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Artist Talk + Book Launch | Derek Sullivan| Umbrella Projects + Art Metropole

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Umbrella Projects, in partnership with Art Metropole, is thrilled to announce the launch of Evidence of the Avant Garde Ex-Library by Derek Sullivan.

In this new artist book, Sullivan revisits Art Metropole’s 1984 Catalogue Evidence of the Avant Garde Since 1957, a seminal book and exhibition on distributed art practices (artworks that require wide circulation to fulfill their intent). Referencing a copy purchased from a library book sale, Sullivan produces hand-drawn facsimiles of the original pages with added interruptions of other distributed objects and artefacts such as prisms of light, pollen, metro tickets, and pamphlets. In reproducing these moments, the drawings examine the poetics of circulating artworks and the content that they pick up along the way.

A beige book lays on a white surface. It has white stickers in the top right and bottom left corners, making it appear like a library book. The thick black text reads "Evidence of the avant grade since 1957: selected works from the collection of Art Metropole including audio tapes, records, videotapes, film, multiples, kitsch, manuscripts, stamps, buttons, flyers, posters, correspondence, catalogues, porn, t-shirts, postcards, drawings, poems, mailers, books, photographs, and ephemera."

Saturday July 24th - Online Book Launch 4PM ADT:

Join us for an online book launch featuring Derek Sullivan in conversation with Roula Partheniou and Dave Dyment.

Register here.

Sunday July 25th - Pop Up and Book Signing, 2-4PM EDT:

Art Metropole will be hosting an outdoor book sale and signing with Derek Sullivan outside of their offices at 163 Sterling Road, Toronto, ON.


Evidence of the Avant Garde Ex-Library

By Derek Sullivan

Derek Sullivan’s work responds to systems of distribution and how the meaning of objects change as they circulate in the world. His recent drawings look at the structure of books and their subjects, exploring the relationships between physical reproduction and the spread of information.

In this new publication of drawings, Sullivan reprints Evidence of the Avant Garde Since 1957, first published by Art Metropole in 1984, one of the first books (and exhibitions) to curate and catalogue distributed art practices – artworks that required wide circulation to fulfill their intent.

Based on Sullivan’s own copy of the original catalogue purchased from a library book sale, the original pages are interrupted by other kinds of distributed objects: prisms scatter rainbows, ragweed’s pollen gives the reader a runny nose, metro tickets spill out of pockets, invasive dandelions are dug out of a garden, recent art pamphlets pile up on the table. In reproducing these moments, Evidence of the Avant Garde Ex-Library examines the poetics of circulating artworks and the content that they pick up along the way.

a beige book lays open on a white surface. A white hand holds it open from the top left corner. A coloured pencil illustration in black, lilac, and green, depicts a flower lying over a simplified photograph, with the numbers 1, 2, 3, to their right side. In the bottom right corner, text reads: "je ne sense qua toi, qui es ce que me manque."

Derek Sullivan (b. 1976, Richmond Hill, Ontario) studied at York University (BFA 1999) and the University of Guelph (MFA 2002). His solo exhibitions include The Booklover at the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), Albatross Omnibus at The Power Plant (Toronto), The Missing Novella at the Oakville Galleries (Oakville), Bulletin Board at Whitecolumns (New York) and More Young Americans at Kiosk (Ghent, Belgium). Sullivan has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including BNL MTL 2012 (Montreal), Where do I end and you begin at City Art Centre (Edimburgh) and Blue times at Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna). His books, prints and editions have been published by Paul & Wendy Projects (Toronto), Art Metropole (Toronto), Boabooks (Geneva), NSCAD Lithography Workshop (Halifax), Printed Matter Inc. (New York) and Bywater Bros.(Toronto). Sullivan has been nominated five times for the Sobey Art Award, including being shortlisted in 2012. He is an Associate Professor (Sculpture/Installation) at OCAD University, and lives and works in Toronto and Tamworth, Ontario.

Umbrella Projects is a collaboration between Struts and the Owens Art Gallery.

Evidence of the Avant Garde Ex-Library by Derek Sullivan is available in person at Struts Gallery and online.


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