The Writing on the Wall: The Work of Joane Cardinal-Schubert | 2019 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

Joane Cardinal-Schubert Title Honored with the ARLIS/NA 2019 Melva J. Dwyer Award

The Writing on the Wall: The work of Joane Cardinal-Schubert, the first comprehensive examination of the artist’s life and work, was presented with the 28th annual Melva J. Dwyer Award at the The Art Libraries Society of North America’s (ARLIS/NA) annual conference. The book was published in 2017 by University of Calgary Press and edited by Lindsey Sharman.

The Writing on the Wall was selected from among 10 Canadian art and architecture titles nominated for the 2019 award.

Published almost 10 years after the artist’s death, this book not only commemorates her life’s achievements as an artist – it shows how her art practice, personal experience,  and professional background as author and administrator were all entwined. Contributing author David Garneau describes Cardinal-Schubert as “an empathetic witness driven by a sense of justice. She was fuelled by her convictions, energized by art’s ability to inform and transform, and centred by cultural knowledge and community.” Chapters by contributors of indigenous and settler descent examine the work of an artist deeply concerned with Canadian colonial history. Scholarly chapters are integrated with other, more novel contributions, such as a piece by the artist’s widower and an interview with the artist herself, resulting in a volume that skillfully blends storytelling, art historical analysis, and personal narratives.

Cardinal-Schubert contributed a great deal to her local communities, and despite her success as an artist, she was under-recognized during her life by the mainstream art world. This work provides critical insight into her life and work as well as the individuals and institutions with whom she worked. This compilation deserves recognition for disseminating Cardinal-Schubert’s story to a wider scholarly audience.

Honorable mention was given to Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master Silversmith, by René Villeneuve, published in 2018 by the National Gallery of Canada.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was presented by Suzanne Rackover, Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee Chair. Jury members of the 2019 ARLIS/NA Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee were Carly Diab, John Latour, and Lelland Reed.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture. Dwyer was a champion of the arts and of art librarianship who mentored a generation of ARLIS/NA colleagues.


Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master SilversmithHonourable Mention
Author: René Villeneuve
Publisher: National Gallery of Canada, 2018

BC Artists
Author:  Gary Sim
Publisher: SIM Publishing, 2018

Cabin Fever
Editors: Jennifer M Volland, Bruce Grenville (Vancouver Art Gallery), and Stephanie Rebick (Vancouver Art Gallery)
Publishers: Vancouver Art Gallery and Information Office, 2018

Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit
Author: Darrin J. Martens
Publisher: Audain Art Museum, 2018

Françoise Sullivan
Authors: Mark Lanctôt with contributions from Vincent Bonin, Chantal Charbonneau, Ray Ellenwood and Noémie Solomon
Publisher: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 2018

Towards An Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge
Author: Pam Hall
Publisher: Breakwater Books Ltd., 2017

“Living Lightly on the Earth:” Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island, 1974-1976
Author: Steven Mannell
Publisher: Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2018

I’m Not Myself at All: Women, Art and Subjectivity in Canada
Author: Kristina Huneault
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018

Sketches from an Unquiet Country: Canadian Graphic Satire, 1840-1940
Editors: Dominic Hardy, Annie Gérin and Lora Senechal Carney
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018

Call for Nominations – Prix Melva J. Dwyer Award – Appel de candidatures

Banham, Jim. 1984. “Melva Dwyer, Head of UBC Library’s Fine Arts Division.” UBC Archives Photograph Collection. June 30.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture.

The award is adjudicated by a jury of three Canadian art information professionals and administered by the Canadian Liaison to the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA).

The 2019 award will be announced and presented during convocation ceremonies at the 47th annual ARLIS/NA Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in March 2019.



  • The title must relate to Canadian art and/or architecture, be produced by Canadian authors and be disseminated by Canadian sources.
  • The format of the reference or research tool can vary: print, electronic, multimedia or other vehicles will be considered.
  • The date of publication or release should be within the last two years of the date of nomination, although exceptions can be made for cumulative achievement.
  • Monographs, exhibition catalogues and periodical articles will be considered if the scope and quality of the bibliographic information or the arrangement of the main text merits recognition as a major reference or research tool.

