Chroma Lives comprises research of a performative archive project by Erin Alexa Freedman and Lili Huston-Herterich into the group exhibition Chromaliving: New Designs for Living. Taking place in Toronto in 1983, Chromaliving occupied the disused architecture of a former department store, and offered audiences a theatricalized vision of contemporary living through a labyrinth-like setting of domestic room displays of artist-made furniture, dressed mannequins, appliances, and interior decoration. Chroma Lives asks the question of how to reanimate this large-scale exhibition from Toronto’s recent art historical past and suture it to contemporary practices within the city.
The publication includes essays by Freedman and Huston-Herterich that provide a history of Chromaliving and of the contemporary exhibition and oral history project they staged to archive this past event. These texts are accompanied by a previously unpublished essay by art historian Rosemary Donegan, which tells the history of Toronto’s vibrant downtown art scene in the early eighties; they are also supplemented by generous photographic documentation of Chromaliving and its contemporary restaging Chroma Lives.