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Foreign Legionnaires: Collective Agreements

Edward Day Gallery, Toronto Aug 6 to Sep 6 2009
Toronto Terrarea Club  <I> Installation for Foreign Legionnaires</I>  2009  Detail Toronto Terrarea Club Installation for Foreign Legionnaires 2009 Detail

Toronto Terrarea Club <I> Installation for Foreign Legionnaires</I> 2009 Detail

You don’t have to be an expert on the 1960s rise of General Idea or the 1980s events of the ChromaZone to know that artist collectives hold a special place in the Canadian art scene. Just this summer, Reverse Pedagogy’s ad hoc canoe caravan made waves in Venice, while, over in another city by the water, Project Rainbow is slated to create a piece of public art for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Adding to the mix this month is the group show “Foreign Legionnaires: Art Collectives at Work,” which gathers five contemporary exemplars of the genre at Edward Day Gallery in Toronto. The exhibition features both longtime collaborative entities like Fastwürms, which formed in 1979, and emerging groupings like Shake-n-Make, which had its first show this year. Highlights of the show include Toronto Terrarea Club’s latest installation of glass, plants, souvenirs and other knickknacks—minimalism meets megacity, with a kitsch twist—as well as Instant Coffee’s cheeky posters and Team Macho’s imaginative, illustration-influenced paintings. Also snagging crossover appeal is a related project called Bank on Art, which displays works from 40 Canadian artists on the screen of a working bank machine located just outside of the gallery. The latter may not be the product of a collective per se (Edward Day’s Kelly McCray developed the project), but it provides a real-life reflection on the idea that the group is where real wealth—cultural or otherwise—is accumulated. (952 Queen St W, Toronto ON)

This article was first published online on August 13, 2009.

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