|I'm still looking for a digital image of some of my work from that time. I've got lots of slides...|
In 1989, just after I finished art school (at the time it was the Ontario College of Art, now it is called OCAD University) a group of other recent graduates and myself decided to self-curate ourselves and present our work in non-traditional gallery spaces, since the Toronto art scene at the time was full to bursting at the seams with established artists, and there were few opportunities for emerging artists. We called ourselves "Place and Show", as that's what we did: find an interesting venue and put on a show. We exhibited in a residential hotel, a shelter for people that had been living on the street, a shopping mall, even an artist-run gallery in Ottawa! Little did we know at the time that we were at the vanguard of a movement that would continue into the next century.
There were seven of us: me, Peter Cosco, Reid Diamond, Rebecca Diederichs, Peter Hobbs, Susan Kealey and Cathy Jones. Now there are just five - Reid and Susan have passed away. The rest of us have taken various paths but all still make art or are working in creative fields. Looking back, the experience of being part of Place and Show was the ideal transition from being in the supportive atmosphere of art school to finding our footing in the much more challenging "real world".
It is somewhat shocking to find that our group, and others, are now considered part of the history of the Toronto art scene. David Sylvestre and Richard Monguit are the producers and curators of a series of films called Toronto's Other Art Scene. Rebecca Diederichs sent me an email the other days with news of the project. She said: "What they felt was important was creation of documents/documentaries that recorded and "save" that very special period in Toronto's art community - when collectives were abounding as were the amazing spaces that allowed us all to do that work."
Jim Shedden, manager of publishing at the Art Gallery of Ontario, gave this vote of confidence:
“Toronto has been negligent in documenting its own history. Toronto’s Other Art Scene explores an extremely important moment in Toronto art history: the development of the artists’ collectives in the late 80s, through the 90s and into the new millennium. This explosion of D.I.Y. energy is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Toronto art scene. I look forward to seeing the short films as they emerge, and for the overall story to emerge.”
Please donate to help get these stories told!
Yes, the project is being crowd funded. Any collective raising $2000 via the IndieGoGo campaign will have their story told.
Here's the link:
If you are interesting in donating a few bucks specifically to say, Place and Show, (for example) leave a comment in the "Comment" section saying who they are, the collective they're supporting and how much their donation was for. The Comments tab is just under the Toronto's Other Art Scene headline (along with Story, Updates, Funders, Gallery).
Here's the link to the Facebook page where you can see the 3 films made so far (if you "like" the page, so much the better).