On view from October 19, 2017, to March 18, 2018
The 2017 Canadian Biennial opens tomorrow at the National Gallery of Canada. The fourth of the Gallery’s Biennial exhibitions that present selected recent acquisitions of Canadian and Indigenous contemporary art, the 2017 edition also includes international artworks for the first time. The exhibition features over 50 artists and more than 100 works covering a diverse spectrum of contemporary production from painting, sculpture, and photography, to drawing, print-making, video and large-scale mixed media installations.
Running through March 18, 2018, the Biennial visualizes a current moment in art-making as viewed through the filters of the Gallery’s national collection and the research, travels and dialogues of curators working in the departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and the Canadian Photography Institute. All of the works in the exhibition were acquired by the Gallery through purchase or donation between April 2014 and June 2017. The 2017 Canadian Biennial is generously supported by RBC Foundation.
The exhibition begins with an incisive yet comedic engagement with a past century of Western art-making as encountered through Kent Monkman’s 2015 video and mixed-media installation Casualties of Modernity (2015). Paintings by Mickalene Thomas and Cynthia Girard-Renard, a textile by Shannon Bool, and a large collage by Wangechi Mutu are also featured in the opening room of the exhibition. Together, their works introduce numerous critical, political, aesthetic, and material threads that run throughout the exhibition, in works such as Stan Douglas’ compelling six-hour meander into an Afrobeat jam session in Luanda-Kinsasha (2013), the late Kwakwaka'wakw artist, activist and hereditary Chief Beau Dick’s celebrated performative masks, Nick Cave’s enchanting Sound Suit (2015), borne from the horrors of racialized violence, to Latifa Echakhch’s sculptures and paintings that reconcile personal narratives against broader cultural or nationalistic norms and expectations. The many Canadian, Indigenous and international contemporary artworks on view in the 2017 Canadian Biennial offer forms of worldly engagement between Canada and the global histories within which the complex fabric of the nation is connected.
A number of the Canadian artworks on view received their intitial reception outside of the country, for example Shelagh Keeley’s 75 foot long wall drawing German notes / after Lucretius / de rerum natura (2013), originally conceived for the Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany. Also making a Canadian debut is BGL’s massive sculptural installation Canadassimo (Dépanneur) (2015), created by the Quebec artist group in 2015 when they represented Canada at the “Olympics” of the art world, the Venice Biennale.
“RBC is proud of our ongoing support of the National Gallery of Canada’s biennial exhibition and delighted to celebrate the eclectic and thought-provoking selection of contemporary works,” said Valerie Chort, Vice-President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “This year’s exhibition is an extraordinary testament to the increasingly global nature of contemporary art in Canada and how it engages and connects us all.”
Another first for 2017, the Biennial presents a collateral component titled Turbulent Landings: The NGC 2017 Canadian Biennial at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton, as part of the NGC@AGA program, on view until January 7, 2018. This initiative, a first for the Canadian Biennial, addresses the Gallery’s mandate to make the national collection known and accessible across Canada. Turbulent Landings places issues of land, and the consequences of “landings” – of colonialism, slavery and other forced migrations – into focus through recently acquired works by John Akomfrah, Mark Bradford, Beau Dick, Julie Mehretu, Chris Ofili, Wael Shawky, and Hajra Waheed.
Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Jonathan Shaughnessy, is the lead curator for the 2017 Canadian Biennial. He was also co-curator with Catherine Crowston, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta, and Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, for Turbulent Landings: The NGC 2017 Canadian Biennial.
The Canadian, Indigenous and international artists whose works are comprised in the 2017 Canadian Biennial across both venues are:
Jamasee Padluq Pitseolak
Renée Van Halm
Daniel Young & Christian Giroux
The 2017 Canadian Biennial is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue. Published by the NGC, the bilingual 334-page volume features a foreword by the Gallery’s Director, Marc Mayer, an essay by Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Jonathan Shaughnessy, and entries by the curators of the departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and the Canadian Institute of Photography. It also includes the complete list of works acquired by the Gallery since 2014 The catalogue is on sale at the Boutique for $40 as well as at ShopNGC.ca, the Gallery’s online boutique.
Meet the Expert
Saturday, October 21, at noon, meet with the exhibition lead curator, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, NGC, Jonathan Shaughnessy. In the Special Exhibition Galleries. In English.
Adult Tour Program – Canadian Biennale Highlights
From October 31, 2017 to March 18, 2018, adults are invited to explore how contemporary artists are responding to the world around them in this exhibition featuring the latest in Canadian and international art. Migration, globalization and identity are explored through a range of media. In the Special Exhibition Galleries. Groups must include a minimum of 10 people. Cost: $7 + Gallery admission. Registration required three weeks in advance at 613-990-4888 or by email at email@example.com.
Spotlight on Contemporary Art
From 28 October 28, 2017, to March 18, 2018, from 2 pm to 3 pm, interpreters will be in the exhibition space to answer visitors’ questions and share insights. In exhibition space. Saturday, Sundays and holidays. Bilingual. Free with admission.
Connect with the Gallery
The Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5 pm, and until 8 pm on Thursdays. Closed on Mondays. Open noon to 5pm November 11, 2017 (Remembrance Day), December 26 to 31, 2017 (Holiday Period), February 19, 2018 (Ontario Family Day), March 5, 2018 (Quebec March Break), and March 12, 2018 (Ontario March Break), For more information, visit https://www.gallery.ca/visit/hours-and-admission
Tickets: $15 (adults); $13 (seniors and full-time students); $7 (24 and under/students); $30 (families: two adults and three youth, 17 and under). Admission is free for children 11 and under, and for Members. Includes admission to the NGC Collection. Free admission on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm. For more information, visit https://www.gallery.ca/visit/hours-and-admission.
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 center 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 @NatGalleryCan
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have approximately 81,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.
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