The Moustache: Memories of Greg Curnoe


128 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-88910-457-3
DDC 759.11





Reviewed by David Kimmel

David Kimmel is a Ph.D. candidate in history at York University.


London (Ontario) painter Greg Curnoe’s accidental death in 1992 cut
short his important and successful career. But this book is not about
his work. Rather, it is a collection of memoirs, literally more than 100
anecdotes and impressions culled from the memory of writer George
Bowering, one of Curnoe’s friends. The reader learns little about the
artist and much about the man, his behavior, attitudes, wit, and circle
of friends.

Curnoe was a Canadian nationalist in the sense that he was staunchly
anti-American, a regionalist from southwestern Ontario (“Souwesto”),
and a prominent member of the Nihilist Party of Canada. He involved
himself in many art forms, including poetry and music, as a connoisseur
and a promoter. He dressed in a way reminiscent of his multicolor
paintings. He liked to say “for example” and seemed to use the
adjective “rotten” a lot. Such information is the essence of The
Moustache. Characteristic of real memories, Bowering’s entries are
incomplete, repetitive, and at times too personal and referential to be
meaningful. Readers who need an objective and comprehensive account of
Curnoe’s life and work should look elsewhere first, and then to this
book for an intimate perspective.


Bowering, George., “The Moustache: Memories of Greg Curnoe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 1, 2022,