• Iain Baxter&, Television Works, 1999–2006, acrylic paint on reclaimed televisions, reclaimed pedestals, and reclaimed metal wall brackets. Dimensions variable. (detail)

    “IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011”

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)
    220 East Chicago Avenue
    November 5, 2011–January 15, 2012

    Curated by Michael Darling and David Moos

    It may sound like a one-liner about boring art: Canadian Conceptualism. But Iain Baxter& got the joke first, sending up the lugubriousness of cultural production in the 1960s—a time when the press release, the grant proposal, and the institutional contract were new inventions in a burgeoning art economy. Before adopting the business-speak ampersand in his name in 2005, Baxter&, with his wife Ingrid, founded one of the first art “corporations”—N.E. Thing Co.—in Vancouver in 1966 (just before compatriots General Idea), generating copious documentation, legal paperwork, telex communiqués, and annotated photographs, all of which probed the status of transactions and their imaging. Occasioning a catalogue with contributions by the curators, Lucy Lippard, and others, this exhibition will survey roughly one hundred works from Baxter&s career—a reminder that art’s current fascination with theories of flexible, postindustrial labor has a long and varied history.