September 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Opening for exhibitions by Gareth Moore, Nairy Baghramian and Xu Zhen at the Contemporary Art Gallery, 555 Nelson Street, Vancouver
The CAG scores a triple threat with this fall-shows opening. Vancouverite Moore, who is currently operating a live-in project at dOCUMENTA (13), presents films for children commissioned from Ulla von Brandenburg, Keren Cytter, Harrell Fletcher and Geoffrey Farmer, among other internationally known names. The films will be screened in travelling-roadshow style throughout the city, with a compelling catch: any adults wishing to attend must be accompanied by a child. To boot, the CAG is presenting the first North American exhibition of Nairy Baghramian, a Berlin-based artist who showed at the 2011 Venice Biennale, as well as the first Canadian solo exhibition by witty, art-market-skewering Shanghai artist Xu Zhen.
September 14 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.: Opening for exhibitions by Christian Marclay and Omer Fast at the Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Christian Marclay’s famed The Clock finally starts to tick in Toronto this week, with this opening party also serving as the kickoff for a marathon 48-hour screening of the work. Years in the making, The Clock won the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale and has been on a winning streak ever since, earning accolades wherever it goes for its poetic, uncanny meditation on life and cinema. Also avant-garde on the filmic front is the Omer Fast exhibition, which features three works by the Jerusalem-born, Berlin-based artist. This includes his latest work, Continuity, about a contemporary middle-aged German couple reuniting with their son, a young soldier just back from service in Afghanistan.
September 15 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Opening for exhibition by Simon Hughes at Galerie Division, 2020 rue William, Montreal
Winnipeg-born artist Simon Hughes has had a busy past couple of years, completing an MFA at the University of California and showing in the 2010 Canadian Biennial as well as the internationally touring exhibition “My Winnipeg.” The flurry of interest in his work (which also includes the upcoming 2012 Canadian Biennial) will make sense to any who have seen it; Hughes’ works on paper have remixed stereotypes of Canada’s North in fresh, unexpected and playful ways. At the same time, he retains a mastery of watercolour, a rather challenging and unforgiving medium, often using it to conjure the casual intimacy of a comic-book panel. This show promises more new works in this vein mixing impressive technique, cultural commentary and childhood memory.
September 15: First day for “Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque” at the Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton
Works by David Altmejd, Yinka Shonibare and Sarah Sze are among the attractions in this group exhibition of contemporary artists who draw upon aspects of the historical Baroque, such as material excess, accumulation, bravado and theatricality. Though there is nothing new about exploring the theme of the “neo-baroque” in current art—similarly framed exhibitions have been happening internationally for more than a decade, and Museum London also held an exhibition on this phenomenon last year—the fact remains that many artworks in this vein (and by these artists in particular) are spectacular, as well as spectacularly smart. Definitely worth a look.
September 16 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Opening for exhibitions by Daniel Young & Christian Giroux and Tricia Middleton at Oakville Galleries, 120 Navy Street and 1306 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville
Two premieres entice in Oakville this weekend. For one, the 2011 Sobey Art Award winners Young and Giroux debut a new work, Infrastructure Canada, which expands their investigation of architecture and urban design—formerly limited mainly to Ontario—into the national sphere. To create this ambitious new work, Young travelled from the Yukon to Labrador and southern Ontario to Nunavut over a three-month period. For the other, titled Form Is the Destroyer of Force, Without Severity There Can Be No Mercy, Montreal sculptor Tricia Middleton is staging Oakville Galleries’ Gairloch estate as the uncanny aftermath of a natural disaster. Both shows suggest rich re-envisionings of landscape tropes.