Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective


Jess Dobkin, Mirror Ball, 2009. Photo: The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) presents:
Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective

Curated by Emelie Chhangur

September 2 – September 26, 2021
Opening Party: Friday, September 10, 7-10 pm

The Art Gallery of York University is thrilled to re-open its doors with the first-ever retrospective exhibition of Toronto’s performance art matriarch Jess Dobkin, curated by Emelie Chhangur.

Internationally acclaimed artist Jess Dobkin, who splashed Toronto with projects including The Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar (2006–2016), The Artist-Run Newsstand at Chester Subway Station (2015–2016) and The Artists’ Soup Kitchen (2012), welcomes the public to the re-opening of the AGYU. With her Wetrospective, Dobkin invites us into 25 years of her playful and provocative practice with animated “litrine vitrines” (portable toilets) and a custom-designed augmented reality app. The exhibition is curated by award-winning, nationally celebrated curator Emelie Chhangur, Director and Curator of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario.

Chhangur writes, “Dobkin upcycles her own archive of past performances in ways that constitute her concept of ‘bendy-time’. This exhibition demands of archives what we expect from performance: the live encounter of experience in a ritual of transformation.”

The Collective Effervescence Opening Party will feature an outdoor celebration with DJ Cozmic Cat, Nik Red, Sasha Van Bon Bon and John Caffery spinning archives of Toronto’s favourite parties plus Jewish Performance Food Truck with Guillermina Buzio and Bar Bacan.

A signed and numbered artist multiple will be given to the first 200 visitors to the gallery.

GALLERY HOURS: For Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective the AGYU will be open 7 days a week from 12-5pm with extended hours until 7pm on Wednesdays.

Covid Protocols: To keep within capacity limits, pre-registration is required for all events and in-gallery visits. AGYU visitors will be required to pre-screen before coming to campus or attending associated events (the prescreening questions can be found here). You will receive an online questionnaire that will have to be filled out the day of your visit.
You can book for events and gallery visits here:

For accessibility and accommodation assistance please email

Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective includes a constellation of talks, tours and engagements featuring seminal cultural critic Ann Cvetkovich; artist and scholar Jehan L. Roberson; artist and archivist Joyce LeeAnn; and performance scholar Laura Levin.

Thursday, September 9 • 3pm @ AGYU
You’re Welcome Wetro Tour with Emelie Chhangur and Jess Dobkin

Saturday, September 18 • 3pm @ AGYU (and livestream)
Portals, Potions and Archives with Jehan Roberson

Monday, September 20 • 3pm @ AGYU
The Live Encounter Performative Gallery Tour with Laura Levin

Tuesday September 21 • 7pm @ 401 Richmond Street (and livestream)
Archival Alchemy® with Joyce LeeAnn (in Collaboration with FADO Performance Art Centre)

Thursday, September 23 • 3-4pm (livestream)
Hemispheric Encounters with Performance Art Archivists: Roundtable Discussion

Friday, September 24 • 3pm @ AGYU (and livestream)
All the Feels with Ann Cvetkovich

Fatma Yehia, Assistant Curator
Art Gallery of York University
Keele Campus, Accolade East Building
Toronto ON M3J 1P3


The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is a public, university-affiliated, non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and by its membership.

Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective is produced by the AGYU with support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology at York University, York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, FADO Performance Art Centre and The Theatre Centre. Special thanks to: 16Tonnes, PolyJohn and Quest AV.

In recognition of our place on the traditional territory of numerous Indigenous Nations, the Art Gallery of York University thanks the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabek who have and continue to care for this land. This land is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Covenant and Wampum between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Three Fires Confederacy (the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi), and other allied nations in an agreement to share land and its resources. We occupy land referred to in Crown Treaty 13, known as the Toronto Purchase, signed in 1805. Terms of this Treaty were not met by Canada until 2010, when the Federal Government settled the claims of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

AGYU promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces & experiences and works towards being barrier free.

We are committed to anti-racism and working to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.