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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.

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.

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.

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.

Hay in a Haystack :: Du foin dans une meule de foin
crafty excerpts from Artexte’s collection :: extraits artisanaux de la collection d’Artexte
A limited-edition bookwork based on my 2012-2013 research residency at Artexte, available for consultation on-site at Artexte.
A small print-on-demand publication that includes a sampling of the excerpts in the bookwork is also available for purchase.

(La version française suit)

strata; transparencies; bonding; bound and buried cores; nervous energy, work energy, calm; body containing, body projecting; logical secrets; fragments meeting on a grid; progressive processes; repetition of gesture, of form, of line, of activity, of action; repetition in time and as time; serial rhythms flexed and measured; motion, muscle, touch; fetishes dissected and respected; abstract ritual; taut/loose, tension/freedom, part/whole, microcosm, macrocosm, distance/intimacy, interior/exterior; structure stretched, geometry thwarted into growth, memory compacted into layers, indoors outdoors, outdoors indoors; empty centers, open spaces; animal, vegetable, mineral, flesh.

Lucy Lippard, catalogue for Strata, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1977

Central to my research over the past few years has been the issue of how craft is perceived or represented. Rather than being a question of definition (what is craft?), this is a question about how craft or a crafted aesthetic is used to represent certain values or affiliations (more like why craft?). In particular, this line of inquiry has focused on the ways that craft, from its position on the margins of traditional art historical discourse, has often been used as a means to signal an affiliation with alternative lifestyles or politicized art practices.

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

nburisch_skillshare_promo3

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

(le français suit)

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?

The results of this research have been gathered together in a new publication: a limited edition bookwork that is half database and half zine. Produced through the repetitive acts of photocopying and (re)arranging, the publication traces the presence of craft in Artexte’s collection, while leaving room for gaps, contradictions, and future additions. Selected craft-based materials and items from the collection will also be on hand for consultation and discussion.

4:00-5:00 Lecture by Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch: From Craftivism to Craftwashing: consuming and co-opting the politics of craft
Craft has frequently been positioned as both a fix and foil for the ills of capitalism and alienating conditions of industrialization. The last decade is no exception, as a recent resurgence of hand-making in the fields of popular culture, design, and art, and the related practices of Craftivism, DIY, urban homesteading, and back-to-the-land, have been dubbed by some as a “craft revolution.” However, this fascination with all things handmade places emphasis on a romanticized notion of crafting (and often textiles in particular) as simple, fulfilling, and politically significant work. These assumptions about the status of craft operate in what is often a false opposition to mass production, consumer culture, and an increasingly technologized world.

In the almost-decade since the word “craftivism” has been used to describe the blending of craft and activism, a number of forces have complicated this relatively emergent dialogue and set of practices. We investigate how the particular qualities of craft have been conflated with notions of authenticity, individuality, and radical politics, and what this might mean in regards to changing notions of activism. If “greenwashing” refers to the use of branding to make a product seem eco-friendly while concealing its negative impacts, we introduce the term “craftwashing” to refer to instances where craft is used to market and perform political and social engagement while obscuring similarly sticky ethical, environmental, and economic impacts of global production and consumption.

-5:00-7:00pm: Book launch for Hay in a Haystack

This event is presented as part of The Deskilling/Reskilling of Artistic Production research-workshop and lecture series held at Concordia University, organized by the FoFA Gallery, and the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Heartfelt thanks to Sylvie Gilbert, John Latour, Felicity Talyer, karen elaine spencer, Eduardo Ralickas, Julie Fournier Lévesque, Éric Legendre, Sarah Watson, Jo-­Anne Balcaen, Anthea Black, Mikhel Proulx, Olya Zarapina. I am also grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of the research phase of this project.

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14 h 30 : Visite de la collection d’Artexte et présentation de livres et de documents sélectionnés par Nicole Burisch

Chercheur en résidence à Artexte en 2012-2013, Nicole Burisch a enquêté sur la présence et le positionnement de l’artisanat au sein de la collection d’Artexte.  Sous une notion élargie de l’artisanat, Burisch a réuni un ensemble d’objets et d’articles qui, à la fois, soulèvent et répondent aux questions suivantes : comment voit-on certains aspects de l’artisanat dans d’autres domaines artistiques ? Quelles qualités ou connaissances artisanales sont utiles pour communiquer certaines valeurs ou idées ? Comment cela a-t-il changé par rapport aux autres moments ou mouvements de l’histoire de l’art ?

Le résultat de cette recherche est rassemblé dans une nouvelle publication : l’édition limitée d’un livre d’artiste sous la forme hybride d’une base de données et d’un zine. En utilisant le processus répétitif du photocopieur et du réarrangement, cette publication trace la présence de l’artisanat dans la collection d’Artexte, tout en laissant la place aux lacunes, aux contradictions et aux ajouts futurs. Le lancement officiel de cette nouvelle publication aura lieu à 17h, après la conférence.

16 h à 17 h : Conférence d’Anthea Black et Nicole Burisch : From Craftivism to Craftwashing : consuming and co-opting the politics of craft

Dans la quasi décennie faisant suite à l’apparition du mot « craftivism » pour décrire la fusion de l’artisanat et de l’activisme, plusieurs forces ont brouillé ce dialogue alors émergent et l’ensemble de ses pratiques associées. Burisch et Black examinent comment les qualités particulières de l’artisanat ont été confondues avec la notion d’authenticité, de l’individualité et la politique et ce que cela signifie en regard de l’évolution de la notion de militantisme. Si l’écoblanchiment (greenwashing) fait référence à l’utilisation de la marque pour donner une image écologique responsable à un produit – tout en dissimulant ses impacts négatifs – est introduit ici le terme « craftwashing » pour désigner des cas où l’artisanat est utilisé pour commercialiser et effectuer l’engagement politique et social, tout en masquant les impacts éthiques, environnementaux et économiques de la production et de la consommation globale.

Cette conférence est présentée dans le cadre de l’événement The Deskilling/Reskilling of Artistic Production (la déqualification et la requalification de la production artistique), un atelier de recherche qui aura lieu à l’Université Concordia le 14 novembre, organisé par la Galerie FoFA et la Faculté des Beaux-Arts.

Merci à: Sylvie Gilbert, John Latour, Felicity Talyer, karen elaine spencer, Eduardo Ralickas, Julie Fournier Lévesque, Éric Legendre, Sarah Watson, Jo-­Anne Balcaen, Anthea Black, Mikhel Proulx, Olya Zarapina et au Conseil des arts du Canada pour leur soutien de ce projet.

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.