Labour of Curation Circuit 1, Take Care
September 11–30, 2017
Habits of Care

Take Care
Curated by Letters & Handshakes
September 11, 2017–March 10, 2018


Encompassing a five-part exhibition series, performances, and workshops, Take Care mobilizes more than one hundred artists, activists, curators, and researchers confronting the crisis of care. Take Care unfolds as a series of five exhibition themes, or circuits of care: Labour of Curation, Care Work, Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid, Stewardship, and Collective Welfare.

Download the Circuit 1 micropublication featuring a curatorial essay by Helena Reckitt, artist biographies, and full colour illustrations throughout.

Amie Siegel, Fetish (production stil), 2016. HD video, color/sound. Courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York.

Take Care joins efforts with over 100 artists, activists, curators, and researchers to reimagine cultures and politics of care. Its first circuit, Labour of Curation, works between two tasks. The first is to begin to contour societal care crises and their differential effects while simultaneously reasserting care as a collective practice of resilience amid structural forces of neglect. The second task is to not seal off the institutional context in which Take Care itself is hosted. Labour of Curation reflects on art’s implication in, rather than detached observation of, the crisis of care. A gallery is not a sanctuary but a site where distinct “dilemmas of care” manifest, and are continually negotiated. [1] Reframing cultures of work and interaction in art institutions through a care lens, Labour of Curation monitors the work of custodianship in the face of certain fragility; tarnishes the polish of the exquisitely mounted exhibition by highlighting the material labour its production entails; traces lineages of radical feminism and theories of social reproduction that are vital to a political reckoning with care crises; explores tactics for unsettling the congruence of curatorial labour and valorization regimes under contemporary capitalism; and stages conversations to counter care gaps in cultural labour economies with proposals to prioritize tending to livelihoods.

Letters & Handshakes



[1] Emma Dowling, “Dilemmas of Care,” The Blackwood 1 (July 2017), 9–11.


Habits of Care

Curated by Helena Reckitt

Lisa Busby, Claire Fontaine, Deborah Ligorio, Paul Maheke, Raju Rage, Amie Siegel, Laura Yuile

September 11–30, 2017


Public Programs

Wages for Housework: The Canadian Context
An EMILIA-AMALIA Feminist Working Group Workshop
With Helena Reckitt and Christina Rousseau
Tuesday, September 5, 6–9pm
Art Metropole, 1490 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Continuing EMILIA-AMALIA’s commitment to exploring under-recognized histories of feminism and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and tactics across generations, the fall session focuses on the global campaign Wages for Housework. This transversal movement highlighted the capitalist appropriation of unpaid domestic labour, and demanded its remuneration by the state. The session highlights Wages for Housework’s actions in and around Toronto and Montreal in the 1970s and 1980s, which included the Women’s Liberation Bookmobile, the paper “The Autonomy of Black Lesbian Women,” by Wilmette Brown of Black Women for Wages for Housework, and the manifesto “Fucking is Work,” by Wages Due Lesbians. These activities aimed to meet the intersecting needs of lesbian feminists, migrant workers, domestic labourers, and Black and working class women. Following the format of the Feminist Duration Reading Group in London, which Reckitt initiated in 2015 to bring to light feminisms from outside the Anglo-American canon, this session will centre on an out-loud reading activity. The meeting aims to open up discussions on how feminism operates transnationally, the politics of undervalued care work, and what it means to “take care.” No pre-reading or preparation is required.

To participate in this session, please RSVP to


Curating and Caring
Three-part workshop led by Helena Reckitt
Saturday, September 9, Wednesday, September 20, and Saturday, September 23
University of Toronto St. George and University of Toronto Mississauga

Over the course of three meetings on curatorial habits of care, participants will draw on their own experiences of the visual art field, and will look at current and historical efforts to create ethical relations within this notoriously unregulated sector. In a contemporary context in which many who are involved in the arts feel undervalued and uncared for, the workshop will seek to generate new propositions for curating with care. Participants will present their new propositions as part of Care Crisis, Care Connective: An Open Forum on Cultural Work on Saturday, September 23.


Take Care Opening Reception
With performances by Paul Maheke and Laura Yuile
Wednesday, September 13, 5–8pm
Blackwood Gallery

Throughout the opening reception, Laura Yuile’s sculpture, Mother Figure #4, will become absorbed in instances of performance, where it will be washed, dried, moisturized, and maintained. This maintenance work will be continued by gallery staff over the duration of the exhibition.

At 7pm, Paul Maheke will perform Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within*. Inspired by the “Authentic Movement” dance practice, this piece broaches ideas of bodily performativity and authenticity through a conversation with the audience.

A FREE shuttle bus will depart from Mercer Union (1286 Bloor Street West) at 5:30pm, returning for 8:30pm.


Protocols, Policies, and Proposals Performed
Scores composed by Lisa Busby and performed by The Element Choir
Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23
Various locations at University of Toronto Mississauga

The Element Choir will sing non-standard scores composed by Lisa Busby from various protocols, policies, and proposals that seek to define and influence cultural care. These range from existing museum policies on the treatment of human remains and expropriated objects, to current activist efforts such as those of W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) certification for arts organizations, and the CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens) Policy Proposition for an Artist’s Resale Right in Canada. They also include as-yet-unrealized proposals, such as Seth Seigelaub and Robert Projansky’s Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, which attempted to protect artists’ rights and interests as their work circulated within the art world system.


Care Crisis, Care Connective: An Open Forum on Cultural Work
Helena Reckitt and Curating and Caring workshop participants, Raju Rage, Precarious Workers Brigade, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn and Boo Watson

Hosted by Letters & Handshakes
Saturday, September 23, 10am–6pm
Blackwood Gallery


Reader-in-Residence Session with Art Metropole
Public reading by Joshua Vettivelu
Wednesday, September 27, 12–1pm
Blackwood Gallery

The Blackwood Gallery is pleased to announce its first Readers-in-Residence program. Adapting the format of the artist’s residency, the Readers-in-Residence program focuses on practices of reading—reading an exhibition, reading a text, reading as interpretation. Each residency will respond to a specific exhibition context and encourage the development of new interpretive possibilities and creative responses through practices of careful reading.

Recognizing shared conceptual approaches between exhibitions and artists’ books, the Blackwood Gallery hosts Art Metropole as our inaugural Readers-in-Residence. Facilitated by Danielle St-Amour, the residency takes place in five installments throughout Take Care. Guest readers will offer public readings of the gallery’s exhibition by engaging with a full range of material from Art Metropole’s store and archives, including artists’ projects, publishing platforms, artists’ multiples, and other ephemera.

Habits of Care installation photos


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.



The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for additional support for Circuit 1: Labour of Curation from the Department of Visual Studies (UTM); Outreach, Conference and Colloquia Fund (Office of the VP Research, UTM); SSHRC-funded research project Cultural Workers Organize; University of Toronto Affinity Partners Manulife, TD Insurance, and MBNA.

Funding for additional staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.