Events > Book Launch

24 Nov. 2007

Launch for Bill Burns and Barbara Balfour

Bill Burns and Barbara Balfour
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König
2 pm - 5 pm
In this Series

22 Mar. 2008
Book launch for Bill Burns's 0800.0Fauna0Flora

Art Metropole is pleased to launch a new artist’s book by Bill Burns and a new multiple by Barbara Balfour. Please join us on the afternoon of Saturday, November 24th, 2007 from 2pm – 5pm to celebrate the new work and to meet the artists.

Bill Burns’ exquisite new book Bird Radio – Vogelradio is published by KW – Institute for Contempoary Art, Berlin, KW|AG, Kitchener-Waterloo and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. The book is a 52 page operators manual in English and German with black line and colour offset lithography. It is designed by Bill Burns and Shannon Griffiths.

100 Things That Make Me Happy borrows the form of the ubiquitous Post-it® note but its regular function has been disrupted by Barbara Balfour. Flipping through the notes one discovers that they are already marked with handwritten words and phrases. The stack reveals itself as a list of a 100 things which constituted happiness for Barbara Balfour at some point in time. The individually screen-printed notes, reconstituted as a cellophane-covered block, ask the viewer to either let the book remain as a neat and tidy sculptural stack or to break it apart into 100 pieces and expose and disperse Balfour’s joy.

Bird Radio – Vogelradio (2007) by Bill Burns
Published by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada; Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, Germany. 52 pages. 17 × 11.75 x .5 cm. Softcover. Special Launch Price: $15

100 Things That Make Me Happy (2007) by Barbara Balfour
Multiple of individually screen-printed Post-it® notes, packaged as a cellophane-covered block. Special Launch Price: $100

Bill Burns was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1957 and has lived and worked as an artist in Toronto, Canada and London, England. His work consists mainly of conceptual writings, artists’ books and multiples. He studied under Gerard Hemsworth, Jon Thompson and John Latham at Goldsmiths College in London, England. He is known for his Safety Gear for Small Animals (SGSA) which was first shown at 303 Gallery in New York in 1994 and later at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005/2006 and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2008. His 2002 project Everything I Could Buy on eBay About Malaria which was shown at the Wellcome Trust in London, England is considered a seminal work in the area of electronic collecting. His work about life in the art world known as Veblen Goods was shown at MASS MoCA in 2012.

Burns has published numerous books including When Pain Strikes (Burns, Busby, Sawchuk), a critical anthology about pain and pain relief, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1999. Other book titles include Analgesia (Rochefort,Montreal, 1993), How to Help Animals Escape from Degraded Habitats (Optica, Montreal, 1996), Urban Fauna Information Station (Mercer Union, Toronto, 2002), Safety Gear for Small Animals (MOCCA, Toronto and California State University, Fullerton, 2005) Bird Radio (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, Cologne, 2007) and The Flora and Fauna Information Service – 0.800.0.0FAUNA0FLORA (ICA, London, 2008). Burns has also published dozens of guides, posters, and editions. His editions are included in major museum collections throughout the world.

Burns’ work has been exhibited in major museums and biennial exhibitions since the nineteen nineties. His most notable exhibitions include the ICA in London, the MoMA in New York as well as Forum Arte y Vida at the Havana Bienal in Havana, Cuba in 2003, the Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2007 and the Quebec City Biennial – Manif d’art 5, in 2010.

Barbara Balfour is an interdisciplinary and print media artist and curator who has exhibited her work and lectured across Canada and in the USA, UK and France. She has been a member of two artist collectives, the Toronto-based Spontaneous Combustion, and Venus Fly Trap based in Montreal. Her recent solo exhibitions include Soft Spots (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge), Designs for the Anti-Bubble (The Other Gallery, Banff), Selfish (The Koffler Gallery, Toronto) and Living & Dying (YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto – reviewed in Art in America). In the field of professional printing, she has worked for such artists as Leon Golub, Robert Indiana, Komar and Melamid, and David Rabinowitch.

In addition to print installation, artist’s books, and multiples, Professor Balfour has incorporated writing, video, and digital imaging into her art. Her art practice has been an inquiry into the representation of women within medical discourse and an examination of the relationship between soma and psyche. In her current research, she is considering notions of selfishness, manifestations of printing error, and instances of failure.

Professor Balfour joined the faculty in the Department of Visual Arts at York University in 1999.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a place for the production and presentation of contemporary art, where the pressing questions of our time can be openly formulated and discussed.

It is a center for the introduction of recent developments in national and international contemporary culture, and for further development, working together with artists and institutions, and commissioning new work.

As an institution for contemporary art without a collection of its own, but also without the specific mandate of a member-based art association, KW has a high degree of flexibility in creating its programs and addressing its audience. It is a resource both for the people who make active use of it, and for those who participate in it as visitors.

The building complex in Berlin’s centre includes exhibition halls, a library, function rooms, offices, a bookshop and a café, alongside apartments and studios, and provides a space for encounters and exchanges.

Through thoughtful and engaging programs the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KW|AG) connects people and ideas through art. The Gallery’s exhibitions and programs are built on the mission that art is the catalyst for shared experience, dialogue and imagination. The Gallery emphasizes contemporary art, often premiering works by Canadian and international artists. Exhibitions frequently draw upon selections from the 4 000-work permanent collection to provide a forum for dialogue. KW|AG plays a vital educational role in the community, offering a full spectrum of artistic experience for adults, children and families alike. Established in 1956 and operating within Centre In The Square, KW|AG is the oldest and largest public gallery in Waterloo Region: roots in the community, eyes on the world.

KW|AG is the oldest, largest collecting public art gallery in Waterloo Region. The Gallery is working to position itself as a leader in Canada. From its humble beginnings in a bicycle shed beside KW Collegiate, to a church meeting hall on Benton Street, to the Gallery’s present purpose-built accommodation in the Centre In The Square, the Gallery is setting a new direction for the visual arts in Waterloo Region and beyond. KW|AG would not be here today without the vision of the founders and early supporters and builders who created this public treasure.

In 2007, the Gallery celebrated its 50th Anniversary featuring a special exhibition titled A Telling Story: KW|AG @ 50 with displays of historical artefacts and artworks from the Permanent Collection, along with its recent commissions of the Gallery’s ongoing Parochial Views photographic series. A 50th anniversary celebration alumni event was also in September 2007, attended by over 200 past members and supporters, board members, leaders and community champions.


1: The crowd peruse the shop tables at the double launch of Balfour & Burns, at Art Metropole (November 25 2007).
2: In the Art Metropole shop during the double launch of Balfour and Burns.
3: Bill Burns signs a copy of his bookwork, Vogelradio, for artist Andrew Paterson.
4: Artist Barbara Balfour at the launch of her bookwork, 100 Things That Make Me Happy.
5: Ian Murray chats with a friend at the double launch of Balfour & Burns.
6: Artist Bill Burns and Art Metropole Director Ann Dean.

  1. Launch for Bill Burns and Barbara Balfour
  2. Launch for Bill Burns and Barbara Balfour
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  6. Launch for Bill Burns and Barbara Balfour