June 25 – August 21, 2011
NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA AT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN ART
The 1980s saw a generation of artists who, raised during cold war politics and the advent of television and mass entertainment, responded to this conflicting backdrop by sourcing new critical approaches suited to the media age. Pioneering in this regard was the artist group General Idea who, in their now iconic 1985 video, Shut the Fuck Up!, urged that all representations be “turned upside down and inside out.” In Toronto, this call was heeded by new approaches to painting, drawing, video, performance and sculpture on the part of a number of now well-established Canadian artists including Susan Britton, David Buchan, Tom Dean, Tanya Mars, Sandra Meigs, John Scott and Joanne Tod. While not all directly associated with Cameron House, the works presented here provide a broader overview of 1980s Toronto and an art scene marked by collusion between creative angst, experimentation and vanguard explorations of a burgeoning image-based, media-saturated culture. By the end of the decade, a frightening new reality emerged that forever changed the landscape, as the HIV/AIDS epidemic cut a devastating swath through the art world, locally and internationally.
General Idea/ Susan Britton/ Tom Dean/ Tanya Mars/ Sandra Meigs/ John Scott/ Joanne Tod Curated by Rae Johnson, Guest Curator and Jonathan Shaughnessy, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada Organized by MOCCA and the National Gallery of Canada