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Jeff Derksen

Jeff Derksen, (b. 1958), is a cultural critic and a poet who works at Simon Fraser University. Derksen graduated with distinction from the David Thompson University Center in 1984 with a bachelor in Arts and Science. His writing on art and culture has appeared in Springerin, Hunch, C magazine, Open Letter, Poetics Journal, XCP, amongst others. He has two books of critical essays forthcoming: After Euphoria: art / space / neoliberalism (EC Press/JPR Ringier), and Annihilated Time: Poetry and Other Politics (Talonbooks). Derksen was a research fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CUNY Graduate Center) and is a founding member of the Kootenay School of Writing. Under the name Urban Subjects, he collaborates with Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber on curatorial projects and visual research.

Exhibitions

  • Persistence of Vision

    HOLLY WARD
    June 11–July 23, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward’s interdisciplinary practice is centred on ideas surrounding social progress and political power, and serves to examine the role of art within this. In Persistence of Vision, Ward investigates symbolic strategies of resistance and the use of utopian discourse as a starting point for revolution. The exhibition creates a linkage between contemporary spaces of protest and historical representations of the “utopian” city square. Featuring new sculptural and print work, the exhibition is an extension of Ward’s ongoing interest in social engagement and the utopian imaginary.

    Postscript 43:Jeff Derksen on Holly Ward (PDF)

  • Not Sheep: New Urban Enclosures and Commons

    URBAN SUBJECTS
    May 13–May 20, 2006

    Brief opening remarks from the curators, Urban Subjects, and from Nicholas Blomley, author of Unsettling the City: Urban Land and the Politics of Property.

    This project has been organized by Urban Subjects (US): Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, Helmut Weber

    Not Sheep: New Urban Enclosures and Commons gathers a varied set of examples and speculations on new urban enclosures and commons from 50 international artists, writers, architects and theorists. The title of the project takes its name from the wooly emblem of the historical enclosure of common land that began in 16th century England as peasants were driven from arable farming land to make room for sheep-walks. But rather than being a mythical moment in capitalism, the enclosing of commons is a process that is in full force today, and visible in the changing shape of cities globally.

    Not Sheep looks at the ways that city territories are becoming increasingly closed off and common goods and spaces enclosed, privatized or gated off. From the privatization of Dresden’s public housing stock to pay the city’s debts, the eviction of community gardeners to make warehouse space in Los Angeles, to more subtle shifts in the production of public space, the process of enclosure is a strategy that is remaking urban experience today. Yet examples of “commoning,” the making of common spaces and resources, are also visible: Caracas turning urban brown space into sites of urban agriculture, squatting actions such as Woodsquat in Vancouver and the Pope Squat in Toronto challenging an ownership model that closes off housing space, and the opening of wireless LAN systems such as Bristol Wireless.

    These intertwined processes of enclosing and commoning have been investigated, initiated and intervened by contributors from cities as varied as Gdansk, Berlin, New York, Vancouver, Vienna, Bucharest, Sao Paulo and Rotterdam. Not Sheep is a catalogue of urban projects and writing that examines both new and old forms of urban enclosures and urban commons. Each contribution to the project was emailed and later printed out for exhibition, effectively pointing to digital communication as another possibility for enclosures and commons.

    Marian Penner Bancroft (Vancouver), Judith Barry (New York), Jochen Becker (Berlin) Ron Benner (London, Ont.), Bik Van der Pol (Rotterdam), Nicholas Blomley (Greater Vancouver), Claudia Bosse (Vienna), Class of Post-Conceptual (Art) Practices/Academy of fine Arts (Kevin Dooley, Katharina Morawek, Lilo Nein, Stefan Pederson, Michael Pötschko, Josef Steinkogler, Vienna), Clint Burnham (Vancouver), Mariana Celac + Iosif Kiraly (Bucharest), Vitor Cesar (Sao Paulo / Vienna), Steve Collis (Greater Vancouver), Oliver Croy (Berlin), Calin Dan (Bucharest / Rotterdam), Doménec (Barcelona), Roger Farr (Greater Vancouver), Marina Grzinic (Ljubljana / Vienna), Mona Hahn (Vienna), Jamelie Hassan (London, Ont.), Antonia Hirsch (Berlin / Vancouver), Ashley Hunt (Los Angeles), Fiona Jeffries (Vancouver), Susan Kelly + Stephen Morton (London, UK), Klub Zwei (Simone Bader / Jo Schmeiser, Vienna), Martin Krenn (Vienna), Lin + Lam (New York), Ralo Mayer (Vienna), Vlad Nanca (Bucharest), Mark Nowak (Minneapolis / St.Paul), PAUHOF (Michael Hofstätter / Wolfgang Pauzenberger, Linz, Vienna), Lisl Ponger + Tim Sharp (Vienna), Elspeth Pratt (Vancouver), Geraldine Pratt (Vancouver), Oliver Ressler (Vienna), Stefan Römer (Munich / Berlin), Klaus Ronneberger + Georg Schöllhammer (Frankfurt / Vienna), Jayce Salloum (Vancouver), Birgit Schlieps (Berlin), Gregory Sholette (New York), Neil Smith (New York), Sophie Thorsen (Copenhagen / Vienna), Transição Listrada (Sao Paulo), Aaron Vidaver (Vancouver), Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (New York / Belgrade), Agnieszka Wolodzko (Gdansk), Michael Zinganel (Vienna).

