JMB Gallery Logo


Exhibitions Events Publications Collection Info              Join our Mailing ListJoin our Facebook Page 


Past Events




This is Paradise: Art and Artists in Toronto

Thursday May 28 – Sunday May 31, 2015


Videos of the conference presentations, keynote lectures, and roundtable conversations are now freely accessible online:


Tom Dean, Floating Staircase, 1979. Toronto Harbour. Courtesy of the artist.

The conference This is Paradise: Art and Artists in Toronto will explore the relationship between the urban context and local artistic cultures in Canada's largest city. Convening at the University of Toronto from May 28 to 31st, the conference includes over 75 presenters, including artists, critics, curators and scholars from across a diversity of disciplines, to focus on the ecology and conditions of emergence of the visual arts in Toronto.

Presentations will explore a range of themes: the "absence" of history, and the relationship between Toronto and other urban centres; the collective impulse in local artistic scenes, and the current pressures of "creative city" paradigms; case-studies of particular places and locales significant in the cultural ecology, as well as considerations of discourses including diaspora studies, urbanism, queer studies and feminism, and of the conditions of specific media such as DIY publishing, independent film and artists' video. The conference will culminate with roundtable conversations about the state of art institutions in Toronto - past, present and future.

This is Paradise: Art and Artists in Toronto is presented by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre.

Tickets available from the UofTTix Box Office, online, by phone, or in person. More information here.

Early Bird Registration The deadline for early bird registration has been extended to May 20, 2015.

Early Bird Registrants receive a This is Paradise: Art and Artists in Toronto tote bag and coupon for a FREE Justina M. Barnicke Gallery or University of Toronto Art Centre publication. While supplies last.

Regular Registration – May 21 - May 28, 2015

Registration Rates:

Full Weekend: $100 Regular | $70 Student
Single Day: $40 Regular | $25 Student

Prices include HST. More information here.


Schedule of Keynote Lectures - Keynote Lectures are Officially Sold Out!

Keynote lectures are open to the public for FREE. Please RSVP at the UofTTix Box Office. More information here.

Thursday May 28 – 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Keynote Lecture by Mark Lewis, London 1999-2015: Not Yet and No More
Respondent: Sarah Milroy
Reception to Follow
University College, Room 140

Friday May 29 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Keynote Lecture by Robert Houle, Paradise and Anishnabe Dream Songs
University College, Room 140

Saturday May 30 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Keynote Lecture by Philip Monk, House Punk: Punk and Toronto Art
University College, Room 140


(Please check back regularly, titles and times subject to change)


6:00 pm – Keynote Lecture by Mark Lewis: London 1999-2015: Not Yet and No More
6:45 – 7:30 pm – Respondent: Sarah Milroy
UC 140

7:30 pm – Reception at the University of Toronto Art Centre



9:00-10:00 am – Registration Period
10:00-10:30 am – Welcoming Remarks: Barbara Fischer and Luis Jacob

10:30 – 12:30 pm - Toronto's “Absence” of History
Debates Room, Hart House

Robert Fones: Castle Frank and the Loss of Place
Wanda Nanibush: City of Trade, Refuge, and Exile: The Urban Reserve
Ian Carr-Harris: The Power Plant and The Play of History, 1987
Sarah Milroy: Sort of the Same
Moderator: Sara Angel

------- lunch at the University of Toronto Art Centre -------

1:30 – 3:30 pm – The Mediums: Marshall McLuhan & Co. and the Anti-Environments of Toronto
Debates Room, Hart House

Adam Lauder: Toronto’s Modernist Pre-histories: Bertram Brooker and Elizabeth Wyn Wood
Charles Stankievech: Dialogues on the Prospects of Recording: Notes of Correspondence between Herbert Marshall McLuhan & Glenn Herbert Gould (1964-68)
Mohammad H. Salemy: Time & Televisual Intersubjectivity, McLuhan's Idea of Globalized Presence as the Prehistory of Telecomputation
Jaqueline McLeod Rogers: McLuhan’s city theory: global explorations with Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, local interventions with Jane Jacobs
Gary Genosko: Marshall McLuhan Meets Invertebrate Paleontology or, Harley Parker at the ROM
Moderator: Charles Stankievech

