December 2009, Brad Phillips in Conversation with Paul Butler

December 2009, Brad Phillips in Conversation with Paul Butler

Brad Phillips in Conversation with Paul Butler

Paul Butler is an artist and gallerist with an interest in multidisciplinary, social and alternative pedagogical practices. His practice includes hosting the Collage Party, a touring experimental studio established 1997; directing the operations of The Other Gallery, a nomadic commercial gallery focused on overlooked artists’ practices established in 2001. In 2007, he founded the, an invitational website that facilitates artist trading. In 2008, he led an experimental residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts titled Reverse Pedagogy. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Los Angeles; Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto; White Columns, New York City; Creative Growth Art Centre, Oakland and Sparwasser HQ, Berlin. His curatorial projects have included works by Matthew Higgs, Mitzi Pederson, Harrell Fletcher, DearRaindrop and Guy Maddin. He has contributed writings to the book Decentre: Concerning Artist-run Culture (2008) and to the magazine Canadian Art (2008). 

Currently, Butler is rebuilding Greg Curnoe's favorite bicycle, in order to commemorate the artist's work as a Canadian arts activist.  He has also been acting as guest curator for Winnipeg's Plug In Institute for Contemporary Art. This past winter, Butler attended The Mountain School for Arts, Los Angeles. In 2010 he will curate The Milwaukee International's Ice Fair on Winnipeg's Red River, and organize "The Exchange," a two-part exhibition at Dorset Fine Arts, CapeDorset and The National Gallery, Ottawa, in an effort to bring together Canada's southernmost and northernmost art communities.  â€¨ â€¨ 

*Brad Phillips is in italics due to the nature of the conversation.

PB: I’m recording here on the iPhone, and uh, hopefully it’s picking this up. Do you think I should do a test or something? 

BP: Yeah do a test. 

PB: Okay. Well let’s do it, it says it’s recording. 

BP: Alright you ready? 

PB: Yeah 

BP: How are you? 

PB: I’m good, how are you? 

BP: I’m doing okay, I just started a new job. 

PB: Yeah tell me about that, I know you’ve been threatening to get a job for a while. 

BP: I’m working at the hard to house/almost homeless hotels downtown, sort of babysitting drug addicts and the mentally ill, the homeless/at risk of homelessness etc. Hard to house people. Giving them their meals and their meds and stuff. 

PB: Does it inspire you to make more art? 

BP: No. It inspires me to buy more art magazines though. 

PB: Really? 

BP: Yeah well I’m getting paid better. 

PB: Oh God, you’re torturing yourself, you gotta stay away from that shit. 

BP:  No, no. So how do you like Toronto? 

PB: I like it a lot, I’m actually pretty surprised.  

BP: How long you been there for now? 

PB: A month.  

BP: That’s it? 

PB: Well… I came and I dropped off my luggage, then went back to Ireland for another project.  

BP: Yeah. 

PB: Um.. 

BP: What made you go back to Ireland? 

PB: We did that Reverse Pedagogy at the Model Niland. (1) 

BP: Right. 

PB: …in Sligo. 

BP: How’d it go? 

PB: It was good. I was pretty numb at that point to tell you the truth.  

BP: Yeah, yeah. 

PB: Kind of uh, I, I made some art I was really happy with. We had to come up with an exhibition in a little over a week.  

BP: Yeah. 

PB: And I did a video thing that I was pretty excited about, I did this unofficial biography of Warren Zevon - the first half of his life. 

BP: Right you told me about that.  

PB: Yeah so that was a new medium that was kind of exciting. I want to do some more of those.  

BP: Is he Irish? 

PB: No he’s uh, American, from L.A. His biography ranks up there with Motley Crue’s. ‘THE DIRT’. 

BP: Yeah yeah. 

PB: Yeah he really lived a wild life. The video was just the first half of his life, up until this intervention that his friends and family had for him. He was a boiler.  

BP: Is he clean now? 

PB: Well he’s, he’s passed on now.  

BP: Right, right. 

PB: Cancer, but in the second half of his life, he became OCD and a sex addict.  