Nomination Procedures

  • Nominations must be received by December 1, 2018. Each nomination should include full bibliographic information and a written justification assessing the importance of the work to the discipline.
  • Please send nominations to the ALRIS/NA Canadian Liaison for consideration by the jury: Suzanne Rackover, University Librarian, Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
  • Please do not send review copies until contacted.


2019 Prix Melva J. Dwyer – Appel de candidatures

Melva Dwyer était autrefois chef de la Bibliothèque des beaux-arts de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique. Le Prix qui porte son nom a été créé en reconnaissance de sa contribution au domaine des bibliothèques d’art. Il récompense les créateurs d’instruments exceptionnels de consultation et de recherche dans le monde de l’architecture et des arts canadiens.

Le Prix est décerné par un jury composé de trois professionnels canadiens de l’information artistique et administré par la Représentante canadienne de La Société des bibliothèques d’art d’Amérique du Nord (ARLIS/NA).

Le Prix sera remis lors de la cérémonie prévue à cet effet pendant le congrès annuel d’ARLIS/NA à Salt Lake City, Utah, en mars 2019.

Critères de sélection

  • L’instrument de consultation ou de recherche doit traiter de l’architecture et/où des arts canadiens;  il doit être produit par un auteur canadien et distribué par une maison canadienne.
  • Le support du document peut revêtir différentes formes : imprimé, électronique, multimédia ou autre format.
  • La publication ou le lancement du document doit avoir lieu au cours des deux années précédant la date de mise en nomination.  On peut toutefois mettre en nomination toute autre œuvre dans le but d’en souligner l’importance.
  • Sont acceptés par le jury les monographies, les catalogues d’exposition et les articles de périodiques si la portée et la teneur des renseignements bibliographiques fournis ou l’organisation du corps du texte sont telles que ces documents constituent des instruments majeurs de consultation et de recherche.

Procédures de mise en candidature

  • Les candidatures doivent être déposées au plus tard le 01 décembre 2018.
  • On fournira la notice bibliographique pertinente ainsi que les motifs invoqués à l’appui de la nomination.
  • Prière d’envoyer le tout à la Représentante canadienne d’ARLIS/NA Canada, qui le fera parvenir au Jury: Suzanne Rackover, bibliothécaire de l’Université, Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Melva J. Dwyer Award 2018

Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada
Edited by Heather Davis
Published by McGill-Queens University Press and MAWA, 2017.
ISBN 9780773549371

Read the press release here.

2018 – Nominees

The Beaver Hall Group and Its Legacy
By Evelyn Walters
Dundurn 2017
ISBN: 978-1-45973-776-1
Series: Modern Architectures in History
By Rhodri Windsor Liscombe and Michelangelo Sabatino
University of Chicago Press 2016
ISBN: 9781780236339
Canadian Painters in a Modern World, 1925–1955: Writings and Reconsiderations
by Lora Senechal Carney
McGill-Queens University Press 2017
ISBN: 9780773551152
Dan Hanganu Works 1981-2015
EDITOR: Essy Baniassad
Dalhousie University Press 2017
ISBN: 9780929112657
Edmund Alleyn: Biographie
By Gilles Lapointe
Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal 2017
ISBN: 9782760637122
Glenn Goluska in Toronto
By Andrew Steeves
Gaspereau Press 2016
ISBN: 9781554471591
The Grey Guide to Artist-Run Publishing and Circulation / Le Petit Gris : guide de l’édition en art et de la distribution autogérée
Edited by Anne Bertrand ; original essays by Felicity Tayler
Produced by Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) in collaboration with le Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ)
ISBN: 9780995996809
Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries
By Roald Nasgaard & Gwendolyn Owens
McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Goose Lane Editions 2017
ISBN: 9780864929655
James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation
By Katerina Atanassova
Co-Published by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and Figure 1 Publishing Inc. 2017
ISBN: 9781773270180
Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, Pauses
By Susan Gibson Garvey and Andrea Kunard
Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Goose Lane Editions 2017
ISBN: 9780864929976
SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut
By Heather Igloliorte
The Rooms Corporation and Goose Lane Editions 2017
ISBN: 9780864929747
Sculpture in Canada
By Maria Tippett
Douglas & McIntyre 2017
ISBN: 978-1-77162-093-2/p>
Spaces and Places for Art Making Art Institutions in Western Canada, 1912-1990
By Anne Whitelaw
McGill-Queens University Press 2017
ISBN: 9780773550315


Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena | 2017 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena, researched and written by Howard Shubert and published by McGill-Queens University Press (2016), has been awarded the 2017 Melva J. Dwyer Award. The award was presented at the ARLIS/NA 45th annual conference held in New Orleans, February 5-9, 2017. The Melva J. Dwyer Award is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture and was established in recognition of the work of Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia.

