Nihilist Spasm Band files
- 1960-2000 (predominant 1996-2000) (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
36 cm of textual records and graphic material
2 compact discs
2 compact discs
Name of creator
John Bernard Boyle (1941- ) is an artist, activist, curator and writer who has lived and worked in St. Catharines, London, Elsinore, and Peterborough, Ontario. He married Janet Perlman, with whom he has one daughter, Emily. Boyle was educated at London Teachers’ College and the University of Western Ontario, and is self-taught as a painter. He taught elementary school in St. Catharines intermittently between 1962 and 1968. In 1974 he moved with his family to a converted church in Elsinore, Ontario (near Owen Sound), where he had his studio until 2002. He is currently based in Peterborough. Boyle began to exhibit his paintings in 1964, the same year he was inspired by meeting London artists including Jack Chambers and Greg Curnoe. In 1966 controversy arose at the London Public Library and Art Museum over Boyle’s exhibited piece Seated Nude. Boyle was an early participant in London’s 20/20 Gallery. In 1972 he designed sets for the play Buffalo Jump at Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto; that same year he curated the first Billboard Show in St. Catharines. In 1980 Boyle completed the mural Our Knell for Queen Subway Station, Toronto. From 1973 through the 1990s, Boyle exhibited regularly at Nancy Poole’s Studio, Toronto. A key figure among the artist activists who established professional representation and rights for artists in the early 1970s, Boyle was the founding spokesperson of Canadian Artists Representation Ontario (CARO) in 1971. In 1970 he served as the first president of the Niagara Artists Co-operative (later Company). Boyle was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1975-1977. Boyle has written extensively in journals including 20 Cents Magazine, Parachute, and Twelve Mile Creek. His regular column “According to Boyle” in CAROT (1975-78) dealt with challenges facing artists. Boyle has written three novels, No Angel Came (1995); and the unpublished The Gergovnians and The Peregrinations and Permutations of a Young Artist in Canada. His illustration and book design work includes The Port Dalhousie Stories by Dennis Tourbin (1987), as well as several magazine articles and book jackets. He initiated the discipline of “Canadology” in 1989 to record the social customs of the country. Boyle is a founding member (since 1965) and principal kazooist of The Nihilist Spasm Band. His work is represented in numerous Canadian collections, including the National Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series consists of correspondence, press clippings, photographs and other material documenting concerts and tours by the Nihilist Spasm Band. Files are arranged in approximate chronological order.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Further accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is held by the creator. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator(s) of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Related material: A set of Nihilist Spasm Band player cards may be found in Series 1 (box 1, folder 2)
Language of material: Some material is in French and Japanese.
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Boyle, John B., 1941- (Creator)
Genre access points
Description control area
Edward P. Taylor Library and Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario