Nov 5, 2011 – Jan 15, 2012
Iain Baxter legally changed his name to IAIN BAXTER& in 2005. He appended an ampersand to his name to underscore his belief that art is about connectivity, contingency, and collaboration with a viewer. In 1965 he formed a collaborative art-making entity titled IT Works, which subsequently evolved into N. E. Thing Company, a corporate-styled entity whose copresidents were BAXTER& and his then-wife, Ingrid. Producing a diverse array of projects that encompassed conceptually based photography, pioneering works of appropriation art, and gallery-transforming installations, the N. E. Thing Company offered a new model of art-making, allowing the artists to remain anonymous and masquerade in the guise of business people. Collapsing the boundaries between art, commerce, and everyday life, BAXTER&’s protean and peripatetic work has unfolded over five decades and proved difficult to locate within conventional critical or art historical narratives. A relentless emphasis on reaching out to the viewer, a core concern with ecology and the environment, and a belief that art must assume plural means and media, inform BAXTER&’s early credo: understanding that “art is all over.” This exhibition seeks to appraise the remarkable achievement of this artist, and to position his contribution in relation to mainstream histories of conceptual art, photography, and installation art.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario