Limeflower Heterodoxy by Sharona Franklin: June 9 — July 3, 2020

Limeflower Heterodoxy
Sharona Franklin
June 9 — July 3, 2020
Window viewing hours at grunt gallery: Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 5pm

Limeflower Heterodoxy is a new exhibition by artist Sharona Franklin featuring the slow decomposition of one of her signature gelatin sculptures. With this work, Franklin takes the viewer into an exploration of healing methodologies, contrasting the different approaches of psychedelic and plant based medicine intertwined within the pharmaco-industrial complex. The installation centers the experiences of childhood rural illness, contrasted with the alien and often dehumanizing experiences of cytotoxic and pharmaceutical systems. Referred to by the artist as bioshrines, the sculptures embody tensions and contradictions held for those whose treatments include both natural medicine and—sometimes ethically controversial—biopharmaceutical care.

Decomposition is an integral part of Franklin’s process, as she invites visitors to come back and revisit her sculptures over the course of an exhibition, witnessing their transformation in space, as time and organic matter collide. For the first time, a livestream video will grant the viewer real time access to the transformation at any moment of the day or night. The artist will also record the decomposition of her work, creating two time lapse videos over the period of a month.

The livestream and videos are available through Printed Matter, more information can be found here. The work comes at three different tiers: an unlimited livestream access, a 30min time lapse video filmed on Hi8, and a high resolution 60min video with textile edition. 100% of the profits of Limeflower Heterodoxy II, a Hi8 timelapse video, will be donated to COVID Bail Out NYC.

This installation is organized by Printed Matter (NYC), hosted at grunt gallery and produced with the support of VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Downloadable PDFs:
Limeflower Heterodoxy Recipe
Let’s Talk About Disability

Sharona Franklin b. 1987 is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist, writer and advocate.

Her work explores radical therapies, cybernetic craft, ecological systems, bio-ritualism, pharmacological and social inter-dependency disseminating mythologies of class and biocitizenship within disability.  Franklin’s visual media practice can be viewed through social media platforms @paid.technologies, @star_seeded and @hot.crip. Through ontological study and utilizing natural, salvaged, biodegradable, edible, print media and digital mediums, her psychedelic works invite the viewer into facets of biopharmaceutical investigations and educational community practice.

Recent exhibitions include Kings Leap, NYC, Unit 17, Vancouver, Canada, G44 Center for Contemporary Photography, Toronto, Canada, New Image Art Gallery Los Angeles, CA, and Flux Factory, New York, NY. Recent publications include Injustice in Biopharm, 2019, Cassandra Press and Rental Bod, 2016, Peace Library Publications.

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grunt gallery Founder Glenn Alteen Retires as of May 29th, 2020

As of  Friday May 29th 2020, grunt gallery’s founder Glenn Alteen, who served as the gallery’s Program Director for 37 years, has retired. The staff and board of grunt are incredibly grateful for the energy, ingenuity and spirit Alteen has given grunt since the very beginning; he has fostered an extraordinary community of artists, curators, and cultural workers that extends from Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood across Canada and internationally.

Since grunt’s inception in 1984, Alteen has recognized the value in platforming diverse voices and supporting artists through their creative processes, and has been committed to providing resources for artists to exhibit work that might otherwise go unrecognized. His boundless generosity and bold approach has been instrumental in building the vitality of the gallery and relationships with many exceptional artists and curators, including Rebecca Belmore, Dana Claxton, Margaret Dragu, Aiyyana Maracle, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Carole Itter, Adrian Stimson, Tania Willard, and Tarah Hogue. Throughout his career, Alteen has pushed boundaries with projects such as Queer City (1993), An Indian Act: Shooting the Indian Act (1997) by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and the co-founding of LIVE Biennial of Performance Art in 1999. Showing no signs of slowing down, in 2019 Alteen and grunt launched three of their most ambitious projects to date: Wordless: The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency, and the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen.

His connections to artists is truly unique, and his commitment to long-term creative relationships has built a community around grunt that spans generations, cultural communities and disciplinary boundaries. Dana Claxton recalls:

“I think I first met Glenn at the Pitt Gallery on Water Street in the late 1980s. Early on in the realm of programming NDN’ art work, he was committed, supportive, made enormous space and provided guidance in a way, he may not even be aware of the guidance he gave. Our early morning talks for many years, as he would dream up projects…he makes ideas become concrete. And it was never about him, but always what can happen for other people.”

Alteen has championed intuitive, organic and artist-driven creation, while simultaneously ensuring the continued growth and stability of grunt itself. By developing grunt’s programming archive, securing a permanent space for the gallery and the creation of an endowment fund, Alteen has cemented the longevity of grunt and contributed to the sustainability of artist-driven culture in Vancouver. He was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2018 for his decades of exceptional contributions to the arts in Canada. Glenn Alteen has been a visionary for grunt gallery and Vancouver’s visual arts communities, and has left an enduring mark on the ways we work through, with and around art.

His unique perspective will carry forward into grunt’s future, and will continue to shape the organization. Incoming Program Director Vanessa Kwan, who has shared the role with him since last June, says:

“In so many ways, Glenn embodies what we hope for in a more compassionate art community. His leadership has taught so many of us about the importance of both resistance and care. His work proposes something no less than a revolution in how we understand a successful (dare I say legendary?) career in the arts: that ambition can be expressed as generosity, and that capital–cultural, financial and otherwise–is best shared widely rather than being kept to oneself.”

As grunt honours Alteen’s remarkable career and contributions to the art community, we are also proud to announce the re-naming of our endowment to the Glenn Alteen Legacy Fund, and we invite you to contribute to the future of the organization, and the furthering of its unique vision. More information can be found here.

