Precarious: Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge

Robert Langen Art Gallery
March 5 – April 12, 2014

Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, ON
75 University Ave. West

Precarious is an exhibition of works spanning 1980-2011 by Toronto-based artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, whose collaborative practice of staged photography addresses workers’ rights, capitalist crisis, environmental degradation, and social movements. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Precarious (2010), a series that Condé and Beveridge developed in collaboration with part-time college support staff members and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Providing commentary on work and social identities, on the differential manifestations of precarity, and on the persistent efforts of working people to challenge the political economy of dispossession, the show includes, among other work, Class Maintenance (2003), Cultural Relations (2005), Salt of the Earth (2008), and Liberty Lost (G20, Toronto) (2010).

In the accompanying exhibition catalogue, historian Bryan D. Palmer writes:

In listening to their subjects as well as working with them to create a theatre of representation, Condé and Beveridge blur the distinctions between art and work, aesthetics and politics, image and actuality. Just as they insist that art must break with its own isolations—ensconced within institutions, sanctioned by connoisseurs and critics, supported by well-heeled patrons—Condé and Beveridge’s creative methods integrate the production of art with a politics of contestation, in which the artistry of labour and the work of representation are paired in a project of political illumination. The result is a rare, resolute, and rich body of social commentary, a visual cavalcade imaginatively identifying the ways in which everyday people confront the sources of complaint in their lives.

Exploring connections between the show’s organizing theme and its diverse publics, the Precarious exhibition is extended by a program of public events, including an artists’ talk, catalogue launch, and panel about unpaid internships on March 18th, and a screening of Portrait of Resistance: The Art & Activism of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge on March 27th.

March 18, 2014, 1:30-4:00pm

Getting a Foot in the Door? Debating Unpaid Internships
March 18, 2014, 4:00-5:30pm


Portrait of Resistance: The Art & Activism of Carole Condé & Karl Beveridge (2012)
March 27, 2014, 7:00-9:00pm

Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge live and work in Toronto. They have collaborated with various trade union and community organizations in the production of their staged photographic and banner work over the past thirty years. Their work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally in the trade union movement as well as art galleries and museums. Their work has been included in exhibitions at the Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, the Netherlands (2013), Manif d’art – The Québec City Biennial (2014), and Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2014). Condé and Beveridge received an Honourary Doctorate from OCAD University in 2010, the Cesar Chavez Black Eagle Cultural Award from the United Food and Commercial Workers, Canada in 2011, and the Prix de mérite artistique from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2013. Condé and Beveridge are members of CARFAC/CARCC.

Letters & Handshakes and the Robert Langen Art Gallery are grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts; Ontario Arts Council; Council for the Intellectual and Cultural Development of the Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University; Dr. Abby Goodrum, Vice-President: Research, Wilfrid Laurier University; Canada Research Chair in Canadian Studies, Trent University; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; University Community Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University; Department of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University; Cultural Workers Organize; Ghislain Thibault; Jessica Fanning; Chris Lee; and Thistle Printing Ltd. And a special thank you to Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge.

Image credits
Liberty Lost (G20, Toronto), 2010. Courtesy of the artists.

It’s Still Privileged Art, 1975. Courtesy of the artists.

Precarious: Condé + Beveridge is a curatorial partnership between Letters & Handshakes and the Robert Langen Art Gallery