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Venice Biennale


Past Exhibitions

Wendy Coburn: Anatomy of a Protest

October 30 - December 19, 2014

Opening Reception: October 30, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Bus Tour: November
2, 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Panel Discussion: November 12, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
More information below.

Curated by Barbara Fischer

Image courtesy of the artist.

Wendy Coburn’s first major solo exhibition in Toronto centres on her recently completed video Slut Nation: Anatomy of a Protest, which revisits the world’s first Slutwalk protest. Grass-roots and spontaneous, the 2011 protest offered an important rebuttal of a Toronto Police officer’s comments at a safety and security panel at York University, drawing attention to the ways in which gender stereotyping diverts the focus from the perpetrators of violence, and blames survivors of sexual assault instead. The protest’s critique of the persistence of rape culture inspired countless satellite protests across the globe. Coburn’s reconstruction of the 2011 protest highlights the movement of an organized group of provocateurs, including their representation in the media, as they march three blocks from Queen’s Park to the Toronto Police Headquarters. Bringing together footage and photographs taken by citizen journalists, the media, and the artist’s friends, Coburn’s work draws parallels to the haunting history of the infiltration of protests in Toronto, including those following the gay bath-house raids in 1981 through to the largest mass arrests of citizens in Canada at the G20 in 2010.

Ultimately, Coburn’s expansive body of work poses a series of questions related to freedom of assembly, the critical role of protest, and tactics used to undermine social justice organizing and positive social change.

Wendy Coburn’s work has been exhibited and screened in galleries and festivals including Photophobia (Art Gallery of Hamilton), the Living Effect (Ottawa Art Gallery), MIX (New York Gay & Lesbian Experimental Film/Video Festival) Transmediale International Media Art Festival (Berlin, Germany), Beaver Tales and Uneasy Pieces (Oakville Galleries), Kassel Documentary Film & Video Festival (Kassel, Germany), and the Dublin Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival (Dublin, Ireland).

Coburn received her MFA from Concordia University, and worked several years as Assistant Dean and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University, where she now teaches in the Sculpture Installation program and the Art & Social Change Minor.


Public Events

Sunday, November 2, 12:00-5:00pm
Begins at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Bus Tour with Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto Art Centre, Blackwood Gallery and Art Gallery of York University. Reserve a seat on the bus by email ( or by phone (416-978-8398) by Thursday, October 30. Reservations are first come, first served.

Wednesday, November 12, 7:00-9:00pm
University of Toronto Art Centre, 15 King's College Circle

“Anatomy of a Protest: The Art of Infiltration”: an interdisciplinary panel discussion featuring Wendy Coburn, Jane Doe, Gary Kinsman, and Lesley Wood. Moderated by Lisa Steele.

These events are being presented in conjunction with “The Politics and Poetics of Visibility,” a weekly event series at the University of Toronto Art Centre and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. The full event listing can be found here.

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery’s programs are made possible by the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.


Installation Views

Wendy Coburn Installation
Wendy Coburn Installation
Wendy Coburn Installation