Barbara Astman


I chose an iconic image from the Red series, 1980, as it is more important than what I look like.

Barbara Astman belongs to a visionary group of artists who have continued to radicalize visual culture since the early 1970s by defining new ways of seeing. Over four decades, she has explored a wide range of photo-based media and produced work, which has received national and international recognition. She is represented in important public, corporate and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Deutche Bank, New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Her artist’s archives are held in the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, AGO.

Astman has an extensive and prestigious solo exhibition history, most recently, Barbara Astman Looking: Then and Now, a two-part exhibition (Corkin Gallery, 2016) and Barbara Astman: I as artifact featuring a new series of works accompanied by a comprehensive publication (McIntosh Gallery, 2014). In May 2011, her installation, Dancing with Che: Enter through the Gift Shop, (Kelowna Art Gallery, 2013) toured across Canada. Her major touring retrospective exhibition, Barbara Astman - Personal/Persona - A 20 Year Surveywas curated by Liz Wylie (Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1995). She has been included in major group exhibitions, such as: Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 (AGO, 2016), Living Building Thinking: Art and Expressionism (McMaster Museum of Art, 2016), Look Again: Colour Xerography Art Meets Technology (AGO, 2015), Herland, (60 Wall Gallery, New York 2014), Light My Fire Part I: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography (AGO, 2013), and Beautiful Fictions (AGO, 2009), among many others.  Astman was commissioned to create a photographic installation (The Fossil Book) for the inaugural exhibition at the new Koffler Gallery (Toronto, 2013). Canadian Art Magazine featured a profile of Astman’s career in the Spring 2014 issue.  In June 2020, Prefix Photo published a feature article written by Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, AGO along with a portfolio featuring new works.

Instagram @astmanba



Why did you get involved in this project?

Because I really like and respect Midi! 

Did the one week turn-around for the work help or hinder your creativity?

It was fine.

How did you feel about working on a project where you didn’t know who you were collaborating with?

Interesting for a change from my normal art practice.

Has being involved in the project changed your thoughts on creativity?

Maybe made me think about collaboration more.

If you worked on several videos, what kept you coming back for more and how many did you do?

I just did the one.

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