BP: A sex addict? 

PB: Yeah.  

BP: That sounds fancy. 

PB: Yeah, the same thing that happened to Vince Neil after he quit drinking. It’s pretty common with addicts after they quit drinkin’ and druggin’. 

BP: Okay. Well I think I have a friend with the same problem. 

PB: Yeah, you gotta talk to your therapist on behalf of ‘your friend’, right? 

BP: Yeah exactly. 

PB: Yeah. 

BP: So, why don’t you tell me how you funded your whole trip to Europe? 

PB: Um, I basically just squeezed the last bit of dishwater out of the sponge. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: And um, when I got to Toronto I was flat broke.  

BP: Okay. 

PB: But honestly I’m really motivated and inspired to make money now, which is why I came here.  

BP: How’re you gonna do it? 

PB: It’s good, there’s like more gigs here. I’m just starting to try and uh, recognize myself with more value - demand money instead of just assuming that people are going to do the right thing and it’s not gonna, work out in the end. I’m done promoting and giving it all away. 

BP: You, you found self-esteem.  

PB: I found, well, I’m playing with it a little bit. I’m trying it on.  


BP: What was your favorite part of going to Europe, like what places did you like the most? 

PB: Um… 

BP: What was the best experience you had? 

PB: Experience?…it’s all really in my past right now. I was really excited - I know this sounds terrible - but I was really excited to get through it all so I could plant some roots and stay put. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: But um, Venice was great… 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: Um, I really liked Krakow.  

BP: Okay .Do you want to tell me like what you were doing there? 

PB: Krakow? I wasn’t doing anything there. That’s maybe what I liked about it the most. Just hung out with a friend and his family. Cabbage rolls. Walked around…took photos. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: Venice, we organized Reverse Pedagogy II, so we shipped all these canoes over... (2) 

BP: Who paid for that? 

PB: Well we financed the canoes by selling advertising on all of them. 

BP: Okay. 

PB: Everyone was responsible for their own flights. I used my aeroplan points. 

BP: Who were your sponsors? 

PB: Um, everybody from the National Gallery to Chucky Cheese… 


BP: Chucky Cheese? 

PB: No, just kidding.  

BP: Okay, okay. Well what was the reception like, like what did people think of your project? 

PB: Well I, I don’t know. Among Canadians there was a buzz going on about it, but there was just tonnes going on at the Biennale so there was no real way to get any feedback, I mean, I don’t think anybody wrote about us or anything.  

BP: Yeah. 

PB; So… 

BP: So did you have any like, brief Italian affairs or anything like that? 

PB: I had a threesome with some bedbugs in our Palazzo. Crazy night. 

BP: Yeah.What was it like canoeing around Venice? 

PB: The best - especially at night. 

BP: And what about the city of Venice? They didn’t have a problem with that? 

PB: Well, we managed to get by… I mean there were problems everywhere. Trying to go get a bag of nails was a problem. Making a phone call was a problem.  

BP: Okay. 

PB: It’s impossible to do anything there but eat and drink. You either go with the flow and relax, or lose your mind. And the whole city is a maze. You just wander around until you stumble upon somebody.

We didn’t actually get the canoes back. There was a big scandal after we left. The shipping company that was going to pick them up, didn’t. Then all the neighbours were furious that these canoes were sitting in their courtyard. Somebody took one and stuck in somebody else’s window… 

BP: Oh shit. 

PB: And then the owner of the building, he took a canoe for himself as payment for the hassle or something… 

BP: Yep. 

PB: Totally lawless. 

BP: Okay. Haywire. 

PB: Yeah.Yeah, it was another chapter in this ongoing Reverse Pedagogy thing that I think I told you about. 

BP: Yeah. So what are, what are your plans right now in Toronto?  

PB: Well I found a space to open a, a, just a space. So… 

BP: You opened a space? 

PB: I’m going to share a space in a garage with Drever. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: And it will just be by appointment. 

BP: Can I have a show? 

PB: No. 


PB: I’m not committing to anything yet. But um yeah, we can do a show.  

BP: Oh right on. 

PB: How about some photography? 