The jury selected this title from among twelve nominations, as it is the first monograph to trace the architectural, economic, and social history of North American skating rinks and hockey arenas from the 19th century to present day entertainment complexes. Howard Shubert examines how arena architecture shaped and popularized the sport and influenced urban, commercial, and political life across North America. In addition to being the first monograph on this typology, the book’s rigorous index, bibliography, and detailed notes (including chronology, cost of construction, and seating capacity) as key reference sources for future researchers merited the jury’s commendation. Thoroughly researched, well organized, accessible, and full of carefully cited primary source illustrations, Architecture on Ice appeals to an audience across disciplines.

The 2017 jury members represent Canadian special collections, museum, and academic libraries from across the country and both official languages: Marie-Chantal l’Écuyer-Coelho, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ); Jane Devine Mejia, Vancouver Art Gallery; and Effie Patelos, Waterloo School of Architecture. Jennifer Garland, McGill University Library is Chair of the Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee.

The jury would also like to acknowledge an honorable mention: Jean-Claude Marsan, Montréal en évolution : quatre siècles d’architecture et d’aménagement, Presses de l’Université du Québec (2016).


L’Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) a le plaisir d’annoncer qu’Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena,documenté et écrit par Howard Shubert et publié par McGill-Queens University Press (2016) a reçu le Prix Melva J. Dwyer 2017. Le Prix a été remis à l’occasion du 45e congrès annuel de l’ARLIS/NA qui s’est tenu à la Nouvelle-Orléans du 5 au 9 février 2017. Le Prix Melva J. Dwyer est remis à des créateurs d’instruments de consultation ou de recherche exceptionnels dans le domaine des arts et de l’architecture au Canada, et a été créé en reconnaissance de la contribution de Melva Dwyer, qui a par le passé dirigé la Bibliothèque des beaux-arts de la University of British Columbia.

Le jury a choisi ce titre parmi douze finalistes, et il s’agit de la première monographie à traiter de l’histoire architecturale, économique et sociale des patinoires et des arénas en Amérique du Nord, du XIXe siècle à aujourd’hui, avec les complexes de divertissement.Howard Shubert s’intéresse à la manière dont l’architecture d’aréna a façonné et popularisé le sport et a influencé la vie urbaine, commerciale et politique à travers le continent. En plus d’être la première monographie sur cette typologie, la rigueur de l’index, de la bibliographie et des notes détaillées (notamment la chronologie, les coûts de construction, la capacité en sièges) a été saluée par le jury, qui a vu dans ces ressources des références incontournables pour de futurs chercheurs. Basé sur des recherches minutieuses, remarquablement structuré, accessible et riche en illustrations de sources de première main méthodiquement citées, Architecture on Ice séduira un public interdisciplinaire.

Les membres du jury de l’édition 2017 représentent les bibliothèques de collections spéciales, musées et universités de tout le pays et des deux langues officielles : Marie-Chantal l’Écuyer-Coelho, de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Jane Devine Mejia, de la Vancouver Art Gallery et Effie Patelos, de la University of Waterloo School of Architecture. Jennifer Garland, de la bibliothèque de l’Université McGill, préside le comité du Prix Melva J. Dwyer Award.

Le jury a également accordé une mention honorable à Jean-Claude Marsan, pour l’ouvrage Montréal en évolution. Quatre siècles d’architecture et d’aménagement, publié aux Presses de l’Université du Québec (2016).

1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group | 2016 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

The 2016 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner is 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group, published in 2015 through a partnership of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Black Dog Publishing in both an English and a French edition. The publication was edited by Jacques des Rochers, curator of Canadian and Quebec Art before 1945 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Brian Foss, Director of the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, to accompany an exhibition of the same name, which they also curated. Contributors include Kristina Huneault, Concordia University, Hélène Sicotte, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and Esther Trépanier, UQAM.

