Fall 2010 Newsletter
Out There, Hardcore
15 September – 5 December 2010
Opening Reception and Performance by Terrance Houle: Wednesday, September 15, 6 – 9 pm
Give’r: (verb) Canadian, particular to rural areas especially in the western provinces, meaning:
1. to work very hard.
2. to get wasted and rock as hard as possible.
3. to finish a job or task in an efficient and quick manner.
AGYU is givn’r this fall with a rockin’ survey of the past five years of work in film, video, performance, and photography by Calgary artist Terrance Houle. The exhibition also includes a recent installation inspired by his father’s experiences. Houle’s father spent the first part of his life on the Sandy Bay Reservation, Manitoba. Attending Residential School during the day, Vern Houle spent the rest of his time learning the traditions of the Salteaux (Ojibway) First Nations People. Joining the Canadian Armed Forces at a time when Aboriginal men were not predominant in the service, he travelled across Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, writing to his mother weekly. Offering insight into a young Native man’s journey and relationship with his Ojibway mother, this work speaks of home, connection, place, and time.
While the main works in the exhibition reflect the humour and DIY approach to art making that Houle is most known for (Urban Indian Series, Pitchin’ Tipis, Landscape, The Wagon Burner, for example), the recent installation points to a new direction for the artist’s work that highlights the specific ceremonies, traditions, and historical events of First Nations People in Canada such as Indian Leg Wrestling, Indian Sign Language, and All for You, a project made in collaboration with First Nations people who grew up with the effects of the Residential School System. Houle’s works continue to engage his Aboriginal and non-aboriginal viewers in accessible and participatory ways, allowing them, in the words of the artist, “to let go and say what they want — like good punk rock!”
Terrance Houle’s examinations of cultural identity, alienation, assimilation, and Hollywood stereotypes are intended to provoke. Houle’s extensive body of work ranges from painting to drawing, video/ﬁlm, mixed media, new media, performance, and installation — often utilizing tools of mass dissemination such as billboards and vinyl bus signage.
The exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University features a specifically commissioned performance in conjunction with the exhibition opening. An exhibition catalogue, the first on the artist, will also be launched during the exhibition. The publication is co-produced and -published by the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, and Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, and features essays by Emelie Chhangur, William Richard Hill, and Anthony Kiendl.
Houle’s artwork has been shown across Canada, the USA, Europe, and in Australia. His short video and film works have been shown internationally, winning Best Experimental Film at Toronto’s 2004 ImagineNATIVE Film Festival, and screening in New York City at the 2006 Native American Film Festival, Museum of American Indian. In 2006, Terrance was awarded the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award at the City of Calgary Mayor’s Luncheon.
Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has traveled to reservations across North America, participating in Powwow dancing and other Native ceremonies. He lives and maintains his art practice and Aboriginal Youth Mentorship in Calgary, Canada.
Exhibition and tour organized by
Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg
Curated by Anthony Kiendl
Get on the Performance Bus!
There’s only two words to describe this Performance Bus, departing from OCAD at 6 pm sharp en route to the AGYU’s opening of Terrance Houle’s GIVN’R: Darren O’Donnell. The free Performance Bus returns downtown at 9 pm. Get yer cowboy hats on ’cause the ride is going to be so Darren O’Donnell, which means you gotta give’r and get involved!
Darren O’Donnell is a writer, director, social acupuncturist, designer, and Artistic Director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. He once said, “there is the need for an understanding of art that goes not only beyond pleasant aesthetics, but beyond even typical ideas of creativity and imagination, direct engaging with the civic sphere; an aesthetic that can work directly with the institutions of civil society — an aesthetic of civic engagement. An aesthetic that says: Okay, so you want to make culture and creativity a central part of civic life? Fine. Then, as an artist, I want in on the institutions that form — at ground level — the fabric of the city. I want to use these as material in my art practice.”
We like that very much. AGYU thanks you, Darren, for being out there.
AGYU Vitrines – Julie Moon
Take the pilgrimage to AGYU this fall. Three beautiful shrines will be built in the AGYU vitrines featuring the bad girl of ceramics, Julie Moon. This newly-commissioned work will transform the niches into devotional altars to contemporary craft.
