Courtesy of the artist.
A photo of The Clichettes dressed as muscular men with wild hair, they are jumping mid-air holding colourful guitars. A photo of The Clichettes dressed as muscular men with wild hair, they are jumping mid-air holding colourful guitars.

The Clichettes: Lips, Wigs, and Politics

Artists: The Clichettes (Louise Garfield, Janice Hladki, and Johanna Householder)

Bridging theatre, lip-sync, dance, drag, costume, and comedy, the renowned Canadian artist trio The Clichettes developed a groundbreaking practice at the crossroads of performance art and feminist satire. This exhibition focuses on The Clichettes’ collaboration from 1978 to 1993, when Louise Garfield, Janice Hladki, and Johanna Householder performed to fervent audiences in Toronto and internationally, animating galleries, bars, cabarets, concert halls, festivals, benefits, rallies, and the streets. They produced four full-length plays, performing sold-out shows at theatres and alternative venues across Canada.

Over a fifteen-year period, and hundreds of performances, The Clichettes adopted dozens of personas—from love-sick girl to metalhead to lounge lizard to femme fatale—scrutinizing the tropes of femininity and masculinity as they sought to invert the archetypes so embedded in our cultural landscape. Greek mythology, art history, B movies, science fiction, 60s fashion, Motown, and hard rock: these were just some of their sources and reference points. Their characters were equally eclectic: Medusa, a quail hunter, a beanbag chair, a turtle, Fidel Castro. Unequivocally experimental, playful, and humorous, The Clichettes’ work was always—above all—political, exposing, challenging, and dismantling the structures that define power under patriarchy.

In the group’s first-ever retrospective, the McMaster Museum of Art celebrates The Clichettes’ many dynamic collaborations with artists, writers, designers, and directors. The exhibition brings together over 150 costumes, props, videos, photographs, drawings, scripts, and archival materials that attest to The Clichettes’ radical vision for a better world.

Opening Reception
Thursday, September 19, 5 – 8PM

♪ The Clichettes Playlist ♪

Vtape provided curatorial support as well as restoration and digitization expertise in creating The Clichettes retrospective.

Didactic and Show Descriptions

Alternative Text Descriptions for Costumes and Ephemera

Thank you in advance for your patience while we pilot this new approach to providing descriptive exhibition information. If there is an accessibility issue with the documents above, or you would like to make a request for materials, please email museum@mcmaster.ca

Curated by: Ivana Dizdar

May 21, 2024 – November 08, 2024

Link to Exhibitions Archive for a complete list of past exhibitions


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To promote and stimulate learning, interest and continued enjoyment about the visual arts, the Museum will organize an annual programme of temporary exhibitions for presentation year round.

Exhibition proposals/submissions are accepted on an on-going basis.

The Director/Curator will select and establish the annual exhibition programme in collaboration with the curatorial team. An exhibition schedule will be presented by the Director/Curator to the Advisory Board of the Museum once each year


Proposals are accepted from artists and curators.


10-20 digital images, project description, and CV.

View digital image requirements


Carol Podedworny, Director and Curator
McMaster Museum of Art
University Ave, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6


The McMaster Museum of Art is a third party recommender for Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Exhibition Assistance Grants.

The 2023-24 Exhibition Assistance Program opens on June 7, 2023, and closes on January 16, 2024. Our deadlines for the programming year are:

  • September 7, 2023, 1 p.m. ET
  • December 7, 2023, 1 p.m. ET


Please follow the guidelines established by the Ontario Arts Council, apply directly through their website, and submit the following with your applications:

Brief artist statement
Confirmation letter from the gallery/museum/venue
Digital images of work