Bill Burns (artist)

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For the article on the baseball player Bill Burns, see Sleepy Bill Burns. For the article on the newscaster Bill Burns, see Bill Burns (anchor).

Bill Burns is a Canadian artist.

Life and work[edit]

Bill Burns (born Regina 1957) is a conceptual artist based in Toronto, Canada and London, England. He is known for his writings, artists' books and multiples. He studied under Gerard Hemsworth and John Latham at Goldsmiths College in London, England. His most recognized work is his Safety Gear for Small Animals (SGSA) which was first shown at 303 Gallery in New York in 1994 [1] and later at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005/2006 [2] and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 2008. His 2002 project "Everything I Could Buy on eBay About Malaria" which was shown at the Wellcome Trust in London, England is considered a seminal work in the area of electronic collecting. [3] His work about life in the art world known as "Veblen Goods" was shown at MASS MoCA in 2012.

Study for Adam Weinberg Help Me, MASS MoCA 2012

Burns has published numerous books including When Pain Strikes (Burns, Busby, Sawchuk), a critical anthology about pain and pain relief, published by the University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis (1999). [4] Other book titles include Analgesia [5] Montreal: Rochefort (1993); Urban Fauna Information Station. Toronto: Mercer Union (2002); Safety Gear for Small Animals Toronto: MOCCA, Toronto (2005); Bird Radio [6] Berlin: KW and Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig (2007); The Flora and Fauna Information Service - 0.800.0.0FAUNA0FLORA. London: ICA (2008).; and Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Told in the Form of Ivan the Terrible[7]. Copenhagen: Space Poetry (2011). Burns has published dozens of guides, posters, and editions. His editions are included in major museum collections throughout the world.

Burns’ work has been exhibited in major museums and biennial exhibitions since the nineteen nineties. His most notable exhibitions include the ICA in London, the MoMA in New York as well as Forum Arte y Vida at the Havana Bienal in Havana, Cuba in 2003, the Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2007 and the Quebec City Biennial - Manif d'art 5, in 2010.


Yaniya Lee, Directions to the Land of Milk and Honey. Toronto: C Magazine, Winter (2015)[8]

Smith, Matthew Ryan, Bill Burns: Dogs and Boats and Airplanes told in the form of Ivan the Terrible. London: Senses and Society. January (2014)][9]

Milroy, Sarah. Bill Burns Prays to the Gods of the Art World. Toronto: Globe and Mail. 1 September (2012) [10]

Gabrys, Jennifer. Bill Burns Flora and Fauna Information Station at the ICA. London: Afterall (2009) [11]

Antonelli, Paola. Safe: Design Takes on Risk. New York: Museum of Modern Art (2005) [12]

Hurtig, Annette; Sloan, Johanne; Seaton, Beth, Bill Burns: Safety Gear for Small Animals (green version). Toronto: MOCCA (2005)

ICA London. Bill Burns: 0.800.0FAUNA0FLORA, London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, (2008) [13]

Burns, Bill. Bird Radio – Vogelradio. Berlin: KW - ICA; Cologne: Verlag Walther Koenig (2007)[14]

Wellcome Trust. Bill Burns: Everything I Could Buy on eBay about Malaria, London: Wellcome Trust (2002) [15]

303 Gallery. Safety Gear for Small Animals (red version), Burns, Bill, New York: 303 Gallery (1994)

External links[edit]