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Must-Sees This Week: June 23 to 29, 2016

Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. (And remember to visit our Exhibition Finder, or download the Canadian Art Finder in the App Store or Google Play for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.)


American artist Emily Mast researched animal captivity and human confinement for her project “The Cage is a Stage,” opening June 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Blackwood Gallery. Mast interviewed an animal expert, a zoo curator, and anthrozoologist and a telepathic interspecies communicator, as well as examined relationships between humans and animals in other ways. Then, she created a cast of actors (including a horse-crazy child and a ballerina-turned-cirque-performer) and worked collaboratively with them to create scenes and scores. (Look for more details on Mast’s live performances in our Toronto section.)


Starting on June 25, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia presents “Terroir: A Nova Scotia Survey,” an ambitious exhibition featuring works by 29 artists working in the province. Created on the basis of an open call, and taking up three floors of exhibition space, the show includes painters, weavers, sculptors, printmakers, makers of video and installation art, rug hookers and beyond.

Quebec City

On June 24, the cultural landscape of Quebec City sees a big event—the opening of a $100-million, 15,000-square-metre pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec that is also the first North American museum building designed by the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture—an outfit famed for its founding by starchitect Rem Koolhaas, as well as its recent award-winning reno for Milan’s Prada Foundation. Opening day sees an art-oriented street fair take place around the museum, the opportunity to participate in a large weaving activity by Georgia Volpe, and an evening of electronic music and digital arts. Free admission through the weekend is also on tap.

Montreal and Area

A “fictional collection” curated by Ji-Yoon Han and featuring work by Numa Amun, Anthony Burnham, and Lizzy Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, among others, opens at galerie antoine ertaskiran on June 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. Watch for Tom Watson’s huge sculpture of a Croc sandal—yep!—at a group show opening at Laroche/Joncas on June 29. “My name is Raj,” a show by award-winning filmmaker Srinivas Krishna, opens at Ellephant on June 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Verticale’s Club de lecture, led this week by Carole Couturier, Jean-Philippe Luckhurst-Cartier and Josianne Poirier meets at 6 p.m. on June 29 at Laval’s Parc Rosaire-Gauthier to discuss urbanism and culture in the suburbs. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal opens the most ambitious survey to date of Vancouver artist Liz Magor’s work, including installations and sculptures from the last 40 years; the survey continues to September 5, 2016.


Nuit Rose, Toronto’s festival of queer art and performance, features 65+ artists at venues in Artscape Youngplace, Church/Wellesley and Queen Street West on the evening of June 25, starting at 7 p.m. “Working Conditions,” opening June 23 at Gallery TPW, brings together artworks by Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and Duane Linklater, among others, to ask how their actions influence and are influenced by the world around them. Never-before-seen works by Vivan Maier debut at Stephen Bulger Gallery on June 23 from 5 to 8 p.m.; it is the gallery’s first show of her work since purchasing her 15,000-image archive in late 2014. “Building Museums: Building Cities (II)” is a seminar with artists and architects discussing museum building and its effects on the physical and cultural ecology of a city; catch it June 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hart House. Stories from Toronto’s artist-run galleries come to the fore in a special screening of “Collective City” on June 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Camera. Canadian media researcher Stephen Kovats, former head of Transmediale, speaks at “We or I? Doing Good in a Digital World,” a talk about how arts, culture, and nature can help people absorb and process accelerating change, happening June 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Toronto Music Garden.

“Width of a Witch,” created by LA artist and chapbook publisher Jason Dodge with American poet CAConrad, opens June 25 from 5 until 8 p.m. at Mercer Union. Bike tours become art in PED Collective’s project launching at the Koffler Gallery on June 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. (The bike tours promise to introduce participants to “Toronto the Good,” “Toronto the Better” or “Toronto the Best.”) American artist Nick Payne opens his first Canadian solo show at Roberta Pelan June 25 from 7 to 9 p.m.  New works by Vanessa Maltese open June 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cooper Cole alongside a solo show of works on paper by French artist and designer Nathalie Du Pasquier. Hidden talents of Toronto’s art community are paid tribute in “All Over Town,” a series of exhibitions opening June 24 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre. That same night, the nearby Power Plant opens new exhibitions by world-renowned artists Franz Erhard Walther and Ulla von Brandenburg. And Emily Mast’s live performance of “The Cage is a Stage” also debuts at Harbourfront Centre on June 29 at 8 p.m. Xpace opens the LGBTQ-themed “Blindspots” and Zak Thatham’s “Doorcuts” on June 24 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tom Forrestall debuts new works at Mira Godard Gallery on June 25, with an artist talk at 2 p.m. And Luminato wraps up its program on June 26 at the Hearn Generating Station.


Laura Madera gives a talk about her new show of paintings, “The Angle of the Sun’s Rays,” at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa on June 26 at 1 p.m.


Poetry and contemporary art converse in the group show “Down to Write You This Poem Sat,” opening June 26 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Oakville Galleries.


What is the relevance of public museums given an ever increasing proliferation of art practices? Patrick Cruz and Alexandra Mackenzie (aka Petra Glynt) try to push the limits of this question with a maximalist presentation titled “When the Institute Fell Over” opening at Idea Exchange, Cambridge on June 24 at 7 p.m. Says the press release, “Chipping away at the pillars of the traditional white gallery cube, the show is driven by the creative machine that celebrates the obscure, chaotic and that which doesn’t nicely fit inside the canon. We’re pretty sure the institute won’t collapse under this raw defiance, but it will feel the weight of its own promise and desire.”

