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Are you ready to RUMBLE?
Join us for a fall brawl of a season at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre!


Punching the Clock: Working to Wrestle in Hamilton
Dave Kuruc

September 12th – December 21st, 2018
At the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
Opening Reception: Friday, September 14th, 7-10 pm. The artist will be in attendance.

Curated by Tara Bursey

Jobbers. Exports. Hamilton’s wrestling “factory.” The language of work and the language of wrestling share a similar vocabulary that helps situate the sport as a favourite spectacle of working class folks in post-industrial cities (and beyond). Whether you love it or hate it, wrestling—both local and the world of professional wrestling popularized by the WWE— demands strength, skill, cooperation and theatricality of its talent. While people question whether or not wrestling is “real,” the perils of a career as a wrestler are substantial. Stories from wrestling’s past and present echo those in industrial workplaces, from union drives among pro wrestlers and camaraderie, to the chronic pain associated with exposure to punishing working conditions.

Punching the Clock, an exhibition of design and research by graphic artist Dave Kuruc, presents the faces, places and names of Hamilton’s local wrestling scene against a backdrop of Hamilton’s downtown and east end industrial neighbourhoods in the mid-20th century. The stories of the wrestlers represented illustrate how wrestling weaved a community together around common experiences of labour and leisure. The working lives of the people behind the pomp of their characters show the creativity and resilience of everyday people working for a living in a changing city.

A love letter to Hamilton’s past and present, this exhibition positions wrestling as equal parts art, work and sport — a true worker’s art form.

This exhibition and program will be accompanied by an exhibition essay by Anthony Easton.

About the Artist and Curator:

Dave Kuruc is a Hamilton-based graphic artist. Inspired by the history and culture of Hamilton’s downtown core, his design work can be found on t-shirts, hats, buttons, patches, posters, prints, postcards, album covers, shop signs and the Hamilton Street Railway’s B-Line bus. Dave’s local leadership has been recognized with Top 30 Under 30 honours from Hamilton Magazine, and Top 40 Under 40 honours from The Hamilton Spectator, and in 2008 as a Mohawk College Alumni of Distinction. He most recently completed a commission to create public art in Downtown Hamilton's Gore Park. Dave, with his wife Teresa Devries, are the people behind Mixed Media art shop and the new King West Books.

Tara Bursey is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, writer and arts worker with an interest in social history and social justice, working class identity, printed matter and subcultures. Formerly the coordinator of exhibitions and programs at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, she is now the Interim Manager of Education at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. She lives and works in Hamilton.



Saturday, September 15th, 1:30 – 3 pm  Guided Exhibition Walkthrough with artist Dave Kuruc. No pre-registration needed. Free; all are welcome.

Sunday, September 16th, 2 - 4 pm   Art Wrestles Work! Wrestling Matches with Alpha-1 Wrestling talent “All Ego” Ethan Page, “Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander, “Bone Crusher” Steve Brown and Brett Michael David. A Q&A with local wrestlers will follow the matches, facilitated by Dave Kuruc and Tara Bursey. Pre-registration required via Eventbrite here; space is limited.

Friday, October 5th, 7 pm   Identity, Labour, Art and Sport panel talk with Simon Black (Professor, Labour Studies, Brock University) and other guests TBD. The panel will be followed by a screening of the film Gridiron Underground (Dir: Bill Armstrong) at 8:30 pm.

Saturday, October 13th, 1 - 3 pm  Labour and Wrasslin’ East End Walking Tour led by Rob Kristofferson (Associate Professor, Social and Environmental Justice/History, Laurier University) and artist Dave Kuruc. Learn the labour and wrestling history of Hamilton’s East End! Pre-registration opens soon via Eventbrite.

For more information, contact:
Hitoko Okada, Interim Program Coordinator at or (905) 522-3003 ex. 29

Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
51 Stuart Street | Hamilton, Ontario | (905) 522-3003
Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
Twitter: @WAHC
Facebook: WorkersArtsandHeritageCentre

The Workers Arts & Heritage Centre is a fully accessible building.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. | Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.


Image (top): Irish Timothy Geohagan and Ivan Kalmikoff at the Municipal Pool, King Street East, Hamilton. December 17th, 1959. Image courtesy of Hamilton Spectator Collection, Hamilton Public Library. Image (bottom): Dave Kuruc, WAHC Arena Wrestling: Jade (2018)





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