National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Annual Bulletin 3, 1979-1980

Annual Index
Author & Subject


by Hsio-Yen Shih

Page  1  |  2  

All avenues were explored to present exhibitions within extremely limited budgets. One method by which the Gallery was able to reduce costs of exhibitions was through greater dependence upon its own collections. Half of the eighteen exhibitions and installations created in 1979-80 drew from the Gallery's permanent holdings. Of these, four were circulated to other Canadian institutions. Two exhibitions shown at the Gallery were organized elsewhere; Daniel Fowler of Amherst Island came to us from the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; and John Hall: Paintings and Auxiliary Works had originally been selected for the Alberta College of Art Gallery, Calgary. His Excellency Mr Michiaki Suma, Ambassador of Japan to Canada, generously allowed the Gallery to exhibit his father's collection of twentieth-century Chinese painting, the Umega chodo bunka collection being particularly significant as it was purchased directly from artists or from exhibitions where the works were first shown. Two interesting experiments were introduced this year as well; Mr J. B. Spratt of Spratt Block Ltd. lent almost two thousand concrete blocks so that the artist Carl André could create his Eight Cuts at the Gallery; Mr Bill Poole, Chairman of General Studies at the Ontario College of Art, brought his students to the Gallery to install Hot and Cold, an exhibition to introduce children to the sensory stimulations of colour and texture.

It took ingenuity to make the Gallery better known on the eve of its centenary without special funds. The curatorial staff generously travelled across the country in a Speakers Bureau. A number of organizations, both public and private, volunteered publicity for the Gallery; Canada Post produced commemorative stamps; Mediacom Inc. permitted the Gallery to use its billboards for two months; the Royal Bank published a special issue on collecting in its Newsletter; Canadian Telecommunications Carrier Association, the Maritime Telegraph and Telephone, the Government Telecommunications Agency, all reproduced works from the national collections on the covers of telephone directories; The Ottawa Citizen printed a series on the One Hundred Plus most important paintings at the National Gallery; the National Arts Centre distributed the Gallery's Calendar in its mailings; Kromar Printing Ltd. of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Thorn Press Ltd. of Don Mills, Ontario, both donated printing of exhibition opening invitations.

The Gallery has been heartened by this evidence of support from so many sources across the country. Federal funding alone would not have made planning for centennial celebrations possible in this fiscal year.

The problems of federal funding for the arts, and for cultural activities generally, are currently under study by a committee formed by the Secretary of State. Simultaneously, the National Museums of Canada are undertaking a policy and programme review. The Gallery may, therefore, enter its second century with renewed though cautious optimism for a vital future.

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