221A Artist Run Centre is pleased to present MERKINtile, a five-week exhibition, performance, and temporary retail store specializing in the merchandising of ‘designer’ artist-made merkins. Conceived by Artist-Curator Kevin Hubbard, a recent graduate of Emily Carr University and the Cooper Union, Hubbard’s practice explores desire, distaste, and beliefs with regard to cultural, geographic, and embodied subject positions. The MERKINtile project draws attention to the political bodies that inhabit public, private, non-profit, and commercial spaces by transforming 221A’s frontage and exhibition space into a spurious retail store that resembles a high-end lingerie boutique. Originating in the 15th century, merkins are pubic wigs originally worn by prostitutes to cover disease sores and by women who shaved their pubic hair to combat lice. Over 25 artist-made merkins produced to size and mounting restrictions by local and international artists will be displayed for sale for the duration of the exhibition.

The MERKINtile exhibition will provide the public with an opportunity to engage in discourse around gentrification, commodity and self-identity and addresses the changing built environment of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. The exhibition will feature panels, seminars, lectures, and performances throughout the duration of the exhibition. In conjunction with the exhibition, the MERKINtile catalogue will be available for purchase detailing the various artist-made merkins and anthologizing the essays written for the project.

Kevin Hubbard, Artist-Curator