"University of Toronto professor Michel Sanouillet, a historian of the original Dada movement of 1916-24, noted in Canadian Art magazine that the show was the first local manifestation of the renewed interest in Dadaism that had been growing in New York and Paris."

Reference: Dennis Reid, Isaacs Seen (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2005).

"The Toronto presence of Michel Snouillet, a leading expert on Dada who was at that time teaching at the University of Toronto, cannot be overlooked. In 1958 Sanouillet had published Marchand du sel, a collection of the writings of Marcel Duchamp....

"It is also worth noting that in 1961 Michel Sanouillet gave a talk entitled Dada's Eye at the London Public Library and Art Museum, which coincided with Greg Curnoe's first solo show, An Exhibition of Things, held at the Richard E. Crouch Branch Library in London."

Reference: Denise Leclerc and Pierre Dessureault, The 60s in Canada (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2005), 22.

"Everybody Wants to Get into the Act"
by Robert Fulford

"The farthest out exhibition in Toronto art history has been drawing visitors in unusually large numbers to the Isaacs Gallery, at 832 Yonge St., during the last 10 days. The exhibition has no title (customers are asked to make up their own) but it has distinction. It is distinctively absurd, insane, pointless, pointed, tragic, and funny. It is a local approach to neo-Dadaism, an irreverent form of creation which has established beachheads in Europe and the United States in the last two or three seasons. It is non-art with a non-message, the artist's insane response to an insane world.

"Dadaism was a visual protest against just about everything organized by European artists in the 1920s. The new Dadaists, borrowing some of the inspirations of the old, are also making a protest, but probably more against the current conventions and attitudes of the art world than against anything else. The Isaacs exhibition includes such things as: a shrine to Napoleon, which is supplied regularly with fresh candles and flowers; a machine that customers can turn off and on, which does nothing but run; paintings made of ripped canvas; and a box of odds and ends that an art viewer ran rearrange to suit himself. Among the more distinctive items are Richard Gorman's Bicycle Peddling a Man and Greg Curnoe's Art Store Fixture, a collection of stickers, tags. etc., which is mounted on wheels; and a pull-toy for art lovers. Gorman organized the exhibition, and the contributors include such local artists as Michael Snow, Gordon Rayner, Joyce Wieland, and Dennis Burton.

"Michael Sanouillet, of the University of Toronto, one of the world's leading authorities on Dada, has pronounced the show pretty good. 'These are reborn ideas rather than imitations', he says. Most of the Isaacs's visitors find it entertaining. One of them, Claude Bissell, liked the show so much that on opening night he contributed his hat as an exhibit and it sits there still, solemnly labeled as the contribution of the president of the Canada Council.

"Avrom Isaacs says most of his visitors enjoy the show and some stay for an hour or more, laughing intermittently. 'They like it a lot better than I thought they would,' he said the other day. 'You have people leaving things around. Everybody wants to get info the act'.

"A similar exhibition, perhaps incorporating music as well, will he held at London, ON, later this winter, and there's some talk of importing Marcel Duchamp, one of the fathers of Dada, for the occasion.
"The present show continues 'til Tuesday."

Reference (note): AGO artist files.

WORKS EXHIBITED
Greg Curnoe: Flashing Sign, Ticket Window, Drawer Full of Stuff, Soothing Watercolour, and Art Store Fixture.
Dennis Burton: Chair, Feel Me Gently, For Oistrakh, Four Joys, Kak, Tenor Madness, Egypt Asleep, Plastered, School Code.
Michael Snow: Newspaper, Window, Cezanne, Moe Lester Scholarship, Walking Woman, Fifty Dollars (listed for sale at $78), Thelonius Monk at the Blackhawk, Bag-Walking Woman, Central one hour Cleaners.
Joyce Wieland: She Decided to Perform Lexi, Product of an Unhappy Family Life, Napoleon, Flight to Jordon, Station, Trouble Afoot.
Arthur Coughtry: Photographs of Centre Island, Scarborough Bluffs, and the Don Valley
Richard Gorman: Portable Oracle, Goddess with her Leg Extended, Bicycle Pedaling a Man, Twenty to Seven, Birthday Card, Homage to a Barber.
Gordon Rayner: Private Parts, Bureau.

Reference (note): Greg Curnoe files, AGO.



Related people
   Dennis Burton - Artist
   Arthur Coughtry - Artist
   Greg Curnoe - Artist
   Richard Gorman - Artist
   Gordon Rayner - Artist
   Michael Snow - Artist
   Joyce Wieland - Artist


The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
The CCCA Canadian Art Database: Chronologies