Thank you so much, Glenn, for your audacity, persistence, disgruntlement and care.

 

Photo: Portrait of Glenn Alteen by Henri Robideau, Jaunary 1987.

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Update on submissions process due to COVID-19

The following is an update on grunt gallery’s submissions process this year:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant closure of our gallery space we have been forced to reschedule a number of planned exhibitions. The impact on our programming schedule is such that we have made the decision as a staff to suspend our annual Curatorial Committee as we do not feel it makes sense to review and jury work for future exhibitions that we are not able to confirm. The substantial delays forced by the pandemic have made this a necessary decision in order to uphold our values of high quality service to artists and providing them a platform that facilitates actualization in practice.

While we will not be accepting submissions until further notice, we understand and regret the timing of this announcement, especially for those who have already submitted work this year. Out of respect for your labour in putting together a proposal we will hold your material on file until a time when we are able to restore our submissions and jury processes. You are welcome to modify, update, or replace work in your file at any time: the ongoing development of artistic practice has been another key consideration in our decision. We offer our humble apologies for any inconvenience or disruption this may cause you.

Our submissions call for the Mount Pleasant Community Arts Screen, a 4×7 meter outdoor public art display at Kingsway and Broadway, remains open and accepts proposals on an ongoing basis. If this is of interest to you we encourage you to apply — full details can be found here.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via submissions[at]grunt[dot]ca. We appreciate your patience and understanding as our programming model navigates a shifting landscape.

Take care,
the grunt gallery team

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Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen


grunt gallery is proud to announce the launch of the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen (MPCAS). The MPCAS is a 4×7 metre outdoor urban screen showing art-only content by and for the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver, and officially went live on December 5th, 2019.

The MPCAS reflects its neighbourhood through artwork by local and commissioned artists, with a special focus on works exploring the area’s history, its current vitality and its future. This art-specific urban screen brings new digital technology to Mount Pleasant and the City of Vancouver with an inaugural year of non-commercial programming around the theme of PLACE, presenting a diverse range of visual and media art by over fifty artists, community members, and community festivals reflecting on what it is to live in a changing Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.The MPCAS will feature new commissioned work by Paul Wong, Amanda Strong and Kevin Lee Burton as well as special curated content by Justin Ducharme, Sebnem Ozpeta and Lianne Zannier! The screen will also feature original Digital Stories created by local residents specifically for MPCAS through a series of workshops led by artist Lorna Boschman. With over 6 hours of digital art, photography, video, time-based media, animation, performance, interactive art, GIFs, super 8 film, storytelling and more, our community programming further includes work by: Elizabeth Milton, Emilie Crewe, Margaret Dragu, John Allison, Russell Wallace, Hank Bull, Steven Thomas Davies + Jeanette Kotowich and Cheyenne Rain LeGrande. Learn more about the MPCAS and its inaugural programming here.

The MPCAS is produced by grunt gallery and generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation, RIZE Corporation, Canada Council for the Arts, Creative BC, and the City of Vancouver. The MPCAS is part of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art program.

Location: Intersection of Broadway & Kingsway, Vancouver, on the east side of the Independent Building
Screen Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 9AM to 9:30PM / Friday & Saturday: 9AM to 10:30PM

For more information:  visit mpcas.ca or email communications(at)grunt(dot)ca

Follow the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay in the loop!

Image: Amanda Strong, Ghosts, stop-motion animation, 6 minutes, 2018.

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Job Posting: Engagement Coordinator – The Blue Cabin

Job Description

Position: Engagement Coordinator
Project: Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency
Location: Throughout the Lower Mainland
Reporting to: Blue Cabin Committee

Hours: $25-$27/hour, 18 hours per week. Some evening and weekend work. Flexible schedule.

Start date: July 29, 2019
Application Deadline: Thursday, June 27, 2019 @ 5:00pm

Project Description:
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency (BCFAR) is a collaboration between grunt gallery Other Sights for Artists’ Projects and Creative Cultural Collaborations. The collaborating organizations have formed the Blue Cabin Committee to oversee the ongoing management of the BCFAR.

About the Blue Cabin:
The BCFAR provides artists with a unique opportunity to work in a completely restored and outfitted heritage cabin/studio with deep historical roots in both the foreshore past of North Vancouver on the West Coast of British Columbia and the early years of Vancouver’s contemporary art scene. Situated on a floating platform and anchored in a marine environment, the residency features a state of the art, self-sustaining “deck house” as accommodation. Responding to the unique environment, landscape and heritage of the region, the BCFAR will be a central feature of the selected artists’ experience. This is an artist–centred residency space that welcomes local, regional and national participants as well as international guests.

The BCFAR is open to artists in all disciplines and supports the creative development of all kinds, for artists at all stages of their careers. It is intended to support artists who wish to undertake research, reflection, contemplation, production or presentation activities. Artists are asked to propose a program of public engagement as the only outcome required of the residency.

General Description of the Position:
The Engagement Coordinator works with staff, contractors, volunteers, and membership to develop contacts, programming and strengthen relationships between the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency (BCFAR) and its partners in the community. This is a professional position that reports to the Blue Cabin Committee and associated staff.

The Engagement Coordinator is a planner, implementer, and relationship builder who is responsible for developing this new initiative in conjunction with multiple and diverse communities across the Lower Mainland. They are also responsible for developing strategies around programming, retention and recognition of audience members, volunteers and other communities, as well as strategies for outreach. This is NOT a fundraising focused position.