1:30 – 3:30 pm – In and Out of History: Appropriation in Canadian and American Art
South Dining Room, Hart House

Janice Gurney: In and Out of History: Appropriation in Canadian and American Art
Judith Doyle: Algorithm Allegory Appropriation : Transcript 1981
Cristina S. Martinez: This is Not Plagiarism: The Singular Appropriation Strategies of Canadian Artists
Sarah Robayo Sheridan: Les Levine Copies Everyone
Moderator: Julian Haladyn

------- break -------

3:45 – 5:30 pm – 'Centres' and 'Peripheries', So Called
Debates Room, Hart House

Will Kwan: Dead Zones: Clocks that do not tell the time
Alison Bain: Suburban creativity: culture from the outside in
Andy Patton: Hand Me Down World: Winnipeg and Appropriation Art
Christina Ritchie: Some NSCADets Among Us
Moderator: Rosemary Heather

3:45 – 5:30 pm – Artists, Networks, Cities
South Dining Room, Hart House

Adam Welch: Back and Forth: Wieland between Toronto and New York, 1962-71
E.C. Woodley: Greg Curnoe: In Memory of the Toronto Scene
Felicity Tayler: Toronto via Vancouver: Image Bank and Filing Systems for Networked Bodies
Moderator: Gregory Humeniuk

------- break -------

7:00 – 8:30 pm – Keynote Lecture by Robert Houle: Paradise and Anishnabe Dream Songs
UC 140



9:00 – 10:45 am – Fitting In and Standing Out: Identities and Representations
UC 140, University College

Peter Kingstone: The Toronto art world is a small place
Denise Ryner: Sandra Brewster’s Open House and Life of a Craphead’s Bugs as Expressions of Non-Place
Maiko Tanaka and Chris Lee: Model Minority
Jamelie Hassan: Orientalism & Ephemera
Moderator: Su-Ying Lee

9:00 – 10:45 am – Standing Up and Coming Out: Queerness and Representations
South Dining Room, Hart House

Jon Davies: I’ll Be Your Mirror
Sabrina Maher: Canned Fruit: David Buchan
Andy Fabo: Pioneering Queer Strategies in Toronto’s Alternative Visual Arts Scene from 1975 to 1985
Moderator: Kegan McFadden

------- break -------

11:00 – 12:45 pm – Roundtable on Feminism, Sexuality, and Policing
UC 140, University College

Dot Tuer
Lisa Steele
Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge
Shary Boyle
Srimoyee Mitra
Moderator: Georgiana Uhlyarik

11:00 – 12:45 pm – Whose Voice... Politics and Identity (Presentation and Roundtable)
South Dining Room, Hart House

Ellyn Walker
Abbas Akhavan
Duane Linklater
Vicky Moufawad-Paul
Moderator: Camilla Singh

------- lunch at the University of Toronto Art Centre -------

2:00 – 3:30 – Collective Impulses
UC 140, University College

Jessica Wyman: Collectives and Their Hybrids in Toronto
Michael DiRisio and Teresa Carlesimo: Days of Action: Collaboration & Collective Action in the 1980’s and 1990’s
Maggie Flynn: A Case Study for the Anarchist Free University
Moderator: Christine Shaw

2:00 – 3:30 – Artist's Scenes
South Dining Room, Hart House

Peter Goddard: Caliban on College
Chrysanne Stathacos: Transmissions: Toronto - 1976-1982
Rae Johnson: This is Paradise: The Ecology of the Street
Moderator: Andy Fabo

