Public Exposures: the art-activism of condé + beveridge (1976-2016)
A Space Main Gallery
May 14 – 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).
An artist and cultural producer with a focus on community engagement, Jim Miller is recognized for award-winning work in a range of media. As a visual artist and curator his works in the 1980s and 90s toured across Canada and internationally. These include his installation, Poison Pen: A Story of Wrongful Dismissal (1986); and the group exhibition and publication, Issues of Censorship (1985), the national touring project co-curated by members of the A Space exhibition committee. In the mid-1990s he began working in film and video with his longstanding collaborative partner, writer-director Roz Owen. Their recent feature drama, Trouble in The Garden had its national broadcast premiere on CBC in November 2020 and is now freely available to stream online at GEM. Their first feature was the 2012 documentary, Portrait of Resistance: The Art & Activism of Carole Conde & Karl Beveridge. Jims work and friendship with Carole and Karl stretches back to the mid 1980s and their involvements with A Space and the Independent Artists Union. In 2016 he curated and co-organized Public Exposures, a community-based Conde and Beveridge retrospective that was presented at A Space and four other galleries at 401 Richmond. This was the citys first major reckoning with the pioneering work of these Toronto-based artist-activists since their 1976 show Its Still Privileged Art at the AGO. In the Fall of 2020, Carole and Karl invited Jim to join them in a collaboration seeded by one of their own recent photo works. The result is Virulence (2020), their new short video that was made during and grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.