The Engagement Coordinator will work within the communities the facility inhabits making connections and strengthening bonds between stakeholders and increasing visibility and access. A major focus will be on the heritage and cultural communities, and the position will require the incumbent to familiarize themselves with the many different heritage stakeholders in Vancouver and on the North Shore including community groups, non-profits, government departments, universities and museums and archives. The Engagement Coordinator will work with these groups to develop programming for the BCFAR in the form of lectures, panels, open houses, exhibits and discussions around the Blue Cabin that are part of the project’s broader curatorial activities.

The Engagement Coordinator will work with the Blue Cabin Curatorial Committee to maintain relationships within the three Indigenous host nations; as the BCFAR will move throughout waterways in the region, we are committed to strong relationships with Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh (MST). The incumbent will play a fundamental role in continuing our conversations with the MST, and continuing to build strong relationships and opportunities for collaboration. The Engagement Coordinator will maintain relationships within the infrastructure of the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, including targeted relationships with stakeholders at Northeast False Creek, the North Shore and Port Metro.

The Engagement Coordinator is expected to work independently while maintaining a strong connection to the overall project and curatorial planning.

Required Competencies:
Collaborative Reliable
Committed Independent
Community Minded Tolerant
Creative Flexible
Social Resourceful

General Responsibilities:
● Work with staff and committees to develop and enhance contacts within the identified communities.
● Develop strategies for outreach and active community development.
● Produce and develop programming at the BCFAR engaging the Heritage and cultural communities
● Design and implement a community plan that builds strong, long-term, and loyal relationships with audience members, supporters and communities.
● Forge relationships within the heritage and cultural communities across the Lower Mainland, and explore opportunities for co-programming, cross-promotion and outreach.
● Continue to develop relationships with Indigenous partners and collaborators from the host nations (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh) as well as the wider indigenous communities of Vancouver.
● Explore engagement opportunities from other communities as necessary, and in conjunction with the Blue Cabin Committee’s vision for programming and the residency.
● Produce a news feed around community engagement that is aligned with BCFAR’s social media, website and newsletters focusing on their respective membership and community activities.
● Collaborate and communicate with neighborhood organizations to develop activities that promote the BCFAR’s role in the community (eg. community events and festivals).

Required Skills and Education:
● Superior networking skills for arts and cultural-based environments.
● Strong knowledge and commitment to bridge-building within diverse community frameworks.
● Good understanding of artist-run culture.
● Post-secondary education in an arts related program, educational program or a relevant discipline is an asset.
● Previous experience (work or volunteer) in an arts organization, community centre, educational centre or activist organizing is an asset.
● Demonstrated supervisory and interpersonal skills; ability to perform well in a team environment and collaborate with others.
● Strong written and oral communication skills; ability to target events outreach materials to varying audiences and age groups.
● Strong organizational skills, able to identify and prioritize tasks with minimal supervision, work independently, and take initiative.
● Experience with youth/adult education programming an asset.
● Working knowledge of Social Media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and mass email systems;
● Resourceful, hands-on and pro-active.
● Previous experience in developing and maintaining strong internal and external relationships.
● Demonstrated success with strategy development, implementation and evaluation.
● Proven ability to act in an assertive but professional manner and to represent oneself and an organization in a positive manner.
● Ability to work flexible hours.
● Ability to travel throughout the Lower Mainland.

Business Ethics and the Workplace:
• Must promote and set the example for ensuring a friendly, courteous, respectful and professional work environment.
• Must maintain the confidentiality of all personal, private, and professional information obtained within the course of employment.
• Must not accept any gifts, loans or anything of value from any individuals with whom contact is had during the course of employment.

To apply: Please send cover letter and resume to Sunshine Frere by email < sunshine (at) othersights (dot) ca >

Application Deadline: Thursday, June 27, 2019 @ 5:00pm

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Job Description: Residency Coordinator – The Blue Cabin

Job Description:

Position: Residency Coordinator (contract position)
Project: Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency
Reporting to: Operations Director (grunt gallery) and General Manager (Other Sights for Artists’ Projects)

Hours: $27/hr 18 hours per week. Some evening and weekend work. Flexible schedule.

Start date: July 2, 2019
Application Deadline: Thursday, June 13, 2019 @ 5:00pm

Project Description:
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency (BCFAR) is a collaboration between grunt gallery Other Sights for Artists’ Projects and Creative Cultural Collaborations. The collaborating organizations have formed the Blue Cabin Committee to oversee the ongoing management of the BCFAR.

About the Blue Cabin:
The BCFAR provides artists with a unique opportunity to live and work in a completely restored and outfitted heritage cabin/studio with deep historical roots in both the foreshore past of North Vancouver on the West Coast of British Columbia and the early years of Vancouver’s contemporary art scene. Situated on a floating platform and anchored in a marine environment, the residency features a state of the art, self-sustaining “tiny house” as accommodation. Responding to the unique environment, landscape and heritage of the region, the BCFAR will be a central feature of the selected artists’ experience. This is an artist–centred residency space that welcomes local, regional and national participants as well as international guests.

The BCFAR is open to artists in all disciplines and supports the creative development of all kinds, for artists at all stages of their careers. It is intended to support artists who wish to undertake research, reflection, contemplation, production or presentation activities. Artists are asked to propose a program of public engagement as the only outcome required of the residency.

General Description of the Position:
The Residency Coordinator is charged with the administration, management and maintenance of the BCFAR as well as working with a variety of individuals and groups to coordinate and schedule all programming and artist in residence stays.

The Residency Coordinator organizes all aspects related to the residency, including support of the artist application process, support of the artist in residence, and ensures that the facility is safe and well maintained and that the ongoing maintenance plan is implemented.

The Residency Coordinator is responsible for the day to day operations of the BCFAR and the management of associated special projects. The Residency Coordinator reports directly to the Operations Director at grunt gallery and the General Manager at Other Sights for Artists’ Projects.

