Every Action Tethered
In the posthumous survey exhibition History Glamour Magic, mounted in 2012 at the Art Gallery of York University, the hand-stitched reconstructed underwear works of Will Munro (1975-2010) were suspended overhead, clothesline-style and heraldic, to help celebrate the too-short life of an artist who forged alliances across so many communities in Toronto and beyond. From the catalogue of record, exhibition curators Philip Monk and Emelie Chhangur wrote, “Exploration of masculinity and reversal of gender stereotypes went hand in hand with turning a male-only club into a zone of inclusivity.” In 2019, the National Gallery of Canada acquired six of these works for their permanent collection.
Assembled now for the first time since 2012, Every Action Tethered provides an occasion to once again take in Munro’s underwear works and related photography, so central to the artist’s activism. In a short essay by Dave Munro, written to accompany his brother’s exhibition, we are taken through Will’s childhood years and formative experiences to his student years at the Ontario College of Art and Design and the development of his signature work. “Slowly, underwear became the means of communication within his work. It was able to open simple dialogues with deep-seated undertones.” In combination with the other facets of the artist’s practice, Dave Munro states, “Every action Will took tethered to all the others.”