Annual Program

PUBLISHING AGAINST THE GRAIN at CRITICAL DISTANCE

July 4–August 17, 2019

PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL, NY

OPENING SATURDAY, JULY 6TH from 11am–1pm

CRITICAL DISTANCE and INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL (ICI) are pleased to announce the co-presentation of Publishing Against the Grain, a unique exhibition that provides visitors with a rare opportunity to engage in a variety of conversations from across the world. In the context of today’s corporatization and commodification of cultural institutions, and in many political situations where free speech becomes ever more precarious, independent publishing has shown extraordinary vitality and importance as a platform for disseminating alternative, progressive and autonomous positions.

Publishing Against the Grain is a traveling exhibition that highlights the current state of publishing and art criticism as it exists in small journals, experimental publications, websites, and podcasts, as well as other innovative forms. It is organized around projects that connect theoretical, social, political, and aesthetic questions with a focus on community, whether understood in relation to a particular place, or defined in identitarian or diasporic terms. In bringing these projects together from around the world, Publishing Against the Grain reveals how their material and discursive activities respond to intersecting subjects such as contemporary aesthetics, diaspora, sex and gender, gentrification, race, language, and art history.

Alongside the international network of publications sourced by ICI, Critical Distance will present a “capsule” exhibition of arts publishing projects currently being produced across Canada today. Aligning with the values, modes, and methods of production embodied by ICI’s global grouping, our selection will be similarly focused on grassroots/independent projects that demonstrate critical, socio-political and aesthetic engagements with topical issues and ideas, in thoughtful relation to their respective artistic communities as well as broader regional, national, and international publics.

This selection is not intended to be comprehensive or conclusive at this stage of our organizational research, but just the first of an ongoing series of explorations and resulting exhibitions that will seek to evince the incredible diversity and criticality that Indigenous and Canadian arts publishers have brought, and continue to bring to bear, upon global discourses in publishing and its potentials. Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to fully engage with all of the publications on display, with the opportunity to make a case for any of the capsule selections to be nominated for inclusion in ICI’s exhibition for future stops on its international tour.

Finally, Critical Distance is thrilled to announce the first additions to its nascent Curators Library+Archive, including the complete back catalogue of Lola Magazine, which was produced by artist/writer Sally McKay, curator John Massier and arts writer and editor Catherine Osborne from 1997–2003.

Stay tuned for more information on library- and exhibition-related events coming soon!

Publishing Against the Grain is initiated by Alaina Claire Feldman, Becky Nahom, and Sanna Almajedi with contributions from: Adjective / AEQAI / Art Hopper / Art Against Art / Post Capitalism: A Guide to our Future, Telematic Embrace, The Transhumanist Reader / Bisagra / ramona / Chimurenga & Selections from the Chimurenga Library / Curatorial Dictionary / Art-Leaks.org / East of Borneo / Artes Visuales / Exhausted Geographies / SCROLL / Fillip / Art-Language / Glänta / Bidayat / Makhzin / Souffles, Soufless-Anfas / New Culture / Top Stories / Our Literal Speed / Collective Actions / Pages / Pumflet / Corrections and Clarifications / Counter-Signals / PISEAGRAMA / Urbânia / Raking Leaves / Aar Paar / SALT. / LIES / Start Journal / Uganda Press Photo Award / Stationary / Blackbird / Lenny Kwok / Tráfico Visual / Félix Suaz / White Fungus / Life Is A Rip Off / X-TRA

Opening reception and exhibition walkthrough with CDCC Director Shani K Parsons

Saturday, July 6th from 11am–1 pm
Join us in the gallery for coffee, donuts, and mimosas! Plus a curatorial/conversational walkthrough of the exhibition with CDCC Founding Director Shani K Parsons and critics/publishers/artists in attendance. All are welcome.

Location and accessibility information

Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Suite 302 on the 3rd floor at Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street (btw Dundas and Queen Street in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood)
Toronto, Ontario M6J 2W5 Canada
Google Map

Artscape Youngplace and Critical Distance are fully accessible by Ontario standards, with a wheelchair ramp at the 180 Shaw Street doors, an elevator servicing every floor, and a fully accessible washroom on every level. The nearby 63 Ossington bus on the TTC is wheelchair accessible. All stairwell installations will be viewable from accessible locations.

