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Artists as Writers: Householder, Johanna

Artist Biography


Professor at OCAD University

Areas of Expertise

Performance art, Contemporary issues in performance and media, Video, installation, curation, collaboration


Johanna Householder has been making performances and other artwork in Canada since the late 70s. She was a member of the notorious satirical feminist performance ensemble The Clichettes, who performed across Canada and the US under variable circumstances throughout the 1980s. While The Clichettes practiced their own brand of pop culture detournment, Householder has maintained a unique performance practice, often collaborating with other artists. As one of the founders of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, held biannually in Toronto, she has brought many international artists to the festival. She is keenly interested in the histories of performance, reperformance, and the effect that performance has had in contemporary art and new media. Her most recent works include Portrait of a Situation, which toured East Europe in June 2006 and Finland in 2007 and The Subject of Art: Badiou/Miller/Cobain performed in various forms and venues including the Interackje Festival in Poland and the Performance Studies International conference in Zagreb in 2009. Approximations 1-3, video works produced in collaboration with b.h. Yael, have screened in a number of international venues. Her work is also represented in Prêt à Emporter/Take Out: Performance Recipes for Public Space, edited by Christine Redfern for La Centrale, Montréal, 2004 and Radical Gestures, Feminism and Performance Art in North America by Jane Wark, 2006. She is a Professor in the Integrated Media Program at OCAD University, where she is currently Chair of the Criticism and Curatorial Practice Program.

Gallery Representation

Biography and photo taken from OCAD Faculty Biographies website and Total Art Journal website

Online Resources

Johanna Householder's artist profile from the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Arts (CCCA) includes photos from her various performance works. See also 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival page from CCCA (the curatorial collective that Johanna is a part of).

Performance Art from Canadian Art Magazine's Canadian Art School website presents a video about performance art and includes interviews with Johanna Householder, Istvan Kantor, and Diane Borsato. It also includes video clips of The Clichettes' performances.

Writing by Johanna Householder

Please note that not all works are available through the OCADU library. To acquire one of these works through Interlibrary Loan or other means, please contact the library for assistance.

Johanna Householder: Writing about her own art

Artist Statement for Remembrance Day. Part of Public Spaces/Private Spaces, FADO Performance Art Centre, 2001. Read online.

"The Ecstasy Of Synchronization: A Memoir."  Descant issue 147 40.4 (Winter 2009): 102-114.
Johanna writing about her experience as part of The Clichettes.

Johanna Householder: Interviews

"Performance Art." Canadian Art Foundation, 2009-2010. View interview online.

"Interview: Johanna Householder: Time Indefinite." By Steve (Stephen) Rife. 100 (OCAD), no. 1 (Winter 1999).

Johanna Householder: Writing about art

Chapters and Articles

"6 of 1001 Nights of Performance."  Written by Johanna "for the A Space Performance Committee." 6 of 1001 Nights of erformance activity book insert in Parallelogramme 12.2 (Dec 1986-Jan 1987): A Space/[pg] 3.

"Mad For Bliss: Vera Frenkel at The Music Gallery, Toronto." C Magazine 24 (Winter 1990):61-2. Read text online from CCCA website.

"Rencontre Performance."  Fuse 20.3 (June 1997): 41-43. 
A review of the International Performance Festival presented by Le Lieu (CineCycle, Toronto, Oct 29-31, 1996)

"Live at the End of the Century: Aspects of Performance Art in Vancouver (Book Review)." Fuse 24.1 (June 2001): 38-9.

"Apologia." Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women. Eds. Tanya Mars and Johanna Householder. Toronto: YYZ Books, 2004. 12-19.

"Frances Leeming: Domestic Goddess." Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women. Eds. Tanya Mars and Johanna Householder. Toronto: YYZ Books, 2004. 297-305.

"Paulette Phillips: Fascinations." Sketch (Spring 2006): 8-11. [read online from OCAD website]

"This Page Is A Site: Site, Artist And Audience In Four Recent Performances."  Canadian Theatre Review 126 (2006): 10-15.

"Five (Failed) Attempts at a Feminist Revolution." Art Institutions and the Feminist Dialectic Symposium, 2008. [videorecording]  View a video of Johanna's presentation online.

"Performance Art." Canadian Art Foundation, 2009-2010. [videorecording] View interview online.


Catalogue Essays

"10 Meditations on a Song by Oliva Newton John." Touch/Touché: An Exhibition of Interactive Works, catalogue. Toronto: InterAccess, 1999.

"Imagine That Every Woman Is A Country." Loneliness in the Boundaries: Melati Suryodarmo. Yogyakarta: Melati Suryodarmo, 2006. Read text online from Suryodarmo's website.

Johanna Householder: Curatorial Work

Curatorial Collective 7a*11d

Johanna Householder is part of the curatorial collective 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.

Johanna Householder as Curator

Johanna Householder has curated the following projects:

"Prognosis" with Louise Liliefeldt (1997) and "Teratoid Cabaret" with Louise Liliefeldt, Derek Mohamed, and Tracy Renée Stafford at 1st International Performance Art Festival (1997) View event information.

"Hybrids" with Louise Liliefeldt at 2nd International Performance Art Festival (1998) View event information.

"Prognosis" with Louise Liliefeldt co-sponsored by A Space at 3rd International Performance Art Fetsival (2000) View event information.

"d2d.2 = Direct to Documentation II: Program One" and "d2d.2 = Direct to Documentation II: Program Two" with Rochelle Holt at 5th International Performance Art Festival (2004) View information about the event.

"d2d.3 = Direct to Documentation 2006" at 6th International Performance Art Festival (2006) Read PDF of 2006 Festival catalogue.

"d2d.4 = direct to documentation 2008" programmed with Adam Herst at 7th International Performance Art Festival (2008) View information about the event.

Johanna Householder: Writing about Teaching

Video Art in Canada.
Developed by Vtape and OCAD Faculty of Art Integrated Media Program and Wendy Coburn, Richard Fung, Johanna Householder, Andrew McAllister and BH Yael, 2006. See the education web resource online.

A Symposium on Teaching and Learning Performance Art. FADO Performance Art Centre with OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design University), 2010. Read information about the symposium online.

"Faculty Story." Supporting ESL Students at OCAD: Inclusive Teaching. Eds. Catherine Black and Rebecca Simollett. Toronto: Ontario College of Art & Design, 2010. 30-31.

Johanna Householder: Scripts and Performances

"Out For Blood (script)."  Louise Garfield, Janice Haldki, and Johanna Householder (The Clichettes). Canadian Theatre Review 86 (Spring 1996): 32-48.

"Diversionary Targets." Take Out: Performance Recipes for Public Space. Ed. Christine Redfern. Montreal: La Centrale, 2004.
A step by step recipe for a performance work.