This publication accompanies the exhibition Catalogue by Ron Terada, curated by Reid Shier and presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, November 20, 2003 to January 3, 2004. The publication includes texts by Michael Darling, Jens Hoffmann, Reid Shier and Kelly Wood, design and drawings by Julian Gosper.
In Catalogue, Terada occupies and exaggerates the means by which an institution such as the Contemporary Art Gallery exists by making private patronage the content of an artwork. In the artist’s words: “Public institutions devoted to contemporary visual art maintain themselves through public and private philanthropy—granting organizations, members of the gallery, volunteers, and other donors being but a few—which necessitate relationships that are in need of renewal and upkeep. With the support of a number of contributors, I wish to expose and alter the mandate of such an institution—and the mechanisms by which it realizes this mandate—within the context of an exhibition.” To realize this goal, Terada sought the participation of patrons to support and facilitate the cost of producing an artist’s catalogue.
The exhibition had two distinct public components, the first mounted within the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Alvin Balkind Gallery and its street front window vitrines. Here, vinyl signage acknowledges the support of those who contributed to the project. The names and company logos, as a result, comprise the visual component, the “art” as it were, of the gallery’s display.
The second component is the accompanying exhibition publication, which was for sale at the gallery’s reception desk. Rather than assume a supplementary, explanatory or documentary role to work displayed in the gallery, the production of this catalogue is an artwork. The catalogue looks and functions like any other publication would within the typical frame of an exhibition, but by highlighting patronage of the exhibition it hopes to expose and exploit the conventions such promotional and explanatory vehicles rely upon in their efforts to contextualize and legitimize artist’s work. Despite appearances to the contrary, then, Terada intends to cast suspicion on the catalogue (and with it himself and the gallery), and in doing so raise questions about the objectivity and truth value such publications engender and maintain.MORE