Moon’s work grabbed the attention of art and design circles locally and nationally for using the traditional craft medium to sculpt seductively whimsical and edgy monstrous forms. A recent graduate from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Moon has shown at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts, the Design Exchange, and has an upcoming exhibition at the Pittsburgh Society for Contemporary Craft, DIY: A Revolution in Handicraft.
Humberto Vélez Residency
8 August – 17 September 2010
Humberto Vélez’s (b. Panama, 1965) art, in essence, actively explores the possibilities of working in collaboration with diverse groups (artists and handcrafters, special communities, athletes, musicians) brought together especially for each project. For his Toronto project, Vélez—in collaboration with Philip Cote and Rebecca Baird, members of the Tecumseh First Nations Community Organization and Aboriginal/non-aboriginal youth, Toronto’s Urban Runners, and the Toronto Sport Council—will create a large-scale public performance produced by the Art Gallery of York University and curated by Emelie Chhangur and Elizabeth Matheson. Vélez’s projects are conceived from what he calls “the ability to create esthetics” through the collaborative action of groups who—according to their different lifestyles—thereby manage different expressions of popular culture, power, and ethics.
Initiated through a residency in 2009 and 2010 at AGYU, The Spirit is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary project, which will be, in the words of the artists involved, an “art ceremony”—one that talks respectfully about Canada and its inhabitants from past to present through the philosophies of the First Nations peoples, but in a new form. Diverse perspectives meld, potentially finding different ways to relate through art to everyday life, by means of collaboration on a single public performance, which involves choreographed dance, music, processions, and a culminating ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2011.
This project defines new territories for the active involvement of youth, promotes social inclusion, celebrates First Nations perspectives, and creates alternate experiential real-time relationships within the existing built environment of the City of Toronto.
Manchester-based artist Len Grant, who will document the process of collaboration and produce new works intended for exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University in May 2011, will join Vélez in this year’s residency. The exhibition will take place in conjunction with the public performance, which will take place downtown Toronto.
Len Grant is a freelance photographer and writer based in Manchester. Since 1990, urban regeneration has been a major theme in his work including the documentation of a significant regeneration program in Manchester and the rejuvenation of east Manchester, an area of significant physical and social deprivation now subject to an extensive program of renewal. Since 2007, Grant has been working as a curator on the British Council’s OPENCities project. This international project explores how immigration can significantly contribute to city success.
Terrance Houle: Indian Leg Wrestling
Are you ready to rumble? York University students, artists, and martial art enthusiasts joined Terrance Houle on July 7th at the Tait Mackenzie Fitness Centre to learn about the combative test of strength that is Indian Leg Wrestling (ILW). Houle, along with group fitness instructor and personal trainer Sarah Kurchak, taught participants the techniques of ILW. His training program included strength, flexibility, and stamina building exercises so that participants were able to quickly master the sport technically while learning its rich cultural history. The workshop concluded with a right and left leg round robin tournament.
AGYU’s ILW clinic served as a research endeavour in preparation for Houle’s upcoming exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery where he will be hosting the first ILW tournament.
From 6 September to 24 October, artist Atanas Bozdarov brings a little sophistication to the Audio Out series as he takes us from Punk Rock to Classical. Whether it’s distilling passages of Nietzsche into a musical score or finding rhythm in Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne’s [chess] “Game of the Century,” The Rebirth of Tragedy features four works developed using various procedures to extract and assign musical notes from non-musical sources. All the compositions were translated and played on double bass by Stephen Kreuger.
Atanas Bozdarov is an artist and designer. He has exhibited his work at the Art Gallery of Peel, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, AGYU, Blackwood Gallery, XPACE, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Whitney Gallery, and as part of Wade a series of interventions co-presented by YYZ Artists’ Outlet. He was also co-curator, with Tejpal S. Ajji, of the exhibition Heritage Complex at the Art Gallery of Peel.
Book Launch – São Paulo!
