Art Metropole is celebrating the closing of Gendai Vectors:Infection and Infestations (1947-2012) Re-mythologizing the Archive with a print edition launch by Yam Lau as well as a public conversation.
The closing party events will include the launch of two new print editions by Yam Lau with Gendai, along with storytelling and conversations related to Art Metropole’s early history and relationship to the 1974 issue of FILE Megazine (vol. 2, no. 5, February 1974), Annual Artists’ Directory Issue.
The history of these organizations, the artists and the movements with which they interacted will be discussed by curators Fern Bayer and Peggy Gale, followed by a conversation with artist and curator, Yam Lau , Gendai Gallery Programme Director, Yan Wu and Art Metropole’s Executive Director, Corinn Gerber. Their discussion will contextualize the Gendai Vectors program’s Mobile Unit implementation and archive activation inaugurated at Art Metropole on February 15, 2012.
Fern Bayer served as the Chief Curator of the Government of Ontario Art Collection between 1977 and 1995, during which time she was responsible for the research and promotion of the collection, its exhibition, and the acquisition of new artworks. In this position she also served as International Cultural Promotion Consultant (1987-1995), responsible for the international promotion of Ontario artists, primarily in Japan. More recently, Bayer has worked as an independent curator and consultant, completing a number of curatorial and research projects, including the processing of the General Idea fonds. Bayer has also been a guest lecturer at Project (Dublin), the National College of Art & Design (Dublin), the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art (Dublin), and the Centre d’art contemporain de Basse-Normandie (Caen). Prior to her appointment with the Government of Ontario, Bayer completed a Masters of Arts at the Department of History of Art of the University of Toronto, Toronto (1975); a Diploma of Museum Science and Restoration of Works of Art at the UniversitÃ Internationale dell’ Arte, Florence (1972); and a Bachelor of Arts, in Anthropology and Art History, at McGill University, Montreal (1971). Bayer has received numerous awards, including the Independent Critics and Curators Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (2004 and 2006) for the publication of General Idea Editions, 1967-1995; the 2004 Melva J. Dwyer Award for Excellence in Canadian Art Publishing from the Art Libraries Society of North America (2004); the National Gallery of Canada Research Fellowship (2003-2004); the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for the publication of The Ontario Collection (2002); and the 1998 Best Historical Research & Writing Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries for texts in The Search for the Spirit: General Idea 1968-1975 (1998). Bayer currently sits on the Board of Directors of Art Metropole, a not-for profit artist-run centre in Toronto, which publishes and distributes artists’ book works, audio and video works, and multiples. She is authoring a catalogue raisonnÃ© of the works of General Idea.
Yam Lau was born in Hong Kong and is currently based in Toronto, Canada. He received his Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Alberta. His creative work explores new expressions and qualities of space, time and image. His most recent works combine video and computer-generated animation to re-create familiar spaces and activities in varied dimensionalities and perspectives. Also, Lau publishes regularly on art and design and is active in the local art community. Certain aspects of his art practice, such as using his car as an on-going mobile project space, are designed to solicit community participation.
Lau has exhibited widely across Canada, United States and Europe. He is a recipient of numerous awards from the arts councils in Canada. Currently Lau is a Professor of painting at York University, Toronto. In addition to his teaching and research, Lau also serves on the board and advisory committee on two public galleries. His work is represented by Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto and Yuanfen New Media Art Space in Beijing.
