Canadian Art


Dana Claxton: Disturbing History

An Online Supplement to the Winter 2010–11 Print Edition of Canadian Art
Dana Claxton <i>Momma Has a Pony Girl...(Named History and Sets Her Free)</i> (from the series <i>The Mustang Suite</i>) 2008 Collection National Gallery of Canada Dana Claxton Momma Has a Pony Girl...(Named History and Sets Her Free) (from the series The Mustang Suite) 2008 Collection National Gallery of Canada

Dana Claxton <i>Momma Has a Pony Girl...(Named History and Sets Her Free)</i> (from the series <i>The Mustang Suite</i>) 2008 Collection National Gallery of Canada

In the winter 2010–11 magazine feature “From a Whisper to a Scream,” contributor Lynne Bell offers compelling insights into the charged narratives and overlooked histories that rest at the core of works by Vancouver-based artist, curator and educator Dana Claxton. As Bell writes, Claxton’s practice “queries and disturbs the mainstream settler-colonial discourse that conceals, erases or barely mentions the dispossession and oppression of Indigenous Plains Nations.” Her work is also critically steeped in the crisp and coercive strategies of modern visual culture, from cinema to advertisements. This bonus portfolio of recent works draws together these two aspects, revealing Claxton’s ongoing drive to reinterpret and re-imagine the past and the present.

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This article was first published online on December 9, 2010.


  • Diabolique

    “Diabolique” is an ambitious two-part exhibition filled with images ranging from bombs to corpses and from fighter jets to, of course, penises. If the symbols seem all too familiar, that is in part the point of the show, which is as much about violence and war as about the iconographies and processes of their representation.

  • FACE THE NATION: Identity Theft

    The all-too-familiar image of the “noble savage” stands in stark contrast to the modern realities of Aboriginal identity. It also makes great critical fodder for eight contemporary First Nations artists gathered in the impressive exhibition “FACE THE NATION.”



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  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

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