Required Competencies:
Project Management Communication
Time Management Collaborative
Committed Community Minded
Creative Flexible
Social Reliable
Independent Tolerant
Resourceful

General Responsibilities:
• Develop and maintain the day to day administration of the BCFAR.
• Help maintain the BCFAR’s public presence through the Blue Cabin website, social media channels, e-newsletters, and in print, in conjunction with other communications’ staff.
• Organize and lead the artist application process, assist the Blue Cabin Committee with artist selection, and coordinate all aspects of the residency including resource documents, contracts, communication with artists, fees, programming events, etc.
• Provide logistical and technical support to artists in residence.
• Organize field trips, studio visits, public presentations and other research and engagement activities.
• Develop a maintenance plan around the cabin facility for maintenance, janitorial and facility upkeep.
• Oversee the work of contractors implementing the maintenance plan.
• Oversee the residency budget, in conjunction with other staff and contractors.
• Provide budgets and expense reports to the Blue Cabin Committee at regular intervals.

Required Skills and Education:
• Strong familiarity with arts administration.
• Good understanding of artist-run culture.
• Preferably, post-secondary education in an arts-related program or a project management program.
• Previous experience (work or volunteer) with an artist residency programme an asset.
• Demonstrated supervisory and interpersonal skills; ability to perform well in a team environment and to collaborate with others.
• Strong written and oral communication skills.
• Strong organizational skills, ability to identify and prioritize tasks with minimal supervision, work independently, and take initiative.
• Experience with youth/adult education programming an asset.
• Strong knowledge and commitment to bridge-building within diverse community frameworks.
• Working knowledge of social media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and mass email systems.
• Resourceful, hands-on and pro-active.
• Proven ability to act in an assertive but professional manner and to represent oneself and an organization in a positive manner.
• Ability to work at and travel to multiple sites throughout the Lower Mainland.
• Ability to work flexible hours.

Business Ethics and the Workplace:
• Must promote and set the example for ensuring a friendly, courteous, respectful and professional work environment.
• Must maintain the confidentiality of all personal, private, and professional information obtained within the course of employment.
• Must not accept any gifts, loans or anything of value from any individuals with whom contact is had during the course of employment.

To apply: Please send cover letter and resume to Meagan Kus by email < meagan(at)grunt.ca >

Application Deadline: Thursday, June 13, 2019 @ 5:00pm

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Pet Peeves: James and Hillary

Welcome to the May edition of Hedy Wood’s Pet Peeves! Read on as Hedy chats with grunt founder and current editor, Hillary Wood (no relation), and the investigation takes a turn toward the possibly paranormal…

Of course I believe that Hillary has a part-time cat named James. I also believe that James comes to visit by walking across two balconies, and that he stays for a couple of hours and naps on the bed and all the rest of it. Hillary Wood is a founding member of grunt gallery and is currently the editor there. She is definitely not some crazy person making up things in order to get me to write about her and some imaginary pet. And, I would like to add, you don’t see me standing around with my index finger pointed at my temple making that little twirly motion. You just don’t! I believe in James completely!

I believe in the existence of James, the part-time cat, so thoroughly that I went over to interview him and see what he had to say about Hillary.

Food bowls left out for the elusive cat-like creature, James.

After standing around on Hillary’s balcony for about half an hour, yelling for James and jiggling my bag of cat treats, I felt like it might be time for a drink……there was no sign of what I was beginning to think was a mere fig newton of Hillary’s imagination and I had a powerful thirst building. Also my yelling JAMES, JAMES!!! was starting to annoy the neighbors.

The interview went something like this:

Me: So, how about we crack open some of this pickle juice, and you tell me all about James who I believe in and know exists?

Hillary: You’re starting to make him sound like God or something! He does exist, and he comes over here every single day! I think all of your yelling has put him off, that’s all.

Me: Ha ha! Where are the glasses? Oh JAMES, you can come over any time now!!! Because I know you’re real!!!

James:

 

Me: Come on James!!! Sit on the bed, eat some stuff, come and visit. Oh JAAAAAAMES!!

James:

 

Definitely, it was time to crack open a bottle of wine. If nothing else, I could ask Hillary about James, and how he has come to be her part-time cat. Apparently, James is actually owned by a neighbor two balconies over, but he prefers to spend a lot of his time at Hillary’s. He’s sort of a cat-share cat, like a timeshare condo I guess….

So Hillary and I settled in and had a glass or two. Occasionally I would get up and go and yell for James out on the balcony. I only actually stopped doing this when I could see that it seemed to be causing Hillary psychic pain.

Hillary Wood and James the cat? Photo by Merle Addison.

I also began to make little jokes and then laugh at them really loudly, then explain the jokes and laugh some more. You know, as you do. When I reflect on it, Hillary really must have the patience of a saint.

The afternoon wore on, and there was still no sign of the alleged James. He was beginning to seem like Bigfoot or Ogo Pogo, I mean, maybe there’d be a sighting or maybe not…..but I do tend to believe in them, so what could possibly be the harm in hanging about for a bit longer? Also, around this time, another bottle of wine kind of fell out of my purse. Maybe it would be smarter to take a different approach to this particular pet interview. I decided to direct my questions to Hillary and stop yelling and treat rattling for James.

Me: So, what would James likely have to say about you? You know, if he actually existed? Oh sorry, I mean, really, what would his complaints be do you think?

Hillary: Well, he doesn’t like it when I move my feet when he’s sleeping on the bed. It makes him attack my feet.

Me: More wine?

Hillary: And he’s very protective about the balcony. He doesn’t even like it when I go out there!

Now this was beginning to seem like a pretty detailed description of imaginary cat behaviour. It was like if someone was saying, But no! The unicorn’s horn is actually sort of a pearly colour!! And the hooves have rainbows!!! Sooner or later, you have to suspend your disbelief.

Me: So how did you and James first meet then?

Hillary: James started coming over for visits when he was a tiny, shy kitten. He would creep around the corners of my place, but now, he feels very at home here. He’s here every day, usually. Probably he is scared of you being here…..and all the yelling…..

Me: Well, I never! Yelling indeed! I’ll show you YELLING little missy. JAAAAAAMMMMEEEESSSSS! JAAAAAMMMMEESSSSS!

Hillary: Would you please shut up?

It must have been around this time that I realized I had better go home. I still had no evidence that James actually existed anywhere on planet earth, and Hillary and I were on the verge of our first fight. Plus, I had the hiccups.

As I was collecting myself and preparing to leave, did I see a flash of white fur whisking by out on the balcony? Did I hear a faint and slightly ghostly meow? I can’t say for certain, but when I got home and the drinker’s remorse began to set in, I found I had a different feeling about James. I believed in him truly and I knew he really did visit every single day and all the rest of it. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever doubted him……now the only thing was to check in again with Hillary and see if she was also suffering from a kind of big headache….

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Pet Peeves: Freddie, Moe and Kate

The fourth installation of Pet Peeves is here! Can you believe it? Join us as grunt’s Gallery Assistant, Hedy Wood, continues her investigation of the grunt gallery staff by interviewing their pets.

Pets prefer a Scottish accent, period. You can say, “Whooooooo’s got those dog pants? Whooo’s got those PANTS?!” until your head expands like a melon, but really, it’ll get you nowhere. Likewise, “Where’s that pretty kitty cat CAT?!” Totally useless.

No, if you want to befriend any pet, any time, a simple Scottish burr is the way to go.

Example: “Och, aye, what a bonnie wee laddie/lassie ye are.” Boom, done, they melt like butter.

I was putting this theory to the test when I went to visit Kate Barry, Freddie and Moe. Not that I was exactly in the greatest mood for belting out a bunch of fake Scottish lingo, due to the heatwave, fifth-floor apartment and broken elevator, but I was doing my best.

Now Kate Barry is a bit newer to grunt, her job title is Screen Coordinator for the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen, and I have to say she is one of the few interviews that I’ve done where a refreshing SNACK was provided. I think other pet owners might want to have a little think about that…

Freddie greeted me when I arrived at the apartment. I was sweaty, breathless, and talking a bit too much about arthritis. He was actually so adorable, my Scottish theory went right out of my mind.

Me: Oh hi Kate. Now who’s THIS? Is that the Freddie dog?! The little Freddie dog DOG! Whooooo’s the pupparazi? Well, that’s you, yes it is!

So, as you can see, pretty much a total failure of interview technique AND nothing Scottish whatsoever. I have to give Freddie extreme credit for rolling with all this nonsense in a very gentlemanly way.

Freddie: Why hello there Hedy, how charming to meet you, please, have a seat. Yes, that’s good, right there. I will jump up and sit right beside you. What could be more pleasant? Well, a small dog snack would really make this a perfect moment, wouldn’t it?

(I found out that Freddie, who looked perfect to me, is on a doggy diet. Some cruel and unusual vet has decided that Freddie needs to lose 3 pounds!)

Me: So, Freddie, how did you and Kate meet? How did she get so lucky?!

Freddie: Well, actually, I was on an online pet dating site, looking for a positive change in my relationships, and that’s how I met Kate. I didn’t know at the time that I was to become part of this beautiful, blended family, here with Moe. I LOVE Moe so much.

   

At this point in the interview, Kate did a little cat conjuring magic with a can of tuna, and Moe appeared from his upstairs man cave.

Me: Hello Moe! You are a CATLY cat!! Who’s got those whiskers?!!

(As you can see I had by this point pretty much gone completely cuckoo because Freddie and Moe are just so exactly the kind of pets anyone would love to have. Moe is a large luxurious tabby, and Freddie a perfect mix of Shitsu and Poodle, what’s not to love?

Moe: Are you by any chance here to interview me about that dog? Maybe you would like to talk about my perfect lovely life before SHE brought HIM home?! Everything was perfect until he came along, and now he just LOVES me so much all the time! He’s all LOVE LOVE LOVE every day, all day! What is wrong with him?! It gets on my very last nerve. Honestly, why exactly does he live here? We were FINE before he came along. AND he’s getting fat.

Me: Oh…….

Moe: And what kind of breed is he?! A Shit Poo, that’s what I call it, heh, heh, heh…..get it? Shitsu and Poodle.

Me: Oh………dear……well, now Moe, surely there must be some benefit to having Freddie around? He seems like a very sweet dog to me. Surely you must have gotten fond of him over these last couple of years?

(I think it was at about this point in the interview that Freddie jumped out of his chair and ran over to lick Mo’s nose. That sent me into cuteness overload, and I swear I saw a tiny Cheshire grin on Moe’s face.)

Moe: There! You see? That’s just a perfect example of what he’s like! LOVE! Barf! If he wasn’t so darn cute, I’m sure I would have killed him by now….little cutie….little shitty poo poo….

I began to sense a bit of a game or pattern going on between these two. Much as Moe repeatedly stressed his general loathing of Freddie, I could see a real bond and genuine caring between them. This, combined with the gracious hosting by Kate, and the general ambience of warmth and happy pets and all the rest of it, began to annoy me. I ended my little visit as politely as possible and went on down the five flights of stairs and out into the summer heat. Always easier going downhill, that’s what I say….

The thing is, I was thwarted once again in my quest for pet peeves. My quest which had in actual fact, mainly become about discovering bad behaviour ANYWHERE at all, on the part of any of the grunt staff, or their much loved pets! Everything was just a bit too peachy keen everywhere I went, and, as Moe would say, it was getting on my very last nerve!