AGYU celebrates its newest publication with its launch in São Paulo on September 20th at Galeria Vermelho in conjunction with the 29th São Paulo Biennial! Beautifully designed by Lisa Kiss, no. it is opposition. documents Carla Zaccagnini’s 2008 exhibition and features texts by curator Emelie Chhangur and artist Carla Zaccagnini. While the exhibition was all about doubles, the book launch is a threesome, with artist, curator, and designer there to sign books! During the book launch, Procedures Performed/Auto-Pilot, the AGYU commissioned work for the exhibition, will be projected on the exterior of Galeria Vermelho while we enjoy caprihina’s in the sun. Later, the book launch will turn into the opening party for the Bienale so by sunrise on the 21st, we will still be drinking caprihinas…
Fall Contemporary Art Bus
On Sunday, 17 October, join us at the Art Gallery of York University for a guided tour of the Terrance Houle’s GIVN’R. The free bus will depart from OCAD (100 McCaul St) at noon and departs to the AGYU, Blackwood Gallery, Koffler, and Doris McCarthy Gallery, returning to OCAD at 5:00 pm. Seating is limited. To reserve please contact Julie Zalucky at 905-828-3789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AGYU @ Art Toronto
28 October – 1 November 2010
The Art Gallery of York University participates in this year’s Art Toronto with Colombian artist and DJ Mateo Rivano. The project builds upon the AGYU’s presentation of the artist at ArtBo 2009, South America’s premiere art fair in Bogotá. The AGYU will be collaborating with Mia Nielsen at the Drake Hotel to provide Rivano with a one-month residency where he will produce new work for Art Toronto as well as a specifically commissioned mural project and DJ set for The Drake Hotel. Join us for Art Toronto’s artist party in the Drake Underground on Saturday, October 30th and hear Rivano rock the house.
Mateo Rivano was born in Bogotá in 1978. In 2006, he obtained his degree in art, directing, and painting in the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence in Italy. He has participated in many collective and individual exhibitions, such as Cantos y otros amigos imaginarios, Galería de Arte de Cámara of the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, Salitre branch (2009), Crack, Art Biagotti, Florence (2008); Scope Basel, Art Basel (2008) 49 disegni, Redline Art Gallery, Florence (2007); Opere grafiche due strade a confronto, Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Florence (2007).
Studio Blog – Fiona Write visits Socalled.
Studio Blog has breached “les deux solitudes” of Canada and made its way to Montréal! For the Fall 2010 edition, York graduate student and AGYU’s summer curatorial intern Fiona Wright will be doing an exchange with Montréal-based musician, producer, composer, magician, filmmaker, and visual artist (the list goes on!) Josh Dolgin (aka Socalled) about his photography, drawings, and films. For the first time ever, Socalled will be talking about his artwork rather than his Klezmer-infused hip-hop music for which he has gained a cult-like status. Following Studio Blog’s mandate to develop new experiments in curatorial processes, this virtual collaboration will provide a new “stage” from which to develop his artistic practice. For Socalled, titles and labels are his medium and his genre-bending, mind-blowing collaborations are the result. He has worked with Klezmer clarinetists, rap artists, country singers, and funk legends…how will he react when confronted with a straight-laced Art History academic?
Pack your bags honey, we’re going on a trip! The Foreign Agent blog series is turning into a travelogue this year with diary entries from artists, writers, and curators on vacation around the world in cities that get overlooked by the popular contemporary art-going crowd. Playing the tourist with camera in hand this year, tune in to see what Jacob Korczynski is snapping in Korea and what Eshrat Erfanian is diggin’ up in Instanbul.
Student Video Screenings
Join us this November for a two-night screening and artist talk with a Toronto-based emerging video artist (TBD). Presented by the gallery’s curatorial interns Aysen Farag and Fiona Wright, this event will be held in conjunction with the AGYU’s fall exhibition, Terrance Houle: GIVN’R, and will take up the issue of performativity and how the body is conceptualized and experienced within the multiplicity of public and private spaces.
