The Artist-Curators behind WRECK CITY

Picture 3

Illustration by Jennifer Crighton

The idea of the “Artist-Curator” is a relatively new thing. Curation, as some readers may know, has been undergoing significant re-imagining over the last two-ish decades (probably longer). Curators are basically fancy administrators with wicked taste in art. They’re the folks in charge of making art-spaces (and subsequently art-pieces) look amazing, as well as contextualizing the work, and representing the art and the artists to viewers/the broader public. Sometimes a Curator is also someone who works with budgets, negotiating, and other alternately crazy and boring logistics. Basically, Curators are geniuses with insane attention spans and a crazy vocabulary of relevant art-names to drop.

An “Artist-Curator” is an Artist working as a Curator in a wildly informal context – like a Curator in cut-off blue jeans and a dorky bicycle-helmet. Artist-Curators tend to work in alternative spaces, with ridiculously limited budgets, taking tons of shortcuts through mazes of red-tape. Artist-Curators allow themselves certain liberties that a “real” Curator would never dream of. For example, the Artist-Curators involved with WRECK CITY are all free to work as artists within the houses, alongside the other artists they have curated. A “real” Curator might argue that this is a conflict of interest, which in some ways it IS, but it also adds a giant challenge to the entire process of Curating, which an Artist-Curator might argue right back offers huge developmental potentials.

Definitions aside, the Artist-Curators involved with WRECK CITY were selected through a rigorous process of deciding who the heck was crazy/ambitious enough to take on a project of this size and timeframe. They include:

  • MATTHEW Mark Bourree
  • CAITLIND r.c. Brown
  • JENNIFER Crighton
  • BRANDON Dalmer
  • ANDREW Frosst
  • JOHN Frosst
  • SHAWN Mankowske
  • RYAN Scott


Together, this ensemble has done some really amazing stuff. We’ve founded galleries, instigated long-term collectives, run festivals, toured art around the world, and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve measurably influenced the structure of independent art in Calgary. Some of the Artist-Curators have been involved with similar pre-demolition projects, including The Leona Drive Project in Toronto and The House Project in Calgary, but we’re basically just more or less savvy keeners with super-powers.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that we’re stoked to be involved with WRECK CITY, and we think it’s gonna be awesome.

Are you interested in participating? We’re accepting submissions until March 9th. Drop us a line!


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