Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fiona Banner | Nude Calendar

Fiona Banner
Nude Calendar
London, UK: The Vanity Press, 2017
26 pp.,  42 x 29.7 cm., spiral bound
Edition size unknown

A 2018 nude calendar featuring the artist's written descriptions of the nude form.

"I don't see myself as working in the grand history of the nude in art: my work isn't at all similar to Lucian Freud's, for example. But the complexity that surrounds the nude – the questions about gender that define the history of the nude, and for that matter the history of description per se – are a motivation.

I got involved in looking at and describing the human form through watching war films. It occurred to me, after a while, that their images were pornographic in nature – both alluring, seductive and repulsive. That got me into looking at porn films. I began to think that they were like life drawings, only with all the rules broken. They have very limited narrative: often no script, virtually no dialogue, just the hovering gaze. I described these films moment by moment, in my own words, and made very big pictures from them. They take something very private and domestic, and make it heroic. After that, I worked with a striptease artist. She came to my studio and undressed, and I began describing her act verbally. It became a kind of striptease in words.

I generally never use life models – I usually work with people I know. We need a good rapport, especially for the performances I do, in which I stage a bare classical studio set-up with an easel, but then describe the nude model in front of a live audience. It's a bit of theatre. It's dead serious, but tongue-in-cheek as well. The performances are really taut, tense but oddly funny, for the audience as well as for me and the model.

The artwork itself has become vulnerable, because the mechanisms around it have been stripped back, exposed. The performances expose these layers of voyeurism – my voyeurism looking at the model, and the audience's voyeurism looking at me making the art, and looking at the model. But then the very way we look at all art, the way we treat artworks, the way we present them, is itself erotic. There is always that voyeuristic distance and rarification. Nudity is oddly taboo, even though, or perhaps because, we come into the world naked, and it's how we leave.

The first time you walk into a life-drawing class as a student, there's a frisson of excitement about how to formalise a moment that would normally be very intimate and very erotic. So what happens on paper in that class – the drawing or painting of the nude model – becomes an erotic act. It can also be brutal. In terms of a narrative structure, the nude is both protagonist and reader, or the subject and viewer in one. There's no narrative embellishment, just the bare standing figure; no before or after.

We always come back to the issue of describing the human form. It's a way of describing ourselves – an attempt to stall time long enough to make some kind of reflection, not of the stuff around, but of us, the flesh. Every life drawing, good or bad, is like a gravestone, an attempt to make permanent that which is always passing, an attempt to seize what we can't hold."

- Fiona Banner, The Guardian, 2009

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Reverend Howard Finster badges for Talking Heads' Little Creatures LP

"I’ve been a fan of the work of what are called “outsider” artists for a long time. One of these artists, the Reverend Howard Finster, did the cover of a Talking Heads record many years ago. When I was thinking about this record recently, and what images might visually represent it, it occurred to me that many of these artists focus intensely on what they feel might be a better world. The hope, the longing and the need to imagine what could be is widespread, and manifests in so much of their work. They are dreamers—as are we all."

- David Byrne, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Michael Snow & Jesse Stewart LP Launch Concert

Jesse Stewart visits Toronto to join Michael Snow to celebrate the release of their joint LP, Michael Snow & Jesse Stewart Live At The National Gallery, in what will be the the duo's Toronto debut, tomorrow.

The pair have been collaborating since 2010, with Snow on piano and Stewart on drums and percussion. The new LP, released by Record Centre Records and Art Stew Records, was launched last month with a concert in Ottawa. Their performance at The Array Space will be preceded by a duet between Brodie West (Alto Saxophone) and Mani Mazinani (Synthesizer / Electric Piano).
Saturday January 13th 2018 at 8:00pm
The Array Space
155 Walnut Ave. M6J 3W3
Tickets: $15

Robert Barry | THIS IS...

Robert Barry
Brussels, Belgium: MOREpublishers, 2018
50 x 68 cm. (each print), 200 x 68 cm. (overall dimensions)
Edition of 20 signed and numbered copies [+ 10 AP]

The 104th work in the hors séries, is a suite of 4 silkscreen prints on Steinbach, 250 gr. paper.

Available for 580 € from

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Matt Connors remembers Shannon Michael Cane

"I remember [...] visiting Shannon at Printed Matter and going dancing with him downtown at Vandam’s. I felt a change in the air. Things felt messy again; things felt fun again. I quickly moved back. It was shortly thereafter that Shannon’s tenure as curator of the Art Book Fairs began, and this spark of energy seemed to actually ignite. I will never, ever forget the feeling at the first few New York and LA Art Book fairs under the leadership of Shannon and his partner in crime, Jordan Nassar. The exuberance and actual joy in the air felt distinctly new, it was almost palpable, almost sexual (well—actually sexual for Shannon). I sensed all of this most acutely in Los Angeles, a cultural landscape that had been so thirsty for exactly this kind of communion—I felt and heard the town actually physically rejoicing for this access to a real-life meeting place where people could meet and exchange ideas."

Read the full text at

Dave Dyment | 440 Unwin Ave

Dave Dyment
440 Unwin Ave
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2018
Edition of 5

From Stop Me If You've Heard It: a nine-and-a-half minute long video comprised entirely of clips from film and television productions that were shot at the disused Hearn Generating Station in the east end of Toronto (Robocop, Red, Resident Evil, Heroes, Saw II, The Strain, 12 Monkeys, etc. etc.).

Built in 1951 and decommissioned in the eighties, the building encompasses 650 thousand cubic metres of space and features a 700 foot tall smokestack (the largest chimney in Canada and still possibly one of the ten tallest structures in the country).

The similar stories found in the clips (a hostage, a storming of the gates, a shoot out, a retreat) are edited into a singular narrative, scored with songs from the originals. Twenty-four productions were used in total.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Robert Filliou | A New Way to Blow Out Matches

Robert Filliou
A New Way to Blow Out Matches
Malmö, Sweden: Bengt Adlers, 1980
7.2 x 10.7 x 4.8 cm cm
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies

A wooden box containing a weighted spinning toy and a box of matches. The match affixes into the toy, becoming its handle.

Daniel Olson | The Space Enclosed

Daniel Olson
The Space Enclosed
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, [c.1999]
5.5 x 3.5 x 1 cm.
Edition size unknown

Repurposed empty matchbox.

Ben Vautier | Total Art Matchbook

Ben Vautier
Total Art Matchbook
Ann Arbor, USA: Lightworks, 1984
7.5 x 5 x .75 cm.
Edition size unknown

Originally affixed to the cover of Lightworks Magazine issue 14/15, the publisher Charlton Burch sent me a few standalone copies many years ago. Originally published by Fluxus as a matchbox, the matchbook reads:


David Shrigley | Don't Say the Word Shit

David Shrigley
Don't Say the Word Shit
Pittsfield, USA: BlueQ, 2006
9.5 x 11 x 3 cm.
Edition size unknown

A triangular matchbox containing 110 matches and some sage advice from Shrigley.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Louise Lawler | Borrowed Time

Louise Lawler
Borrowed Time
New York City, USA: Baskerville and Watson Gallery, 1983
4.8 × 5.1 × 0.8 cm.
Edition size unknown