BP: Yeah. That sounds good…paintings, paintings are for the real galleries. 

PB: I’m gonna get things going here. 

BP: So wait, do you have to get a day job now? 

PB: I’m keeping my options open.  

BP: Yeah. 

PB: I’m just telling everybody that I need work… I’m getting little gigs here and there, and there are more people around to buy work.  

BP: What, what kind of gigs do you mean? 

PB: Um… I don’t know I’m delusional, I’m just making shit up.  

BP: Yeah that sounds about right.  

PB: I did a something for MOCCA, with their education department – an outreach program for at-risk inner city youth. 

BP: Okay. So that brings me back to thinking about how, last time I saw you in Winnipeg you were really into Creative Growth and working with people who were kind of on the fringes and making art for themselves. 

PB: Well just before I left for Toronto I was actually thinking about going into art therapy- 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: Just getting out of the profession of art completely. Cutting out the middle. Going direct to audience. No dealers, curators…entitled arists. 

BP: Do you find art therapeutic? 

PB: Yeah… 

BP: Yeah? 

PB: As an outlet.  

BP: Yeah. So are you still working with some of those artists, those sort of fringe artists, or outsider artists I guess you’d call them?  

PB: I’d like the think that, the artists I work with through the Other Gallery are somewhat outsider, or overlooked - and I see a thinner line between like artists and people with disabilities now. 

BP: Yeah yeah. Jesus where to go from here. We can edit out all of this fucking dead space. 

PB: Yeah for sure we’ll edit this out. 

BP: Um, what’s happening with Richard Williams? 

PB: Richard is in the home. I got this great new assistant in Winnipeg, Kyle, who uh, he just came to me and said he wanted to work, for the experience like three years ago now and he goes and visits Richard now, which is really good. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: Richard’s just, stuck in the home.  

BP: He’s hanging on for dear life I guess? 

PB: No, no he’s drawing. He comes and goes in waves. 

BP: How’re his hands? 

PB: Uh, he’s just, he’s kind of lost control of them now but he’s doing reinterprations of fairy tales, and – 

BP: Okay, that must be cool. 

PB: Yeah, they’re really twisted. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: So yeah it’s good, it was difficult saying goodbye to him when I left Winnipeg. 

BP: Yeah, yeah. Do you write him at all or- 

PB: No, I’m awful with writing. 

BP: So for people who don’t know, Richard Williams is a, how old is he ninety? 

PB: He’s eighty-eight now, and lives in Winnipeg and uh, taught at the University… ran the art department.  

BP: You organized his solo show at White Columns in New York right? 

PB: Yeah it was his first show outside of Winnipeg. 

BP: And that was in 2008? 

PB: 2008 yeah- 

BP: He’s known mostly for being pretty perverse- 

PB: Well… 

BP: And a good draughtsman. 

PB: I wouldn’t say perverse but he’s- 

BP: Well dogs and girls together… 


Perverse to me man… 

PB: I’m just saying I wouldn’t say that… 

BP: Yeah. But you’re a sick fuck. 

PB: I have a higher tolerance than most. 

BP: Yeah yeah. 

PB: But yeah, he did that Naked Block Party after he retired from the University and he did it, he did it despite having Parkinson’s Disease. And they’re like John Currin, or hetro-Tom of Finland… 

BP: Yeah they are like John Currin in a way- 

PB: Depictions of this naked community- 

BP: Richard probably has no idea who John Currin is. 

PB: No he does.  

BP: He does? 

PB: Yeah he does actually.  

BP: So does, does he keep up and kind of read Artforum and shit? 

PB: I bring him certain things that I think could be of interest. 

BP: Yeah yeah. 

PB: But he knew who Currin was all along. 

BP: What about you, are you making work right now? 

PB: Yeah, I’m collaging right now. I’m desperately trying to fundraise and I guess you actually have to have work to sell in order to make money as an artist. 

BP: Yeah yeah. 

PB: But um, yeah I’m just trying to…I have that Curnoe project I just started finally. (3) And I’m working with the National Gallery to do a project in CapeDorset. And uh, there are other things… I’m making fucking collage still.  

