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Paul Butler: Masking, Making and Mystery

MKG 127, Toronto Nov 22 to Dec 20 2008
Paul Butler  <I>Toronto Now Suite</I>  2008  Detail  Paul Butler Toronto Now Suite 2008 Detail

Paul Butler <I>Toronto Now Suite</I> 2008 Detail

In his new exhibition “Interventions,” Winnipeg artist Paul Butler treads on some familiar territory for readers of Canadian Art. Appropriating George Whiteside’s photographs of Toronto art-scene leaders run in last year’s special Toronto issue of the magazine, Butler enacts his trademark tape-masking to turn museum directors, dealers, critics and artists into black mystery-figure silhouettes. His point is to think “about the mechanics of the art world—who is being championed? Who is championing them? Who are the gatekeepers?”

These are hot-button questions—all of them—ones that Butler asks at a moment when he feels that “we have an exciting opportunity as artists, to reclaim control and reinvent our art world, despite the art market.” By taking images of putative authority and making them newly anonymous and open-ended, he initiates a visual guessing game that reactivates thinking about who is making, showing and constructing our image of contemporary art. It’s a messy job, but someone’s got to do it. (127 Ossington Ave, Toronto ON)

This article was first published online on December 11, 2008.

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