Barbara Astman: Dancing with Che: Enter through the Gift Shop
May 7 to July 31, 2011
The Reynolds Gallery was transformed into a faux gift shop for the duration of this fascinating exhibition by Toronto-based artist Barbara Astman. Astman created her original Dancing with Che series in 2003, after a trip to Cuba where she was impressed by “Che chic,” that is the proliferation of imagery of the face of revolutionary Che Guevara on a range of souvenir products. Her own photographs were created by shooting images of herself dancing to Latin music while wearing a Che T-shirt. For this new gift shop piece, these black-and-white images were plastered onto mugs, tote bags, key-chains, playing cards, etc. But none of this merchandise was for sale. Viewers may have found this aggravating, and were left to muse upon their own thwarted desire to consume.