The March 24 2006


an anthology of performance art by canadian women


Launch Friday, March 24, 6pm
Artist Talk Friday, March 24, 3:30pm to 5:30pm
York Amphitheatre, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts
Complex EV 1-615, 1515 St Catherine O.

This important new title from YYZ Books is Canada’s definitive book on Canadian women in performance art, this indispensible anthology gives readers access to an important and under-recognized subject in recent Canadian art history.

Edited by two seminal Canadian peformance artists, Tanya Mars and Johanna Householder, this book focuses on the 70s and 80s; a time when women made a big and noisy impact, and provides readers with insight into the profound effects that feminism and women’s work have had on the current alternative scene. Full of sass and insight, this essential collection is part survey, part critical discourse, and part reference book, containing five critical essays, thirty-four profiles on individual artists, hundreds of images, and an extensive bibliography.Launch organised by Christine Redfern and La Centrale, in collaboration with SAVAP (Studio Arts Visiting Artist Program at Concordia University), the Canada Council for the Arts, and YYZ Books.

Tanya Mars is a feminist performance and video artist who has been involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. She was a director of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal (the first women’s art gallery in Canada), editor of Parallelogramme magazine for 13 years, and very active in ANNPAC (the Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) for 15 years. She has also been an active member of other arts organizations since the early 70’s. Her work is often characterized as visually rich layers of spectacular, satirical feminist imagery. She has performed widely across Canada, and recently performed r(Age) Defying Gravity at the First International Congress of Performance Art in Valparaiso, Chile. Her most recent major work, a 7-hour durational performance entitled “The Tyranny of Bliss” involved over 30 performers who created 14 tableaux in and around Queen’s Park in Toronto, and in downtown Hamilton. She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of OCAD of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women published by YYZ books. She currently teaches performance art and video at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. She was recently named artist of the year (2004), awarded by the Untitled Arts Awards sponsored by Steamwhistle Brewery in Toronto.

Johanna Householder has been making performances and other artwork in Canada since the late 70s. Inspired by the performance work of Yvonne Rainer and the Grand Union at Oberlin College, she went on to the London School of Contemporary Dance and then to study at York University, Toronto, when the school was a hotbed of new music and new dance. She was part of the “independent choreographers” revolution of dancers leaving the restrictions of choreography in favour of performance, fostered in places like 15 Dance Lab., the Music Gallery and A Space.

Working with Louise Garfield and Janice Hladki, Johanna became notorious as a member of the satirical feminist performance ensemble, The Clichettes, who performed across Canada and in the US under variable circumstances, throughout the 1980s. While The Clichettes practiced their own brand of popular cultural detournment, Johanna also maintained her own performance practice, often collaborating with other artists.

She began teaching Intermedia at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1988, and has taught Performance Art and Contemporary Issues ever since. She was chair of the New Media program and founding chair of the Integrated Media Program from 1990 to 1996.

As one of the founders of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, a biennale of performance held in Toronto, she is extremely active in performance art networks, and has brought many international artists to the festival and to OCAD. She is keenly interested in the histories of performance, current live art practices, and the effect that performance has had in contemporary art and new media. Her recent works include a series of collaborations with her daughter Carmen and a series of works departing from a 1981 performance text by Clive Robertson. Her video work, Approximations, produced in collaboration with b.h. Yael has been screened internationally.

With Tanya Mars, she co-edited Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance by Canadian women, published by YYZ Books, Toronto in 2004. She writes and speaks on performance and new media whenever she gets the chance, and her work is also represented in Prêt á Porter / Take Out: Performance Recipes for Public Space, 2004.