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Wendy Coburn: Anatomy of a Protest

People at Feminist protest

Wendy Coburn: Anatomy of a Protest

October 30–December 19, 2014

Curated by Barbara Fischer

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Wendy Coburn’s first major solo exhibition in Toronto centres on her recently completed video Slut Nation: Anatomy of a Protest, which revisits the world’s first Slutwalk protest. Grass-roots and spontaneous, the 2011 protest offered an important rebuttal of a Toronto Police officer’s comments at a safety and security panel at York University, drawing attention to the ways in which gender stereotyping diverts the focus from the perpetrators of violence, and blames survivors of sexual assault instead. The protest’s critique of the persistence of rape culture inspired countless satellite protests across the globe. Coburn’s reconstruction of the 2011 protest highlights the movement of an organized group of provocateurs, including their representation in the media, as they march three blocks from Queen’s Park to the Toronto Police Headquarters. Bringing together footage and photographs taken by citizen journalists, the media, and the artist’s friends, Coburn’s work draws parallels to the haunting history of the infiltration of protests in Toronto, including those following the gay bath-house raids in 1981 through to the largest mass arrests of citizens in Canada at the G20 in 2010.

Ultimately, Coburn’s expansive body of work poses a series of questions related to freedom of assembly, the critical role of protest, and tactics used to undermine social justice organizing and positive social change.

FREE Contemporary Art Bus Tour

Sunday, November 2, 2015, 12-5pm
Part of The Politics and Poetics of Visibility
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto Art Centre, Blackwood Gallery and Art Gallery of York University
Begins at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Panel Talk

Anatomy of a Protest: The Art of Infiltration
Wednesday, November 12, 2015, 7-9pm
Featuring Wendy Coburn, Jane Doe, Gary Kinsman, and Lesley Wood
Moderated by Lisa Steele
Part of The Politics and Poetics of Visibility
University of Toronto Art Centre

Media Coverage

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University College and Manulife Financial.

Title Image: Wendy Coburn, Sex Work is Real Work. 2012. Photograph. Courtesy of the artist.

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