The Beaver Hall Group was a diverse assortment of like-minded Montreal-based artists, many of whom shared a studio and exhibition space on the city’s Beaver Hall Hill in the early 1920s. Early adopters of new modernist approaches to painting, this collective explored their potential within a variety of genres, including portraits, still life, landscapes, and scenes of urbanity in Montreal—then as now, an industrialized city and one of the busiest ports in the world. To quote curator Brian Foss, “Unlike the Group of Seven’s vast interpretations of Canada’s natural, unblemished backdrops, Beaver Hall Group art featured portraits of contemporary Canadian individuals, rural life and urbanized, populated cityscapes…a progressive vision of what Canadian modern art could be…a distinctly Montreal type of modernism.”

The Beaver Hall Group was also exceptional for their inclusion of female artists as core members, representing half the group’s number. The group was short-lived, but its membership includes some of Canada’s most celebrated painters: Prudence Heyward, A.Y. Jackson, and Edwin Holgate.

The 352-page publication is the most comprehensive study of this group to date, featuring a series of six essays that deal with the social and artistic contexts in which the group was formed, interweaving their work within the broader narratives of the arts in the early 20th century, the rise of the metropolis, the intersection of economic progress with cultural development, and the impact of gender on critical approaches to both the artists and their work.

The text includes high-quality reproductions of the members’ works—some well-known, but others not previously reproduced. These effectively convey the group’s innovative use of color that a contemporary reviewer compared to the jazz music of the time: “not harmonious tones but colours that dazzle like the screech of a trumpet.” As well as documenting the exhibition, this catalogue includes a rich collection of contextual illustrations, exhibition invitations, press coverage, maps, film stills, and photographs.

Almost no documentation of the Beaver Hall Group survived, and what did was difficult to locate. The contributors’ intensive research is demonstrated in the publication’s bibliography that excels at representing archival and other sources, supplemented by indexes to artist and institutional entries and a list of works. The end matter includes bibliographies of 29 artists, an appendix of exhibitions by artists linked to the Beaver Hall Group from 1920-33, and tables demonstrating shared experience in education, travel, and awards.

The award committee recommends this essential exhibition catalogue not only for Canadian visual arts libraries, but for all libraries with an interest in urban and cultural history.

This award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva J. Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. It is given annually to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture. The 2016 award was presented at the convocation ceremony of the 44th Annual ARLIS/NA Conference in Seattle, Washington, on March 11, 2016. The members of the 2016 Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee are: Sylvia Roberts, Simon Fraser University (chair); Jennifer Garland, McGill University; Philip Dombowsky, National Gallery of Canada; and Daniel Payne, OCAD University.

2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

The 2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner is Landscape Architecture in Canada, written by Ron Williams, published in 2014, in English by the McGill-Queens University Press and in French by les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.   The 2015 award was presented at the convocation ceremony of the 43rd Annual ARLIS/NA Conference in Fort Worth, Texas on March 22, 2015.

 Landscape Architecture in Canada is a comprehensive overview of man-made landscapes across Canada, both as cultural expressions and as environments that shape our actions.   Fifteen years in the making, this critical history covers the varied traditions and impacts of Canada’s first peoples, its early colonists and later immigrant communities, the landscape innovations of nineteenth-century industrial cities and suburban modernism, the protected natural environments of national parks as well as efforts to mitigate the impact of resource extraction on the land.

Ron Williams, a faculty member and former director of the School of Landscape Architecture at the Université de Montréal, is a practicing architect and landscape architect.  His experience underscores the people and projects that defined landscape architecture in Canada, their motivations, aspirations and the intellectual climate in which they worked.

Thoroughly researched, engagingly written and well organized, this book is valuable both as a research and a reference work.  It includes extensive footnotes, bibliography and indexes. One unique feature is the glossary of all the plants mentioned in the text, giving the botanical name and both French and English equivalents. The awards committee recommends this publication not only for Canadian art and architecture libraries but for all libraries with an interest in landscape as an artifact of social, cultural and economic histories.

