Archive

Talking

A recurring series of informal discussions featuring NGC curators and invited guests, Thursdays at 3 pm in English and 1 pm in French. For the complete archive, please visit the NGC’s Instagram.

Nicole Burisch, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, chats with Caroline Monnet @coco.monnet, an Algonquin-French multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec, and a 2020 Sobey Art Award longlisted artist, whose work was featured in the #Àbadakone🔥 exhibition.
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The Textile Museum of Canada virtually hosted Nicole Burisch, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, Sarah Quinton, Senior Curator at the Textile Museum of Canada and artist Anna Torma, whose solo exhibition Permanent Danger is on view at the Textile Museum of Canada until March 20, 2021.

About the panelists:
Anna Torma has been producing large-scale hand embroidered wall hangings and collages since graduating with a degree in Textile Art and Design from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts, Budapest, in 1979. She immigrated to Canada in 1988 and now lives in Baie Verte, New Brunswick. Torma is the recipient of the 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts – Saidye Bronfman Award, and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She is also a recipient of the New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for High Achievement in Visual Arts, and the Strathbutler Award from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation.

Sarah Quinton is the Curatorial Director of the Textile Museum of Canada and is curator of Permanent Danger. Her curatorial practice focuses on intersections between contemporary textiles and sculpture, photography, design, and site-specific installations.

The relationship between arts economies and austerity is a tumultuous one. We need only recall Stephen Harper’s sneering 2008 categorization of artists as rich complainers as evidence of the persistent myths that are used to devalue artistic work as “non-essential” during times of economic crisis. And yet, while the global commercial art market continues to experience steady growth and record-breaking auction sales, this profit-oriented circuit is neither possible nor desirable for many artists. Given the rich history of art works that engage with economic exchange–from artists’ storefronts and corporations to drop-out culture and performative actions of refusal–we are interested in considering the ways in which artists negotiate and respond to the simultaneous devaluation of artistic work, and increasing pressures on artists, cultural workers, and funding agencies to behave as financial speculators. In a climate of austerity budgets and precarious labour, we ask: how do artists, cultural workers, and institutions adapt and situate themselves? What kinds of identities–within cultural work and more broadly–are produced by capitalist accelerationism? On October 24 2014, as part of the UAAC conference held at OCADU in Toronto, I co-chaired a panel with Anthea Black on Performing Austerity: Artists, Work, and Economic Speculation. The panel included papers by Shannon Stratton, Michael Maranda, and Kirsty Robertson. To introduce the panel and frame some of the issues presented in the papers, we also drafted a letter to the UAAC community. What follows is a working draft of that letter that we are inviting our colleagues to read, sign, and comment on.

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All images courtesy of the artists.I am part of a group exhibition of Alberta College of Art + Design alumni along with Ward Bastian, Jolie Bird, Hyang Cho, Dean Drever, MacKenzie Kelly-Frère, Stephen Holman, Robin Lambert, Wednesday Lupypciw, Brendan McGillicuddy, Tyler Rock, Jenna Stanton, and Pavitra Wickramasinghe. The exhibition is called In the Making and it is up from January 16 to February 22, 2014 at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary.

Curated by Diana Sherlock, the exhibition investigates conceptual intersections between contemporary craft and emerging digital media. The works span a diverse range of disciplines—photography, performance, video and sound installation, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and glass—and reflect the ongoing influence of technology on ways of making and ways of thinking about the contemporary context.

My role in the exhibition is as that of animator or researcher: rather than reviewing it from a distance or writing an essay without seeing the work, I’m doing on-site research and get to be implicated in a more direct way with the exhibition, artists, curator, and community. I was in Calgary from January 18-25 to meet with the other exhibiting artists, conduct interviews, do visits, and present some of my recent research. I will share more information here as the project develops.

Image credits: L to R, T to B: Pavitra Wickramasinghe, Jenna Stanton, Hyang Cho, Wednesday Lupypciw, Jolie Bird, Brendan McGillicuddy, Ward Bastian, Dean Drever, MacKenzie Kelly-Frère, Stephen Holman, Robin Lambert, Tyler Rock.

 

subversive-stitch

The Subversive Stitch Revisited: The Politics of Cloth will explore the legacy of Rozsika Parker’s groundbreaking book, The Subversive Stitch: embroidery and the making of the feminine (1984) and two landmark exhibitions from 1988 that developed Parker’s ideas. It will consist of a two day event held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and an online resource that will include documentation of the event.

Anthea and I presented our paper “From Craftivism to Craftwashing: consuming and co-opting the politics of craft” on Saturday November 30th at 2pm as part of the session The Activists’ Stitch: from Craftivism to ‘Craftwashing’.

Full event info here, and on Twitter. Podcast version of our talk available here.

SKILLSHARE
A day of craft research and discussion at Artexte
Une journée de réflexion sur l’artisanat à Artexte

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November 16, 2013, 2:30-7PM // Le 16 novembre 2013, de 14 h 30 Ă  19 h

2:30-3:30pm: Tour of the Artexte collection and presentation of selected materials and items
A guided tour of the Artexte collection and facilities, followed by a presentation on Nicole Burisch’s research at Artexte.

As 2012-2013 researcher in residence, Nicole Burisch has been investigating the presence and position of craft within Artexte’s collection. Recent developments in craft theory have been marked by a shift away from traditional definitions of craft as necessarily linked to specific materials (such as ceramics, textiles, or glass). Burisch’s research at Artexte builds upon this stance to look at how craft’s qualities appear throughout the collection – resulting in an intuitive and highly personal search for representations of materiality, handwork, labour, skill, process, texture, tactility, pattern, function, rural and “folk” cultures. Using this broader view on where craft might be located, Burisch has gathered a selection of items and excerpts from the collection that together raise and respond to the following questions: How are aspects of craft positioned or deployed within other fields? Which of craft’s qualities or knowledges are useful in communicating certain values or ideas? How has this shifted in relation to other art historical moments or movements?

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header_aHandmade

I’m headed to Sackville, NB from the 24th to the 27th of October to participate in A Handmade Assembly. I’ll be moderating the opening round table at 7:30pm on the 24th (with Ryan Statz, Allyson Mitchell, and Paula Jean Cowan) and giving an artist talk at 11am on the 25th.

Organized by Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre with the Owens Art Gallery and Thunder & Lightning Ltd, A Handmade Assembly invites artists, curators and others from the region and away to lead discussions, facilitate workshops, initiate projects, open exhibitions, and share in a common thread, the handmade.

More information and a complete schedule at handmadeassembly.com, Preview in the Sackville Tribune Post.

The Tory Burch FEED bag, one of the examples we address in our text.

Anthea and I have been busy working on a new body of research into the use of craft and crafted aesthetics as a form of political expression and identity construction. We recently presented a paper entitled, “Performing Austerity: Political Identities and the Co-option of the Crafted Aesthetic” at the Textile Society of America Symposium in Washington, DC. The theme of the Symposium was “Textiles and Politics” and we got to present as part of the fantastic Material Matters panel organized by Lisa Vinebaum, Ruth Scheuing, and Ingrid Bachmann.

The abstract of the paper is posted below, and there are more links, examples, and excerpts on the Performed Austerity website.

Craft has been positioned as both a fix and foil for the ills of capitalism and alienating conditions of industrialization, and the current moment, dubbed by some as a “craft revolution,” often romanticizes craft as simple, fulfilling, authentic, and politically significant work. This paper explores the use of crafted aesthetics in both consumption and anti-consumption models of social/political engagement to conspicuously perform values of personal agency, and social responsibility, as expressions of (life)style in an economic climate obsessed with austerity. We introduce the term “craftwashing” to refer to instances where craft is used to market fashionable goods whose desirability often obscures the sticky ethical, environmental, and economic questions around their production.