Greg Curnoe: Life & Work reveals how Greg Curnoe, the 1960s London, Ontario, artist and activist, galvanized nationalism by boldly creating iconic art about Canada when the prevailing trend was to draw inspiration from other places.
Passionately and unapologetically Canadian, artist and activist Greg Curnoe (1936–1992) transformed his hometown of London, Ontario, into an important city for artistic production. Born in 1936, he strongly rejected the idea of moving to “the centre”—Toronto or New York—and spearheaded London Regionalism, a movement that focused on everyday life and turned away from the metropolitan mores of the 1960s and 1970s art scene.
Greg Curnoe: Life & Work chronicles the artist’s significant and provocative career and documents how his striking and brightly coloured painting, sculpture, video, and photography made a powerful imprint on this country’s cultural landscape. It explores such milestones as Curnoe’s founding of Region magazine and the Region Art Gallery in the early 1960s; the channelling of his political philosophy into the cacophony of the experimental musical ensemble the Nihilist Spasm Band; and his cultivating a passion for cycling, which became a central theme in his work from the 1970s onward. This book also considers Curnoe’s formidable output and his documentation of daily experiences in a variety of media, influenced by Dada (with its emphasis on nihilism and anarchism), Canadian politics, and popular culture.
Despite Curnoe’s untimely demise—in 1992 when he was fatally hit by a truck while riding his bike—he changed artmaking in Canada with his anti-establishment and nationalist politics and by bringing regional artists into political discourse. He is remembered for his luminous depictions that often incorporate text to support his strong patriotism (sometimes expressed as anti-Americanism) as well as his activism in support of Canadian artists.
Key Selling Points
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- A comprehensive book on London artist Greg Curnoe that makes complex artistic concepts accessible to a general audience, such as regionalism, nationalism in Canadian art, and the London art scene.
- Author Judith Rodger is an expert in the field who has extensively catalogued Curnoe’s archival materials. Rodger met Curnoe and maintains a close professional relationship with his family.
- The only series that identifies and contextualizes key works in Curnoe’s artistic career, chronologically mapping developments in his style and subject matter.
- 80 full-colour illustrations, many of works that have never before been reproduced.
- Includes a “Where to See” section that directs readers to the public institutions that hold the artworks illustrated in the book. It also provides the location and contact information for each.
- Includes a glossary of important artistic terms that occur throughout the book, including people, artistic techniques, materials, and institutions.
- Part of the Canadian Art Library Series, the only fully illustrated series on Canadian artists.
- Includes a tailored glossary of important artistic terms that occur throughout the book, including people, artistic techniques, materials, and institutions.
- The Canadian Art Library Series makes Canadian art history a contemporary conversation with its accessible, beautiful, and informative books on individual artists. The series highlights the diversity of artists, techniques, and styles in Canadian art and aims to make lesser-known artists household names.