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Banal Beauty Inc. / Brutopia subseries

Eric Metcalfe (Creator)
ID #
Level of Description

Scope & Content

Subseries consists of collages, cut-outs, photo prints, drawings on preprinted paper and photocopies originally found in a three-ring blue binder; and network correspondence art templates for Banal Beauty Inc. that were sent to other artists. It also consists of a fold-out Banal Beauty Inc. magazine, cartoons, various reproduced images, clippings folders, vintage postcards, and newsletters by Anna Banana.

Banal Beauty Inc. (originally Banal Brutality Inc.) was part of a movement by artists and groups of artists to adopt a corporate model for art. Other examples of this include N.E. Thing Company (Vancouver, 1966); Ant Farm (San Francisco, 1968); General Idea (Toronto, 1969); Image Bank (Vancouver, 1970); T.R. Uthco (San Francisco, 1970); and Ace Space Co. (Victoria, c. 1971).

Banal Brutality are cartoons that feature Dr. Brute as the central character, or, "president." In 1970, as Metcalfe entered mail art networks, he adopted Dr. Brute as his alter ego. By the following year, Kate Craig had adopted the persona of Lady Brute.

Banal Beauty Inc., begun in 1970 as Banal Brutality Inc., was Dr. Brute's research venture into aspects of images circulating in contemporary culture - an examination of the everyday. Working with images from popular media and forms, Metcalfe produced collages and prints, as well as assembling files of Banal Beauty and Banal Brutal imaged in the flesh. B.B.I Productions conceived "Brut-On Creme" and B.B.I. playing cards, and developing a preprinted page to document research findings through collage, drawing, stamping, printing, photocopying, and other processes.

Brutopia was Dr. Brute's fictional world, featuring leopard-skin motifs. As part of the research associated with Dr. Brute, Metcalfe collected images from popular magazines, postcards and photo prints of erotic subjects, usually incorporating leopard imagery. As well, Metcalfe, Craig and others staged and produced their own images of erotic scenes with Brute associates, leopard clothing and related props.

Banal Beauty Inc. also included collaborative performance pieces with Hank Bull (artist, composer, musician) and Jane Ellison (dancer and choreographer).

In 1975, Metcalfe decided to end both his Dr. Brute persona and his Leopard Realty project. The culminating work for both these themes was the 1975 exhibition Spots Before Your Eyes.

Files 4.1-2.1 to 4.1-2.6 contain a portion of Metcalfe’s archive of leopard-related imagery, collected by Metcalfe, Craig and the correspondence networks they participated in.

Physical Description

Physical Extent
22.5 cm of textual records and graphic material
Material Type
Textual record, Graphic material

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Descriptions are works in progress and may be updated as new descriptive practices, research and information emerge. To help improve this record, please contact us.

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