Condé + Beveridge, Precarious: Natasha, photograph, 2016

Public Exposures: the art-activism of condé + beveridge (1976-2016)

Exhibition runs May 14 2016 - July 9 2016
Reception: May 14 2016: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Curated by: Jim Miller
Presented in collaboration with: Urbanspace Gallery, Trinity Square Video, Prefix ICA, and YYZ Artists Outlet, all located on the first floor of 401 Richmond Street.

To celebrate the artistic-activist practice of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge that spans forty years of working together, curator Jim Miller has teamed up with five Toronto galleries to present a survey exhibition of their photographic works. In the city that Condé and Beveridge have lived and worked since 1977, a public reckoning with their pioneering art-activist practice is long overdue. This grassroots initiative is the artists’ first large Toronto exhibit since their controversial AGO show in 1976 at the outset of their collaboration. 

Public Exposures also includes a symposium on the last weekend in May, and publication of a book that is in preparation. Issues at the core of their art-activism—artists’ rights, labour arts, and art for social change—are the focus of the symposium. The book will examine the scope and influence of their activist collaborations in these areas. Set in motion by the curator, the book and symposium are organized in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Min Sook Lee, cultural historian Dot Tuer, and labour educator D’Arcy Martin.

The exhibit is presented in collaboration with the coalition of galleries located at 401 Richmond (listed above), and in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and the Mayworks Festival. OCAD University and United Steelworkers (USW) Canada are co-hosting a symposium (May 27, 28, 29), and OCADU students Leaf Watson and Sanjit Dhillon are curating a response to Condé and Beveridge’s 1976 AGO show for Urbanspace Gallery. Organizations providing additional support and participating in Public Exposures include: CARFAC National, CARFAC Ontario, The Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Unifor, UFCW Canada and The Canadian Labour Congress, No One is Illegal (Toronto), ONSITE Gallery, VTape, SSHRC, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Council for the Arts, 401 Richmond, the research project Cultural Workers Organize, the Centre on Learning, Social Economy and Work (CLSEW) at OISE, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

In their contentious 1976 AGO exhibition, It's Still Privileged Art, Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge exposed the market-driven world of contemporary art from their insider-vantage points as--initially willing, but increasingly critical--artist-participants. They were re-imagining their roles as working artists, turning away from art's cult of individualism and turning towards collaborative-creation, community engagement, and political activism. In the ensuing years, they have blazed a pioneering path where their art and activism overlap and intertwine. Their constructed photography--illuminating working people's stories and envisioning social change--reflects and connects with their collaborative work in the community, advancing artists' rights and forging strong links with the Labour movement and other activist networks. In 2010, the scope and influence of their collaboration prompted OCAD University to award the artists honourary doctorates, followed by similar recognition from NSCAD University, UQAM, and the Cesar Chavez Black Eagle Award from UFCW Canada.
An artist, filmmaker, and curator, Jim Miller's connections with Conde and Beveridge stem from the early 1980s, when their paths crossed at the artist-run A Space Gallery and the Independent Artists Union. In 2008, Miller and his filmmaking partner Roz Owen produced Community Matters, an award-winning short video about Conde and Beveridge. In 2011 they completed Portrait of Resistance, their feature documentary about the artists. After that, Miller began to nurture interest and participation in the Public Exposures project. This summer he will join partner Roz Owen to help produce her feature drama, Historic Homes of the Future. For information about related events, visit


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