BP: Still? 

PB: Yeah (laughter). 

BP: So, your whole trip to Europe you were sending me crazy photos of your trip. And they were fucking amazing photographs, like as art.  

PB: Thanks. 

BP: So I was wondering if like you were maybe going start taking photographs, or start using your own photographs for collage, or like find a way to incorporate photography into your practice… 

PB: No, I haven’t yet. I’d like to get to the point where I could exhibit my photographs.  

BP: Yeah, your photos were beautiful. 

PB: It’s like a whole new learning experience. 

BP: Yeah. Well I think, for me too. I’m trying to just like, wing it with my camera. 

PB: Yeah.  

BP: You’re photos are great, I love them. 

PB: Thanks man. That was just, my camera made for a really great companion last summer. 

BP: Yeah. What kind of camera is it? 

PB: A Canon G10. It seems to work.  

BP: Were you surprised to find out you were a good photographer? 

PB: I was really pleased to get the response I did from you and the few friends I sent them to. 

BP: So it wasn’t just me that thought they were great? 

PB: Nope, there were some other people too.  

BP: Right on! 

PB: I know. big success.  


No I, I ah, I don’t know, there’s something in me that feels a little bit guilty…or self conscious or something- 

BP: Well for me the problem the problem with photography that makes me feel guilty is that I feel like I don’t know enough technically. 

PB: Yeah. 

BP: You know whereas my friends who are photographers could build a camera from scratch you know, and for me, pressing the shutter at the right time is about all I can do. 

PB: I kind of have a little bit of control over my camera.  

BP: Yeah. 

PB: I know exactly what you’re saying. I know enough about photography technically to know that I don’t know what I’m doing.  

BP: Yeah yeah yeah, exactly. You still smoking? 

PB: Yeah, still smoking. Parliaments when I can get them. 

BP: Drinking? 

PB: Drinking kind of off and on. I didn’t drink when I was in L.A. all last year which was really nice. didn’t miss it at all.  

BP: An entire year? 

PB: Uh, it was only three months but if felt like a year. 


Then, you know off and on with weed but uh, on since I’ve been in Toronto. We’ve named this weed ‘blinding light’, and, 

BP: Yeah.

Paul Butler, Collage Party (Creative Growth)

PB: My friend and I realized it’s been an entire month in this fog of blinding light, so it’s time to put it away again. It was fun though. Lots of laughs. 

BP: Have you been making work the whole time? 

PB: I did the art fair, that Nuit Blanche thing, MOCCA, and then I just, as soon as I had a little bit of a break, my body just shut down and I had to sit on the couch and watch TV for a week. Now I’m working again.  

BP: Yeah. What are you watching? The Wire? Don’t tell me you watch The Wire. 

PB: I don’t, I don’t watch The Wire. I’m not gonna. You know. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: But I watch Californication. I realized all the protagonists in everything I like, they’re all losers. Beautiful losers 

BP: Well I guess it’s better than being into daytime personalities I guess. 

PB; Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. 

BP: How’s your love life? 

PB: Love life is, uh, it’s not worked out completely. 

BP: It hasn’t worked out? 

PB; Ha.. no I guess not, I mean I’m single, so. 

BP; Well do you want to be single? 

PB; I’m actually really happy right now. For the first time in a while. 

BP; Well that’s good. 

PB; It is good.  

BP; You don’t miss the ‘peg? 

PB: I will miss the ‘peg. But it’s still too soon. I’m surprised how much I like it here, and I’m surprised how much I don’t miss Winnipeg. 

BP; Yeah, I mean, Toronto gets a really bad rap. But being from there, when I go back to visit I don’t really care for it any more but I can recognize what’s good about it, you know. 

PB; Yeah, and like, 3 or 4 of my best friends are here, so, that makes a big difference. 

BP; So for people that don’t know, the art fair is the Toronto art fair, right? 

PB; Yeah. 

BP; So whose work did you take there? 

PB; Umm, I had Gord Peterson. 

BP: Who is that? 

