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About the Kate Craig Archive

 

About the Kate Craig Archive

Kate Craig (1947-2002) was a performance artist, costumier, and early pioneer of media and video arts in Vancouver, Canada. Craig was one of eight founders of one of Canada’s earliest artist-run centres, the Western Front. The Kate Craig Archive (KCA) serves as a small but unique archive that details early artistic applications of feminist video work, Vancouver’s art history in the 1970s and 1980s, and the development of artist-run centres in Canada. The KCA is Western Front’s first and only artist’s archive, acquired rather than produced at the Western Front.

The KCA digital collection aims to raise awareness and augment access to Kate Craig’s work, to recognize her labor as an integral part of the development of the Western Front and media arts, a history that has been relatively unrecognized in the past compared to her male associates.

 

Lady Brute (1970-1975)

 

In 1970, Craig married artist Eric Metcalfe. Together, they created the performative aliases Dr. Brute and Lady Brute. Lady Brute’s persona reflected the stereotypical trope of seductress in mass media, doned in leopard print. These personas were playful and critical, inspired by Dadaist strategies of the 1920s.

 

Western Front (1973)

 

In 1973, eight artists gathered together and founded in the Western Front. Western Front allowed for a centralized space to gather resources for video, film, and audio equipment, experiment with Fluxus type activities and performances, and develop large-scale productions and events. Craig managed many of the administrative duties, video production studio, developed the Media Arts Program, and was an active board member since inception. Craig founded and curated the Artist-in-Residence Video Program from 1977 to the 1990s, which contributed to expanding local and international networks for artists in video and performance.  

 

Flying Leopard (1974)

 

Flying Leopard was Craig’s first individual project. Wearing leopard print and the Hands of the Spirit, Craig leaped off toward the water hoisted by a cable. The event was filmed by Byron Black for his cable television program, Images for Infinity.

 

Ettes (1974-1975)

 

The Ettes were a group of women consisting of Kate Craig, Mary Beth Knechtel, Babs Shapiro, Judith Shwartz, and Suzanne Ksinan. The Ettes would transform into the Peanettes for the Mr. Peanut Mayoralty Campaign, The Vignettes, and Coconettes.

 

Lux Radio Theatre (1974-1977)

 

Lux Radio was a collaboration between Craig, Hank Bull, Patrick Ready and Glenn Lewis. Live stage performances were broadcast via co-op radio, CFRO-FM. The troupe created multiple personas, playing many characters. Craig consistently played as one of The Soni Twins, the other twin being Glenn Lewis.

 

Pink Poem (1975)

 

Pink Poem was an ongoing performance and installation work that began in 1975. Craig accumulated pink items and created pink costumes, creating installations, parties, and performances conducted in her daily life in order to unpack what pink meant as an acculturated term and symbol.

 

Canada Shadow Players (1976-1986)

 

Canada Shadows was a collaboration between Kate Craig and Hank Bull that had resulted from travels made possible by a grant received to travel around the world. Canada Shadows incorporated Indonesian puppet theatre, gamelan and electronic music, and theatre special effects.

 

Straight Jacket (1980)

 

Straight Jacket was the final culmination of Craig’s studies of Pink. The jacket was made from pink satin, and used for a video work in 1980.

 

Clay Cove (1979, 1986)

 

Clay Cove was created from Craig’s study of surfaces. Originally filmed in Clay Cove, Saint Chads, Newfoundland in 1979, the work was exhibited using transparencies and sound sculpture at Park Place, North Vancouver in 1986.

 

Storm Bay

 

Craig and Hank Bull spent two months of every year in a shared cabin at Storm Bay, British Columbia, since 1976. Glenn Lewis had originally intended the cabin, nicknamed “the teahouse”, to act as a commune for artists. Craig and Bul aided Lewis in building the foundation and structure, and subsequently took over the property.

 

Young Adults (1977)

The Young Adults were a short-lived punk band with Craig on drums, Terry Ewasiuk, Dave Larsen, Elizabeth Van der Zaag, Monica Holden-Lawrence, Michael Wonderful, and Hank Bull.

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