    Postscript 21: Jamie Hilder on Not Sheep (PDF)

  • Reading

    LORNA BROWN
    March 24–April 21, 1990

  • Behind the Sign

    ROY ARDEN, PETER CULLEY, JEFF DERKSEN, STAN DOUGLAS, DEANNA FERGUSON, SARA LEYDON, DONNA LEISEN, KATHRYN MACLEOD, DOUG MUNDAY, CATE RIMMER, CALVIN WHARTON
    September 10–October 1, 1988

    “Behind the Sign” an exhibition of collaborations between writers and visual artists, will be shown at Artspeak Gallery from September 10 to October 1, 1988. Over the past eight months, five visual artists and five writers have collaborated in pairs to develop works for this exhibition. The list of participants reveals an impressive array of talent from Vancouver’s visual art and writing communities: Stan Douglas and Deanna Ferguson; Roy Arden and Jeff Derksen; Donna Leisen and Calvin Wharton; Doug Munday and Kathryn MacLeod; Sarah Leydon and Peter Culley.

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Scott Watson, Cate Rimmer, and Miriam Nichols.

Talks & Events

  • Summer Reading

    ELI BORNOWSKY, JEFF DERKSEN, MARIA FUSCO, KEN LUM, SVEN LUTTICKEN, JON PYLYPCHUK, CATE RIMMER, MARINA ROY
    August 1–August 31, 2011

    Please enjoy these summer reading “picks” from a selection of local and international artists and writers, including Eli Bornowsky, Jeff Derksen, Maria Fusco, Ken Lum, Sven Lutticken, Jon Pylypchuk, Cate Rimmer, and Marina Roy.

    The PDF is available here.

  • Talk

    DAVID BUCCK
    October 23, 2010

    Bay Area Sneaks: Writing/Framing/Space

    A talk/reading by David Buuck, moderated by Jeff Derksen.

  • Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism Forum

    JEFF DERKSEN, DIEDRICH DIEDRICHSEN, MARIA FUSCO, TOM MORTON, WILLIAM WOOD, TIRDAD ZOLGHADR
    February 27–February 28, 2009

    Emily Carr University of Art + Design
    Theatre 301, 1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

    Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism, is a two-day forum on the state of contemporary art criticism co-organized by Artspeak and Fillip. Through a keynote address by Tirdad Zolghadr and two panels made up of international critics Diedrich Diederichsen, Jeff Derksen, Maria Fusco, Tom Morton and William Wood, the forum seeks to address what is at stake in the shifting value of judgment within contemporary art writing. A renewed interest in the efficacy and function of art criticism has arisen in the last decade, embedded in art market speculation, global conflict and recent economic crises. This forum will engage with the key issues produced from these conversations, specifically returning to the role of valuation in contemporary art writing.

    The forum will result in a book-length publication of papers and conversations derived from the event to be co-published by Artspeak and Fillip in late 2009.

    For more information see: www.judgmentandartcriticism.com

    FEBRUARY 27, 7PM / Keynote: Tirdad Zolghadr

    Tirdad Zolghadr podcast: http://fillip.ca/podcast/2009-07-10

    FEBRUARY 28, 10:30AM – 1PM / Panel One: Kristina Lee Podesva, Tom Morton, William Wood

    William Wood podcast: http://fillip.ca/podcast/2009-07-17

    Tom Morton podcast: http://fillip.ca/podcast/2009-07-24

    FEBRUARY 28, 2:30PM – 5PM / Panel Two: Jeff Derksen, Diedrich Diederichsen, Maria Fusco

    Diedrich Diedrichsen podcast: http://fillip.ca/podcast/2009-08-07

    Maria Fusco podcast: http://fillip.ca/podcast/2009-07-31

  • Esoterica: A Three Day Publications Event

    COLLEEN BROWN, JEFF DERKSEN, JEN EBY, ISABELLE HAYEUR, LUIS JACOB, KELLY MARK, SCOTT MASSEY, ANA REWAKOWICZ, CORIN SWORN, KARA UZELMAN, PHILIP KEVIN PAUL
    January 27–January 29, 2005

    Book Sale – Thursday, January 27, Friday, January 28 and Saturday January 29, 12-5pm

    All Artspeak publications will be 20% off the listed price and 40% off for gallery members. During these three days the gallery will be transformed into a space to sit quietly and sip coffee, read and look at pictures.

    Reading | Jeff Derksen – Friday, January 28, 8pm

    Vancouver poet and cultural critic reads new work

    Book Launch | Spilled – Saturday, January 29, 2pm

    Artists: Isabelle Hayeur, Luis Jacob, Kelly Mark, Scott Massey, Ana Rewakowicz, Corin Sworn and Kara Uzelman

    Authors: Colleen Brown and Philip Kevin Paul

    Designed by Jen Eby

     

  • Catalogue Launch

    Roy Arden, Peter Culley, Jeff Derksen, Stan Douglas, Deanna Ferguson, Donna Leisen, Sara Leydon, Kathryn Macleod, Doug Munday, Cate Rimmer, Calvin Wharton, Behind the Sign
    September 10, 1988

  • Grunt Or Artspeak Readings

    COLIN BROWNE, JEFF DERKSEN, DAN FARRELL, KATHRYN MACLEOD, TOM WAYMAN, CALVIN WHARTON, GARY WHITEHEAD
    June 13, 1987

Publications

  • Every Force Evolves A Form

    EEFVA front
    EEFVA back

    Title: Every Force Evolves a Form
    Category: Artist Book
    Artist: Holly Ward
    Writers: Kathleen Ritter, Jeff Derksen, Laura Piasta
    Editor: Kim Nguyen
    Design: Post Projects
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Paper Chase Printing
    Year published: 2012
    Edition: 200
    Pages: 48pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 26 colour images
    Dimensions: 20.5 x 20.5 x 0.5 cm
    Weight: 159 g
    ISBN: 978 -0-921394-64-8
    Price: $6

    This catalogue is published in conjunction with Holly Ward’s exhibition Persistence of Vision. It features the artist in conversation with Kathleen Ritter, an extended essay by Jeff Derksen and a text on recreating a glass symphony by Laura Piasta.

  • Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism

    JCAC front
    JCAC spine
    JCAC back

    Title: Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism
    Writers: Jeff Derksen, Diedrich Diederichsen, James Elkins, Maria Fusco, Sven Lutticken, Tom Morton, Kristina Lee Podesva, William Wood, Tirdad Zolghadr
    Editor: Jeff Khonsary, Melanie O’Brian
    Category: Criticism
    Design: The Future
    Printer: DieKeure, Belgium
    Publisher: Artspeak, Fillip Editions
    Year published: 2010
    Edition: 1000
    Pages: 176pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: Edge painting, green
    Weight: 159 g
    Dimensions: 19 x 11.5 x 1.5 cm
    ISBN: 978-0-9738133-6-4
    Price: $20 CDN

    Artspeak and Fillip are pleased to launch Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism. The result of a public forum and reading room (held in 2009 at Emily Carr University and at Artspeak respectively) that investigated the role of valuation art criticism, this publication features commissioned texts by forum presenters and respondents: Jeff Derksen, Diedrich Diederichsen, James Elkins, Maria Fusco, Sven Lütticken, Tom Morton, Kristina Lee Podesva, William Wood and Tirdad Zolghadr. Examining the efficacy and function of art criticism, the publication focuses on the role of judgment in contemporary art writing and includes transcriptions from forum discussions with the Vancouver audience.

    Co–edited by Jeff Khonsary and Melanie O’Brian and co–published by Artspeak and Fillip. The book is distributed by Motto Distribution, Berlin and available directly from Artspeak and Fillip.

  • Behind the Sign

    Behind front
    Behind spine
    Behind back

    Title: Behind The Sign
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Roy Arden, Jeff Derksen, Donna Leisen, Calvin Wharton, Stan Douglas, Deanna Ferguson, Peter Culley, Sara Leydon, Kathryn MacLeod, Doug Munday
    Writers: Cate Rimmer, Scott Watson, Miriam Nichols
    Editor: Monika Gagnon, Cate Rimmer
    Design: Doug Munday
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Benwell-Atkins Ltd.
    Year published: 1993
    Pages: 48pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 11 b&w images, 1 colour image
    Dimensions: 25.5 x 20.5 x 0.5 cm
    Weight: 216 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-02-0
    Price: $7 CDN

    Collaborative works by visual artists and writers investigating the production of meaning within a variety of systems.

  • Reading

    Reading front
    Reading back

    Title: Reading
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Lorna Brown
    Writers: Carol Williams
    Editor: Jeff Derksen
    Design: Keith Martin
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 1990
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 14 b&w images
    Dimensions: 30 x 21.5 x 0.3 cm
    Weight: 114 g
    ISBN: 0-0921394-08-X
    Price: $4 CDN

    Assumptions about essentialist sexual differentiation, photography and issues of (im)propriety in public spaces are investigated by Brown and responded to by Williams.