PB: Gord Peterson is this, he studied architecture, then he got into film, but he painted all along. He was the art director of Capote, worked on Maddin’s films, then moved to Toronto, where he’s been working on films. But in between film jobs, he’d paint, and his painting are just, really solid. 

BP: What are his paintings like? 

PB: They’re kind of like, um, somewhere… they’re abstract, between disease, and satellite shots of the earth. 

BP; And who else’s work did you take? You didn’t take mine. 

PB: No, I didn’t take yours. I had Ruth Van Beek, from Amsterdam, she does nice little, simple collages from found photography, Mark Garry is from Dublin - he’s a musician, a curator and an artist. I met him through Reverse Pedagogy in Sligo. Mitzi Pederson, Dumontier, Guy Maddin, Aganetha Dyck, Dean Baldwin… Other Editions (4) 

BP; So this trip has kind of expanded your roster of artists, I guess to make it more international. 

PB: Yeah, but the truth is, I really haven’t been into the gallery at all.  

BP: Do you have someone still running it? 

PB: I took out an art page, that looked like an ad in Hunter and Cook, calling out for a new director. 

BP: Yeah, and did you get any response? 

PB; Yeah, I got one response from someone quite qualified actually. We’re talking about teaming up. 

BP: Yeah. 

PB: But, in the last 3 years or something, I’ve kind of kept it open so I can do, so I can a- 

BP; Do what you want, 

PB; Yeah, just do what I want, when I want. I wasn’t really wanting to do the Toronto art fair… I was gonna start another fair, and then they approached us, and we got into negotiations… then, in the end, I ended up doing it again somehow. 

BP; Yeah. Well it’s kind of a shitty fair, I guess, right? 

PB; It. It’s, yeah, it’s tough. Its not one of the better fairs internationally. They’re working on- 

BP; How was it this year compared to other years. 

PB: I think it was honestly the worst year  

BP; Yeah, cause of the economic thing, 

PB: Yeah, the economic thing, and they’re unable to bring the better international galleries in yet. The Merchandise Mart (The Armory, At Chicago..) bought it, but they haven’t been able to bring the quality up yet. And then, a lot of western Canada didn’t show - Alberta, and Vancouver - Blanket Gallery was the only gallery that made it out. 

BP; Yeah yeah,  

PB: But I thought our booth was really fucking strong this year, I was happy with that. 

BP; Are you still going to try and do things like Scope New York this year, 

PB: No. I’ll only do fairs like The Milwaukee International from now on. (5) 

BP: Yeah, you’re just burnt out. 

PB: I just don’t have the same faith in that system. I also recognize that I need to surround myself with the right people, or I’ll go crazy. There are things with the commercial art world that bother me, but it doesn’t want to change. It’s like going into Vegas and saying “ gambling and hookers are bad!” Nobody wants to hear it. 

BP; Yeah. I was going to say something, did the Swiss guy ever pay you? 

PB: Oh, for Simon’s piece? 

BP; Yeah. 

PB: Yeah, he did. 

BP: What’s his full name? 

PB; Haha, for the record, I can’t recall, but after 2 years of him avoiding me, he came around and paid in the end. If was funny actually, he confessed that he has a problem with avoiding people who owed him money. You know, people think that it’s your job to chase them, and collect. 

BP: Well it shouldn’t be 

PB: Ahh, fuck it. 

BP: So did he pay you? 

PB: Yeah, he paid. 

BP: Good. 

PB: Everybody’s all paid up. 

BP: Except for me. 

PB: Yeah, you still owe me. 

BP: Haha, so what are your plans now like, are you going to stay in Totonto indefinitely? Like you’ve never lived there before. 

PB: No plans otherwise. I really love it here. I’m near Ronsonsville in Parkdale. HighPark. The Polish restaurants… 

BP: What is it that’s keeping you there, like what is it that you like so much? 

PB: I just like that there’s a little bit more opportunity. Like Winnipeg was a great place to make work and travel from, but then I felt like I hit a ceiling there. 

BP: Yeah, for sure. 

PB: So this is just a, you know, a little bigger. I want to live in Canada, and I want to be around friends. 

