Shop > Anthologies


Is Toronto Burning?: Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene

Philip Monk
Black Dog Publishing / Art Gallery of York Unive
22 × 25 cm
256 pp

Is Toronto Burning? is the story of the rise of the downtown Toronto art scene in the late 1970s.

If the mid-1970s was a formless period, and if there was no dominant art movement, out of what disintegrated elements did new formations arise? Liberated from the influence of New York, embedding themselves in the decaying and unregulated edges of downtowns, artists created new scenes for themselves. Such was the case in Toronto, one of the last—and lost—avant-gardes of the 1970s.

In the midst of the economic and social crises of the 1970s, Toronto was pretty vacant—but out of these conditions its artists crafted something unique, sometimes taking the fiction of a scene for the subject of their art. It was not all posturing. Performative frivolity and political earnestness were at odds with each other, but in the end their mutual conviviality and contestation fashioned an original art scene.

This was a moment when an underground art scene could emerge as its own subcultural form, with its own rites of belonging and forms of transgression. It was a moment of cross-cultural contamination as the alternative music scene found its locale in the art world. Mirroring the widespread destruction of buildings around them, punk’s demolition was instrumental in artists remaking themselves, transitioning from hippie sentimentality to new wave irony.

Then the police came.

  1. Is Toronto Burning?

Related Items

  1. Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk: Migrating the Margins
  2. General Idea and Philip Monk: Glamour Is Theft: A User’s Guide to General Idea 1969-1978
  3. Will Munro: History, Glamour, Magic
  4. Prefix Photo Issue 34
  5. Impulse Magazine Volume 8 Number 4 1980
  6. William Davidson : Protometahumanoid Reunion on Cave Island as witnessed by W.A. Davidson
  7. Impulse Magazine Volume 8 Number 3 1980
  8. Bojana Stancic and Alex Wolfson: And so, the animal looked back....
  9. The Long Now: Public Studio
  10. Sight Lines : Reading Contemporary Canadian Art
  11. Walking Woman Works: Michael Snow, 1961-67
  12. Alex Turgeon: Listen
  13. Craig Leonard: Michael Fernandes
  14. Jack Pierson: Tomorrow’s Man 2
  15. Fillip Issue No. 20
  16. Folio Series: Institutions by Artists
  17. Eldon Garnet: Impulse Archaeology
  18. Bruce LaBruce: The Reluctant Pornographer
  19. Lauren Lavery: Peripheral Review 2016
  20. A Man Walks into a Bar...
  21. Prefix Photo Issue 40
  22. Oliver Husain: Spoiler Alert
  23. Diane Borsato
  24. Erika DeFreitas: very strongly may be sincerely fainting
  25. Jordan Scott: Clearance Process
  26. Emelie Chhangur, Ryan Doherty, Derek Liddington , and Fabien Maltais-Bayda: Derek Liddington
  27. Tom Sherman: Activating the Archive 1: From a Resevoir of Predictions
  28. Instabili:
  29. Video by Artists 2
  30. Video Re/View: The (best) Source for Critical Writings on Canadian Artist’s Video
  31. Tila L. Kellman and Michael Snow: Figuring Redemption: Resighting myself in the art of Michael Snow
  32. Jean-Christophe Ammann, Museum of Conceptual Art, AA Bronson, Marcel Broodthaers, Benjamin Buchloh, Daniel Buren, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Filliou, Vera Frenkel, Peggy Gale, General Idea, Walter Grasskamp, Walter Grasskamp, Hans Haacke, Image Bank, Donald Judd, On Kawara, and G: Museums By Artists
  33. Jessica Wyman: Pro Forma: Language/Text/Visual Art - Full Series
  34. agent.NASDAQ aka Reinhold Grether ,  Edward Poitras , Zeigam Azizov, Isabelle De Baets, Karl Beveridge, Chris Burden, Heather Cassils, Maurizio Cattelan, Carole Condé, Jane Crawford, Wim Delvoye, Maria Eichhorn, Hu Fang, Gerald Ferguson, Elizabeth Ferrell, and Andrea Fraser: Commerce By Artists
  35. I Like Your Work: Art and Etiquette
  36. Dis/location: projet d’articulation urbaine. Square Viger
  37. Art Talk AM on the Radio