Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Witness to the passing time: The Art Metropole Collection

Ottawa - November 30, 2006

From 1 December 2006 to 25 February 2007, the National Gallery of Canada is presenting more than 100 objects selected from the Art Metropole collection. Art Metropole: The Top 100 includes works by more than 125 Canadian and international artists that celebrate the depth and breadth of this exceptional collection.

"This unusual ‘museum within a museum’ is still a little-known Canadian treasure with international relevance," said Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. "Art Metropole: The Top 100 gives greater exposure to this extensive collection and brings to light some of the rare material it contains. The generous collaboration of two men deserves mention here: Jay Smith for his recognition of the material's importance for the country, and AA Bronson for the assistance he provided to the donor and his unfailing support for the exhibitions' curators."

The story of the Art Metropole Collection begins sometime in the late sixties when a group of artists known as General Idea began collecting the flotsam and jetsam that passed through their lives and studios. Over time they established an elaborate tradition of collecting informed by their artistic practice. Ultimately, their collection itself became a work of art that contains today 13,000 objects ranging from artist books and multiples (artist's numbered editions) to audio works, videos and art works. Besides General Idea, artists such as Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, John Cage and Marina Abramovic contributed to it. First located at Art Metropole, a Toronto based artist-run centre, the collection was donated to the National Gallery of Canada by Jay Smith, with assistance from AA Bronson, the only surviving member of General Idea.

The catalogue Art Metropole: The Top 100 has been produced for this exhibition. Kitty Scott, former Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, selected the works and wrote the introduction in collaboration with Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Jonathan Shaughnessy. The illustrated catalogue documents each of the works selected and will become an essential reference for the Art Metropole Collection as well as a chronicle of the artistic exuberance of the time. The catalogue, available in French or English editions is on sale at the Gallery's Bookstore.

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Nadia Seraiocco
Senior Media Relations Officer

Anne Tanguay
Manager, Public Relations