Nova Scotia

Annie Leibovitz exhibit at Art Gallery of Nova Scotia looks to 2017 launch

More than two years after Toronto's Mintz family donated 2,000 works by photographer Annie Leibovitz to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia , there's still no timetable for when they might be shown.

Gallery says the photographer is busy in 2016, but vows not to rush landmark exhibition

This iconic image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono will hang in Nova Scotia at some point, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia says.

More than two years ago, Toronto's Mintz family donated 2,000 works by photographer Annie Leibovitz to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

They're not on display, and the art gallery still has no timetable for when they might be shown.

The gallery says it needs Leibovitz to help, but she's tied up with a photo shoot for the Swiss UBS bank that will make her unavailable for all of 2016. 

"We don't have a date yet for the exhibition," said Lisa Bugden, the interim director of the gallery. "Part of what we are doing now  is looking at understanding her schedule, her commitments, as well the time and the research necessary to bring an important exhibition like this to the public."

Bugden, who ran the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation before it was dissolved, replaced Ray Cronin, who brokered the deal with the philanthropist and the photographer.

When the gift was announced in June 2013, Cronin said the gallery hoped to mount a show within a year. But with two years gone, and 2017 looking like the earliest date, CBC asked Bugden if the province has lost the chance to capitalize on the "transformative" gift.

No plans for a small show for Nova Scotians

"I don't believe so," said Bugden. "We can talk about this artist and her innovation. We have file prints that enable us to see her early thinking on a piece and we also have finished works that allow us to take the visitor through the continuum of her work.

"We have a really unique opportunity and I am confident we will bring this forward."

Bugden says they're developing a marketing plan for a large exhibition, but she couldn't give an estimate of the cost of how many works would be included. 

She did say the work could travel to raise the AGNS's profile. 

The AGNS is about to embark on a major fundraising campaign to build a modern building with wireless internet access,  but the CEO says the Leibovitz exhibit doesn't need to wait for new digs. 

Annie Leibovitz is tied up for 2016, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia says. (Jay LaPrete/Associated Press)

The key, she says, is not to jeopardize the show's economic potential by rushing to get it up.

"This is not something we will see sitting in a vault indefinitely. This is the type of collection that will have an impact here in Nova Scotia," she said. 

"The plan is still to use the iconic collection of some of the world's most famous people, from the Pope and the Queen to Mick Jagger and the Beatles, to put the AGNS in the black and Nova Scotia on the map for world travellers. We are going to do this right."

The gallery won't mount a smaller show of the Leibovitz collection in the meantime, she said.