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2011 Preview: Facing the New Year

Neil Campbell Narcissus 2011 Installation mockup Courtesy the artist

This coming year promises to be an exciting one in Canadian art. From Steven Shearer’s outing at the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale this summer to France-bound show of Winnipeg artists—as well as major institutional exhibitions by the likes of Brian Jungen, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Ron Terada and more—there’s much to look forward to. Here, our cross-country forecast of the year to come.


BC’s busy year opens with “Faces” at Vancouver’s Belkin Art Gallery on January 14. Co-curated by Scott Watson and select graduate students from UBC’s Critical Curatorial Studies and Theory program, this show draws from the Belkin’s permanent collection, and is organized around Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of “faciality.” Featured artists include Rebecca Belmore, Neil Campbell and Myfanwy MacLeod. Elsewhere in Vancouver, conceptualist Robert Arndt opens at Artspeak on January 22; multimedia artist Alex Morrison presents new work at Catriona Jeffries in early February; and painter Brad Phillips and photographer Karin Bubas open shows at Monte Clark Gallery in April and June respectively. The Vancouver Art Gallery will mount a Ken Lum retrospective in February, and on May 28 it will open “The Colour of My Dreams: Surrealism and Revolution in Art”— an exhibition guest curated by Dawn Ades that promises to be the most comprehensive survey of surrealist art ever shown in Canada. Germaine Koh opens at the Surrey Art Gallery with Gordon Hicks on January 15 (on view until mid March), and will also show at the Kamloops Art Gallery starting in October. Modernist landscape painter Takao Tanabe gets a retrospective at the Burnaby Art Gallery in the fall. Highlights at the Yukon Arts Centre include the group photography exhibition “Still Films,” featuring work by Mary Beth Edelson, Duane Michals, Eadweard Muybridge and Charles Stankievech among others.


The Art Gallery of Alberta hits the ground running with an exhibition of works by Brian Jungen, which will include a new configuration of his Carapace to be completed on site at the AGA over January. This winter, the province’s annual Exposure photography festival’s exhibition program includes d. bradley muir and Katherine Lannin at the Art Gallery of Calgary, Toni Hafkenscheid and Eszter Burghardt at Herringer Kiss Gallery and Brian Eno at the Glenbow Museum. This April, welcome spring with a visit to Edmonton’s Peter Robertson Gallery, where Monica Tap’s luscious landscapes will turn one’s thoughts to the outdoors. Also in April, the Banff Centre will open an exhibition of work by French heavy-hitter Pierre Huyghe. Later, when students push their books aside this summer, the Centre will host The Serving Library, a travelling collection of books and artifacts compiled by Dexter Sinister (David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey) that asks questions about contemporary publishing, book distribution and learning. This incarnation of the project will include a residency between July 4 and August 12. In the fall, just in time for bundling up, Jarod Charzewski will build one of his signature used-clothing landscapes at the New Gallery.


Plug In and the Winnipeg Art Gallery launch 2011 with “Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years,” which promises to be a thorough, provocative look at the projected influence of Aboriginal populations on new-millennial culture. Plug In follows with “Frontrunners” on May 28, taking a complementary gaze backward to Daphne Odjig’s innovative founding of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. in the early 1970s. Jayce Salloum and Khadim Ali‘s Bamiyan (the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart) inaugurates the exhibition year at Saskatoon’s Kenderdine Art Gallery on January 21. Concurrently, tragicomic conceptualist Jon Sasaki is at the venue’s College Art Gallery location with his show “Good Intentions.” Regina’s Neutral Ground will show Sobey nominee Brendan Fernandes in the spring and Adrian Stimson in the summer; on October 30 it will open “Cabin Fever,” the critically acclaimed exhibition of photography and video organized by Winnipeg’s Platform that examines phenomena of boredom and isolation.


Ontario’s year begins with a look back to 1970, when Bruce Nauman unveiled his Surveillance Piece at London’s 20/20 Gallery, since known as Audio/Video Piece for London, Ontario. The Forest City Gallery (20/20’s current incarnation) plays host to Nauman’s installation once again starting January 7, with a reception January 14. If you’re in London later in the month, you’ll also catch an exhibition of collages by Greg Curnoe at Museum London (it’s on until April 22). Opening just in time for the spring thaw is “Winter Kept Us Warm,” an exhibition of works by Prairie-based artists in Ottawa as part of this year’s Prairie Scene programme. Produced by Plug In, the show is scheduled to open at Maison Rouge in Paris after closing on May 8. The National Gallery of Canada has Italy in its sights for the summer. Not only is the Gallery hosting a major exhibition of works by Caravaggio and his circle between June and September; its senior curator of contemporary art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, is organizing the exhibition of Steven Shearer’s work at the upcoming Venice Biennale, which opens in early June. Watch out for the 5th KWAG Biennial, curated this summer by Robert Enright. Abbas Akhavan’s penchant for gold is sure to dazzle visitors to Kingston’s Modern Fuel in October; nearby at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Annie Pootoogook works will be on display until December 11.

In Toronto, the new year kicks off with the Art Gallery of York University’s “Revolutionary Sundays,” the first North American exhibition dedicated to the archive of photographer and Castro-supporter Gilberto Ante’s depictions of the Cuban Revolution. Lauded impasto painter Kim Dorland takes over most of Angell Gallery from January to February. The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery goes Vancouver this year, with a survey of work by Ron Terada starting in January and a solo outing by Kevin Schmidt from June 8 to August 21. Schmidt will also have work on display this spring at the Power Plant as part of “To What Earth Does This Sweet Cold Belong?”— a group exhibition highlighting new landscape art. The show will be mounted alongside an installation by acclaimed Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, entitled Das Auge. The Art Gallery of Ontario is gunning for a big year in 2011, with imported shows from international heavy hitters like MoMA—“Abstract Expressionist New York” runs May 28 to September 4—and Centre Pompidou —“Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde” is slated for October 15 to January 15, 2012. The gallery’s contemporary Canadian offerings include an exhibition about Paterson Ewen and his influences, curated by CEO Matthew Teitelbaum, which opens February 8; an installation of work by Brian Jungen, opening in spring; a General Idea summertime retrospective from Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and the long-awaited retrospective “Cardiff/Miller: Transport to Now,” curated by David Moos and tentatively scheduled for the fall.


SBC Gallery starts the year off right with an exhibition of work by 2010 Sobey Art Award winner Daniel Barrow, which opens on February 12. In March, Centre Clark will pair Sophie Bélair Clément and Thérèse Mastroiacovo, two artists who make art about art: Bélair Clément has led orchestral renditions of noises made by Dan Flavin neon works, and Mastroiacovo literally takes the “boring” out of John Baldessari’s I will not make any more boring art. Though David Altmejd took Baldessari’s mantra to heart long ago, he will up the ante between May 4 and 7 with the world premiere of Conte crépusculaire at Galerie de l’UQAM. The allegorical musical about a dying king will combine the artist’s fantastical aesthetic with rich team of talents, including fellow artist Pascal Grandmaison and musical composer Pierre Lapointe. Also in May, an exhibition of new work by the ever-cheeky Kent Monkman will open at Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain. Celebrated RBC Painting Competition winner Alexis Lavoie will be on display at Galerie Orange for the month of June. Summer sizzles with French fashion at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, where couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier will open his first-ever retrospective. Parisian Laundry will launch an exhibition of work by Alexandre David and Paul Butler on November 3.


In Halifax, Cathy Busby’s Atrium, a chromacoded installation and conceptual intervention on representations of First Nations in works from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia‘s permanent collection, continues through February. The AGNS’s feature exhibition of etchings of box traps, snares and leg irons with their related prey—from lobsters to bobcats—by longtime Nova Scotia artist Cecil Day, ends in Halifax on January 23 and re-opens for a year-long run at the AGNS Yarmouth starting on April 16. In the spring, “Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980,” the much-celebrated exhibit that debuted in Toronto last fall, will travel to the city’s university galleries. These include St. Mary’s University Art Gallery and Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, which will host the Halifax section curated by Jayne Wark and centring on important innovations incubated at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Summer at Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre is graced by prairie artist Aganetha Dyck. The show is yet untitled but promises eccentric thrills, including, true to the artist’s proclivities, live bees.

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