04w46:2 Artist-Run Centres

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 46 number 2 (artist-run centres)

Thanks again to AA Bronson and Andy Patterson for allowing me to publish their articles on the Goodreads site. – Timothy


The Humiliation of the Bureaucrat | AA Bronson
“…wanting a Canadian art scene just like in New York, or London, or Paris in the thirties; as a Canadian artist typically unable to picture the reality of a Canadian art scene except as a dream projected upon the national landscape as a sea-to-shining-sea connective tissue; that is as a dream community connected by and reflected by the media; that is, authenticated by its own reflection in the media; as such a Canadian artist desiring to see not necessarily himself, but the picture of his art scene pictured on TV; and knowing the impossibility of an art scene without real museums (the Art Callery of Ontario was not a real museum for us), without real art magazines (and artscanada was not a real art magazine for us), without real artists (no, Harold Town was not a real artist for us, and we forgot that we ourselves were real artists, because we had not seen ourselves in the media – real artists, like Frank Stella, appeared in Artforum magazine), as such an artist desiring such a picture of such a scene, such a reality from sea-to-shining-sea, then, it was natural to call upon our national attributes – the bureaucratic tendency and the protestant work ethic – and working together, and working sometimes not together we laboured to structure, or rather to untangle from the messy post-Sixties spaghetti of our minds, artist-run galleries, artists’ video, and artist-run magazines. And that allowed us to allow ourselves to see ourselves as an art scene. And we did.” AA’s famous article on the history of artist-run centres in Canada, from 1983.

Preface to “Money Value Art” | Andrew J. Patterson
“If economic dependency on the United States was already a foregone conclusion by the beginning of the 1950s, then Canadian distinction from the expanding American empire had to be asserted in a different domain. The cultural realm provided an excellent opportunity. Beginning with the 1941 Artists’ Conference in Kingston, Ontario, the Federation of Canadian Artists and other arts-funding advocates ‘invoked the nati onal interest as the best strategy for defending and advancing the boundaries of what they understood as culture,’ perhaps with a utopian fervour and perhaps strategically. Indeed, coalitions of visual and performing artists of the time tended not to position themselves as autonomous modernist artists. Instead, they engaged in discourses concerning democracy, culture, nation building, and public space. They worked alongside agrarian and labour activists, proto-feminists, and even popular entertainers. It is worth noting that the Brief Concerning the Cultural Aspects of Canadian Reconstruction, presented to the 1944 federal Turgeon Special Committee on Reconstruction and Re-establishment, resolved that Canada’s National Gallery should be radically decentralized and reconstituted as a network of location-based centres and practices.”

Artist-Run Centre posting | Sally McKay and Guests
“It’s even more imperative that ARCs (or parallel galleries, as they used to be called) re-articulate their purpose, and do it in a language that inspires a new generation. Running an ARC is a ton of work. It requires a dedicated volunteer board with enthusiasm for the future and a vision for the programming. It requires staff who feel invested enough in the institution to put in extra hours making art shows happen on a shoestring. It’s a team effort that, when it works, works great. But inspiration is required and that inspiration seems to be in short supply. Institutions change internally and so does the cultural climate around them. In the 1970s artists needed ARCs because there was nowhere else to show their work. It was a let’s-put-the-show-on-right -here-in-the-barn mentality that drove the long hours and creative solutions to systemic an d structural problems. Now there’s a sort of entrenched misery, a doom and gloom attitude that we will all volunteer our energies, even if its no fun at all, to maintain a system that has become integral to visual art production in this country. But why?”

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 12 November 2004 @ 3:10 PM

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