Winter 2011 Exhibitions:
CIA: Centre for Incidental Activisms
Ice Fishing at Gimli: AGYU @ The DepARTment
Spring 2011 Exhibition:
Humberto Vélez & Len Grant
Humberto Vélez Performance: Saturday May 14, 2010
Reports and Announcements:
Will Munro 1975 – 2010
Sometimes only in absence does the implicit heart of things reveal itself. Such is the case with the death of Will Munro witnessed in the tremendous outpouring of feeling and tribute to this artist, DJ, music promoter, activist, queer community catalyst—amongst his many roles and intersecting circles of influence. Not only was he at the centre of it all, he made room for others there, too.
The AGYU has had a long history with Will. He was an important part of the 2004 Sinbad in the Rented World exhibition with his delightfully perverse Pavilion of Virginia Puff-Paint crafted with Jeremy Laing. (A second, complementary Sinbad exhibition at Zsa Zsa downtown showed his Vazaleen posters.) Soon after, the AGYU hosted a night of Westside Stitches Couture Club, a group Will was integral to, which that night included a limp-wristed “hazing” for frosh. In 2006, the AGYU published the artists’ book and DVD Pavilion of Virginia Puff-Paint by Will and Jeremy. Will was also a member of the AGYU Advisory Committee and hosted our post-opening parties at The Beaver. Our association continues: The AGYU is preparing a Will Munro exhibition and publication for January 2012.
In the forests of the ancient world, the cry went up “Great Pan is dead.” Today, in Toronto, the cry is heard, “Poor Will, Great Will is dead.” Will Munro passed away May 21 after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Pride ’10 report:
AGYU came out for another year to announce that YORK UNIVERSITY IS SO GAY!
It’s been a banner year for AGYU so how better to show our true colours than with a banner! Multi-media artist, provocateur, drag queen, and writer, Andrew Harwood left nothing unsaid with his banner featured this year at York University’s Pride Toronto booth with the SexGen York Committee. At the booth, we also unveiled the newest addition to our coveted AGYU button collection. Designed by Ken Ogawa, the 2010 Pride button let everyone know who’s 100% Natural.
Allyson Mitchell’s Bus Nutz came along for the ride! Goddess by the Balls made a return appearance, this time attached to York University’s PRIDE float. We waved the AGYU flag high and danced our butts off during the Pride March with TBLGAY & the York Federation of Students (YFS), proudly celebrating the parade’s 30th anniversary.
Artists’ Book of the Moment (ABotM)
With over 120 submissions, the first ever AGYU Artists’ Book of the Moment award was a smashing success. The jury, consisting of Ann Dean, Art Metropole’s director, Joe Friday, Ottawa-based lawyer and collector, and Micah Lexier, Toronto-based artist, came up with a short-list of 31 books, and then chose the one book that rose to the ABotM … Rob Kovitz’s epic 8 volume Ice Fishing in Gimli. To Rob goes the $1,500 prize (and soon, we’ll be seeing more of the book at an off-site exhibition in February).
About that exhibition … it will also contain all the submissions to the second ABotM prize. Yes, we’re doing the prize again, so if you missed out on the last round, or if you’ve come up with a new magnum opus (or a parvum opus, we’re not sticklers) it is time to think of getting it into the second AGYU Artists’ Book of the Moment prize. Details available at http://www.theagyuisoutthere.org/books.
Showing those froshers the meaning of give’r, AGYU will be rocking out in a multi-disciplinary open jam session with actors, musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Coordinated by curatorial interns Diana Morales and Aysen Farag, the gallery will participate in SPARK! again this year with the Creative Art Student Association to welcome the First Year Fine Art Students with an improvisational street fair. Join us on September 9th.
Power Tool Drag Racing
AGYU… an institution that puts power tools in the hands of youth!
Buzzing along at 7500 rpm, the AGYU and youth from the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club stirred up some dust in the attempt to feather out the division between art and trades with serious abrasive power. This eight-week artist and trades professional led afterschool community arts program, designed by AGYU’s interim Education Assistant Steven Laurie, engaged twelve youth (10 – 14 years of age) from the Driftwood and Glen Ravine Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Clubs in a project called POWER TOOL DRAG RACING (PTDR).
