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An Introduction to the Language of Partial Seduction: Works by David Buchan

Painting of man under hanging sword near painting of figure under text reading

An Introduction to the Language of Partial Seduction: Works by David Buchan

April 1–May 3, 2014

Curated by Sabrina Maher

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

What we’d like to sell you here is an idea. Tapered extremities and inflated sensibilities. Style without content, form without function. Art for Art’s sake.
– David Buchan, Atten(ua)tion Please… (1976)

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is pleased to present An Introduction to the Language of Partial Seduction: Works by David Buchan. A beloved cult figure of Toronto’s contemporary art world, David Buchan rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s as vocal and vibrant member of the city’s art and queer communities. With a multidisciplinary art practice that defied categorization, he merged the mediums of performance, photography, artists’ publications and video into his own unique campaign. Working closely alongside General Idea, Lisa Steele and Colin Campbell, Buchan was a central member of a generation of groundbreaking artists responsible for helping shape the contemporary art landscape in Canada.

Focusing on the theme of performativity as the uniting force in Buchan’s art, this survey is the first solo showing of his work in nearly two decades and marks the 20th anniversary of his untimely passing from AIDS-related causes. Buchan often operated under the alias of his alter-ego, Lamonte Del Monte, who was a vehicle for the artist’s investigations into the socio-political factors that influence the construction of identity. He was a pioneer in broaching critical media studies and maintained a complex practice that exalted the authorial power of the artist, using the methods of appropriation and drag to intervene and re-interpret prevailing conceptions of gender, sexuality and difference. With an electrifying presence, punk ethos and flair for fashion, Buchan’s works are emblems of a defining era in Canadian art, and remain highly relevant in the context of social media’s fetishism of self-fashioning and voyeurism.

This exhibition is produced as part of the requirements for the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto.

Opening Reception

Tuesday April 1, 2014, 7-9pm

Curator’s Tour with Sabrina Maher

Saturday April 5, 2014, 3pm

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from the curator’s friends and former colleagues, and especially Steve and Patti Abrams, and AA Bronson.

Title Image: Installation view of Introduction to the Language of Partial Seduction: Works by David Buchan, 2014. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid.

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