Events > Book Launch

12 Mar. 2011

Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008

Gordon Lebredt
Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
1 pm - 3 pm

Art Metropole is pleased to launch Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008, co-published by Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art and distributed by Art Metropole.

Please join us on Saturday March 12, from 1-3 p.m. to celebrate this important publication and artist.

_Known for its rigorous conceptualism and ambitious materiality, the work of Gordon Lebredt is among Canada’s most challenging and gratifying. Alongside Lebredt’s significant record of exhibitions, publications and interventions is a parallel body of unrealized work-a sprawling hypothetical topology of surfaces, abutments, expanses and disjunctions in which words, objects and images struggle to find and mark their place.

Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008 collects Lebredt’s unrealized proposals from a thirty-three-year period-a major retrospective of a body of work that exists only as possibility. Designed and typeset by Lebredt himself, and edited by Lin Gibson, the book contains 125 works presented as drawings, schematics and sketches rendered in pencil, ink, spray paint and type, as well as texts by Ian Carr-Harris, Gary Michael Dault, Lin Gibson, Andy Patton, Yvonne Lammerich and Yam Lau and a prologue by David Court and Josh Thorpe._

-Josh Thorpe + David Court

Gordon Lebredt was born in Winnipeg and lived in Toronto until his death in February 2011. Recent exhibitions included 2 colossi for YYZ (YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto, 2009-2010), Marchland (Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto, 2010), Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 (University of Toronto Art Centre, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto, 2010), Giving Notice: Words on Walls (Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax, 2010), Sally Späth, Josh Thorpe, Gordon Lebredt (G Gallery, Toronto, 2010), and More Often Than Always, Less Often Than Never (the Richmond Art Gallery, 2010-2011), Foyer (Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, 2010), and Bookblock (Art Metropole, 2010).

Recent publications have included Afterthoughts: a monologue [to R.S.], YYZ Books, Toronto (2007), Notes from the Parergon: A few off-centre remarks concerning the artist-run facility as medium, in Decentre: concerning artist-run culture/à propos de centres d’artistes, also from YYZ Books (2008), A few opening remarks, a text published for the opening of an exhibition by Robin Collyer, YYZ Artists’ Outlet _ and Into the bargain—a parable in two parts: David Armstrong Six at goodwater, in Espace Sculpture, Montréal (2009). Recent public appearances have included talks at the Dalhousie Art Gallery and the department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University. He was also a panelist at the conference Traffic: Conceptualism in Canada at the University of Toronto, where a paper on his work was presented by Andrew Kear, Associate Curator, Historical Canadian Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Established in 1972, Plug In was created as a not-for-profit exhibition space directed by a board of practicing artists. It began as one of the first (and few) organizations on the prairies to focus exclusively on contemporary art, and has retained this model while expanding its vision in significant ways. Over the past thirty years Plug In has grown to serve local, national, and international audiences with a variety of programs and activities. The organization speaks to multiple communities who – while diverse in character – share an interest in contemporary art and the analysis of contemporary culture.

Since its inception Plug In has played a central role in the creation and growth of a living culture in Manitoba, facilitating a mutually beneficial dialogue between art and its wider social context. In addition to its fundamental role as a centre for the exhibition and dissemination of art, Plug In has nurtured the careers of numerous artists, curators, critics, and arts administrators. To address other community needs, Plug In has also been an incubator for arts groups in the province such as Video Pool and MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art).

In the late 90’s, after twenty-five years of operation as an artist-run-centre, Plug In began to re-envision its role in local, national, and international art circles. Having arrived at a position of notable critical acclaim for its exhibitions and publications program, Plug In sought to have these programs matter in a larger way. To reach this goal and elevate the organization’s profile, Plug In launched three initiatives to attract larger audiences and expand the reach of our programming: the national and international circulation of exhibitions; the development of a website and e-commerce capabilities; and the creation of an audience development initiative. These changes marked Plug In’s transition from an artist-run-centre to something that resembled both a gallery and a museum, yet was neither – an interim phase during which a hybrid has taken form.

A survey of Institute of Contemporary Art­ models in the UK and the US has confirmed that Plug In’s mission, priorities and activities fit most comfortably within the ICA model. And while this model is itself a relatively fluid one, this ICA distinction means: the generation of a thoroughly researched mix of exhibitions offering multiple access points to contemporary art and ideas; insightful interpretation through publications, programs and events; and the creation of facilities and an environment for interaction among artists, art and audiences.

