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May we suggest

Spring 2020
Spring 2020: Influence


Available from March 15 to June 14, 2020

Last spring, Carrie Mae Weems gave a lecture-performance where she related, through language and song, the artists, musicians and writers who had inspired her. It was powerful to hear such an influential artist express her own influences, almost embodying the works that had stayed with her most. “Numerous are the possible structures of influence,” as Yaniya Lee writes in this issue’s Keynote. We can cite sources, name those who came before us, make clear references to the work we love, but influence isn’t always apparent. It’s often ephemeral, shifting in time with changing tastes. Ideas are repeated, tweaked, rediscovered—and the lines between influence and appropriation are thin.

Is it possible to name the force an artwork wields or the emotion a melody carries? Who has the power to determine what is good or beautiful or interesting? Who benefits from how market value can determine cultural and social values? Power is the strong undercurrent of the surfaces and structures of influence. Many artists in this issue address power relations through archival research, work that reminds us that history rarely operates in linear fashion. Influence is muddied, a process of mixing, a set of dialogues bouncing from one generation to the next, spilling over, slightly altered.

For Ron Terada, this issue’s cover artist, the headline culture of mainstream media offers ripe material for considering how power structures what we read, how we think and the ways we interact with each other. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (2015) repurposes a 2001 exhibition poster that canonized his own work in the context of Vancouver’s art historical lineage, a wry comment on how drawing connections of influence, even seemingly minor ones, can define culture as much as the machinations of Hollywood do. The idea of the singular artist-genius may long be past, but the networks of influence that produce culture do repeat and are carried forward in subsequent generations.


Time Is Different Now

“I wanted to get away from making art about art,” says Ron Terada, whose latest series of paintings turns instead toward a current, collective moment

Water into Fire

Multidisciplinary artist Zachery Longboy made vital contributions to the canon of queer Indigenous video art. Here, he talks to filmmaker Justin Ducharme about failure, love and freedom

A Centenary of Influence

A recent exhibition revealed the early 20th-century social networks whose power shaped cultural production in Canada. But those networks are shifting

The Weight of Inheritance

In the spring of 2016, I was gifted a ton of Joyce Wieland’s marble, and with it a piece of her legacy


Aiyyana Maracle (1950–2016) was an artist, performer and storyteller who worked toward decolonizing gender and centring trans women. What are the politics of preserving her legacy?


Resonant Signals

A national survey of 10 artists who find new meaning in networks of change



2015. Ink-jet print on offset printed poster (2001) 89 x 51 cm (page 58). Courtesy Catriona Jeffries. Photo: Site Photography.

by Ron Terada

This Issue


Conversations with artists and curators on upcoming projects


Always Being Moved

When we widen what we understand to be the scope of influence, a different kind of recognition becomes possible


Two Sonnets without an H, for Kevin Killian

A Poetry Project, Lambda Literary Foundation and Princeton University fellowship recipient contributes to Canadian Art’s Spring 2020 issue, “Influence”


Making an Entrance

Thirty years ago, a landmark exhibition offered models of collective resistance and refuge for and by Black women


Viewing Conditions

In mining the stuff of the world, two artists untangle beauty from consumption and attraction from complicity


Eva and Franco Mattes

Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, November 8, 2019, to March 15, 2020

The Disintegration of a Critic

Jill Johnston, Sternberg Press, 224 PP., $25.95

Suzy Lake

Arsenal Contemporary, New York, November 19, 2019, to January 18, 2020

Xuan Ye

Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, November 14, 2019, to January 25, 2020

Soft Power

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, October 26, 2019, to February 17, 2020

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge

Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, October 4, 2019, to January 19, 2020


Future Perfect

“We don’t, now, have the 22nd century, an era of great promise, looming ahead of us. You never hear it mentioned; you scarcely ever see it in print.”

Spring 2020: Influence