Call it a sport or power tool ‘bad-assery,’ the objective was simple: develop modified amp-cranking drag racing machines from stock AC powered belt sanders and readily available building materials. Working with mottos: GO FAST and PRIDE IN YOUR RIDE, this program pushed the envelope of mechanical performance and custom accessories. Together with visual artists Michael Murphy and Brandon Vickerd, and trades professional Joey and Mike Fernandez, Colin Harry, Paul Horrigan, and Bill Thorne, Jane and Finch youth embarked upon a creative journey that examined the fundamentals of physics and the constructive aspects of pastime play…or should we say horseplay … on the process of learning.
Every Tuesday at 5:00 pm from April 13 to May 11, this new-found group of tool junkies would meet in the largest sculpture studio in Canada, York University Fine Arts Odette Sculpture Studio to tune up their skills and share ideas. Workshop sessions started with an artist and/or trades professional talk followed by a fifteen-minute tool and technical exercise. These seminars covered a range of professional tips and tricks including workshop and personal safety, proper tool handling procedures, hands-on nail and screw driving demonstrations, and get this…way cool DAREDEVILair brushing techniques! Divided into two teams led by Brandon and Michael these youth had six weeks to build from the ground up two power tool drag racers that would compete on May 25th on a fifty-foot slotted speedway in the York Gate Grand Prix. Coming down to the wire in the sixth week, the last scheduled workshop, the two teams, Robotic Swag and Team Supreme, put together two impressive machines.
The York Gate Grand Prix was held at the York Gate Mall in the northwest section of the parking lot. This was a scene of team spirit, mechanical prowess, and pit crew madness. Team Supreme endured a major engine overhaul! Robotic Swag had to overcome serious extension cord challenges! What a nail-biter! With over 200 audience members, this drag race event was totally and utterly electrifying! Fueling the buzz from sidelines Dan Lavranski, an MC also known as “The Mouth,” directed the play-by-play and audience’s attention down the fifty-foot slotted speedway. Like all good events the York Gate Grand Prix came with a few surprises for the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club. During intermission, the audience and participating youth became witnesses to a surprise race of the titans, a showdown between the metal workers and carpenters from York University Facilities. Showcasing highly tuned skill-sets and superfast modified angle grinders the YU Facilities crew left the PTDR youth and audience members awestruck. These machines literally chewed up the track!
When all the heats were raced and the dust had settled, the top spot for fastest dragster was shared by Robotic Swag and Team Supreme. Lifetime memberships to the Power Tool Drag Racing League were given out to the participating youth in the form of personalized wood plaques. The excitement at the York Gate Grand Prix was hard to measure, even with the largest of measuring tapes. Profiled in the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, and The North York Mirror, the youth from the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Clubs put Power Tool Drag Racing on the map and made it into a front-page spectacle.
Drawing from the action and sense of empowerment shared by the youth, a culminating PTDR Exhibition, hosted by Ms. Lube (Canada’s first all female mechanic shop) at the corner of College and Bathurst was installed a week later to further recognize the accomplishments made by the youth and fellow contributors.
On opening night the achievements of the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Clubs participants in the AGYU POWER TOOL DRAG RACING program were further celebrated by awarding the teams with 30” pennants to showcase at the Grandravine and Dirftwood Clubs. Bragging rights deserved!
Bridging the conceptual boundaries between art-making and trades-related practices, this hybrid installation became a hangout for car enthusiasts, visiting clients, and gallery goers. From out there to the downtown core, the AGYU’s POWER TOOL DRAG RACING community arts program had no boundaries.
Thanks to Art Gallery of York University, Canada Council for the Arts, York University Fine Arts Department, York University Facilities , Black Creek Capacity Building Committee, Ms.Lube by Mechanchik, Daredevil Kustoms, TD Engagement Center, and Promoting Economic Action and Community Health.
AGYU Writing award
Every year, the AGYU awards York students for the best writing on exhibitions at the AGYU. Daniel Schnee, a music student here at York, was one of the many who submitted to the 2009/10 competition. His review of Brendan Fernandes’ Relay League was by far the best of the bunch, and we’re pleased as punch to let y’all know that he won the award for last year. You can read his review on our website and, if you happen to be a York student this year, drop by the gallery and pick your show … you could be one of two talented writers that appear on our website next year. Did we mention there’s cash prizes? Look for the posters with all the deets around campus.
