Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Before I left to come to Baltimore exactly one month ago, I packed my life with an unbelievable amount of projects-- mostly collaborative. Some had been in the works for a while, and I felt a real responsibility to have things finally materialize before I left town. It was also a good way to spend some time with the people I know before I left Toronto for a while.
One such project was "curating" the exhibition Cover Stories for the Toronto Zine Library. While I was asked by the TZL to curate an exhibition, it was largely a collaboration between myself and three of the members of the TZL Collective-- Lyndall, a talented lady who made a documentary about Who's Emma a few years ago; Chris, the creator of many zines over the last 10 or 15 years, at least one of which is considered a Canadian "classic"; and Patrick, who is one of the founding members of the TZL, and is a great all-round guy and an amazing baker. After being asked to help create an exhibition, I spent three or four weeks going through the library's massive collection with a fine tooth comb, picking out any zines that I liked especially, or pulling out zines that shared some sort of mutual connection. While I went into this project not having any curatorial theme in mind whatsoever, one slowly emerged. As an artist and zine-maker, I couldn't help be attracted to interesting and unique design in the zines I came across. I eventually decided that creating a narrative about zines through their covers might be a neat way to create an exhibition that, while forming physical zine "groups," doesn't claim to draw on any real fixed history of zine-making.
I eventually chose a pile of zines and divided them into 6 loose thematic groups which eventually became "Just Text," "Print Media," Colour," "Little Zines," "Hearts and Other Body Parts," and "In the Mail." Each collective member of those mentioned above chose two groups at random to write short didactic descriptions about to serve as wall text for the exhibition, interpreting the themes as they saw fit. I wrote the following summary of the exhibition:
Cover Stories is an exhibition of selections from the public collection of the Toronto Zine Library. Using thematically-grouped zine covers as a springboard, we thought it would be interesting to highlight zine art and design as a way of telling the greater story of zines– what they are, how they’ve changed over the years, and why they continue to be a valuable and relevant medium. While some selections from the library have been refashioned as photographs for this exhibition, others appear in their original form to be handled and appreciated as intimate and tactile objects. In creating this interactive exhibition, we hope that you will spend time with some of the titles on display while learning about zines as both an art form and a method of communication.
We were REALLY down to the wire with finishing work for this exhibition-- we ended up installing the show two days before I left for Baltimore! I am thrilled with how the exhibition turned out-- it was a really great collaboration, and everyone played a really important part in making it happen. Lyndall took some really fantastic pictures of the zines that were chosen for the exhibition, and Chris played a huge part in designing and assembling what ended up being a really wonderful exhibition zine/catalogue (pictured above), which will serve as a great document for after the show comes down.
Cover Stories should still be up in the Southern Cross Room of the TRANZAC Club at 292 Brunswick Avenue, in the Annex. I'm not sure when it's coming down, but if you're interested in checking it out, do so soon!