Plug In ICA, PIICA, building, 460 Portage, Buhler Centre

Her Excellency Governor General Michaëlle Jean unveils first artwork at new Plug In ICA

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the University of Winnipeg will officially open the iconic Buhler Centre today with Her Excellency Governor General Michaëlle Jean in attendance to unveil the first art piece installed in the space. Pole to mark the centre of the world (at Winnipeg)(2010), by artist Jimmie Durham.

Since moving to Europe in 1994 Jimmie Durham’s practice has been “against architecture” (and with this, monuments, the weight of history and other national narratives). In 1995, shortly after making the trip over from Mexico, he began to create a series of hand carved poles that would each mark “the centre of the world.” He made the first one for Brussels, a city he described as trying to be the economic and political centre of Europe. Shortly thereafter he made another one for Siberia. In relation to the project Durham has written, “I decided that every continent has seven centers. This is an arbitrary decision—maybe there are eight, maybe there are nine—it doesn’t matter. And every village also has seven centers. For every continent I would make a staff of the seven centers.”

The new Institute in the Buhler Centre will more than double Plug In ICA’s current exhibition space and has been constructed to meet international museum standards that will allow for Plug In ICA to bring in international works previously not seen in Winnipeg. The four storey, eco-friendly Silver LEED Buhler Centre with over 3225 square feet of exhibition space is the new home to Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics and it’s Division of continuing Education.

Born in Arkansas in 1940, Jimmie Durham is a Cherokee artist based in Rome, Italy. He is also a widely published poet, and was a co-founder and Director of the International Indian Treaty Council to the United Nations, where his work led to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. He was a political organizer in the United States Civil Rights Movement and an organizer of the American Indian Movement from 1973 to 1980.

“Plug In is engaged in a multi-phase transformation that includes the development of this amazing purpose-built facility,” said Plug In Director Anthony Kiendl. “Our organizational goals are to expand and diversify our audiences, and enhance the pursuit of our core mandate— to research and present the most compelling art in the world. This facility provides the means to do this, and to be a physical centre for Winnipeg’s acclaimed visual art community.”

Plug In ICA’s grand opening at 460 Portage Avenue will be on November 6, 2010.