Born in Guyana, Peggy Gale came to Canada at an early age. She studied art history at the University of Toronto and the Universite degli Studi (Florence, Italy), graduating from UofT with an honours B.A. in 1967. She worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1967 to 1974, briefly in the audio-visual library and then as Education Officer, where she was responsible for originating and coordinating all lectures, concerts, films, performance events, etc. She was Assistant Film and Video officer at the Canada Council 1974-75, then returned to Toronto to work as Art Metropole’s first Video/Film Director 1975-79. For the next two years she was Executive Director of A Space in Toronto and from 1985-87 was Special Projects Coordinator for Art Metropole. Peggy Gale has also worked since 1974 (full-time since 1981) as an independent curator and writer/critic, on contract to institutions both in Canada and abroad. She was Canadian commissioner for the XIV Bienal Internacional de Sao Paulo (1977) and for the XII Biennale de Paris (1982), and curator for performance works at OKanada in Berlin (Akademie der Kunste, 1982-3). She has been active as well as a speaker, lecturing on video and contemporary artists’ media issues at numerous colleges and universities, as well as in panels and conferences at Graz (Austria), Rome, Barcelona, Lisbon, Tokyo, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In 1989 she was Curator in Residence at the Western Front in Vancouver, and presented Electronic Landscapes at the National Gallery of Canada; she was also a commissioner for the Third International Video Biennale in Fukui City, Japan. She was a member of the curatorial group for the first Biennale of the Moving Image at Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Madrid (1990), and co-curator (with Akihiko Morishita) of the exhibition Northern Lights at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, 1991. For TV Ontario in 1994, she was curator and on-screen host for a ten-programme series by Canadian artists, Video Art VidÃ©o, in collaboration with National Gallery curator Jean Gagnon and producer Robin Cass. Later the same year she was a jury member for the 40th International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany. Gale has published extensively since the mid-seventies, especially in Parachute magazine (Montreal) and Canadian Art (Toronto). She has edited three books in Art Metropole’s By Artists series, and contributed essays to such books as Art, Artists and the Media (Graz, 1978), Performance and Multi-Disciplinarity: Post-Modernism (Montreal, 1981), Video By Artists vols. 1 and 2 (Toronto, 1976, 1986)VidÃ©o (Montreal, 1986) and Mirror Machine: Video and Identity (Toronto, 1995). Her texts have appeared as well in a significant number of museum catalogues, the most recent being John Massey (Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1994). A collection of her essays entitled Videotexts was published in 1995 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press and The Power Plant; most recently, she edited Video re/View: The (best) Source for Critical Writings on Canadian Artists’ Video in collaboration with Lisa Steele, published in 1996 by Art Metropole and Vtape in Toronto. Peggy Gale has participated in juries and advisory committees for the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council on numerous occasions; she has also served two six-year terms on the Contemporary Collection committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario. A contributing editor of Canadian Art magazine since 1986, Gale has been a member of the International Association of Art Critics for some years.
Gendai was founded as a not-for-profit public art gallery in 2000 to promote excellence in contemporary art and design with an emphasis on work made by Canadian and international artists of Japanese ancestry (and beyond that, by the broader East Asian community.) In 2009 the mandate of Gendai was shifted to cultivate dialogue through contemporary art, focusing on experimental collaborations with contemporary artists and organizations for the production and dissemination of artwork from East Asian perspectives. Gendaiâ€™s original location was in Torontoâ€™s Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) in the suburb of Don Mills.
In September 2011, Gendai embarked on a new stage in its development by opening a satellite space at Bloor and Lansdowne in downtown Toronto, referred to as the Gendai workstation. With this new space, Gendai d its activities and programming into two parts: focusing on experimental site-specific projects rooted in everyday life and fostering research into sustainable models for small, not for profit arts organizations that, like the Gendai, operate from a basis of ethnic identity. With this extension, Gendai posits itself as an alternative public research entity with an audience that consists of local publics in the various locations Gendai works with, Torontoâ€™s downtown art community, and practioners and researchers from different disciplines that share similar concerns. Our year at the Gendai Workstation saw both our most dynamic, critical and intense year of programming and growth of a community and network of partner organizations, while at the same time being our most financially strenuous year, causing us to have to close its doors after one year of operations.
Gendai is currently carrying out its activities from a mobile landscape, reorganizing into a lightweight, modular and flexible structure to navigate this transition period. Weâ€™re operating from a desk at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex) in Toronto and operates with only one part time staff member who works with a Programming Committee and Board of Directors made up of active and dedicated practitioners in the fields of cultural production. Gendai is currently undergoing fundraising activities to bring the organization operating funding for a more well-funded, sustainable and thriving future.
As a whole, Gendai remainscommitted to its original mandate of creating multi-disciplinary programming encompassing contemporary art, design, performing arts, literature and architecture. Through the work of exemplary cultural producers, Gendai continues to present frameworks within which historical and cross-cultural connections are made to enhance the public understanding of its physical, cultural, social and political environment. In line with Gendai’s recent directions, Gendai has been expanding the curatorial emphasis beyond current Japanese Contemporary art to embrace broader geographic and cultural perspectives. By collaborating with different communities and multidisciplinary organizations, Gendai experiments with and produces mechanisms to engage audiences in diverse ways. To be an intellectual resource and provide thought leadership, Gendai seeks to research and address issues relevant not only to the racial constituency of East Asians living in Canada, but also aims to become a globally-conscious gallery that provides a broader context for re-examining the notion of cultural diversity today.
2: Gendai Vectors poster by day.
3: Gendai Vectors poster by night.
4: Gendai Vectors poster.