“Beautifully written and organized, Landscape Architecture in Canada makes a major contribution to landscape architecture and its related fields – architecture, planning, geography, art history, environmental history, and environmental studies. A first of its kind, this book is a must for all Canadian landscape architects and their students.” Susan Herrington, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia

Choice Online (December 2014) described “an interdisciplinary masterpiece overflowing with informative diagrams, maps, and most importantly, original photographs enthusiastically rendered by the author during visits to every corner of the country. Natural and human diversity have left their lasting marks on Canada, and the book treats readers to insights into this complicated palimpsest through inspired, well-researched examples of forest and farm, city and town, park and pasture, and church and fort. It expands the boundaries of landscape architecture and provides this already complex discipline with new depth. Highly recommended.”

The award committee recognizes another strong submission with an honourable mention:  Charles Edenshaw, co-published in 2013 by Black Dog and the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with a survey exhibition that assembled more than 200 pieces from public and private collections around the world.   Edited by Daina Augaitis, Robin Wright and Jim Hart,  this exceptionally beautiful catalogue is  the first major monograph on the work of Edenshaw, an extraordinary Haida artist and an iconic figure in Northwest Coast  art, active in the 19th and early 20th century. Richly illustrated with colored photographs, accompanied by interviews that provide perspectives on his art and writings that explore Edenshaw’s legacy and influence on contemporary artists, this title is essential for anyone with an interest in Northwest Coast art.

My thanks to the members of the 2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee:  Liv Valmstead, University of Manitoba; Hillary Webb, Emily Carr University of Art and Design; Melinda Reinhart, Concordia University.

Sylvia Roberts, Chair,  2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award Committee, ARLIS/NA Canadian Member-at-large and chair of the ARLIS/NA Canadian chapter

2014 Melva J. Dwyer Award Winner/ lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer


The Melva J. Dwyer Award committee received 11 nominations: each publication presented such uniquely valuable contributions to Canadian art, design, architecture and visual culture studies that it made for a challenging evaluation process. Despite this, there was unified consensus that one title stood out as truly representing an “exceptional reference or research tool relating to Canadian art and architecture” and the jury unanimously chose to confer the 2014 Melva J. Dwyer Award to:

Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas  edited by Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Jennifer Kramer, and  Ki-ke-in [kih-keh-in]. published by the University of British Columbia Press, 2013. 

The 2014 jurors included:

  • Claire Parker,  Visual Resources Librarian, Western University,
  • Sylvia Roberts,  Liaison Librarian for Communication & Contemporary Arts Simon Fraser University,
  • Rebecca Young, University Librarian, NSCAD University

Each juror was riveted by the integrity and authenticity of the thirty essays included in this anthology, the rigorous indexing, the awe-inspiring breadth and scope of the content and, most compellingly, how the overall thematic structure of the work represents a holistic Indigenous worldview.

This is not a standard “reference” publication emanating from the European enlightenment tradition. Native Art of the Northwest Coastsubtly questions modes of organization grounded in either chronological or subject-based ordering, by employing a conceptual structure rooted in Indigenous narrative practice. Perhaps most indicative of this impulse is the inclusion of an introductory chapter by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas who presents a Haida manga depiction of Indigenous cosmology and consciousness.

Each ensuing chapter features expository essays that are used to contextualize the numerous historical transcripts transcribed in each section.  These testimonials are expansive in scope, giving voice to a diverse array of observers and participants, both Native and non-Native, including elders, artists, activists, anthropologists, curators, art historians, legal experts, among many others. Presenting this narrative frame around primary source material creates a dialogic authorial voice that guides readers through the challenging work of confronting Western European preconceptions about art, culture and history.  For, above all, the central thread running through each chapter is a plea to those of us looking at Northwest Coast art to move beyond a one-dimensional viewing experience and, instead, begin listening to the story of the artwork.  In short, instead of just using your eyes, use your ears.

Native Art of the Northwest Coast is a product of over 10 years of research and offers a comprehensive review of 250 years of historical literature.  The essays featured in this 1,000 page publication are all-encompassing covering topics such as the evolution of the Northwest Coast art market, the deployment of Native art for Canadian nationalist purposes, the influence of First Nation’s culture on surrealist thinking, and the recent explosion of Indigenous voices in new media production.   An exhaustive index not only supports expected access and searchablity features, but is a work of art in its own right, as it provides the ethical framework for the entirety of the thirty essays. The predominance of indexed entries that offer conceptually expressive themes–such as Access, Agency, Collaboration, Culture, Dance, Objects, Ownership, Power, to name a few–might seem unexpectedly poetic for a reference tome, but are, in fact, critical for providing the Indigenous values that tangibly bind together the diversity of material presented in the essays.

