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C Magazine Summer 2021

C Magazine, established in 1984, is an essential platform for critical debate about contemporary art. With an emphasis on Canadian practitioners and international contexts, each thematic issue engages with emergent perspectives through original art writing, criticism and artists’ projects. C is committed to facilitating meaningful, pluralistic, interdisciplinary, historically-engaged and imaginative conversations about art.

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C The Visual Arts Foundation
$7.34(Incl. tax)
$15.74(Incl. tax)
3 Issues

in this issue

5 min

Dear C, My mind’s been on one lately, layering and repeating thoughts like a polyphonic refrain of obsession. Thankfully good writing is a mitigator: countering the feverish chorus of opinions and observations, it can quiet down what’s inside me. Good writing gains my attention without raising its voice at all. It doesn’t prevaricate, is radical without toil and trenchant without pretense. The Greeks already have a word for what I’m trying to describe, by the way: parrhesia, which means to speak freely, frankly, and without fear. It’s also what characterizes Johanna Hedva’s potent “Soft Blues,” which is one of the best essays I’ve read in a while. Where other writers might withhold personal detail, or generalize enough to reach an abstract truth so everyone (men) can understand, Hedva splays themself out.…

3 min
thank you donors to c the visual arts foundation 2020 / 2021

The generosity of individual and corporate sponsors, donors, and patrons enables us to continue fostering sustained discourse on Canadian and international contemporary art. We are especially grateful for the generosity and support of the artists who have donated their work in support of our fundraising, as well as the galleries that represent them. CHAMPION $10000+ La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso SUPPORTERS $5000 - $9999 Goring Family Foundation Matthew Meagher Superframe $1,000 - $4,999 EQ Bank Peter Goring Robert Graham Joyce and Alec Monro Julia and Gilles Ouellette Peter Estey Fine Art Waddington’s Auctioneers FRIENDS $250 - $499 Griffin Art Services Eric Hiebert Godfre Leung Duncan Monro $25 - $249 Anonymous (3) Cynthia Abols Alice Adelkind David Allison Reuven Ashtar Ken Aucoin Dean Baldwin Lew David Balzer Christina Battle Kaye Beeston Diane Bruneau Robert Buckingham Thomas Campbell Beth Carter Timothy Comeau John Cook Beverly Creed Jennifer Davis Margaret Dickson Jim Drobnick Sara Ellis Barry Fong Blair Fornwald Digital Foundry Lauren Fournier Anouchka Freybe Monika Kin Gagnon Tobin Gibson Joe Goulart Ayumi Goto Griffin Art Services Aryen Hoekstra Candice Hopkins Corrie Jackson Megan Kalaman Helen Kolberg Kate Kolberg Karie Liao Jeremy Laing York Lethbridge Julia Lum Tracy Ly Ginal Matthew Robyn…

11 min

“Community” is at once the word used to quickly refer to a group of living beings who have something in common, and something that’s way more effortful, hard-won. Many of us have been clumped into “communities” we may not identify with, or with whom we have a more complex relationship than the word suggests. The word is also commonly used to refer to museums’ publics, and might be considered a shorthand for work being done in isolation from, or even in contradiction to, those long-standing pillars of the field. This issue of C brushes against all these varying definitions and usages of the word “community,” dwelling longer on some than others. From rounding up resources for those living on the street to organizing petitions to boycott arts organizations that accept…

9 min
take down, spread out

Due to this apprehension around what affective ambiguities would make “better art” in the face of an invitation to participate in modes of action concerning public space, my collaborator Phát Lê and I deconstructed every motive after we received an email from The Bentway last autumn. In it, they presented an opportunity to participate in their “Safe in Public Space” (SIPC) initiative, which seeks to acknowledge the role that public space is playing in systemic injustices, and the fact that—although public space may feel important to our collective recovery—not everyone feels safe and comfortable therein. Of course there are many nuanced reasons for those experiences, which SIPC is mandated to explore. Turns out The Bentway had seen our YouTube video2 where we poured concrete on an uneven bench to flatten out…

3 min
community is never neutral: placemaking in chinatowns across canada

In the basement of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Calgary’s Chinatown, there is a hidden museum. A sign on a stand and an arrow pointing downward, a thin metal chain blocking the stairs that curious visitors can remove and replace on their own. There’s no fee to enter and the lights are turned on as needed, revealing a large-scale replica of four terracotta warriors and a chariot, originally meant to stand guard over the first emperor of China in the afterlife. It almost feels like they also guard the objects in the basement, bordered by a red velvet rope or separated by makeshift partitions. Unlike at other museums, touch is easy—no cameras, no living guards—and there are scarcely any other patrons to worry about. A photographic timeline stretches across a…

2 min
the new gallery

When The New Gallery (TNG) relocated to the heart of Calgary’s Chinatown in 2010, a few blocks from the white lions of Centre Street Bridge, they stuck to their standard public programming: an artist is invited to show their work, the work goes up, there’s an artist talk, and then it comes down. “Our programming was very much informed by what the artist wanted to do and centred on a white, anglophone audience,” TNG’s artistic director Su Ying Strang notes. It quickly became clear that this approach wasn’t a fit with the needs or interests of the surrounding community, and Strang began to think about how the gallery could better respond to their new context. “Moving into Chinatown made us think more about the purpose and relevancy of these programs,” she…