About the presenting partners

Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, training opportunities, research initiatives, and publications for curators and audiences around the world. Established in 1975, ICI is headquartered in New York, but active around the world. ICI’s programs are presented and often developed in partnership with art spaces across the globe, therefore encouraging new infrastructures for art practice internationally, and inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art. www.curatorsintl.org

INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL (ICI) | 401 BROADWAY, SUITE 1620 | NEW YORK, NY | 10013 | USA

Critical Distance is a not-for-profit project space, publisher, and professional network devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice and inquiry in Toronto, Canada, and beyond. With a focus on critically engaged, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practices, underrepresented artists and art forms, and community outreach and education in art and exhibition-making, Critical Distance is an open platform for diverse curatorial perspectives, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on curating and exhibition-making as ways to engage and inform audiences from all walks of life. www.criticaldistance.ca

CRITICAL DISTANCE  (CDCC) | 180 SHAW STREET, SUITE 302 | TORONTO, ON | M6J 2W5 | CANADA

Publishing Against the Grain is an exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and initiated by ICI’s Alaina Claire Feldman and Becky Nahom with Sanna Almajedi. The exhibition was made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.

… Please join us for a public opening reception with the artist on Saturday, May 7th, from 6–9 pm Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. TYPOLOGY No. 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5 See Google map of location … About the Artist Susana Reisman was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1977. She received a BA in Economics from Wellesley College, Boston (1999) and an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (2005). After teaching photography for a number of years, Reisman now dedicates her time to making art and running Circuit Gallery. She lives and works in Toronto. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Productive Displacement, a series of billboards curated by Bonnie Rubenstein for the 2015 CONTACT Photography Festival; Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber (2014) at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto; Unsettled Primaries (2014), curated by Mariangeles Soto-Diaz for the Torrance Art Museum, California; Immoderation (2014), curated by Megan Press for the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga; Micah Lexier: More Than Two (2013), curated by Micah Lexier for The Power Plant, Toronto; Flash Forward Festival 2013, outdoor exhibition at Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston; Objects in Mirrors May Appear Closer (2013), UNO St. Claude Gallery, New Orleans; and Like-Minded (2012), curated by Micah Lexier for the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Manitoba. … The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council for this exhibition.
Critical Distance is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for funding support to make this exhibition and related events possible.

image: Where and When to Believe, Taslima Ahmed and Manuel Gnam, 2015. Image courtesy of Taslima Ahmed and Manuel Gnam and ICI.

An Archive, But Not An Atlas

April 27–June 2, 2019

Alex Jacobs-Blum, Curtiss Randolph, Camille Rojas, Eve Tagny
Curated by Liz Ikiriko

On view: April 27–June 2, 2019 / Opening reception: Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm

“An archive, but not an atlas: the point here is not to take the world upon one’s shoulders, but to crouch down to the earth, and dig.”

— Allan Sekula

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a group exhibition that explores personal and social histories as they are unearthed through movement, gesture, language, and land. Four emerging artists address unconscious memory as it is embodied across generations and geographies. Through photography, performance, and film, the artists’ knowledge is rooted in observing subtleties expressed in familial, domestic, or cultural locations. Continue reading

Performance documentation (still), Ivanie Aubin-Malo in response to work by naakita feldman-kiss at SAW Video (Ottawa), 2018.

PUBLIC SYNTAX: SAW Video at CRITICAL DISTANCE

February 7-March 31, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 9th from 2–4 pm

Curated by Neven Lochhead and presented in partnership with SAW Video Media Art Centre, Ottawa. Featuring work by naakita feldman-kiss, Ivanie Aubin-Malo, Henry Andersen, Mara Eagle, Phil Rose, Molly Teitelbaum, Anna Queen, and The Video in the Public Sphere Working Group.

In partnership with SAW Video Media Art Centre (Ottawa), Critical Distance is pleased to present ​Public Syntax, ​an exhibition that highlights the distinct time-based practices and approaches of seven artists, as well as those participating in the Video in the Public Sphere Working Group, the majority of whom are either Ottawa-based or connected. Situated in-gallery at Critical Distance and across multiple public spaces at Artscape Youngplace, the works in the exhibition embody and expand upon the recent and ongoing programming initiatives of SAW Video and their Knot Project Space​, ​launched in early 2018​.​

Continue reading

THROUGH LINES

September 13–November 25, 2018

Featuring LISE BEAUDRY, SCOTT BENESIINAABANDAN, MICHELE PEARSON CLARKE, LEILA FATEMI, MARIA HUPFIELD, RAAFIA JESSA, and NADIA MYRE
Curated by NOA BRONSTEIN

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 13, 2018 from 7–9 pm

Presented in partnership with the Koffler Gallery, Through lines is an exhibition that brings together works of seven artists that challenge notions of redaction, tackling its typical devices of shredding, blacking out, editing, and covering up.  Continue reading

Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Rendering on View (Betty Rowland meets Angela Aames). Performed on May 27th 2017 as part of the installation Walls of Wind: The mirroring and rendering. Created in the context of the group exhibition I've Only Known My Own curated by Nicole Burisch and presented from April 21st to June 10th 2017 at OPTICA, Montréal. Photo: Paul Litherland.

