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

April 1–May 3, 2014

Opening Reception:
Tuesday, April 1, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Curator’s Tour:
Saturday, April 5, 3:00 pm

Curated by Sabrina Maher


Buchan image

Credit: David Buchan, Eno (1991) colour cibachrome, 244 x 122 cm. Collection of AA Bronson. Photography by Paul Orenstein.

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.

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David Buchan (born February 11, 1950, Grimsby, Ontario; died January 5, 1994, Toronto, Ontario) was an artist and graphic designer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from York University in 1972. He lived in Montreal, Quebec between 1972 and 1975 before settling permanently in Toronto in 1975. Beginning in 1975, he worked for Art Metropole in the capacity of Bookstore Manager and helped develop the institution’s archive and collection. In 1982 he was awarded a Canada Council Artist Studio in Paris, France. Buchan’s work and performances have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, including: Alte Oper (Frankfurt), Artists Space (NYC), Glenbow Museum (Calgary), Hall Walls Gallery (Buffalo), Mercer Union (Toronto), Museum of the 20th Century (Vienna), The Power Plant (Toronto), Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver), Western Front (Vancouver) and YYZ (Toronto). Works by David Buchan are in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, and Winnipeg Art Gallery, as well as private collections.

An Introduction to the Language of Partial Seduction: Works by David Buchan is made possible through the generous support of friends and former colleagues, and especially Steve and Patti Abrams, and AA Bronson.

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

Please visit the accompanying MVS Curatorial Studies thesis exhibitions, Communicating Vessels, curated by Corrie Jackson at the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, from April 16 – May 11 and Why Can’t Minimal, curated by John G. Hampton, to open Fall 2014 at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

We invite you to also visit Generations of Queer: Robert Flack / John Greyson / Elisha Lim / Kiley May currently exhibited at Onsite [at] OCAD U, 230 Richmond Street West, from March 12 to June 28.

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery’s programs are made possible by the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Succession image

Installation Views

David Buchan Installation
David Buchan Installation
David Buchan Installation
David Buchan Installation