabric to collectively create a large-scale lion lolli-puppet and a series of masks. The lion lolli-puppet was showcased before an audience of Jane-Finch community members on May 29 when students from various schools in the neighbourhood came together to celebrate Toronto’s role as upcoming host of the 2015 Pan Am Games.

On May 28, Success Beyond Limits members (and artists from the AGYU’s recent CIA project) Kareem Bennett, Destiny Henry, and Moose participated in a panel entitled “Decolonizing and Reinhabiting Places of Learning in Toronto’s Jane-Finch Community” hosted by the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) at Brock University. Their presentation, which explored the mission and achievements of Success Beyond Limits, featured their compelling site-specific video poems and works on paper produced during the course of If We Ruled the World, a multidisciplinary art program organized by the AGYU and shown at the gallery during winter 2014.

This fall AGYU begins ReverbORATION, an exciting new spoken word poetry program for youth across the city of Toronto. Led by a dynamic team of accomplished spoken word poets including Britta Badour, Jordon Veira, and David Delisca along with the support of talented emerging spoken word artists Ray Abergas, Jacob Agustin, Nadia Adow, Aliyah-Suviana, Destiny Henry, and Moose, this innovative program will create a constellation of vibrant spoken word poetry hubs in Malvern, Regent Park, and Jane-Finch. In addition to teaching spoken word poetry workshops to youth, our junior artists will perform as orators in Marlon Griffith’s large-scale procession in August 2015. Stay tuned for poetry slams in Malvern, Regent Park, and Jane-Finch showcasing the up-and-coming stars of spoken word poetry from these neighbourhoods. We are grateful to our collaborators including the Malvern Spot, COBA (Collective of Black Artists), and Success Beyond Limits for generously hosting our ReverbORATION workshops.

PUBLICATIONS

Making the rounds of bookstores and bookshelves near you is our latest publication, Raqs Media Collective: Casebook. Covering the work of Raqs from 2002 – 2012, it includes not one, not two, but fourteen essays. Oh, and lots and lots of reproductions and texts from Raqs themselves. Designed by Lisa Kiss, and available for only $30!

296 glorious full-colour pages, 214 reproductions, 6.25 x 9.25 inches, smyth sewn softcover.

Coming soon, books on the work of Anitra Hamilton and Sara Angelucci. Stay tuned to our website for details over the fall.

AGYU SUMMER RESIDENCY

Marlon Griffith

From June 9 – July 9, Trinidadian-born, Japan-based artist Marlon Griffith was in Toronto working on his AGYU-commissioned, large-scale, collaborative public street procession that will be staged at the Parapan Am Games next summer. During his residency, Marlon met with a host of individuals including capoeira masters, fabricators, mixed-ability dancers and choreographers, spoken word poets from Malvern, Jane-Finch, and Regent Park, community activists in disability performance, and grass-roots organizations such as TETRA and Accessibility, Community, and Equity (ACE), as well as visited our friends the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Marlon also conducted mask-making workshops at various Toronto-based organizations including: Sketch, ArtStarts, and Jane-Finch Community and Family Centre as well as at various Toronto Community Housing complexes throughout the GTA as he set out to establish the sites for his “mas camps” next year. In addition to this, he ran his own studio as part of Drake Lab and created work in conjunction with Nuit Rose at The Drake Hotel. Special thank you to all the amazing people and organizations who are collaborating with us on this project and who helped make Marlon’s residency a success—with a loud and clear shout-out to The Drake Hotel for their generosity in donating Marlon’s summer 2014 open studio and to Strathcona Paper LP for the generous donation of paper board for the mask-making workshops. We will continue to gather amazing people around this enormous project as it develops over the next year. Stay tuned! Marlon will be here again in November 2014, March 2015, then again from May – August 2015! The Griffith residencies (2014 – 15), public procession (summer 2015), and upcoming exhibition (fall 2015) is curated by Assistant Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur.

HEY, DID YOU KNOW?

The AGYU has been shortlisted for the 2014 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. The final awards ceremony will be held the night before our fall opening reception!