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Is Toronto Burning? Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene

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Is Toronto Burning? Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene

29.95

25 × 20 cm | 8 × 10 in
70 ills | 256 pages
Hardback

Author: Philip Monk

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Remember radicalism—a time when the Toronto art scene was in formation? And destruction—when there were no models and anything was possible? The late 1970s were a key period when Toronto thought itself Canada's most important art centre, but history has shown that the nascent downtown art community—not the established uptown scene of commercial galleries—was where it was happening.

It was a tumultuous period. Politics were doubly articulated—in the turmoil of the art world, and in the content and context of the art itself. Over these years, this dimension was polemically posed—or postured—continuously by artists. Posturing became a constant presence as the community reinvented itself. 

Is Toronto Burning? Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene takes the reader on a journey through a period rich in the invention of new artistic forms. Punk, semiotics and fashion were equally influential, not to mention transgressive sexuality. Large-scale photographic blow-ups appropriated the language of advertising. Video and performance were aligned in simulations of television production, as the 'underground' mimicked the models of the mainstream for its own critical or satiric purposes. With no guiding movement, and the influence of New York in decline, anything was possible—even the new idea of an art community as a fictional creation.

Is Toronto Burning? brings together artworks by Susan Britton, David Buchan, Colin Campbell, Elizabeth Chitty, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Judith Doyle, General Idea, Isobel Harry, Ross McLaren, Missing Associates (Peter Dudar and Lily Eng), Clive Robertson, Tom Sherman and Rodney Werden, alongside archival documents. The artworks were all shown in the 2014 exhibition of the same name, housed at the Art Gallery of York University and curated by director Philip Monk.

 

Published in partnership with the Art Gallery of York University.