VALIE EXPORT / Jeremy Shaw / Kent Monkman
February 28 – March 28
When she changed her name in 1967 to VALIE EXPORT, the Austrian artist Waltraud Höllinger (née Lehner) renounced the names of her father and her former husband—tokens of patriarchal ownership—and transformed herself into a brand identity. Almost immediately after this break, EXPORT, then 27, began to develop a body of the most important experimental feminist art of the postwar period, exploring the nexus of relationships among politics, experience, and personal identity. Since these early influential works, EXPORT continued to develop means of artistic expression that are both exhilaratingly direct and utterly mediated.
On view is EXPORT’s signature work, Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969). A volatile mix of Fluxus happening, Situationist subversion, Viennese actionism, media critique, sexual politics and anarcho-terrorism, the work continues to influence and elicit debate. As the title indicates, Export is ready for action, but not perhaps the kind you’d expect. Dressed to kill, she’s a subculture of one: her disobedient pseudonym, cut-up fashion and predilection for self-abuse anticipating Punk by half a decade.
Jeremy Shaw works in a variety of media to explore altered states and the cultural and scientific practices that aspire to map transcendental experience. Often combining strategies from the realms of conceptual art, documentary film, music video, and scientific research, Shaw’s work has addressed topics ranging from psychedelic drugs, brain imaging and hypnosis, to snake-handling, straight-edge hardcore and time travel.
On view are stills from Shaw’s recent film Variation FQ (2011-2013) in which he worked with legendary voguer Leiomy Maldonado to produce a work that explores aspects of subculture, dance, gender, power, and special effects. “Vogue” is a primarily black and Latino, gay subculture that evolved out of the drag balls of New York in the 1980s and includes a fluid, yet raw dance style based around miming the poses of models from high fashion magazines. The still images of Lieomy, reminiscent of early stop motion photography, bring together Shaw’s interest in the interdependence between high and low taste cultures.
Shaw has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, US, Schinkel Pavillon, DE, and MOCCA, CA. Work by Shaw is held in public collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Canada. Shaw is will be opening a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver on February 26th, 2015. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Kent Monkman (b. 1965) is an artist of Cree ancestry who works in a variety of media including painting, film, video, performance and installation. He is perhaps best known for his meticulous reinterpretations of historical Canadian art, as well as his flamboyant cross-dressing alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle. Monkman’s work often features clothing and costumed performance that brings attention to, and re-envisions, issues of gender, sexual orientation, and cultural identity in response to often biased received histories.
On view is Monkmans 2011 video Mary. Shot in slo-motion like a glossy shampoo commercial, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, stars in her first foot fetish video. Once again oozing sex and irreverence, Miss Chief revisits the Prince of Wales’ visit to Montreal in 1860 to challenge the meaning of surrender within Aboriginal treaties with the crown. Referencing the biblical allegory of Mary Magdalene washing Christ’s feet and linking them to the Prince of Wales’ visit to Montreal in 1860, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle rewrites this historical narrative and adds a sexy twist that addresses the relationship of betrayal and treatment aboriginals have had with European colonizers.
Monkman’s Casualties of Modernity is currently on view at the BMO Project Room, Toronto. He has had solo exhibitions at numerous Canadian museums including the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He has participated in various international group exhibitions including: The American West, at Compton Verney, in Warwickshire, England, Remember Humanity at Witte de With, Rotterdam, the 2010 Sydney Biennale, My Winnipeg at Maison Rouge, Paris, and Oh Canada!, MASS MOCA. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, The Glenbow Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.