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Derek Sullivan

Identity Crisis, A Series of Intervenions by Artists: Derek Sullivan

Program and Project:
February – April, 2009; with free edition


Forever & Today, Inc. announces Identity Crisis: A Series of Interventions by Artists, with the inaugural commission, Checklist, a result of A Survey with One Question, both 2009, by Derek Sullivan.

Since the organization was founded in 2008 as an experimental non-profit with no fixed identity and a playful sensibility, Forever & Today, Inc. has curated and produced single artist projects. Alongside this central activity, Forever & Today, Inc. has continued the inaugural program Identity Crisis.

Identity Crisis is an ongoing series of artists' interventions into the organization's public identity and marketing activities that engenders an active mode of self-reflexive institutional critique. This program may also be seen as an informal artist "authorship" of Forever & Today, Inc. that extends beyond traditional curator/organization/artist boundaries, and as an attempt to provide every available space for artists to create new work. In a constant state of flux, these interventions have a limited life span and eventually expire to allow room for other artists' ideas and input.

For the first Identity Crisis intervention, Derek Sullivan conceived of a public survey with one question: "If you could recommend one thing that everyone should experience in the near future, what would it be? This can be a person, place, or a thing – such as a food, a movie, or an adventure – or perhaps a book, a feeling or a dream. Please be as specific or as general as you like."

The survey was distributed by hand to residents and local businesses in the Chinatown/Lower East Side neighborhood of Forever & Today, Inc., as well as to the organization's email list. The anonymous answers were gathered through email and mail and given to Sullivan. He conceived of three "to do checklists" with the answers that he included on the back of Forever & Today, Inc.'s Co-Directors & Curators' official business cards and letterhead stationary. These were printed in free editions of 300 and distributed by Forever & Today, Inc.

Sullivan's multi-disciplinary work includes sculpture, drawings, publications, editions, texts, and printed ephemera, at times involving a participatory component for its evolution and/or completion. Previous works have included Endless Kiosk (2005- ), a Brancusi-inspired column sculpture that may be used much like an outdoor lamppost where the public affixes flyers; and Kiosk (2004-2006), a public kiosk sculpture featuring a rotating series of graphically-inspired art contributions from other artists.

Derek Sullivan (b. 1976, Richmond Hill, Canada) is a Toronto-based artist who received his MFA in 2002, from University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Recent solo exhibitions and presentations include: Librairie Florence Loewy, Paris, France (2008); Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Canada (2008); White Columns, New York (2008); and Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada (2007). Selected group exhibitions include: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada (2010); CDLA, Saint-Yriex-la-Perche, France (2009); Komplot, Brussels, Belgium (2009); Casino Luxembourg Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg (2008); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Canada (2008); Artists Space, New York (2007); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2007); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada (2006); The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2006, 2005); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (2006); Downtown Art Space, Adelaide, Australia (2004); Mercer Union @ art forum Berlin, Berlin, Germany (2003); and YYZ Artists' Outlet, Toronto, Canada (2003, 2001). His work has been featured in publications including C Magazine, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Life, and the Toronto Star, among other publications.

Identity Crisis, A Series of Interventions by Artists: Derek Sullivan is curated by Ingrid Chu and Savannah Gorton.