The subtitle “A history of changing ideas,” is significant as well:  in many First Nations’ cultures foundational stories are not mythic narratives frozen in some chronologically distant past, but are, in fact, “animate”; stories change over time by revealing new essential truths and meanings as they are told and re-told in different cultural or historical contexts.  This phenomenological approach is the embodiment of an oral cultural conceptualization of the world; a stance rooted in a knowledgebase that emanates from the intersection of empirical observation, fact, metaphor, intuition, conceptual thinking and, above all, is only achieved through dialogue and consensus among interlocutors.

In this light, Native Art of the Northwest Coast truly embodies a post-colonial voice, by taking the genre of “reference” and re-framing it through the lens of Indigenous “ways of knowing.”  It is a fitting tribute to this award winning title that the theme of the 42nd ARLIS/NA conference is “Art+Politics.”

Accepting the award was:

  • Mr. Paul Chaat Smith of the Comanche First Nation. He is an associate curator from the National Museum of the American Indian and was a founding editor of the American Indian Movement’s Treaty Council News. In addition to the essay he wrote forNative Art of the Northwest Coast, he has  coauthored the seminal text Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New York: New Press, 1996) and is author of Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009).
  • D. Vanessa Kam, Acting Head Librarian, Music + Art + Architecture Library at the University of British Columbia.

Presented on Saturday 3 May 2014 at:

  • ARLIS/NA 42nd annual conference Convocation,
  • The Library of Congress (Thomas Jefferson Building).

Presented by:

Daniel Payne, Canadian Member-at-Large (2012 – 14)
Head, Instructional Services,
Dorothy H. Hoover Library, OCAD University

2013 Melva J. Dwyer Award Winner/ lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

The Melva J. Dwyer Award committee received 15 nominations this year representing a diverse range of subjects on Canadian art, architecture and design; we were all pleased to view such a dynamic array of publications chronicling our national artistic and cultural heritage.  One title, however, stood out as truly representing an “exceptional reference or research tool relating to Canadian art and architecture”

ARLIS/NA Canada is pleased to confer the 2013 Melva J. Dwyer Award to IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011; a publication that accompanied an international exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Featuring more than 160 reproductions, it also includes essays by the exhibition co-curators David Moos  and Michael Darling, as well as contributions by Lucy Lippard among others. A noteworthy feature is the comprehensive bibliography compiled by ARLIS/NA member Adam Lauder of York University.

The integrity of the critical essays, high quality art reproductions, academically sound citations, rigorous indexing, innovative nature of the publication’s “Narrative Chronology,” and authoritative bibliography all make this a publication of unique value for researchers in Canada and beyond.

The 2013 jurors included:

  • Adrienne Connelly, Librarian, Alberta College of Art + Design
  • Élise Lassonde, Bibliothécaire, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
  • Linda Morita, Librarian/Archivist, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

A motivating rationale for the jury was how clearly the publication chronicles BAXTER&’s unique oeuvre, placing the artist as a prescient pioneer of relational aesthetics and other 21st century movements that strive to open a democratic dialogue over the art market, value theory, curatorial control and power paradigms embedded in aesthetics overall.

These philosophical goals are nothing new to BAXTER& as, for over 50 years, he has radically redefined the role of the artist and purposely defied the limitations of medium by effortlessly integrating  painting, drawing,  photography, installation, sculpture, and performative aspects into his work.

 Despite the provocative nature of this re-signification of the role of the artist; BAXTER&’s creative process is never confrontational but, instead, is nourished by empathy, concern, playfulness, humour  and is always founded in an unwavering sense of collegiality with his audience

 This collaborative ethos has led to a particular sense of play in how he represents himself to the world: he has worked under various monikers throughout his career, including N.E. Thing Co., a corporate-style organization in which he served as co-president.  In this guise, he blurred the two solitudes of private vs. public with an astoundingly creative number of initiatives including sponsoring a youth hockey team, hosting a game of “Monopoly with Real Money” played in a Toronto Dominion banking hall and being hired by Labatt’s Brewing Company in 1981 as a creative consultant “artist in residence.”  His own name has metamorphosed over the decades: often he is known as “McCoolman,” but always “the &man.” Since 1983, he has joined forces with Mrs. &man, artist Louise Chance.  As the ultimate example of his collective spirit: his online catalogue rasionnE is NOT a linear, chronological representation of only HIS works, but instead encourages a cacophonous “piling on” of artworks by welcoming user-generated content.  This open source approach to his name became formalized in 2005 when he legally added an ampersand to his surname.