From: tazeen ahmed Date: March 22, 2010 5:38:51 PM GMT-04:00 To: Karen Pellegrino Subject: thank you! Hi Karen, This is Tazeen. I don’t know if you remember me. The first time we met was on a slushy cold winter day. I was waiting at a bus stop near Bathurst and Major MacKenzie, you were driving by and offered me a lift. Later, I volunteered at the gallery from 2006 to 2007 after which I went back to my home country, Bangladesh. Well, I am in London right now doing my Masters in Film Theory. I just wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to work at AGYU. I loved that gallery and followed almost all the exhibitions since my first term in York. But I think only now I realize how important AGYU has been in exposing me to contemporary art and artists ‘out there’ right now! It is because of AGYU I got to know about artists such as Jeremy Deller, Matthew Brannon or Stan Douglas and without even knowing, got into thinking about experimental film and its integration to mainstream media (eg. Jeremy Blake). Anyways, I just visited Saatchi today and that reminded me of AGYU, so just wanted to say thank you. Take care 🙂 Tazeen
Known for our ambitious publications, we have a high standard to keep up. Not all writing comes in big packages, however, so we’ve turned to the chapbook for an ongoing series of smaller-scale booklets available exclusively in our lobby bookstore. So, greetings and welcome to the Pieces series. Two down so far, and many many more promised in the near future, the chapbook affords us the opportunity to commission, write, design, print, and bind on a moment’s notice.
Conversation Pieces was our first offering, consisting of a conversation between curator and collector Dr. Kenneth Montague and artist Brendan Fernandes. Linking together common experiences of diasporic upbringings, punk rock, and, of course, art, they covered the ground surrounding Relay League, Fernandes’ installation in the AGYU vitrines.
Pieces of Paper, the second installment of the series, was put together on the occasion of an extended residency of Colombian artist Miler Lagos right here in Toronto. The residency, and culminating exhibition at The DepARTment, was organized by Astrid Bastin of AB Projects. This booklet consists of reproductions of Lagos’ past work with an introduction and explanatory text by Bastin. If you didn’t catch his exhibition last April, you really missed something … have no fear, we expect to see him back in Toronto some time in the future.
PDFs of both these chapbooks are available on our website!
We mentioned that we do ambitious publications already, and there’s a couple that you just have to know about. The first is the catalogue for Carla Zaccagnini’s Fall 2008 exhibition, no, it is opposition.. Including an extensive essay by Emelie Chhangur as well as additional texts from Zaccagnini herself, texts are in both English and Portuguese, with a little Spanish thrown in for good measure. Beautifully designed by Lisa Kiss, this one’s double plus good (in all senses possible). Drop by the gallery, or surf on over to the website, to get your hands on this one — unless you’re a bookstore, ‘cause D.A.P. handles wholesale distribution.
That’s not all, the catalogue produced for Terrance Houle’s exhibition is a co-production of Plug In and ourselves. With essays by Anthony Kiendl, Emelie Chhangur, and Richard Hill, this is the first publication on the work of Houle, and sure to be the best reading on the Powwow circuit next season. GIVN’R just keeps on giving.
They Put a Spell on Us … and as a result, the catalogue for the FASTWÜRMS exhibition, Donky@Ninja@Witch exhibition is soon to arrive on our doorstep, and we’ll let you know when it does. Might not be in time for the Harvest Full Moon, but it does include texts on the tireless work of the FASTWÜRMS by Emelie Chhangur, Jon Davies, and Sally McKay. And a love letter from Andrew Harwood (alas, not to you, to the ‘WÜRMS). There may even be some catnip involved. Lisa Kiss is designing this one.
General Idea is another story altogether … Barr Gilmore is designer, Philip Monk the author, and The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion the subject. Take a tour of the Pavillion with General Idea: A User’s Guide, volume 1: 1969 – 1977. Coming this winter!