Fonds F2291 - Vera Frenkel fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Vera Frenkel fonds

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1950-2005 (Creation)
    Frenkel, Vera

Physical description area

Physical description

11.42 m of textual records and other material, 427 videocassettes, 11 diskettes, 4 data tapes

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Vera Frenkel (b. 1938, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia) is an internationally-recognized multidisciplinary artist. Her videos, drawings, audio works, installations and new media projects have been seen at documenta IX (Kassel, Germany); the Offenes Kulturhaus (Linz, Austria); the Setagaya Museum (Tokyo); the National Gallery of Canada; MoMA (New York); and the Venice Biennale among others. Frenkel’s videotapes, drawings, audio works, installations, photographs, writings and new media projects explore the forces at work in human migration, experiences of displacement and deracination, the learning and unlearning of cultural memory that results, and the increasing bureaucratization of everyday life.

Frenkel has been the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor, University College, University of Toronto, 1994-95, and the Leverhulme Professor at the School of Fine Arts, Leeds University, 2003-4, among others. In February 2006, she was the Michael and Sonja Koerner Artist Resident artist at Queen’s University, Kingston. Artist-in-residence invitations have also taken Vera Frenkel to the Slade School of Art, London; the School of the Chicago Art Institute; the Akademie der Bildende Künste, Vienna; the McLuhan Programme in Culture and Technology, Toronto; the Royal University, Stockholm; the University of British Columbia and the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (CentreCATH) at the University of Leeds, among others.

One of the most influential and respected artists in the country, Frenkel is recipient of some of Canada’s major prizes awarded to a living artist. These include the Canada Council Molson Prize, 1989; the Toronto Arts Foundation Visual Arts Award, 1994; the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, 1995; and the Bell Canada Award for Video Art, 2001; A Senior Canada Council Media Arts Award in 2002; and the 2006 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. She holds honorary doctorates from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1996) and the Emily Carr Institute (2004), and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Royal Society of Canada.

Frenkel’s writings have been much anthologized, and have appeared in such publications as artscanada, Canadian Art, Descant, FUSE, Intermédialités, Public and Vanguard. Frenkel has received the Canada Council Molson Prize and the Bell Canada Award in Video Art, among others. She lives in Toronto.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of material relating to both the private and public life of the artist, reflecting the development, growth and working life of the artist over a 50 year time period. The fonds consists of records that reveal and document the many activities of the artist such as: the creation, mounting and exhibition of artworks; teaching; participation within local and national associations and groups such as PEN Canada and CARFAC, as well as local artist-run centres and organizations; residencies undertaken; texts written and published; and honours and awards received. Includes: correspondence; research materials; working and prepatory material for artworks in various media formats; transcripts; translations; journals and agendas; speeches and conference papers; drafts, manuscripts and working correspondence regarding published texts; and teaching notes and material. The fonds has been arranged in the following series: Projects; Teaching activities; Artist in the Community; and Personal activities.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Vera Frenkel - February 2006, December 2006, November 2010, 2017. McGill University Archives transfer - 2008.


The material has been arranged by the archivist in consultation with the donor.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

MI 244
F3 E9
SR1146 - SR1146.178

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Some material is restricted.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright conditions apply.

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Further accruals are expected

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: R302
  • Shelf: V035.2
  • Shelf: 2269.38
  • Shelf: 2150.2
  • Shelf: F3 E9
  • Shelf: 2151.4
  • Shelf: SR1146 - SR1146.178
  • Shelf: 2291.11