… move or be moved by some ‘thing’ rather than oneself.

June 23 – August 5, 2018

Featuring Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Adam Basanta, Adrienne Crossman, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget
Curated by Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau and Maude Johnson

Critical Distance is pleased to present … move or be moved by some thing rather than oneself., an exhibition that considers curating and choreography as materials and subjects. Bringing together the work of Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Adam Basanta, Adrienne Crossman, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget, the exhibition is curated by Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau and Maude Johnson. The title, taken from a quote by choreographer Yvonne Rainer, echoes the curators’ desire to question the potentialities of artworks as well as presentation contexts from the position of transdisciplinary instability. Continue reading

FORWARD FACING

April 21–June 3, 2018

Featuring Lacie Burning, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter and Dayna Danger | Curated by Cass Gardiner and presented in partnership with Aboriginal Curatorial Collective

In partnership with Aboriginal Curatorial Collective–Collectif des commissaires autochtones, Critical Distance is pleased to present FORWARD FACING, a Featured Exhibition of the 2018 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Curated by Cass Gardiner (Toronto/Brooklyn), Forward Facing is an exhibition that examines intersectionality within Indigenous identity through the photographic, video, craft, and installation practices of Dayna Danger (Montreal), Lacie Burning (Vancouver), and Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter (Calgary). Continue reading

WE LOOK AT ANIMALS BECAUSE

January 25–March 25, 2018

Featuring Quratulain Butt, Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Smriti Mehra, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman | Curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Critical Distance is pleased to present We Look At Animals Because, an exhibition that gazes on animality. Through the lens of spectatorship, the show explores the shifting ways in which animals are regarded, represented and accorded meaning in post-industrial landscapes. Exhibiting photographs, video, works on paper, and sculpture, the featured artists reveal the nuanced, complicated and unexpected paradoxes that mark our relationships with cosmopolitan animals. Continue reading

FERMENTING FEMINISM

September 14–November 26, 2017

Critical Distance is thrilled to launch our landmark 5th year of programming with FERMENTING FEMINISM, curated by Lauren Fournier and featuring Sharlene Bamboat, Hazel Meyer, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Sarah Nasby, Kayla Polan, Walter Scott, and Agustine Zegers.

Kombucha, guts, bacteria, vessels, vitalism, effervescence, degradation, and decay. Fermenting Feminism brings together artists whose work fleshes out the intersections between fermentation and intersectional feminisms. As the process of microbial transformation, fermentation becomes both a metaphor and material practice through which to approach feminist practices in the contemporary. Is feminism a relic of the past, something that has soured? Or is feminism still a vital imperative? This exhibition positions fermentation as a vital and viable space to re-conceive feminisms’s pasts, presents, and futures. Continue reading

SIGNALS & SENTIMENTS: A Featured Exhibition of the 2017 CONTACT Photography Festival

April 27–June 4, 2017

Curated by Katelyn Gallucci and featuring Sebastián Benítez, Petar Boskovic, Shelby Fenlon, Maxwell Hyett, and Mickey Mackenna (gallery); Maggie Groat & Jimmy Limit, Karen Henderson, and Josée Pedneault (stairwells)

SIGNALS & SENTIMENTS, a Featured Exhibition of the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, is a two-part exhibition that examines how gesture functions as a mechanism for the production of identity. Continue reading

Precious Commodity | Eunice Luk, Ella Dawn McGeough, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, Biliana Velkova

March 10–April 9, 2017

Critical Distance is pleased to present Precious Commodity, a group exhibition of recent 
works by Eunice Luk, Ella Dawn McGeough, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and Biliana Velkova, curated by 
Alison Cooley.

Articulating a tension between objects and their ways of being—their forms, their significance, 
their social and economic circulation—Precious Commodity brings together artworks that 
examine the complicated sweetness of things. Unanchoring objects from their exchange 
within capitalism, the artists in the exhibition resignify them as vessels for fantasy, desire, 
and alternate possibility. Reflecting on the nature of a world populated by things with 
definitive practical uses and monetary values, each artist playfully contends with form, 
usurping existing representations in the service of building new meanings.  Continue reading