Our Masterpieces, Our Stories: An unprecedented plethora of art made in Canada celebrating the creativity of past and present artists
Close to 1,000 works of art, including painting, sculpture, beadwork, photography and installations, will be on display at the National Gallery of Canada, as of this spring
In 2017, visitors to the National Gallery of Canada will be able to journey through the history of Canadian art, exploring close to 1,000 works from the national collection, special exhibitions, and interactive displays.
The tour begins in the newly transformed Canadian and Indigenous Galleries, where art From Time Immemorial to 1967 will be showcased. In the Contemporary Galleries, visitors will discover the many themes and movements that have shaped Canada’s visual arts landscape from 1968 to the present. In the exhibition organized by the Canadian Photography Institute visitors will experience the diversity of Canadian photographic practice and production from 1960 to 2000.
“The National Gallery of Canada will be presenting outstanding works, from our collection and borrowed from partner institutions, that tell the extraordinary story of art making in our country,” said NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “We are particularly grateful to the Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada, as well as to the McCord Museum, the Musée des Ursulines de Québec and the Bata Shoe Museum, among many other lenders, for making it possible for us to tell a fuller story of the artistic genius that makes Canada unique.”
The transformed Canadian and Indigenous Galleries: From Time Immemorial to 1967 will feature more than 600 works by artists including Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Norval Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig, as well as new acquisitions by James Wilson Morrice and others, including Hunting Coat, by an unknown Naskapi artist, dating from the 1840s. They will be on view next to photographs by William Notman, John Vanderpant and others from the national collection. Thematic groupings exploring a variety of topics such as the emergence of Inuit art will further enhance the narrative. Opens June 15, 2017.
The Contemporary Galleries will feature Canadian and Indigenous Art: From 1968 to Present, with more than 150 works in all media. From the feminist art movement of the 1970s to present-day Inuit art, the richness of the national Canadian and Indigenous contemporary art collections will be on view. Highlights include masterpieces such as Carl
Beam’s North American Iceberg, Shary Boyle’s work on paper Untitled (the Porcelain Fantasy series), as well as Brian Jungen’s sculptures Shapeshifter and Vienna – inspired by whale skeletons and made with white plastic chairs. Opens May 3, 2017.
Photography in Canada: 1960–2000, on view from April 7 to September 17, 2017, showcases more than 100 works by 71 artists, including: Raymonde April, Edward Burtynsky, Lynne Cohen, Angela Grauerholz, Michael Snow, Jeff Wall, and Jin-me Yoon. Organized by the Canadian Photography Institute, the exhibition will reveal the rich diversity of photographic practice in Canada over four decades, and how certain ideas of the medium both endure and change over the years. Exhibition themes include conceptual and urban landscape photography as well as documentary, portrait, and landscape photography.
From June 15 to September 4, 2017, the Gallery will dedicate an exhibition space to Our Stories, offering interactive experiences for visitors of all ages and interest levels to enhance their understanding of art in Canada and to engage with the Gallery’s exhibitions. Located in the Special Exhibition Galleries this space will include hands-on displays explaining a variety of art making techniques, as well as how the Gallery cares for the national collection. A timeline and map will highlight the diversity of artistic production in Canada. Video projections of Canadian landscapes will serve as inspiration for visitors to create their own digital paintings. The Woolsey family sitting room, featured in a family portrait painted by William Berczy in 1809, will be recreated for visitors to step into and take their own portraits.
On view at the National Gallery of Canada in 2017
PhotoLab 2: Women Speaking Art– Beginning April 7, 2017, this exhibition, organized by the Canadian Photography Institute, will highlight the work of women artists through a selection of videos from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, as well as photographs, posters, and prints from the National Gallery of Canada’s collections.
Masterpiece in Focus – Into the Collection: Ron Moppett and Damian Moppett– From May 12 to September 24, 2017, this installation from the Gallery’s collection examines the production of two Canadian contemporary artists whose respective careers the Gallery has followed from their early stages. The exhibition sheds light on elements of material process and aesthetic approach, while also reflecting on the key role of patronage in the Gallery’s ability to fulfil its mandate.
Canadian Biennial 2017 – FromOctober 13, 2017 to March 18, 2018, the National Gallery of Canada will present its fourth biennial exhibition drawn from purchases made by the departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and Photography since April 2014. New for 2017, this iteration of the Biennial will howcase Canadian and Indigenous artists alongside their international contemporaries, focusing on the dynamic interactions and diverse modes of expression and creativity that comprise the truly global world of contemporary art. A selection of recent acquisitions will also be on view at the Art Gallery of Alberta starting September 30, 2017.
Masterpiece in Focus – J.W. Morrice: The A. K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation– Opening October 20, 2017, this Masterpiece in Focus exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada will explore the intricate relationship between the collector and his artist of choice, J.W. Morrice. The landscape painter played a vital role in advancing modern artistic trends in the arts of Canada and abroad at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Gallery has organized a series of engaging public events throughout the 2017 season. TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival comes to the Gallery with cinema, food and conversation with special guests from April 27-30. Summer highlights will include mini-concerts throughout the Gallery presented by the Music and Beyond Festival during The National Gallery Soirée on July 11; a “performance exchange” titled IN MUSEUM between dancers and visitors, created by world-renowned dance artist Marie Chouinard, on July 15, presented in partnership with the Canada Dance Festival and the NAC’s Canada Scene Festival as well as a presentation of historic Canadian characters portrayed by Odyssey Showcase’s “Canada Speaks” ensemble on August 10.
For more information about the Gallery’s 2017 program, visit gallery.ca.
NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada’s online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events at the National Gallery of Canada. Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine also includes interviews with artists. Read the article "The Magnificent Art of this Land: The New Canadian and Indigenous Galleries," now online.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @gallerydotca.
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