------- break -------

3:45 – 5:30 pm – The Festivalization Paradigm
UC 140, University College

Gwen MacGregor: The Legacy of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche
Emelie Chhangur: Contemporary Art’s New Ritual Behaviour: Festive Ready-Mades and New Modes of Civic Address
Moderator: Christine Shaw

3:45 – 5:30 pm – Navigating the Politics of Economics
South Dining Room, Hart House

Rosemary Donegan: Observations on Queen St. West and Toronto, 1985 to 2015
Kristian Clarke and Friederike Landau: Artist Advocacy – Two Perspectives on Recognizing Artists as Professionals
Michael Maranda: Waging Culture, Making a Living(?)
Moderator: Amish Morrell

------- break -------

7:00 – 8:30 pm – Keynote Lecture by Philip Monk: House Punk: Punk and Toronto Art
UC 140, University College



9:30 – 10:45 am – Genius Loci: Search for the Spirit of the Place I
Debates Room, Hart House

Ryan Ferko: Delinquent History for the Leslie Street Spit
Yan Wu and Ann Dean: James Carl’s The Balcony
Andrew Hunter: In the Belly of the Whale
Moderator: Shawn Micallef

9:30 – 10:45 am –Genius Loci: Search for the Spirit of the Place II
Location Change: Now in the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House

Francine Dibacco: This Must Be The Place: The Urban Design Group and The Image of the City
Amy Lavender Harris: Re-‘naturalizing’ the Don: Text, Architext, and Nature-Culture Connections
Adrian Blackwell: A Genealogy of forms of public housing, during Toronto’s neoliberal urbanization
Moderator: Jane Wolff

------- break -------

11:00 – 12:45 pm - Making Scenes: Film and Video
Debates Room, Hart House

Wyndham Wise: The Events Leading to the Formation of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, the First Artist-Run Distribution Centre in Canada
Andrew James Paterson: Tele Video Situations
Peggy Gale: Rose-Coloured Glasses for Toronto Video
Zoë Heyn-Jones: Programming Process: Pleasure Dome <---> Film Farm
Moderator: Kass Banning

11:00 – 12:45 pm – Making Scenes: Artist's Magazines
Location Change: Now in the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House

Jim Shedden: Making a Scene: D.I.Y. Art Publishing in Toronto, 1975-1985
Eldon Garnet: A Case Study of an Artist Magazine: Impulse
Kegan McFadden: Flower Magazine: 1992-1996
Stephen Cain: Writing Paradise: the Literary Representation of Cameron House and Queen West
Moderator: Rosemary Heather

------- lunch at the University of Toronto Art Centre -------

1:45 – 3:15 pm – Debating the State of the Art: Institutions and the Cultural Ecology
Debates Room, Hart House

The panelists consider highpoints and benefits, strengths and weaknesses, and the role and significance of institutions at play in the city.
- Commercial Galleries: Geoffrey James / James Carl
- Studio and Post-Studio: Ben Portis / Yam Lau
- Prizes and Awards: Amy Fung / Ann Webb
- Public Art: Amish Morrell / Adelina Vlas
- Magazines and Art Criticism: Corinn Gerber / Matthew Hyland
- Audiences and Exhibitions: Kari Cwynar / David Balzer

Moderated by Vera Frenkel

------- break -------

3:30 – 4:45 pm – Where Do We Go From Here: Speculative Frictions
Debates Room, Hart House

A roundtable on the future of the Toronto visual art ecology: where are we going, and where might we be a decade from now?
- The Artist's Studio: Duane Linklater
- Funding and Prizes: Life of a Craphead (Amy Lam & Jon McCurley)
- Private Galleries and Private Foundations: Abbas Akhavan
- Public Art: Sarah Robayo Sheridan
- Festivals: Christine Shaw
- Publishing, Art Criticism, and Magazines: Charles Stankievech
- Art and Art History Programs: Amy Fung
- Audiences, Exhibitions, and Public Galleries: Georgina Jackson

Moderated by Jacob Korczynski

------- Closing Remarks by Kitty Scott -------