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Curator Interview: Tarah Hogue on #callresponse

#callresponse, co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard, began at grunt gallery in 2016. The exhibition has toured across Canada and the US for two years and recently came to a close at TRUCK Contemporary Art and Stride Gallery in Calgary. To mark the end of the tour, grunt’s curatorial interns, Whess Harman and Nellie Lamb, chatted with Tarah about #callresponse and the roles of collaboration and mentorship in her practice.

Ursula Johnson with Charlene Aleck and Cease Wyss performing at the #callresponse opening in 2016. Photo by Merle Addison.

NL: Can you start by briefly describing #callresponse?

TH: #callresponse takes as its starting point five projects that were commissioned by Indigenous women-identifying artists based across Canada and into the US. The invitations were extended to these artists in particular because they are all very much enmeshed in working with community in different ways and their practices are all quite diverse, ranging from performance to ceremony to new media. The context that we asked those initial five artists to respond to was around reconciliation but in a roundabout way. We thought about how the projects that these artists are already committed to working on have a really transformative capacity, and looked at that as a starting point in order to turn that settler-nation-state-to-Indigenous relation within reconciliation on its head. We then asked each of those artists to extend that invitation to a collaborator or respondent to create these dialogues between practices. We were thinking about this call and response structure, but the artists took that in so many different directions. Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch decided to work together and position the land as their respondent, so there’s different degrees of collaboration or mentorship or response throughout the project.

WH: I was just reading over everything on the website again and the initial outset of how the project was described and, as an artist and someone at grunt now, it stood out so much how present these questions still are, not just as institutions but as artists. One of the questions I had about that is, how do you think institutions now are responding to this idea of reconciliation? Do you think that’s changed a lot or do you think #callresponse could just keep going until institutions responded in a meaningful way?

TH: [laughs]…until decolonization?

WH: [laughs] Yeah, until we achieve decolonization!

TH: That’s an interesting question because the experience of working with all of the institutions that we partnered with was very different and demonstrated where different organizations are in that relationship-building process. Like at Blackwood Gallery, we were in the context of an academic institution—they’re at the University of Toronto Mississauga—and part of what we did when we were there was to meet with university faculty and talk about their efforts to indigenize the academy, which is something that was a relatively new path for them at that time, or at least was new in terms of the university recognizing the work that Indigenous faculty were already doing in a systematic way. And then at a place like AKA Artist Run Centre in Saskatoon we were building upon work that they had already been doing within the community there, so it was really just about how we could give our resources over to the work that was already happening. I think that because the project doesn’t centre that settler-Indigenous relationship within reconciliation in the same way, that it could keep going on for a long time. Not that I don’t think that other projects that privilege that relationship aren’t important but it’s also like, who’s benefit is that for?

WH: It’s a heavy load on Indigenous artists. I feel, again speaking as an artist, being asked to do that, it’s like, I don’t have the answer and that’s what so many of these projects seem to frame like: “We’re going to have a reconciliation project and we’re going to have an answer!” But you are not! It’s going to be exhausting and I might be kicking and screaming by the time you’re finished.

TH: I asked Maria and Tania to work with me because they’re two people who I look up to immensely, and we further invited other artists who we looked up to immensely. A lot of the artist-respondent pairings had that aspect woven into it. Some artists chose to respond more directly to that context of reconciliation, like Christi and Isaac saying we’re not ready for reconciliation; we have to reconcile ourselves with the land before we can do something else.

WH: On the [web]page there’s a little thing where you’re quoting Leanne Simpson that was something that stood out to me about the whole process. With reconciliation are tied in these concepts of recognition and those concepts of recognition are so different when Indigenous people are working with other Indigenous people—it strengthens those bonds.

TH: That idea of living as if, as if we have realized the realities that we want on the ground. I love Leanne Simpson.

NL: I really like this web-like, looking-in-multiple-directions-at-the-same-time idea. When I originally read about the project I understood it as starting with you and hopping over to these artists and then they hop to these [other] artists, but listening to you talk about it now, it’s not so linear.

TH: No it’s not. That web of relationships, I’m coming to realize, is part of my curatorial practice both unconsciously and consciously. Translating that way of working to working at the Vancouver Art Gallery is a little bit complicated. How do you maintain that? How the institution responds to that methodology is interesting.

WH: It must be hard with larger institutions. I imagine there is this unspoken thing about making things palatable for an audience but a project like #callresponse is asking, well, what’s palatable for an institution?

TH: That’s something that I’ve puzzled over about the exhibition in general as it’s travelled to different places, because the story of the project is so rich and all of the different in-person interactions and experiences are at the heart of the exhibition, and then you have a series of works that stay the same, that travel to each place with a few changes, like when Ursula did a new song line that would go into the gallery instead of the initial one that she and Cheryl did together. A lot of the works in the show point outside of themselves. Maria’s felt bag is an object that’s activated in performance and the plywood cut-out buffalo robe points to the fact that that original object is not there any more. I’ve always been curious throughout the process of the exhibition about how people experience that pointing outside of the gallery through these objects that are inside of the space. Allison Collins, when the show opened here, said that the role of imagination in looking at the exhibition was something that stood out for her right away. Thinking about what the stories of the objects were outside of the space. She said something along the lines of imagination is not valued as much in exhibitions as it should be.

WH: Initially I also had the same idea that this is a very linear project in many ways, but did you find overall that you were enmeshing more into things, into networks?

