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C New Critics Award Winner 2023

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C New Critics Award

We would like to give a hearty congratulations to Francesca Bennett for receiving this year’s C New Critics Award!

Bennett's unconventional review of Woojae Kim's exhibition “With a heart that sings the stars, I will love all things dying” (dreams comma delta, 2 April to 21 May 2023) elegantly unwinds the typical review format in favour of a more experiential and relational text, which still remains true—in voice, texture, and lines of questioning—to the spirit of Kim's work. The writer's poetically sprawling yet lucid prose captured our attention for the ways it shed light on intimacy and art, reflecting criticism as friendship and an example of mutuality or being mutually influenced by what one is viewing and experiencing. Her subtle capitalist critique—of the commercial gallery system and the art world's entanglement with financialization and real estate—was further deftly shown, not only told. Bennett's gripping voice is one we would be eager to read again.

"At the same time that I learn about helminths, I learn that the composting worms are epigean—they live close to the surface, like us, like us, they can be moved from one bedroom to the next, like them, we are threatened by shovels in the earth."

Bennett’s piece will appear in C Magazine Issue 156 “Craft” (Winter 2024).

Francesca Bennett has supported artists' practices on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations since 2003. Informed by her work in collections, archives, and administration, her curatorial and writing practices are centred on the extension of personal transformative encounters with objects toward their multitude of social relations.

We would also like to congratulate Julia Trojanowski, who was chosen by the jury for Honourable Mention. Trojanowski’s review of “Ominous Chaos” (Centre A, 8 April to 3 June 2023), an exhibition curated by Bahar Mohazabnia and featuring artists Homa Khosravi and Marzieh Mosaverzadeh, showed a self-possessed voice that combined careful and vivid descriptions with clearly defined and contextualized reflections upon the stakes of the artworks.

Julia Trojanowski is a PhD student in Art History at the University of British Columbia, located on unceded Musqueam territory. Her research interests include surrealism, avant-garde film, labour history, and Critical Theory. Her current project focuses on the work of Ukrainian-born, New York-based filmmaker Maya Deren (1917–1961). In her downtime, she enjoys foraging, painting, and writing short stories.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the New Critics Award this year!

The 2023 jurors were Tiana Reid, Jacquelyn Zong-Li Ross, and C Editor Joy Xiang.

Tiana Reid is an assistant professor in the Department of English at York University. Her writing has been published in Artforum, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Frieze, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. A former editor at The New Inquiry and Pinko: A Magazine of Gay Communism, she has also spent several years doing editorial work at academic journals, including Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.

Jacquelyn Zong-Li Ross is a writer and editor based in Vancouver, the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ nations. Her fiction, poetry, essays, and art criticism have appeared in BOMB, C Magazine, The Ex-Puritan, Fence, Mousse, and alongside exhibitions and artist projects at The Bows, Centre Clark, Franz Kaka, Mercer Union, SFU Galleries, Susan Hobbs Gallery, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks include Mayonnaise and Drawings on Yellow Paper (with Katie Lyle). She is the Art Editor of The Capilano Review, a West Coast journal of experimental art and poetics, and publishes DIY books by emerging artists and writers under the small press Blank Cheque.