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Subject to Change: Writings and Interviews

Liz Magor

Subject to Change: Writings and Interviews brings together catalogue statements, essays, conversations, lecture notes, communications with gallerists and writers, and unpublished writings by Liz Magor, of the most important contemporary artists of the last fifty years. In addition to writings spanning more than four decades, the book features a preface by Magor, as well as an introductory essay by critic and curator Philip Monk.

A sculptor who replicates quotidian objects, often combining them with found ephemera or complicating their shape or size, Liz Magor prompts viewers of her sculptures to endow them with stories and histories of their own making. As a writer, Magor uses narrative to make sense of her own work, but she also returns to themes over the course of her career including subject/object relations and transformations; training systems for artists; consumption and commodification; human attachment and relationships; and complexities of time, place, and situation, particularly her own as a feminist artist in a settler-colonial society. Subject to Change is essential reading for anyone interested in Magor's practice, as well as broader questions in art since the 1970s. 

October 2022
373 pages | illustrated in color throughout | 7 x 9 in.
9781988111339 | Paper
9781988111346 | E-book

"Liz Magor’s beautiful writing is as quietly mind-expanding as her artwork. Her texts are cinematic in their pacing, cutting between scenes, and in their canny, knowing descriptions of the physical world. Some of my favourites here are her lecture notes, conversations, and correspondence for the ways they place the writing in that physical world. But the surprising thing about this brilliant collection is that Magor’s writing is its own parallel universe, an expansive, heterodox place full of unexpected insights and experimentation."
Dan Byers, Robinson Family Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University 

"I knew Liz Magor to be a protean thinker, warm and witty: still, none of this prepared me for the breadth and candour of Subject to Change. This most charismatic intellect moves through the prescriptive art world ‘corrections’ of the 1980s, to her inspirations from literature and anthropology, to the relationship of writing to art making, and most persistently, to ruminating the fundaments of a studio practice. This perspicacious collection is a deep dive into the workings of a visionary, supple mind and confirms Magor as one of the great artist-writers of our time."
Moyra Davey

"When I look at art, I need to be convinced that the artist has investigated their subject extensively and taken it as far as they can go. Liz Magor’s work fulfills this, and this collection of her writings goes further by laying bare her curiosity about the world. Here we get glimpses into how she generates her seductive practice. The reader is treated to the mind-expanding nature of her work--not to explain it, rather to enrich the experience."
Brian Jungen

"This is a powerful book; it is in motion. It is timeless and honest in its struggles and questions. The notes, essays, and statements show deep respect for the work but never pretend to be a neat package. Subject to Change takes readers close to the way Liz Magor thinks about her work, how she works, and how she submits to the real. It is fascinating to read pieces from decades ago and to see how relevant they are to Magor’s recent practice, as well to questions confronting the art world today."
Céline Kopp, Director & Chief Curator, Triangle France

Author’s Note    xi
Worrying the World of Things 
Philip Monk xv
What People Do for Work    1
Production/Reproduction    5
Like a Tune    9
The Most She Weighed, The Least She Weighed    13
Four Notable Bakers    51
Liz Magor in Discussion with Ian Carr-Harris    101
Pulp Fiction Presents the Special Collection    131
On Mercer Union, Installation, Palaces, and Shelter    137
Auto Portrait    149
An Artist’s Throughts on Conservation and Curatorial Issues  159
Statement for Siberian Husky    167
Home and Native Land    171
February 20, 1864    183
House Plant    189
Maple Leaf Confectionery    195
White House Paint    201
Messenger    207
Military Through the Ages    213
Blue Students    217
The Forces of Wolfe and Montcalm    227
On Retreats and Fake Dogs    231
The Lenticular    241
Faint    245
On Rita McBride    251
Ancient Affections    255
Therese Veh, 1902–1986    263
About Blankets; Kings and Queens    267
Burn, Burn, Burn    271
About Lethbridge Telegram    285
Statement for The Capilano Review    289
Poodles    293
To Liz Mulholland    297
Out Here    301
A Conversation with Liz Magor    305
Comment with Regard to the Sculptural Work Cupped    319
To Ask Sheila Heti    323
Stonecroft Lecture    327
On an Eight-Sided Tlingit Box    335
Buckle    339
What Does Ambition Look Like, And What Form Does Failure Take?  343
Entertaining the Contradiction    347
Zero Things: Liz Magor Interviewed by Lee Ann Norman    351
Spring/Summer 2020    357

Liz Magor is a sculptor who lives and works in Vancouver. She is a recipient of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts (2001), the Audain Prize (2009), and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2014). Her work was the subject of a 2017 traveling exhibition at the Kunstverein (Hamburg), Migros Museum (Zurich), and MAMAC (Nice). Other recent solo exhibitions include Esker Foundation (Calgary, 2020); Carpenter Center and Renaissance Society (Cambridge, MA and Chicago, 2019); Le Crédac (Ivry-sur-Seine, 2016); Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal (2016); Art Gallery of Ontario (2015); and Peep-Hole (Milan, 2015). She participated in documenta 8 (1987) and the 41st Venice Biennale (1984). For a number of years Magor combined an artistic practice with a teaching one and she has been on the faculty of the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) and Emily Carr University. In 2019 she was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of the French Republic. 


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