Vancouver and Area

Breaking down borders between human and non-human is the order of the day at “Becoming Animal/Becoming Landscape,” a permanent-collection show at the Belkin Art Gallery opening June 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. with works by Geoffrey Farmer, Jack Shadbolt, Corin Sworn and other artists. Also opening at the Belkin that evening is a solo show for recently deceased artist Joan Balzar, a key figure in the development of abstract painting on the West Coast in the 1960s. The legacy of late Vancouver painter Enn Erisalu is explored in “NO BIG PICTURE,” opening at Griffin Art Projects on June 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. One section of the show pays homage to the shows Erisalu and Ilana Aloni installed at Atelier Gallery, with works by Michael Dumontier, Marcel Dzama, Julie Morstad, and others. “Destroy Vancouver XVII” is an experimental music and sound art series, this time featuring Chris Corsano, Erin Sexton and Evan Parker, among others. Experience it June 25 at 8 p.m. at VIVO. On June 29 at 7 p.m., Western Front presents the international premiere of Tales of Love and Fear, Lucy Raven’s cinema built for a single film, which contains a single, stereoscopic image. The Queer Arts Festival hosts contemporary music performances this week, including Lyle Chan’s “String Quartet: An AIDS Activist’s Memoir” on June 24 at 7 p.m.


Winnipeg-based artist Holger Kalberg explores the history and legacy of Modernism and its relationship to utopian ideals in “The Colony,” opening June 24 at 7 p.m. at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Also opening at the gallery on the same evening is “Field Portraits of Contemporary Western Culture,” featuring artwork by Jon Bowie, Luis Fabini, Blake Little, Collier Schorr and Sheila Spence. “Field Portraits of Contemporary Western Culture” is curated by Wayne Baerwaldt.


In light of the recent tragic events in Orlando, Florida, the Art Gallery of Windsor is hosting a vigil on June 23 from 5 to 6 p.m. All welcome. The next day, the AGW opens its summer exhibitions at 7 p.m., including “1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group” and “The Group of 7 (and Invited Contributors).” There will also be a panel on “Group Culture in Modernist Canada” on June 25 from 12:30 to 4 p.m., including “1920s Modernism in Montreal” co-curators Brian Foss and Jacques Des Rochers, and Charles C. Hill, former curator of Canadian art, National Gallery of Canada, and Kristina Huneault, professor of art history, Concordia, and co-founder of the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative, for a discussion about group-artist culture focusing on the Beaver Hall Group and Group of Seven.


Free childcare is on deck for parents at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s summer exhibitions opening reception June 23 at 6 p.m. Shows opening include “Jerry Grey on the Grid: 1968-1978,” “Robbin Deyo: Still Moving,” “Paula Murray: You Are Me,” and “Gail Bourgeois: Correspondence from Roots to Rhizomes to Mycelial Networks.” There is also a curator’s talk about the Bourgeois show on June 29 at 6 p.m.


Sled Island’s contemporary-art program continues apace this week. Among the events are Two Left-Footed Loucey and Delvis Cache‘s cassette publication release on June 23 at 7 p.m. at Untitled Art Society; a performance by Jennifer Crighton related to her work The Hermitess at Quickdraw Animation Society on June 25 at 3 p.m.; a performance by Jeneen Frei Njootli June 25 at 8 p.m. at Theatre Junction Grand; a reception for the Justin Waddell–curated video program “Will, Wish, Want or Purpose” at the #1 Legion Basement on June 24 at 8 p.m.; and a dual projection performance by Tasman Richardson at June 25 at 6 p.m. at Theatre Junction Grand.


In a synthesis of print, text, and found materials, artist and curator Kegan McFadden builds a history through his relationships with six men in “Exuberant Intimacy,” opening June 23 at 5 p.m. at Latitude 53. On offer are a wayward garden of pansies, a misshapen memorial quilt and a wall of 2,000 Instagram snaps that document a self-portrait of a life-long developing queerness.


The three-week-long ecological project From Foraging to Forging Communities takes over Satellite Project Space starting on June 27. For it, local artists Lynette de Montreuil and Gabriella Solti invite the community to join them on foraging walks at local green spaces to collect viable grasses suited for papermaking. These materials will then be transformed into pulp and paper in the gallery space—with the paper later turned into sculpture. The first foraging walk meets June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the German Club parking lot, while grasses will be cooked at the gallery for pulp on June 29.


Noted composer, musician and visual artist Laura Ortman performs on the Plug In ICA rooftop at dusk on June 23. In town as part of Aboriginal Music Week, Ortman in 2008 founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble performing the 1914 original score live accompaniment to photographer Edward Curtis’s film “In the Land of the Head Hunters” to sold-out audiences at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. And note, too: This is also the last week to catch exhibitions by Guy Maddin and Paul Robles at Lisa Kehler Art + Projects.

Port Rexton

Newfoundland’s 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, based in Duntara, launches the offsite exhibition “Boats Re-imagined” at Fishers’ Loft Conference Centre on June 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. Artists featured include Katherine Knight, Pam Hall and Billy Wheeler, all with photographs, drawings and objects related to boatbuilding. Also on deck for 2 Rooms: a screening of Strange and Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island on June 24 at 8 p.m. at the Garrick Theatre Annex in Bonavista.


Kelowna-based artist John Hall leads a tour and discussion about his art practice and current 45-year retrospective, “Travelling Light,” on June 23 at 7 p.m. at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Find out more about Hall’s detailed, highly realistic canvasses that depict still lifes of candies, doughnuts, and more.

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

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Peggy Woolsey says:

And the east coast?

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