TH: Yeah, I would say so. It’s interesting to re-install a show over and over again and see how it shifts in every location and every context and what kinds of conversations come out of those contexts. The most enmeshed aspect of the project was me, Maria and Tania working together. That kind of coordinating but also curatorial conversations around each project—it was really thinking about, in each context, what projects we could activate or what artists we could bring in that would speak well to that context. Really it was about being responsive to that set of conditions, but sort of diving deeper into the projects each time.

NL: Do you have an example of one install or experience of install that changed really drastically or in an important way?

TH: Ursula’s project is a good example of that. Her project, The Land Sings, was in existence before #callresponse started. She had already done three or four song lines, so the project was a way of building on that work and acknowledging that work. We did song lines here, in Mississauga, New York, and Halifax. It moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and then back again over the course of the tour. In each case Ursula is working with singers, hand drummers, and language speakers in that area, and thinking about the relationships between the gallery and the closest First Nation community. That project shifted each time. In New York the song line was mapped onto the skyline of the city as something that’s such a defining feature there and is overlaid on top of Indigenous space and closely follows historic travelling routes that Indigenous Lenape would have travelled along.

NL: That site-specificity seems like such an integral part of the project.

TH: I think so. The initial five commissions were asked to be “locally responsive”; we didn’t really use the term “site specific.” I guess it started by thinking about how all of these artists are committed to doing the work that they’re doing in their own communities. That community is differently defined by everyone. It’s not about an ancestral or reserve community. It can be a shifting context that the artists are all responding to. Also, when we approached galleries for the first time we always asserted that this is a partnership. So the galleries need to take the lead, developing programming that makes sense in their context. We’re not just going to parachute in and do this exhibition; it wouldn’t be in line with how the project began or how it developed. It’s all the context; the responsiveness to context has always been a really central aspect to the project.

WH: Did you find some resistance from some places that didn’t understand where the project was coming from?

TH: No, luckily our partnerships were formed well in that way. Certainly some institutions had much more active, or ongoing or in-depth conversations than others that just rolled with it in their own way. Or [with] some people, it was a really collaborative coming to understand what needed to happen. I think that most of our partners understood for the most part what we were trying to do. There were challenges along the way. I think once we had done the first few, you kind of figure out what questions to ask, what kind of conversations need to happen at the beginning in order to get to what needs to happen. There’s always going to be a set of possibilities that we are responding to and another set of considerations that can be discussed with the partners.

WH: It seems like a difficult thing to do something like an exhibition, which is very administrative just by nature of being attached to an institution, [and] to also have it sincerely engage with the people that are going to see it. A thing I think about a lot when I’m asked to do a workshop is, well, what’s actually beneficial to you? To stop you from just dropping in and being like, “These are my ideas!” and then peace-ing out and ending the dialogue.

TH: I think that a lot of relationships were formed through the project. The participating artists are variously involved in communities where the show went to, so we were able to build upon those relationships a little bit.

WH: I was never able to make any of the performances just by nature of always travelling myself. I just remember each time there was a performance there was a spike in the hash tag and just feeling this intense feeling of FOMO. But also, going through the comments and seeing everyone else who couldn’t make it, there’s this weird outside community that wasn’t able to attend.

TH: Speaking of spider webs and networks, right? The amount of people who have followed the project online and through its various iterations has been pretty spectacular. It’s been really heart-warming in that respect. All of the artists, especially the five initial artists, they’re all such powerhouses. Huge amazing forces to be reckoned with. That was apparent always throughout the exhibitions.

WH: What curatorial projects are you inspired by outside of your own?

TH: Because I’m now working at the Vancouver Art Gallery I’m looking more intensively at what other large-scale institutional work people are doing and always puzzling to myself how they pulled that off. The work that Jamie Isaac and Julie Nagam are doing at Winnipeg Art Gallery, it’s very clearly connected to the community there and has enlivened the space when they activate it through their work and also their ethic and methodology. The way that they work together is really something I admire. And one of the best shows that I’ve seen in the last couple of years is We Carry Forward by Lisa Myers. I saw it when I was in Ontario. It was a group exhibition that just really floored me. She’s a really smart curator. And Lorna Brown at the Belkin, I was thinking about Lorna and Lisa together because they both play upon the meaning and structure of language and then extrapolate that into the artworks that they include.

NL: I’m just thinking about #callresponse ending: it recently wrapped up at its last stop at Stride and TRUCK Gallery in Calgary. Is there a story or a feeling about the impact of the project—maybe something in your own practice—as it comes to a close? How are you reflecting on the project?

TH: Two things come to mind: the scales of intimacy and really public-facing discourse that have both been really fulfilling. I think that’s encapsulated at Stride and TRUCK Gallery in Calgary. We worked with youth from Tsuu T’ina First Nation, which is a program already established with those galleries. A dozen kids came from the rez and we had pizza lunch,we gave them a tour of the show, Maria let them mess with her performance objects, and then we did a pirate radio broadcast in the gallery at TRUCK, which would have a radius of about a block. And the kids, like, played Drake songs and told jokes and we ate chips. It took a few hours before, right at the very end, everyone’s warmed up to each other and we’re chilling and it’s natural. It’s a little different with kids, but there’s a number of moments throughout the project that are small scale and focused on that kind of moment. And then there’s a moment, like opening the exhibition in New York and doing a round table to a packed house, attended by arts workers from around the city. And you recognize that you’re part of a dialogue that people really need to be hearing there and need to be having, because it doesn’t happen enough and the ways that [it] happens aren’t always Indigenous-led. It is a small moment, but you just feel like you’re connected to something that’s wider and urgent. Those nodes of the project are what will resonate with me for a long time to come.

