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Everything is Relevant Cover

Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991–2018 brings together texts by Canadian artist Ken Lum. They include a letter to an editor, diary entries, articles, catalogue essays, curatorial statements, and more. Along the way, the reader learns about late modern, postmodern, and contemporary art practices, as well as debates around issues like race, class, and monumentality. Penetrating, insightful, and often moving, Lum’s writings are essential for understanding his practice, which has been prescient of developments within contemporary art, as well as the international art world over the last three decades. Kitty Scott, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the co-curator of a 2002-03 NGC retrospective of Lum's photography, contributed the introduction. 

31 January 2020
$64.95 CAD/USD
Text/Context: Writings by Canadian Artists (Series)
ISBN: 978-1-988111-00-1 (print) | 978-1-988111-02-5 (e-book)
[Links to our Canadian distributor, UBC Press]
[Links to our American distributor, University of Chicago Press.]

'When I put together a show with works of the collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1995, I was fortunate to find there Ken Lum’s “Melly Shum Hates Her Job,” a work he had made for the inauguration of Witte de With, a non-profit art centre in the same city. For me this was the first of many rich encounters with him and his works. Over many decades he has pointedly challenged ruling classes in many regions of the world, religious suppression, racism and other horrors. Driven by a deep sense of humanity, his engagement, backed by a wide knowledge of history and pertinent literature, is reflected in his thoughtful writings on art and life. As he correctly says: Everything is relevant.'
-Hans Haacke

'Lum is a keen and prescient observer of the art world and of global society more broadly. He is one of the most significant art writers of our time.'
-Mark A. Cheetham, University of Toronto; author of Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature since the ‘60s

'Lum’s natural and clear writing is an integral part of his existence. Not just ‘an artist who CAN write,’ he is rare in his seamless narration of idea and experience, his challenge of hierarchical ideas of value, place, and time. Descriptive and disruptive, personal and political, critical and loving, Lum conveys a broad, sophisticated, but level-headed relationship to art seen and made, and life lived at every level.'
-Sacha Craddock, art writer, critic, and curator

'While the writings in this volume obliquely elucidate the thinking process that informs Ken Lum's artistic production and provide interesting interpretations of the art of the artists they feature, they also represent contemporary art’s gasping for air in the context of the increasing pressure from what in the past thirty or so years has come to be defined as the globalization of the art world. As such, the texts stand as important historical documents of what was at stake in art in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.'
-Alexander Alberro, Barnard College/Columbia University; author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

About the Author

Vancouver-born artist Ken Lum is known for his conceptual and representational art in a number of media, including painting, sculpture, and photography. He currently is the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design and he previously taught at Bard College and at the University of British Columbia. As an artist, he has exhibited at Documenta 11, the Venice Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Carnegie International, and Whitney Biennial, among others. He is a co-founder and founding editor of Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and in 2000 he worked as co-editor of the Shanghai Biennale. He is co-curator of Monument Lab: A Public Art and History Project in Philadelphia. In 2017, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is the recipient of the 2019 Gershon Iskowitz Prize and a 2020 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. 

Kitty Scott is Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). She has held positions at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Banff Centre, the Serpentine Galleries, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Edmonton Art Gallery (currently known as the Art Gallery of Alberta). Ms. Scott curated the critically-acclaimed exhibition Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre (2019) at the AGO and co-curated the well-received 2018 Liverpool Biennial, titled Beautiful World, Where Are You? In 2002-03 she co-curated a retrospective at the NGC of Ken Lum’s photography.

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