Clint Burnham is a Vancouver writer and teacher. Burnham is the author of numerous books, including Airborne Photo (1999), and The Jamesonian Unconscious (1995). His latest book, Smoke Show, a novel, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2005. Burnham has written on such artists as Ian Wallace, Tim Lee, and Theodore Wan, and he is a freelance art critic for the Vancouver Sun.
Educated at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Lorraine Weideman’s previous exhibitions include solo shows at the Helen Pitt Gallery, MacEwan Arts and Artropolis, Vancouver.
Joes I Know
February 3–March 10, 2001
Lorraine Weideman’s Joes I Know is a new series of honourific photographic portraits of G.I. Joe dolls from a pristine collection accumulated through the sixties and seventies. Using the devices of commemorative portraits, Weideman photographs the dolls in the collection as individuals, with an atmosphere of poignancy and loss—the toys resemble tragic heroes of mythic proportions. The Joes are bear identical facial scars, yet their eye colour and shape and skin colour varies, as does their fetishized accessories—dog tags, plumed helmets, weapons—these heroes are highly decorated.
Weideman notes that “G.I. Joe first came on the market in 1964 at a New York Toy Fair—prior to that a ‘doll for boys’ was viewed with mixed feelings. This 12 inch figure has an articulated body based on the ubiquitous artists’ mannequin.”
As a series, the portraits create a fascinating study of the representation of race, ethnicity, nationality and masculinity in popular culture. The elaborately detailed uniforms of a range of nations and ranks are reminders of the shifting allegiances between the U.S. and nations such as Japan, Russia and Germany over the past forty years. and the changing levels of public receptivity to the military through the the late sixties and early seventies and beyond.
Title: Joes I Know / Junior General Kit
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artist: Lorraine Weideman
Writers: Clint Burnham
Design: Kathleen Ritter
Year published: 2001
Binding: Staple Bound
Features: 10 cards (11×20 cm each), 18 b&w images, 30 colour images
Dimensions: 21 x 11.5 x 1 cm
Weight: 124 g
Price: $12 CDN
Reproduced for this publication in ‘collector card’ format, Weideman’s Joes I Know is a series of honourific photographic portraits of G.I. Joe dolls from a pristine collection accumulated through the sixties and seventies. Using the devices of commemorative portraits, Weideman has photographed the dolls in the collection as individuals, with an atmosphere of poignancy and loss—the toys resemble tragic heroes of mythic proportions.
Junior General Kit, written for this publication, draws upon Burnham’s short-lived career with the Canadian Forces in the early 1980s. His account of the disciplinary practices of sock-folding, bed-making and boot-polishing fidgets alongside references to Full Metal Jacket, to B-52s, or Stairway to Heaven. Visceral, bodily memories of berets, cammo and shaved heads, details of group affiliation that change camps when they infiltrate street fashion, are pressed against the forgotten, conflated or misremembered that “makes possible the memoir”.