In 1983, Ian Wallace produced At Work, a project that converted the gallery space into a studio and presented the artist at work in the intellectual processes of thinking, reading and writing. Conflating the practices of academic activity with conventional artistic production, part of At Work’s both local importance and larger, symbolic significance is its scrupulous presentation of the individual, working artist as a social and public intellectual.
Twenty years later, writer, critic and theorist Clint Burnham reprises Wallace’s strategy through the deliberately reflexive act of contemplating another’s contemplation. Realized, in part, as a strategic reversal of Wallace’s original, Burnham’s project attempts to append Wallace’s model of the academic-artist with his own ersatz translation of the academic-artist.
With a desk, a chair, and the original 1983 photograph documenting Wallace at work in the gallery, Burnham re-enacts Wallace’s initial project by working in the exhibition space of the Western Front during public hours over the course of 2 weeks. In the end, Burnham’s stay in the gallery will result in a photograph and essay both published as a poster that serves to reflect on both the history and significance of Wallace’s original project as well as on the more recent shifts in artistic and academic production over the past two decades.
Curated by Tim Lee
Special Hours: 1-5PM, Tuesday-Friday
Clint Burnham is a Vancouver writer and teacher. Burnham is the author of numerous books, including Airborne Photo (1999), and The Jamesonian Unconscious (1995). His latest book, Smoke Show, a novel, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2005. Burnham has written on such artists as Ian Wallace, Tim Lee, and Theodore Wan, and he is a freelance art critic for the Vancouver Sun.