Writing
From Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars

From Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars
Edited by Paul Couillard
Design by Sameer Farooq/New Ink
2009, 286 pp. (32-pp. colour section) with index
Includes DVD documentation of Mars’ performance Tyranny of Bliss

With articles by: Paul Couillard, Tagny Duff, Jennifer Fisher, Randy Gledhill, Nelson Henricks, Will Kwan, Paul Ledoux, Joanna Nash, Jennifer Oille, John Oughton and Pam Patterson, Andrew James Paterson, Kim Sawchuk, Dot Tuer

Tanya Mars has been a key figure in Canadian art since she burst on the scene in 1974 with her first groundbreaking exhibition, Codpieces Phallic Paraphernalia. Provocative and political, Mars has relentlessly shown us that the way to the jugular is through the funny bone, creating a series of compelling “three-dimensional pictures” that have made her one of Canada’s most acclaimed and important performance artists. This anthology offers a comprehensive look at her career, including a DVD with photo and video documentation of many of her major works.

“An innovative leader in the performance art scene here and internationally, Tanya Mars makes art that is courageous, humourous, operatic and original. Ironic to Iconic gives the reader a cogent and too little-known background to Mars’ career and her role in the development of performance art in Canada.”
~Jessica Bradley, curator and director of Jessica Bradley Art + Projects

To order a copy of this publication, please email info@performanceart.ca

Tanya Mars Publication Launch

From Iconic to Ironic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars
Edited by Paul Couillard

Tanya Mars has been a key figure in Canadian art since she burst on the scene in 1974 with her first groundbreaking exhibition, Codpieces: Phallic Paraphernalia. Provocative and political, Mars has relentlessly shown us that the way to the jugular is through the funny bone, creating a series of compelling “three-dimensional pictures” that have made her one of Canada’s most acclaimed and important performance artists. This anthology offers a comprehensive look at her career, including a DVD with photo and video documentation of many of her major works.

“An innovative leader in the performance art scene here and internationally, Tanya Mars makes art that is courageous, humourous, operatic and original. Ironic to Iconic gives the reader a cogent and too little-known background to Mars’ career and her role in the development of performance art in Canada.”
~Jessica Bradley, curator and director of Jessica Bradley Art + Projects

Performance
Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars

FADO is proud to present Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars. This major new performance by one of Canada’s most renowned performance artists occupies 14 different sites of continuous activity over 7-hours across the city of Toronto, starting at from Queen’s Park Queen’s Park legislative building, and stretching along University Avenue to Queen Street West.

Inspired by a variety of sources ranging from the 14th Century frescoes of Ambrogio Lorenzetti on the Effects of Good and Bad Government to Fellini’s Satyricon, Tanya Mars constructs a modern day social satire with a cast of 30 performers. Tyranny of Bliss looks at the current human condition from both utopian and dystopian perspectives. The piece offers a richly layered, series of spectacular and incongruous images juxtaposed against the outdoor urban landscape.

Loosely based on the pageant structure of the medieval Miracle/Mystery plays, Tyranny of Bliss is a 7-hour performance that uses limousines in lieu of wagons. Beginning from the Queen’s Park legislature, two limousines – one white and one black – will usher small groups of audience members past 14 “tableaux” locations featuring images based on the 7 heavenly virtues and the 7 deadly sins. The scenes will also be accessible to passersby, allowing audiences to create their own narrative by walking from site to site. At each location a different scene will unfold continuously throughout the day, using the languages of dance, theatre, sculpture, visual art and literature.

Tyranny of Bliss promises a thrilling and provocative meditation on city life, providing a unique experience of Toronto not to be missed.