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Particles: Seoul to Vancouver 


Particles completes grunt’s exchange with organizations and artists in Seoul, South Korea. This international program began in 2018 with Instant Coffee’s project Pink Noise Pop Up , which saw curator Vanessa Kwan, artist collective Instant Coffee and Vancouver-based artists Jeneen Frei Njootli, Casey Wei, Krista Belle Stewart and Ron Tran mount an exhibition and a series of events at two partnering organizations in Seoul. This year’s program includes an artist residency, an exhibition and a curatorial visit.

RESIDENCY
Artist: Yaloo, April 18th – May 17th, 2019, Western Front Media Arts/ grunt gallery

Talk: Animation Show and Tell
Featuring Yaloo, with Howie Tsui and Lianne Zannier
April 25th, 7 PM.
Location: Grand Luxe Theatre at the Western Front.
Produced in collaboration with Western Front Media Arts

VISITING CURATORS
Curators: InYoung Yeo (Art Space One, Seoul) and Soojung Yi (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul).
May 8th – 17th, 2019.

Curator’s Talk and Open House
InYoung Yeo and Soojung Yi with Yaloo
May 13th, 6:30 PM
Location: Grand Luxe Theatre at the Western Front

At this Curator’s talk, Seoul-based curators InYoung Yeo (Art Space One) and Soojung Yi (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) will discuss digital technologies, art and urbanism. Yeo and Yi will address the conditions of production, collaboration and presentation in Korea and the influence of digital technologies on arts communities and the public realm. The event will also showcase the latest work in progress by Yaloo, developed while in residence at Western Front.

EXHIBITION
dot.dot.dot.
Artists: Sejin Kim and InYoung Yeo.
Curated by Vanessa Kwan with InYoung Yeo
May 10 – June 22, 2019.
Opening Reception: May 9, 7 – 10 PM. Location: grunt gallery

dot.dot.dot. brings together Seoul-based artists Sejin Kim and InYoung Yeo for their first presentations in Canada. Working at the intersection of media and installation, Kim and Yeo’s practices explore the omnipresence of interactive technologies and their varying effects on human experience. Far from decrying the advance of ‘the digital’ the artists represent an embedded yet critically engaged position. Their works contend, as we all must, with an embodied perspective in a technological environment that, in both promise and imperfection, is intertwined with our survival.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Particles: Seoul to Vancouver is produced in partnership with Western Front Media Arts, the Banff Centre for the Arts and Pacific Crossings


Participant Bios

Yaloo is a media artist currently based in Seoul and Chicago. Her work creates poetic narratives that explore regionalism, consumer culture and digital interactivity using transcultural icons such as corn, ginseng, and cosmetics. Via alternative video imaging technologies such as video projection mapping, sublimation transfer techniques and virtual reality, intimate relationships between consumerism and regionalism are mediated in spectacular, multi-faceted digital landscapes. She completed an MFA (2015) and BFA (2011) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a focus on digital image-making and digital installation. She was the first recipient of Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Scholarship by Video Data Bank (VDB). Since 2009 she has shown her work internationally, including exhibitions in Seoul, Malmö, Frankfurt, Brooklyn, Seattle, Columbus, and Chicago. Her work is often site-specific with a strong research component, and recent residencies include the Bemis Studio Art Centre, Fukuoka Asian Museum of Art, Headlands Centre for the Arts, and High Concept Labs, Chicago

InYoung Yeo is an independent curator and director. With a background in English Literature, Illustration and Fine Art in countries including UK, US and Korea, she founded Space One, an independent artist-run space, in Seoul in 2014. Since then, she has put together various collaborative exhibitions, working and experimenting with emerging artists and art spaces from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, UK, US and Canada, among others. Some of her recent curatorial projects and exhibitions include Intersections of Common Space and Time supported by Seoul Art Foundation, Goethe-Institut Seoul; Gender Hierarchy supported by Geothe-Institut Singapore in collaboration with Grey Projects Singapore; A.I.MAGINE Seoul City, Seoul National University commissioned, Seoul Digital Foundation, Seoul Data Science Lab Project; a three-way dialogue with the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017; East Asia Goethe-Institut project ‘A Better Version of 人’ programs in Korea.

Soojung Yi was born in Busan, Korea. Yi worked for Daejeon Museum of Art as Curator of Media Art and worked for Art Center Nabi (Seoul) as a creative director, where her focus was the production of media art for the public realm. There she researched the rising number of media façades in urban space and its interaction with the public. She joined the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul) 2012 and has been working for the exhibition and projects related to media arts. Her previous projects include The Future is Now! New Media Collection from MMCA, Korea, Younghae Chang Heavy Industries (2013); Shirin Neshat (2014); Infinite Challenge-Women Media Pioneers in Asia, Anechoic Project-experimental films and music performances (2014); and William Kentridge (2015).

Sejin Kim received her MFA in Fine Art from Slade School of Fine Art in London and MA in Film/TV from Sogang University in Seoul. She works with a variety of media apparatuses, including documentary realism and cinematic language to explore relationships between individuals and contemporary cultural systems. Her work has been shown internationally including selected solo exhibitions: The Chronology of Chance, Media Theater, Seoul; Prizma Residency #1, Prizma Space, Istanbul, Turkey; The Proximity of Longing, Cultural Station 284, Seoul. Selected group exhibitions include The Arrival of New Women, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Galaxias Maculates, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Valdivia, Chile; Future is Now!, La Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille, France; The Shade of Prosperity, INIVA, London; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011, ICA Gallery, London & S1 Art Space, Sheffield, UK; Life Stage, Art Centre Nabi, Seoul; The 4th Gwangju Biennale: PAUSE. She is the recipient of the Songeun Art Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries), and The 4th DAUM Prize and she has participated in artist residencies at HIAP-Helsinki international Artist Program, SeMA Nanji Art Studio, Seoul, ISCP-International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York, Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon, Seoul, Goyang National Art Studio, and Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan.

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