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I REMEMBER DADA

wHuckster

Time Magazine, Canadian Edition, November 7, 1960

SASKATCHEWAN - When Regina's university art gallery opened an exhibition “Images and Studies” by a local unknown named Win Hedore, Gallery Director Ronald L. Bloore - a telegram in hand - regretfully announced that the artist could not be present. That seemed to be a sensible precaution on Hedore's part. His [sic] 17 works, bearing price tags up to $225, ranged from The Huckster, an old auto crankshaft surmounted by a truck brake pedal and a Chevrolet name plate jutting out of a mouth, to Conversation, a pair of auto taillight brackets, and Pail, formally introduced in the gallery catalogue as “a straightforward, realistic study, a concentration on a simple and basic form.” On careful inspection, it proved, even at $I75, to be exactly that: a pail.

The catalogue enthusiastically described Hedore's works as “three-dimensional studies made from the debris of speed and built-in obsolescence” and “a revelation concerning the 20th century.” But to many an outraged patron, the collection was plainly junk. “Disgraceful,” huffed one matron. “Away with it!'? Still others were intrigued by what they took to be inventive insights in the figures, and one visitor found Dead Calf, a mass of grille and metal on a pile of sand, just right. “I'm from the dirt-hills country,” she pronounced, “and that's the way a dead calf looks."

HucksterInstallation

Installation photo from the University of Regina Archives

Last week the man who caused all the furor stepped forward. “Win Hedore,” it turned out, was none other than Director Bloore himself. With help from the gallery's art school director, Ken Lochhead and Regina Painter Ted Godwin, Bloore had collected the scrap from garages and fashioned the neo-Dadaist images to jolt Reginans into defining their own notions of art. “We see our objects as satire on society,” he said amiably. “But anyone who wants to can also see them as a spoof on modern art."

WithWorks62SQ

The Director the following year, brush in hand, with some of his own works

A spate of angry letters to the Regina Leader Post demanded Bloore's head for the hoax, but Minister of Education Allan Blakeney defended the exhibition as “lively and provocative.” So did droves of other visitors, who made the exhibition the best-attended in the gallery's seven-year history.

Idol2007

Win Hedore's sculpture “Idol” on display at the Mackenzie Gallery in 2007

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