April 15, 2013 - Badischer Kunstverein - CONTINENTAL DRIFT
April 15, 2013


Carole Condé & Karl Beveridge, …It’s Still Privileged Art, 1976.

CONTINENTAL DRIFT: Conceptual Art in Canada: The 1960s and ’70s
19 April–8 September 2013

Part I: 19 April–23 June
Part II: 28 June–8 September
(A portion of the exhibition will remain open between 23 and 28 of June)

Opening Part I: 18 April, 7pm
Opening Part II: 27 June, 7pm

Badischer Kunstverein
Waldstraße 3
76133 Karlsruhe, Germany


From April to September 2013, Badischer Kunstverein is hosting a major exhibition and series of events on conceptual art in Canada with a special focus on the 1960s and 1970s. This exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Canadian conceptual art in Europe and is part of Badischer Kunstverein’s ongoing interest in histories of conceptual art, explored in exhibitions such as Why here is always somewhere else (2008) and Nancy Holt: Sightlines (2011). CONTINENTAL DRIFT presents the work of more than 100 artists on all three floors of the Kunstverein. Featured artists include important Canadian protagonists Vera Frenkel, General Idea, Garry Neill Kennedy, Ken Lum, N.E. Thing Co., Michael Snow, Françoise Sullivan, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, and Joyce Wieland, as well as American and European artists who realized important pieces in Canada during this time and had a lasting effect on conceptual art there, such as John Baldessari, Dan Graham, Sol LeWitt, Martha Rosler, and Robert Smithson.

CONTINENTAL DRIFT is devoted to a significant and hitherto underrepresented period in Canadian art. Involving a broad spectrum of materials and media, the exhibition sheds light on some of the most unique characteristics of Canadian conceptual art—especially the role of artists’ collectives and the network of artist-run centers, but also the development of new artistic mediums and the influence of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan. The exhibition accentuates a diversity of local vantage points in the ongoing project of revisiting the history of conceptual art globally.

Organized thematically, CONTINENTAL DRIFT features five intertwined chapters in two consecutive parts. The first part will be dedicated to the artistic exploration of geography, mapping, landscape, and sites. Due to the vastness of the Canadian landmass, these themes have manifested in intellectual pursuits throughout the country. The political implications of language, communication, and discourse are the focus of a second, large constellation of artworks. In Canadian conceptual art, the “linguistic turn” came to be decisively impacted by American culture and ideology, but also by the prevalent “English-Canadian” influences, especially in the francophone province of Quebec. A third chapter centers on the critical scrutiny of conventional approaches of teaching and pedagogy with a view to the alternative concepts applied at one of Canada’s premier art colleges and centers of conceptual art internationally: the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD) in Halifax. For the second part of the exhibition, which opens in late June, two points of thematic focus will be added. First, the relationship between conceptual art and body politics will be seen against the backdrop of feminist and queer strategies. Second, the intensification of artists’ networking activities and collaborative projects will be thematized, including alternative publishing projects and art-related para-entrepreneurial undertakings.

An extensive program of events and discussions runs parallel to the exhibition. Each thematic complex will be accompanied and marked by an element of intensification through guest lectures, artists’ talks, workshops, performances, and film screenings. To this end, artists, theorists, and critics from Canada and all over the world have been invited, including Alexander Alberro, Iain Baxter& (N.E. Thing Co.), AA Bronson, Garry Neill Kennedy, Kasper König, Suzy Lake, Ian Murray, Lisa Steele, and Ian Wallace, among others.

The exhibition will be followed by a publication designed by Dexter Sinister.

Curated by Barbara Fischer (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto) and Anja Casser (Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe), in collaboration with Grant Arnold (Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver), Vincent Bonin (independent curator, Montreal), Catherine Crowston (Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton), Michèle Thériault (Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal), and Jayne Wark (NSCAD University, Halifax).

For the list of participating artists and information on the accompanying program, please visit www.badischer-kunstverein.de.

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Kindly supported by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Embassy of Canada, Berlin.

CONTINENTAL DRIFT at Badischer Kunstverein
Badischer Kunstverein
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