Urban Art & Culture

Art intersects with cities in many different ways – whether urban experience is represented through painted, photographic, and cinematic images, or because artists set out to intervene directly into urban environments, or because artworlds are profoundly embedded in the morphology of cities. As a Montrealer and as an art historian, I think it’s not only possible but intellectually productive to consider the history of art movements, scenes and networks according to the specific identity of this city. To some extent, this urban orientation is appealing in contrast to national paradigms, or more recently, the global paradigm, that are so often used to frame discussions of art. There is a “concrete” quality to the urban, as Saskia Sassen writes, while according to Henri Lefebvre the "urban phenomenon" is where everyday creative actions are possible. I draw on such interdisciplinary insights in my article "Urban Art Histories (in Canada)" (forthcoming, 2016), which analyzes the distinctive formation of artworlds in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. Presently, I’m looking anew at the intersection of postmodernism, feminism, and experimental photographic practices in Montreal during the 1980s.

Publications

"Experiments in Urban Luminosity.” The Senses and Society, Vol. 20, No. 10, (July 2015): 1-17. PDF

"Cross-town Redux: Mapping and Memory-Work in Urban Art Practices." Paper presented at Time, Art & Cartography, Milan, December 2014.

"Activist Ghosts and Unruly Objects: Episodes in Urban Visual Culture." Lecture given at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, 2012.

"Parc Belmont Flashback: André Forcier's La Comtesse de Baton Rouge." In (Re)Discovering 'America': Road Movies and Other Travel Narratives in North America. Edited by Wilfried Raussert and Graciela Martínez-Zalce. Trier: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012. 45-54. PDF

"At Home on the Street: Public Art in Montreal and Toronto." In Urban Enigmas: Montreal, Toronto, and the Problem of Comparing Cities. Edited by J. Sloan. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007. 213-38. PDF

Montreal at Street Level: Revisiting the material, spatial and visual cultures of the 60s.  Organizer of conference (with Rhona Richman Kenneally), co-sponsored by Concordia University and the Canadian Center for Architecture. 2005.

"Biennialism in Montréal." Public, No. 22-23 (Special Issue on City Scenes), (January 2002): 123-39. PDF

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