BP: Well come to Vancouver. 

PB: I’d like to somehow spend time in Vancouver too.  

BP: I miss you when are you going to come here? 

PB: I’m coming for the Olympics, 2010. 

BP: You have a project with Anouk? (??????????) 

PB: With Presentation House. Theo Simms is staging his bar there and I’m going to organize a series of interviews for it. 

BP: And can I participate in the event? 

PB; Yep. 

BP: Ok cool. 

PB: Artists interviewing whomever they like.  

BP; Ok yeah, I’d like to do that. 

PB: So it’d be kind of like a talk show, I want to get some musician to be like our Paul Schaffer… Robert Dayton would be perfect… 

BP: Right on. Or Destroyer.  

PB: Why not get Michael Buble? 

BP: Yeah, well I’m , bored out of my fucking mind, I’d love to do something.  

PB; Just learn how to play an instrument and you could be our Max Weinstein.  

BP; I play the skin flute really well. 

PB: Well, I know. I can attest to that.


BP; You sound like you’re a master at it as well. 

PB; Hey, well, I’ve gotten this far in the art world, right?  

BP; Yeah, exactly. Which is what, like, 10% up the hill? 

PB; That’s a pretty good finish actually. 

BP: Probably you’re right.

PB; But let’s just keep beating a dead horse. 

BP; So the money in your bank account that’s there right now, were does it come from?  

PB; There’s no money there. I have an overdraft and a Visa, you know? 

BP: Yeah. 

PB; ‘cause I run a business, they give me credit. 

BP; You should try selling weed maybe

PB: I’m going to start selling ‘ze drug of art.’ 

BP; Oh god, with the German accent too? 

PB; this is the drug of art, you just put a little on your anus’ 

BP; Oh god. Take it to that level. I’ve just never, it’s just like always been a huge mystery to me as to like, how you survive on a daily basis. I’ve never known you to have a job in almost 10 years.  

PB; Yeah, well with the gallery, when I make sales for myself I get 100% 

BP; Right. 

PB; And uhh… 

BP: You don’t have any gallery representation right now though? 

PB: I do but mostly sell my own work. People come to me first it seems. 

BP: Really? 

PB: Yeah, I just realized that this last year that I consistently bring in quite a bit every year. But I also, you know, I get, ahh, I don’t know how I make money… I get grants, the Other Gallery, Collage Parties pay well, and I sell my work, surprisingly, you know. I know that’s a shock to everyone. 

BP: Yeah, that’s a shocker for sure. But, seriously, the last collages I saw you making were beautiful. 

PB: I’m starting to making them again but, umm, yeah collage, I guess I’ll keep coming back to it. 

BP: That’s definitetly you’re comfort zone I guess, like, you never feel like picking up a paint brush or anything? 

PB: No, I feel like doing ceramics, maybe sculpture, like collage-y sculpture. 

BP: Yeah, 

PB: Like, umm, Mitzi Pederson. I just want to make things like Mitzi Pederson 

BP: Who’s that? 

PB: She’s at Ratio 3 in San Francisco, and she’s come to a couple Reverse Pedagogies… we both showed at White Columns in their white rooms at the same time together. 

BP: Yeah, so you have shown at White Columns. So you are a successful artist.  

PB: Yeah, it’s a fact. 


1) Model Niland,

Sligo, Ireland 

From Model Niland press release... 

This project is the result of an artist residency with nine diverse artists. All artists were invited to live in Sligo for up to two weeks and to work collaboratively to build an exhibition with no particular plan previous to their arrival. The project, the third chapter in its ongoing manifestation, was previously produced at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, and at the 2009 Venice Biennale. In all versions, diverse artists gather together in the form of a residency to produce artwork, to educate one another, and to conspire in opposition to traditional art educational models. The heart of the project is semi-collaborative, improvised projects and exhibitions that eventually open to the public upon completion.

This third chapter of Reverse Pedagogy is guided by its founder Paul Butler (Canada) and Mark Garry (Ireland). For each version of Reverse Pedagogy, Butler recruits another artist to co-organize the project’s focus in an effort to keep it collective and fresh. In his words, “our job is to design a platform that is ideal for creativity, collaboration & experimentation.” 