The ampersand, in fact, has been a recurring symbol throughout his oeuvre, which, for librarians well-versed in Boolean searching techniques, gives him an especial position of fondness and esteem. Although in practice, this fluidity in self-identification leads to perplexing cataloguing gymnastics in maintaining name authorities. I might add that the Getty’s Union List of Artist Names still lists the artist FORMERLY KNOWN AS Iain Baxter!!   But in an ironic turn, librarians are essentially unable to recognize his new identity: to use the ampersand in a library catalogue search yields an error message due to “an unexpected end of clause,” a situation that I’m sure would delight the &man!

In closing, I will let David Moos explain the enduring nature of the artist’s work:  “BAXTER&’s thinking resonates today because his willingness to experiment remains undiminished…It is here, between originality and the familiar, that one finds BAXTER&, raising our awareness that art is an experiment—an embrace [that] one must experience.”

Presented on Sunday 28 April 2013 at the ARLIS/NA 41st annual conference Convocation, Pasadena Civic Auditorium by:

Daniel Payne, Canadian Member-at-Large (2012 – 14)
Head, Instructional Services,
Dorothy H. Hoover Library, OCAD University


BAXTER&, IAIN. “artist’s message.”  IAINBAXTER&raisonnE…York University Libraries: Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections online exhibits. Web.…

Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics, trans. Simon Pleasance, Fronza Woods and Mathieu Copeland. Dijon: Les presses du réel, 2002. Print.

Canadian Art. “Iain Baxter&: Ampersand, Mon Amour.” Canadian Art Magazine (6 Nov. 2008). Web  

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IAINBAXTER&raisonnE … l i v E … & … the&MAN. Web Blog. 

2012 Melva Dwyer Award Winner

The 2012 Melva J. Dwyer Award goes to Francois-Marc Gagnon, Nancy Senior, and Réal Ouellet, for The Codex Canadensis, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2011.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia.  It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture.

The 2012 award was administered by James Rout, Chair of ARLIS/NA Canada, and a jury that consisted of Vanessa Kam, University of British Columbia,  David Payne, OCAD University, and John Latour, Artexte. This year, 12 nominations were received for the award.

In the words of the jury, “The Codex Canadensis is a remarkable publication through and through. The image reproductions are exemplary and the overall contribution to our knowledge of the visual and material culture of the early colonial mindset is invaluable. The rigorous and meticulous detail of their notations and descriptions of the document demonstrate their authority in an unquestionable manner.”

2011 Melva Dwyer Award Winner

The 2011 Melva J. Dwyer Award goes to the Ontario Art Gallery and Douglas & McIntyre (co-publishers), and Gerald McMaster (editor), for Inuit Modern: Art from the Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection, published in November 2010.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia.  It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture.

The 2011 award was administered by James Rout, Chair of ARLIS/NA Canada, and a jury that consisted of Larissa Beringer, Emily Carr University of Art + Design,  Tanja Harrison, NSCAD University, and Jennifer Garland, McGill University. This year, 13 nominations were received for the award.

In the words of the jury, Inuit Modern sheds new light on the cultural resilience of Inuit artists, situating its major themes within the context of a rapidly changing Arctic. It considers how Inuit have dealt with the rapid transition from a traditional lifestyle to the current challenges of globalization and climate change. It includes scholarly essays by art historians and curators of Inuit art, as well as artist and author biographies, extensive notes, and a comprehensive list of the works in the exhibition together with a complete index.

Full colour photographs of all of the art works are included in this publication, including sculpture, prints, inlay, drawing, stonecuts and textile reproductions. The jury agreed that these images were exceptional high quality reproductions, considering the range of media covered, making it an essential visual reference tool for further research and study on contemporary Inuit art practice, and highlighting the book’s importance as a resource for librarians, art historians, artists and cultural anthropologists.