This Sunday at The Power Plant: Thinking about Andrea Bowers’s “The Weight of Relevance”

by | Apr 17, 2012 | Conversations | 0 comments

This Sunday, I’m pleased to be taking part in some of The Power Plant’s 25th anniversary programming by speaking in their “From the Archives” series: presentations by local artists, critics and curators that look back at the gallery’s programming from the past quarter century (much like the series of the same title that appears in the gallery’s SWITCH publication, now the Switch On section of their revamped website).

I’ll be speaking with my good friend Matthew Hyland about Andrea Bowers’s 2007-08 show, “The Weight of Relevance,” and in particular about the film that formed the centrepiece of that exhibition. The film follows present-day volunteers at the NAMES Project Foundation’s storage facility where the AIDS Memorial quilt is repaired and kept between public showings and demonstrations. With dwindling numbers of volunteers and continued interest in contributing squares to the quilt, and exhibiting it, the NAMES volunteers seem overwhelmed by the literal and symbolic weight of the quilt and Bowers’s quiet, documentary-style narrative carefully draws out the changing political face of the disease. I screened part of the film in a course I taught at York University last year to talk to my students about the use of art in HIV/AIDS activism in the 1990s and many of them said they found it both enthralling and upsetting.

The exhibition opened between Matthew and I’s stints as curatorial interns at The Power Plant, so I’m looking forward to talking to him about the way we each understood the show, as the introduction, or conclusion, to our time working for the institution.

From the Archives

Matthew Hyland & Gabrielle Moser on Andrea Bowers

Sunday 22 April, 2 pm, The Power Plant (on the second floor)


As part of our 25th anniversary programming, we have invited curators, artists, critics, and others to select a key exhibition from The Power Plant’s history and deliver a presentation about it inside the Dissenting Histories gallery space.


Matthew Hyland is Director of Oakville Galleries, where he is working on a series of exhibitions on contemporary feminist art practices. Gabrielle Moser is a writer, curator and PhD candidate in art history at York University whose writing appears on Both are former Curatorial Interns at The Power Plant and will discuss the exhibition Andrea Bowers: The Weight of Relevance (2007–08).