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IOKMO_bookcoverThis publication gathers together traces from the first iteration of this exhibition, which took place in Houston in the spring of 2016. It is intended to offer a bridge between that exhibition, and the one at Optica in the spring of 2017.

Cette publication réunit des traces de la première itération de l’exposition, qui s’est tenue à Houston (É-U) au printemps 2016. La publication se veut un pont entre cette première itération et celle qui a lieu à Optica au printemps 2017.

For hard copies, please contact nicoleburisch(at)gmail(dot)com.
PDF copy available to download here.

**UPDATE – February 12, 2018 – Thanks to everyone who has shared and commented on this letter. Please feel free to use, adapt, circulate. I am also open to feedback on how to improve/strengthen the wording. This letter was informed by ongoing conversations I’ve been having about artistic/academic labour with other cultural workers, so please check out the links to see some of the sources. There are lots of groups out there working on these issues already, and I’m pasting a list below that’s adapted from an earlier project. **

Dear________,

Thank you for thinking of me and extending the invitation to contribute to your project.

Perhaps you are already familiar with the ongoing conversations around precarious labour in both academic and artistic fields, but this is an issue that is very dear to my heart and I made a choice a while ago to not work for free. I’m a bit surprised that a ____________ focused on ______________ would be continuing to perpetuate the idea that working for ‘exposure’ is fair compensation.

Writing, research, editing, _______, ________, and administrating are all WORK. In Canada, we have an organization called CARFAC that sets minimum fees for any kind of artistic work, and in the U.S., W.A.G.E has been advocating for similar practices in museums and institutions there.

Those of us working in the field of  _________________ are also affected by the pressures of economic precarity and the undervaluing of our work, whether working in academia, for institutions, or as independent producers. When we work for free, we perpetuate the idea that our labour is not ‘real work’ and reinforce the conditions where only those who can afford to work for free are able to continue. It should go without saying that these labour conditions disproportionately affect women, people of colour, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ folks.

Perhaps these are issues that you might also consider addressing in your __________.

Best of luck with your project,

 

 


See also:

Carrot Workers
Precarious Workers Brigade
Republicart
FUSE
Should I Work For Free
Hyperallergic
Sarah Wookey’s letter
Broken City Lab
Ragpickers
BFAMFAPHD
Who Pays Artists, Bad At Sports
Standard Deviation
Art Work

 

desire_change
Since 2013, I have been working as Managing Editor on a new publication on contemporary feminist art in Canada, commissioned by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), and edited by Heather Davis.

In the resistance to the violence of gender-based oppression, vibrant – but often ignored – worlds have emerged, full of nuance, humour, and beauty. Correcting an absence of writing about contemporary feminist work by Canadian artists, Desire Change considers the resurgence of feminist art, thought, and practice in the past decade by examining artworks that respond to themes of diversity and desire.

Essays by historians, artists, and curators present an overview of a range of artistic practices including performance, installation, video, textiles, and photography. Contributors address the desire for change through three central frames: how feminist art has significantly contributed to the complex understanding of gender as it intersects with sexuality and race; the necessary critique of patriarchy and institutions as they relate to colonization within the Canadian national-state; and the ways in which contemporary critiques are formed and expressed. The resulting collection addresses art through an activist lens to examine intersectional feminism, decolonization, and feminist institution building in a Canadian context.

Heavily illustrated with representative works, Desire Change raises both the stakes and the concerns of contemporary feminist art, with an understanding that feminism is always and necessarily plural.

Contributors include Janice Anderson (Concordia University), Gina Badger (artist, writer, editor, Toronto), Amber Christensen (curator and writer, Toronto), Karin Cope (NSCAD), Lauren Fournier (artist, writer, and curator, York University), Amy Fung (curator and writer, Toronto), Kristina Huneault (Concordia University), Alice Ming Wai Jim (Concordia University), Tanya Lukin Linklater (artist, North Bay), Sheila Petty (University of Regina), Kathleen Ritter (curator and writer, Vancouver), Daniella Sanader (curator and writer, Toronto), Thérèse St. Gelais (UQAM), cheyanne turions (curator and writer, Toronto), Ellyn Walker (Queen’s University), Jayne Wark (NSCAD) and Jenny Western (curator and writer, Winnipeg).

Copublished by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and McGill Queen’s University Press.

The second iteration of I’ve Only Known My Own was presented at Optica in Montreal, from April 21 to June 10, 2017. This group exhibition of performance-based work explores how the materiality of the body is represented through measurements, process, and documentation.

First realised in Houston in the spring of 2016, artists Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Ursula Johnson, Autumn Knight, and Michelle Lacombe were invited to revisit, re-perform, or reinterpret their earlier performances for the second iteration at Optica and to bring forward traces or echoes from the first exhibition. Writer Mikhel Proulx was invited to witness and respond to the performances in Houston, and his first-person account is included in the accompanying publication as another trace. In both iterations, the exhibition evolved over the course of its run, with objects, props, and actions set in motion during the presentation of each of the four works. The exhibition’s title (adapted from the title of Lacombe’s project) evokes the notion of knowledge that derives from a body, and is specific to a particular body; it is intended as a poetic echo of the themes in these works. The title also speaks to the gap between an individual experience of a performance and the traces that (might) be known or circulated afterwards. Together, the artists presented for this exhibition offer multiple positions from which to approach these ideas, and they open new avenues for considering the materiality and presence of the body within performance.

For complete descriptions:
-download the press release
-télécharger le communiqué de presse

All photos above by Paul Litherland.

Invited contribution for Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture (Taylor and Francis) special issue on “Crafting Community” edited by Kirsty Robertson and Lisa Vinebaum.

Abstract
Traditional craft practice has long emphasized features of function and materiality, with the useful and skillfully produced object at the center of the way craft is read and understood. However, a number of recent exhibitions and artworks have included not just objects, but also craft set in motion through participatory projects or performances. Correspondingly, the crafted object has undergone a shift in its once-central role, serving instead as a record of an event or process, a prop or tool, and in some cases disappearing altogether. Through a consideration of select projects and curatorial strategies from Common Threads at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary, AB (2008), and Gestures of Resistance at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR (2010), this article argues that it is necessary to consider how the histories and theories of performance art are intersecting with contemporary craft practices, with a particular focus on the role of documentation and ephemeral traces.

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Instant Coffee, Bass Benches. Common Threads, curated by Lee Plested at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, AB. November 22, 2007 to January 5, 2008. Photo courtesy of Illingworth Kerr Gallery.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Ursula Johnson, Autumn Knight,
Michelle Lacombe, and Mikhel Proulx

Wednesday March 30 – Saturday April 24, 2016
She Works Flexible: Flex Space 2608 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006
Opening Reception: Saturday April 2nd, 7-9pm

I’ve Only Known My Own is a group exhibition of new performance works that explore how the materiality of the body is translated or communicated through measurements, process, technology, and documentation. This exhibition looks at how the matter of the body might become a tool or force that generates or expresses its own (il/logical) systems, and thinks through how this material embodiment might function as a form of resistance. Rather than presenting a fixed set of works, the exhibition will evolve over the course of its three-week run, with objects, props, and works being set in motion during the presentation of each of the 4 performances. Inhabiting the quasi-domestic architecture of the gallery, the artists will work within the rooms of She Works Flexible’s Flex Space, gradually interacting with the space and leaving traces behind.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget‘s (Montreal, QC) ongoing series One on one’s for so-called fans involves private performances that are then translated through oral accounts and performative re-tellings, highlighting the role of documentation and technology in mediating access to her performing body. Ursula Johnson (Dartmouth, NS) will present a new work that continues her investigations into the ways that indigenous cultural practices such as basket-weaving or leather tanning are now transmitted from body to body, and place to place. Autumn Knight‘s (Houston, TX) new performance Documents will compile a reading of the documentation that serves to legitimize (American) citizenship, while holding space for the embodied specificities of race, class, and gender to contest whether these documents accurately reflect the bodies they are meant to represent. Michelle Lacombe (Montreal, QC) will present excerpts from her project Of All the Watery Bodies, I Only Know My Own, where she used a monthly measurement of the volume of blood in her body to determine the placement of a tattooed water line around her calves. Mikhel Proulx (Montreal, QC), a scholar who has written about the ways in which queer bodies are (re)presented in online spaces and through self-imaging practices such as web-camming and selfies, will be on site to research a text that will be published following the close of the exhibition.

SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES
Ursula Johnson – Saturday April 2nd, starting at 2pm
Michelle Lacombe – Thursday April 7, sunset (approx. 7:45pm) – 9pm
Autumn Knight – Friday April 8th, 8pm-9pm
Nadège Grebmeier Forget – Saturday April 9th, 3:30pm

I’ve Only Known My Own was presented by the Core Residency Program, Glassell School of Art in partnership with Dan Fergus, Brasil Café, and She Works Flexible. Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s project has also received support through Diagonale’s La Soupée event, and Michelle Lacombe would like to thank Centre Sagamie for supporting the production of her images. Sincere thanks to all those who have offered advice and support along the way: Anthea Black, Andy Campbell, Rachel Cook, Joshua Cordova, Lily Cox-Richard, Danielle Dean, Dean Daderko, Taraneh Fazeli, Peter Gershon, Joe Havel, Collin Hedrick, Kerry Inman, Mary Leclère, Val Mayes, Lynne McCabe, Michael Murland, and Olya Zarapina.

SWF_Bold Logo              logo_diagonale

LazyLady_web

The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society (LIDS) was founded in 2006 as a closely-knit affiliation of then-unemployed cultural workers, not working, but still bustin’ ass within Alberta artist-run culture. Their activities made visible and politicized women’s roles in the arts economy through tactical laziness, crafty collaboration, over-performance, and wild hilarity. They announced their intentions to DO LESS in a series of works produced between 2012 and 2014, and to completely withdraw from art-making at the Calgary Biennial 2015. After a decade of non-activity, they officially called in quits in 2016. LIDS was Anthea BlackNicole Burisch, and Wednesday Lupypciw.

An archive of projects can be found on the LIDS site.