John Knight, MacGuffin 8 -2975, 1975, Black and white 16mm film transfered to video. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York
John Knight, MacGuffin 8 -2975, 1975, Black and white 16mm film transfered to video. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

MacGuffin 8-2975 by John Knight

March 22 to March 27, 2016

As part of Further Than I Can Throw A Stone, Plug In ICA is pleased to present John Knight’s short film MacGuffin 8-2975.

An influential and decisive voice in the contemporary art landscape for over four decades, Los Angeles based artist John Knight has developed a distinctive practice of site-specificity. Knight works by responding to museums and galleries’ invitations, working with and through various physical, historical, and functional contexts to explore political and social forces at work. Through nuanced spatial interventions, Knight presents a reflexive critique of the circulation and conventions of art production and exhibition.

Set in the late seventies in Halifax, Nova Scotia, MacGuffin 8-2975 is a text-based narrative that expresses a story of intrigue and suspicion.  A visiting artist receives late night guests who appear cordial but seem to have ulterior motives, as if they are plotting a clandestine action. There is curiosity about the print studios at the local school of art, but never a clear revealing of what goes on there. This story is one that builds with a slow pace, accumulating into chapters over routine days where nothing really happens but the building of suspense.  John Knight’s title is telling. In the film industry, the MacGuffin is a term used to indicate a plot device. The protagonists come together to pursue a common goal, an object, or other stimulus that has no clear explanation. Knight’s film is an exemplary MacGuffin.

John Knight is a Los Angeles-based artist renowned for his site-specific, highly conceptual practice. Knight’s work unpacks the conventions that give artworks and exhibitions value in order to unveil the larger power structures and economic systems at play. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at Greene Naftali Gallery, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Cabinet Gallery at Fitzpatrick-Leland House, Los Angeles; Portikus, Frankfurt; Galerie NEU and MD 72, Berlin; and Cabinet Gallery, London. His work has been included in numerous collective exhibitions, including Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich.  He is represented by Greene Naftali in New York.

MacGuffin 8-2975 by John Knight is one of ten art videos and short films presented as part of Further Than I Can Throw A Stone. Over the duration of the exhibition, a selection of works by a diverse and international group of artist is presented sequentially as stand alone artworks, each projected for one week at a time. They are joined through medium and an interplay of performance and biography.

On Tuesday, March 29th, Plug In ICA will launch the final video in conjunction with this exhibition, Winchester by Jeremy Blake.

Cécile B. Evans, Trilogy (January 22 – 31) • Kelly Mark, 108 Leyton Ave (February 1 – 7) • Lisa Jackson, SAVAGE (February 8 – 14) • Erika Vogt, Darker Imposter (February 15 – 21) • Erica Eyres, Autobiography I and II (February 22 – 28) • John Bock, Bauchhöhle bauchen(February 29 – March 6) • Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Tristan Bera, Belle comme le jour(March 7 – 13) • Karrabing Film Collective, Windjarrameru, the Stealing C*nt$ (March 14 – 20) • John Knight, MacGuffin 8 -2975 (March 21 – 27) • Jeremy Blake, Winchester (March 28 to April 3).

Plug In ICA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, and we extend gratitude to The Winnipeg Foundation and all our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers.

For general information please contact:

For media inquiries please contact: Janique Vigier at or by phone at (204) 942-1043 ext. 27