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Must-Sees This Week: May 18 to 24, 2017

In Montreal this week: debuts of new work by BGL and the first Canadian show for Scotland’s Rachel Maclean, currently making waves at the Venice Biennale.

Lots of great art exhibitions and events are taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. Visit our Exhibition Finder for more listings of worthwhile shows that are already open.

Montreal and Area

Venice Biennale representatives, national and international, past and present, are featured in three exhibitions across Montreal this week: A new exhibition from Canadian collective BGL, who represented Canada in the 2015 Biennale, opens at Parisian Laundry on May 18 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. On May 19, Vie D’ange opens “State of Happiness,” featuring work by Rachel Maclean, currently making waves at for Scotland at the Venice Biennale. (It’s Maclean’s first solo show in Canada.) And “Machinimagraphique!” by Skawennati, who is included in the Hyper Pavilion as part of the current Venice Biennale, opens at Ellephant on May 20 with a reception from 2 to 6 p.m.

On other fronts, Patrick Mikhail Gallery hosts the opening reception for “Human After All,” featuring works by Marie Archambault, Delphine Kim Carrufel, My-Van Dam, and Michaelle Sergile, on May 20 from 2 to 5 p.m. Maison de l’architecture du Québec opens the exhibition “Invarations” by resident studio Pelletier de Fontenay on May 20. L’espace contemporain presents a reception for the exhibition “Métissage,” featuring work by Sylvie Beaupré, Danielle Benoit, and Lorraine Camerlain, among others, on May 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

On May 18, the Darling Foundry hosts a discussion with current resident Iosu Aramburu, touching on his current research and Expo 67, at 7 p.m. And Plein Sud Centre in Longeuil also opens Gabrielle Lajoie-Bergeron’s “Paroles de cow-boy Girls – Pow! – Pow!” on May 20.

Toronto and Area

This week, York University hosts the symposium “Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working” from May 18 to May 20, featuring keynote presentations by Steve Kurtz and Cameron Cartiere among many other papers, panels and presentations. The Art Gallery of Ontario opens “As If Sand Were Stone: Contemporary Latin American Art from the AGO Collection” on May 20. May 18 is the first full day to see exhibitions by Jacob Whibley, Shannon Garden-Smith and Emily Smit-Dicks at 8-Eleven‘s new location on Dupont Street.

Reimagine Galleria presents the opening reception for “Place and Placement: Art-Gardens in our Community,” featuring work by Edward Burtynsky, Eldon Garnet, and Dyan Marie, among others, on May 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Loop opens two exhibitions this weekend with a combined reception on May 21 from 2 to 5 p.m.: “Lanny Shereck: Almost Human” and “Phillip Woolf: The Edge of the Woods.”

In last-chances-to-see, Jaime Angelopoulos at MKG127 wraps up May 20.

A bit of a drive from downtown, Ed Pien’s large-scale installation “Reveal” opens on May 18 at the Latcham Gallery in Stouffville.

Calgary and Area

In response to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Founders Gallery presents “TRENCH: 50° 50′ 3″ N 113° 4′ 22″ W,” a durational performance by Adrian Stimson where the artist will carve Blackfoot war symbols into the earth near his family home on the Sisika Nation, near Gleichen. The performances run May 23 to 27, with action ongoing from sunrise to sunset.

On May 18 at 5:30 p.m. and May 19 at 12 p.m., the Glenbow Museum is offering a behind the scenes tour of its Inuit art collection, including clothing, prints and sculpture. Urbanized is a feature-length documentary, part of a late-night Thursday program on May 18 at from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Contemporary Calgary, about the design of cities. It looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. The film will be introduced by Jordan Allen, founding partner of Bioi Design + Build, who will discuss the challenges that face the city in terms of creating and sustaining the urban realm in Calgary.

Vancouver and Area

On May 18, UNIT/PITT projects hosts the opening reception for Jamey Braden’s “SHE ______ THE ______,” beginning at 8 p.m. The Vancouver Art Gallery opens the group exhibition “Pictures from Here,” including works by Marian Penner Bancroft, Stan Douglas, Jeff Wall, and Rodney Graham, among many others, on May 19.

Also on May 19, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., the New Media Gallery in New Westminster presents the opening reception for the group exhibition “Bridge,” featuring Bill Fontana, Willie Doherty, Scott Billings and Josh Hite. On May 20 at 7 p.m., Wil Aballe Art Projects presents an artist talk by Sean Alward discussing his current exhibition “Liquid Mountains.”

Macaulay & Co. Fine Art presents “Drawings,” an exhibition of new work by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, on May 20 with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam presents the opening reception for “Coquitlam, Canada,” with materials from the Coquitlam Archives and works by William Eakin and Arni Haraldsson, and many others, on May 20 from 3 to 5 p.m.


The inaugural “PLUS Art Fair,” organized by Keep Six Contemporary Art and featuring works by Amanda Clyne, Alexis Hildreth, and many other emerging Canadian or recently graduated artists, opens this week on May 18 and runs until May 21 at the Cotton Factory.


Museum London opens “Air Waves: Radio and TV in London,” examining the golden age of radio and television, on May 20. Also learn about light and sound art on a tour with our curator of art Cassandra Getty of the exhibitions “Sparrow Night” and “Sounds Assembling” on May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.


Artist Landon Mackenzie delivers an artist talk and tour of the exhibition “Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts” on May 19 at 2 p.m. at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. As part of the ongoing exhibition “Picasso in Canada,” the WAG presents daily screenings of the film Pablo Picasso: Legacy of a Genius. PlatformMay 20 also marks the last day to catch “Epic Fail” and “Bugs” at .

Saint John

On May 18, the New Brunswick Museum hosts two free programs in honour of International Museums Day: From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. catch a series of guided tours and activities while from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., explore the elements of darkness with “Celebrate the Night.”

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are chosen from opening and event announcements sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit

This article was corrected on May 18, 2017. The original article implied that “Pictures from Here” at the Vancouver Art Gallery would have an evening opening reception. In fact, the exhibition opens the day of May 20.

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