In this project, artists are encouraged to challenge their own patterns of artistic thought and production, and to explore new directions in their art practice. Paul Butler conceives of Reverse Pedagogy as a “sanctuary from the pressures and responsibilities that come with being a professional artist.” The goal is lateral learning through the exchange of ideas, energy and example. As participants, all artists are both teachers and students in this collectively directed, nomadic experimental school. 


Dean Baldwin (Canada)

Katie Bethune-Leaman (Canada)

Paul Butler (Canada)

Mark Garry (Ireland)

Asdis Sif Gunnarsdottir (Iceland)

Stephane Gilot (Canada)

Bea McMahon (Ireland)

Fiona Marron (Ireland)

Swintak (Canada) 

2) Reverse Pedagogy II, Venice, Italy 

From Reverse Pedagogy II press release... 

The experimental, nomadic art school known as Reverse Pedagogy is in session during the first ten days of the 53rd Venice Biennale, bringing with it an international cast of artists, curators, and writers. Taking off from its first installment at The Banff Centre (Canada), Reverse Pedagogy turns the city of Venice into its own site of art and knowledge production, communal living, play, and conversation. With air mattresses, tents, crash pads, and 11 canoes in tow, participants engage round-the-clock in activities within the residency and the Biennale itself. Look out for canoe interventions, tug-of-war battles over bridges, tiki bars, and spontaneous shenanigans. For a full schedule, please consult the calendar below.  


In 2008, artist Paul Butler initiated Reverse Pedagogy at The Banff Centre. Participants were asked to direct the residency collectively. The goal was to create an experiment in which students would teach each other without hierarchical pedagogical models. The success of this collective experiment lay in the conviction that it is through exchange between individuals on equal footing that new artistic possibilities are born. The twenty artists that took part in the month-long residency were free to make a series of exhibitions, radio broadcasts, serigraph prints, zines, photographs, ceramics, time- capsules, as well as organize meals, parties, and field-trips to hot springs, museums, karaoke bars, and ski ranges. Reverse Pedagogy was a sanctuary from the pressures and responsibilities that come with being a professional artist, giving artists room to experiment, fail, and exchange. The results were spectacular, interdisciplinary projects, many of which are ongoing.  


Initiated by Dean Baldwin and co-organized by Nicholas Brown, Paul Butler, Gregory Elgstrand, and Chen Tamir, the Venice installment of Reverse Pedagogy includes Katie Bethune-Leamen, Bruno Billio, Catharine Dean, Fastwürms, Patrick Howlett, Kelly Jazvac, Seamus Kealy, Karen Kraven, Maryse Larivière, Kelly Mark, James Prior, Paulette Phillips, Clint Roenisch, Jade Rude, Mitzi Pederson, Jon Sasaki, Ruti Sela & Maayan Amir, Robin Simpson, Craig Alun Smith, and Swintak. 

3) CreativeGrowthArtCenter 

Creative GrowthArtCenter serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities, providing a stimulating environment for artistic instruction, gallery promotion and personal expression. Artwork fostered in this unique environment is included in prominent collections and museums worldwide. 

4) Curnoe Project 

Currently, Butler is rebuilding Canadian artist Greg Curnoe's favorite bicycle with original bike builder Mike Barry of Mariposa. Once the bike is complete, Butler will ride it along with Curnoe's old cycling club in his hometown of London, ON.

Curnoe was an avid cyclist, and bicycles were a frequent subject of his work. While on a club ride in 1992, a distracted driver of a pickup truck failed to see the group of riders and plowed into them. Curnoe was killed and several others were seriously injured. 

5) Other Editions

Other Editions is an on-going series of limited edition prints selected by The Other Gallery and printed by Martha Street Studio in Winnipeg. 

5) Milwaukee International Art Fair 

whitehot gallery images, click a thumbnail.

Brad Phillips


Brad Phillips is a Vancouver based artist with recent solo shows in Zurich, Vancouver, Boston and New York.

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