September 4, 2014

Fall 2014 exhibition program

University of Toronto
Allen Ginsberg, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, 5 Turner Terrace, Potrero Hill, San Francisco, 1956. Silver gelatin print with ink. University of Toronto Collection, Gift of the Rossy Family Foundation, 2012. © Estate of Allen Ginsberg.

The University of Toronto Art Centre’s fall program comprises three exhibitions concerned with photographic portraiture and its role in conjuring visibility of queer subjectivity and community. They encompass Allen Ginsberg’s photographic poetics, Robert Giard’s documentary project, and AA Bronson’s mirrored selfies and staging as shamanistic healer. Following on the heels of Toronto’s World Pride 2014, the exhibitions offer a glimpse of the revolutionary, homo-erotic poetics of visibility from the 1950s to the present.


We Are Continually Exposed to the Flashbulb of Death: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953–1996)
September 2–December 6

Organized in collaboration with the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the exhibition comprises over 150 photographs taken by the legendary Beat poet and activist Allen Ginsberg, capturing his life, loves, and artistic community, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Peter Orlovsky and others of the Beat generation of writers, poets, and activists. The photographs are drawn on the collection of close to 8,000 prints recently donated to the University of Toronto Art Centre and Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The exhibition is made possible with the generous sponsorship of The Rossy Family Foundation.


AA Bronson: Life and Work
September 2–November 15

Featuring work by AA Bronson, artist, healer, and surviving member of General Idea, this exhibition centers on a series of life-size, diamond-dusted self-portraits of Bronson as artist-shaman alongside experiments with self-portraiture from the 1970s to today. AA Bronson: Life and Work considers the revolutionary power of queer politics, self-representation, and magic. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto.


Robert Giard: Towards the Particular
September 2–November 15
Curated by Scott Rayter

Disarming in their unadorned, straightforward style, the portraits featured in this exhibition are drawn from a multi-year gift of 53 works of American photographer Robert Giard to the University of Toronto. In this series, Giard ambitiously set out to create a portrait archive celebrating American and Canadian lesbian and gay literary figures in the wake of the AIDS crisis. The Robert Giard Photography Collection was generously donated by Jonathan Silin. The University of Toronto Art Centre would like to recognize the generous support of Manulife Financial for all three exhibitions.


Public programs

18th Annual Janet E. Hutchinson Lecture
Dr. Jonathan D. Katz, “Nude Ghosts: Allen Ginsberg, General Idea, and the Formation of Queer Eros”
September 18, 4:30–5:30pm, University College Room 140

Precisely not gay, yet deeply homo-erotic, Allen Ginsberg’s work could appear self-contradictory until the advent of a queer politics underscored the strategic benefit in any such refusal of gayness. In this talk, Katz places Ginsberg and General Idea in a long tradition of anti-gay queers, situating their seeming contradictions in the socio-political context of their times. Followed by the fall exhibitions opening reception: 5:30 to 7:30pm.


“The Politics and Poetics of Visibility”
Weekly seminar series beginning September 8

Join us for a weekly seminar series occasioned by the fall exhibitions program at the University of Toronto Art Centre and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. “The Politics and Poetics of Visibility” features an international and interdisciplinary program of lectures, discussions, performances, and screenings on the subject of queer politics, self-representation, and social justice. Invited speakers include Victor Coleman, Ara Osterweil, AA Bronson, Louis Kaplan and Marcus Boon, and Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst.

For more information, please contact:
Maureen Smith, University of Toronto Art Centre: [email protected] / T +416 946 7089

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