“THE DINNER PARTY: INDIGESTION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT,” IN INSIDE BROADSIDE

In Inside Broadside: A Decade of Feminist Journalism. Ed, Philinda Masters, Second Story Press Oct. 8 2019.

"The point is not to criticize Chicago for her choice of guests; nor for attempting to take in all of western civilization in her sweep of history.... The point is, however, that Chicago's politics are not particularly radical. Her visualization of feminism, rhetoric aside, fits right in with the trendy notions of 'liberated' upper class matrons."

Broadside: A Feminist Review was a groundbreaking Canadian feminist newspaper published between 1979 and 1989. While Broadside paid attention to everything from feminists making art to street activism, it also covered the mainstream, from pop culture to peacemaking. The Broadside team uncovered the work of female artists and developed challenging and risky new ideas, all while participating in the day-to-day organizing of a grassroots movement.

Broadside helped reinvent journalism to make room for a feminist voice. This collection looks at the impact of the newspaper on the lives of women. Through a selection of key articles, the book explores the issues and events, the conflicts and controversies, and the debates and discoveries of feminist theory and activism that formed the context and content of a decade of change.

Buy the book here.

“CARROTS FOR BREAKFAST” IN JACK CHAMBERS – LIGHT, SPIRIT, TIME, PLACE AND LIFE

In Jack Chambers – Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life. Ed. Dennis Reid. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions & Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2011.

"To Jack, the equation was simple: artists were providing a service and not being paid for it. What irked was the failure of the Gallery to approach them as professionals, or to recognize their right, by law, to remuneration when their work is reproduced."

Carrots for Breakfast was one of four essays curator Dennis Reid asked friends of painter Jack Chambers to write for the catalogue to Jack Chambers – Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life, an exhibition he mounted at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2011/12. Jack died of leukemia at the age of forty-seven in 1978.

Introducing the section “My Jack Chambers” Dennis wrote ‘Jack Chambers has exerted a remarkably broad influence through both his work and the example of his life To give some sense of this surprising scope of his impact, we have asked four people, each prominent in his or her field, to relate briefly a meaningful experience of the artist and/or his art. Each has responded with a profoundly personal account.’ The other three were Michael Ondaatje, John Scott and Eric Fischl.

I write about my work with Jack in the last ten years of his life, when, knowing he was dying, he nevertheless devoted a huge amount of energy to political work as national representative of the newly founded visual artists union Canadian Artists’ Representation, CAR/FAC.

Download a PDF version (130Kb) of “Carrots for Breakfast.”

“NATIONAL ARCHIVES BLUES” IN LITERARY REVIEW OF CANADA

Is a precious Canadian asset being digitized to death?

Literary Review of Canada, January-February, 2011.

"It does not take long to discover the great truth about archival work, which is, appearances to the contrary, that it is utterly absorbing."

This piece grew out of several visits to the National Archives of Canada in 2010. I was very troubled to discover archivists at their wits’ end and heading for the door, unable to assist researchers as they have in the past. New management has flat-lined the budgets for acquiring of private (non-governmental) papers, cut back on service, and embraced digitization as the one-stop answer to everything. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has since launched a campaign to save the archives.

Read the article National Archives Blues online here.

THE PRESENTATION OF SELF IN EMILY CARR’S WRITINGS

In Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon. Curators, Charles C. Hill, et al. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2006.

"Sophie Frank was an artist and a thinker and, in spite of her life circumstances, she continued to create many beautiful weavings. She maintained a long friendship with Emily Carr. A thirty year relationship between women is never devoid of personal thoughts and conversations about love,work,and tragedies. Sophie would have shared her cultural knowledge and many of her insights on art with a woman whom she was so fond of, a woman who would nevertheless go on to demean and primitivize her existence after her death."

I wrote this essay with Shirley Bear for the exhibition Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon organized by the National Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2006. It is based on a performance piece Shirley and I created together called Dear Emily / Dear Sophie about Salish basket maker Sophie Frank and her long time friend Emily Carr using correspondence between the two women we discovered in the archives in Victoria. We presented it at the VAG when the redesigned Carr galleries were opened in 1996. The piece was billed as “a contemporary dialogue about art, appropriation and friendship”. It was later performed and the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, and Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver.

Download a PDF version of  the essay “The Presentation of Self in Emily Carr’s Writings.” Buy a copy of Emily Carr: New Perspective on a Canadian Icon here.

BOOK REVIEW: “NATIONALISM WITHOUT WALLS”

Book Review in Geist 22

Richard Gwyn tries to get away with two puns in the title of his book Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Canadian (McClelland & Stewart), trading off on both André Malraux's cultural manifesto of the 1960s Museum Without Walls, and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Read Susan Crean's book review of  "Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Canadian," online here.

“THE EROTIC NATIONALISM OF JOYCE WIELAND” IN THIS MAGAZINE

In This Magazine 21.

"Hers is not museum art, in format, size or feel; and you don’t have to come equipped with a theory in order to understand it. The images, stories and symbols she uses are the stuff of daily life and everyone’s history: airplanes and sailboats, hearts and flowers, flags and beavers, Laura Secord and Nellie McClung."

"Forbidden Fruit: The Erotic Nationalism of Joyce Wieland," was featured in This Magazine in the August/September issue in 1987.

“THE THIRTY PERCENT SOLUTION: SEXISM IN FINE ART” IN THIS MAGAZINE

In This Magazine, January 1984.

"In 1978 Ottawa artist Jane Martin was the first to brave the opprobrium of the art world by tallying up figures on the number of Canadian Council grants awarded to women in the visual arts, comparing that to the number of women present on the juries. What was truly startling about Martin's findings was the underrepresentation of women."

Susan Crean's "The Thirty Percent Solution: Sexism in Fine Art," was reprinted in Canadian Women's Issues: Volume I: Strong Voices. By Ruth Roach Pierson, Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Paula Bourne, Philinda Masters. Lorimer: (Jan. 1 1993).

“D’UNE COLONIE À L’AUTRE,” IN SOCIOLOGIE ET SOCIÉTÉS

In Sociologie et sociétés, Critique sociale et création culturelle, Volume 11, Number 1,  Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, avril 1979.

Article abstract:

Despite the pessimism which emerges from her survey of Canadian culture, the author sees clear signs of a renewal and a burst of creativity among Canadian artists and intellectuals who contribute in this way to the strengthening of Canadian society and culture in the face of the dangers of Americanization. "Canadian nationalists who look favourably on the strengthening of Quebec nationalism hope that these national movements will evolve to the mutual advantage of both societies."

Résumé:

Malgré le pessimisme qui se dégage de son tour d'horizon de la culture canadienne, l'auteur voit des signes certains d'un renouveau et d'un sursaut de créativité chez les artistes et les intellectuels canadiens qui contribuent ainsi à l'affermissement d'un projet canadien de société et de culture, face aux dangers de l'américanisation. « Les nationalistes canadiens qui observent d'un bon œil le renforcement du nationalisme québécois espèrent que ces mouvements nationaux évolueront à l'avantage mutuel des deux sociétés. »

You can read "D’une colonie à l’autre (from Colony to Colony)" online here.