February 5, 2009

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery presents Funkaesthetics

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House at the University of Toronto
FunkaestheticsLuis Jacob

With work by Pedro Bell, Leigh Bowery, Free Dance Lessons (Paige Gratland & Day Milman), Fergus Greer, David Gwinnutt, Nick Knight, Will Munro, Adrian Piper, P-Funk, Salvatore Salamone, Sun Ra, and Stephen Willats.

Opening: Thursday, February 12, 2009, 6pm – 8pm
xhibition Dates: February 12 – March 23, 2009

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, ON
M5S 3H3

Funk is best known as a style of dance-music that originated in the polyrhythmic innovations of James Brown during the 1960s, and culminated with George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic (P-Funk) during the 1970s. Funk is both a style of music and a form of social experience. Emerging from the African-American musical traditions of gospel, rhythm-and-blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and jazz, it manifests a utopian dimension in its emphasis on spiritual togetherness, collective pleasure, and shameless bodily expression.

Funkaesthetics is premised on the idea that Funk constitutes a uniquely rich system of thought. With its interest in the distant past of ancient Egypt and the allegorical futures of science-fiction, in its freakish costumes and focus on the figure of “the alien”, Funk manifests a vision of time and identity as mutable and open to transformation. The exhibition is an occasion to consider Funk in the context of its birth at the time of Black consciousness and the struggles for civil rights in the United States. Funkaesthetics is also presented as a uniquely fertile and thought-provoking opportunity for us to reconsider Funk – here and today – in its sinister aspects as well as in its more familiar utopian aspects.

Co-produced with the Confederation Art Centre, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Financially supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Luis Jacob is a Toronto-based artist whose work has shown in the Kunstverein in Hamburg (Hamburg), the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (Antwerp), the Barbican Art Gallery (London), and Documenta 12 (Kassel). His curatorial projects include “Golden Streams: Artists’ Collaboration and Exchange in the 1970s” (Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga, 2002), and “The JDs Years: 1980s Queer Zine Culture from Toronto” (Art Metropole, Toronto, and Helen Pitt Gallery, Vancouver, 1999).

Pan Wendt is an art historian, curator and critic. A PhD candidate in History of Art at Yale University, he is also Adjunct Curator at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Curatorial projects include “Colleen Wolstenholme: A Divided Room” (Confederation Centre Art Gallery, 2007-8); “Ingrid Mary Percy: soft block/hard edge” (Confederation Centre Art Gallery, 2007); and “James Lee Byars: Letters From the World’s Most Famous Unknown Artist” (Mass MoCA, 2004). He is currently researching and writing about the work of Turin-based artist collective Lo Zoo.

For information related to this exhibition and other Gallery programming please contact us at:

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle
oronto, ON
M5S 3H3
Tel: (416) 978-8398
Fax: (416) 978-8387
Email: [email protected]

Gallery Hours
Monday to Wednesday 11am – 5pm
Thursday to Friday 11am – 7pm
Saturday to Sunday 1pm – 5pm

The Gallery is closed on statutory holidays.
The Gallery is wheelchair accessible.

Image above:
Left: Adrian Piper, Funk Lessons, performance, 1983. Courtesy of the artist.
Right: Free Dance Lessons (Paige Gratland & Day Milman), 2004. Video still by Samara Liu. Courtesy of the artists.

For more information go to:

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