Performance Locations

GREED, LOVE, WISDOM: Queen’s Park grounds, north of the Legislature

COURAGE: travelling south on University Avenue, from Queen’s Park to Queen Street West

HOPE, SLOTH, ENVY: Queen’s Park Legislative grounds

LUST: University Avenue & Gerrard Street

GLUTTONY: University Avenue & Dundas Street West

TOLERANCE University Avenue & Armoury Street

WRATH: University Avenue & Queen Street West

JUSTICE: travelling north along University Avenue, from Queen Street West to Queen’s Park

TRUTH: City Hall Speaker’s Corner, 100 Queen Street West

PRIDE: Pages Books & Magazines, 256 Queen Street West

Performance
Cleaning and Loving It by Margaret Dragu


La Dragu’s Cleaning Oh Yes/Oh No List

GOOD
Automatic Dishwashers
Chamois & Cloth Napkins
Vinegar & Water
Saran Wrap
Some Bleach
Hot Hot Water & Soap
String Mops
Vacuum Cleaners

BAD
Smelly wet dishrags that aren’t hung out
Paper Towels & Paper Napkins (however, washing/drying and re-using is ok)
Glass Cleaners in Spray Bottles (however it is are excellent for chrome)
Hippie Rule of Baking Soda only is dumb
Greasy Dishwater
Sponge Mops (unless industrial)
Feather dusters are stupid except for photo ops


Dear Toronto,
Itz a dirty city and someone has to clean it up. After a week of private cleaning performances, I am sharing some of my CLEANING THOTS with all you Virgo wanna-bees. Andy hey, I am still available for some private cleaning performances—in your office lunchrooms before the Big Wall and Roll Parade—on Sunday July 16 at NOON at the Ontario Legislature in Queen’s Park. Sew, call me! Take my picture! Interview me! Your coffee cups will gleam!
~Margaret Dragu, The Cleaning Lady / July 7, 2000


Established Canadian artist and “international cleaning lady” Margaret Dragu invites Toronto audiences to participate in Cleaning and Loving (It). This performance art event is a celebration of small-scale community ritual and of Dragu’s long-standing love affair with cleaning and laundry. Already underway as a series of intimate cleaning performances for Toronto-based friends and colleagues of the artist, Cleaning and Loving (It) goes public on Sunday, July 16.

Rain or shine, join us for a warm and witty afternoon of festivities that begins with a “walk and roll” parade starting at Queen’s Park at noon and wending its way down to Vtape located near Spadina Avenue and Richmond Street West. People of all ages are welcome to show up on foot, in wheelchairs, on bikes, rollerblades or other non-motorized transportation. Feel free to bring your own favourite cleaning supplies and tools (buckets, mops, brooms, rags, scrub brushes, spray bottles, etc.) as your banner of choice, and learn the simple secrets of Margaret’s famous “Xs and Os” choreography.

Parade Route (start time 12:00pm)
Beginning at Queen’s Park, south along University to Orde Street,
west along Orde to McCaul Street, south along McCaul Street to Grange Park,
west and south through Grange Park to John Street,
south along John Street to the alleyway in between Queen Street West and Richmond Street West,
west along the alleyway to Peter Street,
south along Peter Street to Richmond Street West,
and then west on Richmond Street West to Vtape located at 401 Richmond Street West building.

The parade concludes at Vtape at 1:30pm, where everyone is invited to an old-fashioned ‘social’ that will include screenings of cleaning and laundry sequences from Dragu’s many performances, films and videotapes, plus plenty of snacks and refreshments.

Margaret Dragu is a warm-hearted, fearless and indomitable spirit who has left her mark across disciplines and across the country. Dragu’s astonishing output of work spans back to 1969 and includes forays into theatre, film, video, writing, choreography and above all, performance art. She is perhaps best known for her work in the 1980s, including her long-running X’s and O’s series, which began with a solstice mega-spectacle in Hamilton in 1983 (X’s and O’s on the Longest Day of the Year) and continues with her recent Improvisation for X’s and O’s. Her 1988 film project I VANT TO BE ALONE reads as a who’s who of the Toronto art scene of the 1980s, while her smaller, more intimate 1990s work has been produced and seen mainly on the west coast.

Over the years Dragu has tackled various issues ranging from love to labour to death, colouring the mundane and everyday with a spirit of celebration and a touch of the fanciful. Multilayered, sexy and political, her work is firmly rooted in the lessons of the mortal body while playfully engaging with images of glamour and passion. Adept in both solo and collaborative environments, she is a major influence in contemporary Canadian performance art.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer