The central argument of the book is introduced; that the counter-tradition Jeff Wall helped develop with other artists in Vancouver has included a gendered bifurcation of space since its earliest incarnation in 1970 as the "defeatured landscape." The introduction contains brief descriptions of Wall and his peers’ early work in relation to Wall’s international position as leader of the Vancouver School of Photo-Conceptualism; a brief discussion of existing theory about the development of avant-garde movements; and the necessity of understanding the avant-garde in the context of wider social contests of power, in particular settler colonial control over land and male control over women’s bodies and representations of them. The introduction also summarizes the need to intervene in current histories of avant-garde practice, dominant narratives that continue to frame male artists achievements in formal terms divested of the power dynamics that engender them or result from them.
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