United Congress

September 6 to October 4, 2014


Monster truck rally featuring Leonid Brezhnev

September 5 from 8:00 to 11:00 PM

United Congress was an art group consisting of unidentified Spanish feministas and activi-tists that emerged in Calgary in the early ’90s. Their exhibition at The New Gallery, Reconvenience, assembles a team of experts from Ethiopia, Israel, and the Philippines to interpret, evaluate, authenticate, and catalogue artifacts unearthed from two 100 lb. United Congress time capsules stored in a military warehouse for twenty-five years.

The saudade-infused evening of September 5 will feature a live unsealing of the quarter century time capsules, the cataloguing and consuming of their contents, and a pre-recorded message. The run of the show will consist of archival evidence from the opening reception’s event in refrigeration and exhibition on pearl-headed pins.

Tenho saudades tuas.

– UC


The United Congress exhibition at The New Gallery is partly a retrospective of both their accomplishments and criticisms, partly a reunión, and partly a critique of other recent surveys of art from Calgary in the ’80s and ’90s—which have tended to eschew art’s position as a historical tool of social revolution to focus primarily on its formal qualities. United Congress’s work was often quite provocative, operating in socio-political contexts to challenge conservative conventions of the era. Here, there is a demonstration of art’s role in the ongoing dismantling of patriarchal status quos. Reconvenience will comprise incursions into conservative and commercially-orientated media outlets, collected detritus of the group’s early activities, and a labyrinthine performance at the exhibition’s vernissage.

The New Gallery’s Programming Coordinator conversed with the Calgary Herald about this exhibition.

We produced a 32-page catalogue in conjunction with this exhibition. Available in our online store or as a free PDF.