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Must-Sees This Week: August 14 to 20, 2014

There are lots of great art exhibitions opening this week, and other interesting art events happening too. Here are our best bets.

The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture kicks off the Riverside Arts Festival on August 14. In addition to a variety of town-wide arts programs, the Odd Gallery’s annual project The Natural & the Manufactured stands out; it includes an outdoor site-specific installation by Terrance Houle in Riverside Park that involves the use of Native American Sign Language and Signals, a gallery installation on the connection between traditional medicine and Métis culture by Dylan Miner, an artist talk by David Garneau about roadkill art and the Métis imagination, and a conversation on contemporary indigenous art by all three of these practitioners. It all begins 7:30 p.m. on August 14 at the Odd Gallery.

One of the leading Pakistani artists of his generation, Rashid Rana, will give an artist talk at the Mississauga Civic Centre on August 13 from to 9 p.m. Co-presented by the Aga Khan Museum and the Art Gallery of Mississauga, the talk presents a rare opportunity to hear from Rana, who broke through to international prominence in 2004 with images of burqa-clad women that were actually mosaics composed of pornographic photographs. While in the area, be sure to check out the AGM’s ongoing exhibition “The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989.”

Earlier this summer, the Canada Council opened a new gallery on Elgin Street, and now a small independent gallery is following suit. PDA Projects opens its first exhibition at 361 Elgin on August 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. with works by Anne Marie Dumouchel, Marc Knowles, Christopher Payne, Rah, and Zoltan Veevaete. In keeping with the gallery’s aim to support “a new generation of Canadian artists,” three of these artists are currently engaged in MFA programs. Watch for artist talks and other programs at the space that hope to show that “art is for everyone.”

How can design be truly inclusive? This is a pertinent question in a city like Toronto, where many storefronts and sidewalks still lack wheelchair ramps. So expect relevant discussion this week at “Waking the Machines,” a lecture, workshop and public forum led by American artist, design researcher and Gizmodo writer Sara Hendren. Coordinated by InterAccess, the events all take place at OCAD University, with the lecture on art, assistive tech and performative prosthetics taking place August 14 from 4 to 5 p.m., the workshop on ramps happening August 15 from 9 to 11 a.m., and the public forum rolling out August 15 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Elsewhere, Marianne Burlew‘s project Don’t Touch—for which the artist has encased work donated by other artists in protective structures—opens at Red Head on August 14 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Influential LA-based cultural critic Chris Kraus—a co-editor at Semiotexte—speaks at Plug In ICA on August 18 at 7 p.m. Specifically, Kraus will talk in relation to her recent book of art criticism Kelly Lake Store and Other Stories, which argues that the art world has become the last refuge for the humanities and its “debased” professions of social work, school-teaching, translation and literature. In her text, Kraus also takes up another hot topic: namely, the transition in MFA programs away from anything that even closely resembles “visual art.”

The Art Gallery of Alberta is the oldest cultural institution in the prairie province, and it celebrates its 90th birthday on August 17. In addition to cake, family activities and pay what you can admission from 12 to 4 p.m., the celebration also offers the last opportunity to check out two exhibitions honouring the AGA’s past: “High Adventure: Byron Harmon in the Columbia Icefield, 1924” and “Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson: Jasper/ Robson, 1924.” Continuing on, but still worth a gander, is also “90 x 90: Celebrating Art in Alberta,” which features work from Chris Cran, Eric Cameron, Chris Millar and many other talents.

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are selected from press material sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, please visit

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