The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (CCCA) was founded in 1995 by Bill Kirby [former Head of the Canada Council Art Bank], with two colleagues Peter D.R. Brown [former Assistant Director of the Canada Council] and Arthur B.C. Drache, Q.C. It was set up as a federally incorporated, not-for-profit charitable arts organization with the mandate to broaden awareness of contemporary Canadian art and artists in Canada and abroad.

To meet the CCCA’s objectives, Bill Kirby established the online Canadian Art Database Project, [], based on a searchable, relational database – the MultiMimsy 2000 information management system. The first website, launched in 1997, was developed with a grade 11 class at Confederation High School in Nepean, Ontario, and posted 60 images – one each by 60 artists.

Initially, the project grew slowly, developed primarily by the CCCA’s director, with student assistance during the summers. The students were engaged under Canada’s Digital Collections, an innovative program of Industry Canada which was designed to give young people experience in digital initiatives. A total of 40 students were engaged from 1997 to 2004 when this program was unfortunately discontinued. In 1998, Bill Kirby moved to Toronto and re-established the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art and the Canadian Art Database there.

For the first few years, the project focused on documenting the careers of selected professional artists, designers, art writers and curators. In 2000, the project began to document some important Canadian artist groups, art institutions and events that have helped shape the contemporary Canadian art scene – such as The Ontario Society of Artists; The Isaacs Gallery; Nuit Blanche Toronto; ChromaZone/Chromatique; and Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980. The Canadian Art Database continues to be a work in progress.

From 2000 to 2005, a large amount of new content and functionality was added to the project with the support of a series of grants from the Canadian Culture Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Additional support was received through important project and development grants from The Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Inukshuk Learning Fund, the Museum of Promotional Arts, and the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts. With this important support the Director of the CCCA was able to engage experienced artists and arts professionals under contract for varying periods to assist in developing the Canadian Art Database. Several university students have also assisted in developing various sections of the project as part of their studies. From 2006 to 2011, the project was funded primarily by the Director of the CCCA.

The Canadian Art Database and website were housed with Webfarm in Chicago until 2000. [Webfarm was an affiliate of Willoughby Associates, the developer of Mimsy, the database software used by the CCCA]. From 2000 to 2007, the project was housed at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario and, in 2008, the CCCA entered into an arrangement with York University to host the project with the Faculty of Fine Arts. Under this arrangement, the Director of the CCCA joined the Faculty as a Visiting Professor to work with visual arts faculty and students in researching and preparing new content for the project. The CCCA/York arrangement lasted three years until the end of 2010.

For the next two years, The database and website were housed temporarily with Selago Design in Ottawa while the CCCA looked for a new home for the project. Andrea Boyes, President of Selago Design, has worked with the CCCA from the outset in customizing the Canadian Art Database and developing the database/website interface. [Selago Design acquired the Collections Management Division from Willoughby Associates (including the Mimsy product) in 2009].

In 2011, the Director of the CCCA moved to Winnipeg and re-located the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art and the Canadian Art Database there. The following year, the CCCA received a grant from the Winnipeg Foundation which assisted with the addition of a number of Winnipeg-based artists to the database.

Now, in 2013, the CCCA Canadian Art Database finally has a permanent home at Concordia University in Montreal, under the auspices of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, which is a Research Centre within the Faculty of Fine Arts. Bill Kirby, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, and a Research Affiliate of the Institute, is overseeing this transition to Concordia, and is continuing to develop the database and website from from the CCCA office in Winnipeg – with the collaboration of Drs. Janice Anderson and Loren Lerner, both Members of the Institute at Concordia, Art History graduate students, and participating artists and institutions across Canada.

New features are under development, including the CCCA Academy, which will showcase the research and writing of graduate students, and the CCCA Annex, which will offer virtual exhibitions drawn from the site. These development projects have been supported by the Seed Program of the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University. The migration of the CCCA Canadian Art Database and its ongoing good health are made possible by Concordia’s Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) and the project management of Harry Kirschner, Manager, Learning Resources, Faculty of Fine Arts.


1: Guests at the launch of Gordon Lebredt's Nonworks peruse the display tables.
2: Art Metropole fills up with guests.
3: Guests and contributor Yam Lau on the far right.
4: A display of Nonworks with Art Metropole's guest book.
5: Nonworks contributor Josh Thorpe addresses the audience.
6: Nonworks Editor Lin Gibson addresses the audience.

  1. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008
  2. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008
  3. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008
  4. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008
  5. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008
  6. Book launch for Gordon Lebredt: Nonworks 1975-2008