Oh, Canada exhibit takes over U.S. contemporary art space
MASS MoCA's extensive show highlights more than 60 artists from across Canada
A vast array of vibrant Canadian art — created by artists ranging from Kim Adams to Annie Pootoogook — has taken over the MASS MoCA contemporary art venue in North Adams, Mass.
Oh, Canada, which opened to the public in late May, explores the vast expanse of art being created today in our country.
Organizers have billed the show the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside of Canada.
"Canada's proximity, and shared North Americanism, is a source of interesting friction. It's so close and familiar, yet we sometimes barely know it," MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson said in a statement.
The exhibit arrives after extensive research by curator Denise Markonish, who made more than 400 visits to artist studios across Canada over the past three years.
The result is that nearly every province and territory is represented in the show, which features more than 100 works by 62 artists that will take over MASS MoCA's first floor galleries as well as additional indoor and outdoor spaces for nearly a year.
Markonish's goal is to offer a fresh glimpse into Canada's contemporary art scene, with a focus on artists who are less recognized abroad and on recently created works.
"It's amazing to be included with other artists that I like and that I admire...Those who made it down are very excited and happy for the show, so it's a very festive atmosphere," Moncton-based Acadian artist Mario Doucette told CBC's Phlis McGregor in North Adams, Mass., over the weekend.
"Sometimes it takes someone from outside to say 'You're doing things right. This is what the world should see,'" he added.
"Maybe it will wake up Canadians [to the fact that] we have a lot of great talent in our country and people outside are seeing it."
Along with installation artist and sculptor Adams, Inuit illustrator Pootoogook and the history-influenced Doucette, artists featured in Oh, Canada include:
- Rebecca Belmore
- Valérie Blass
- Shary Boyle
- The Cedar Tavern Singers aka Les Photoréalistes
- Marcel Dzama
- Sarah Anne Johnson
- Garry Neill Kennedy
- Wanda Koop
- Kent Monkman
- Graeme Patterson
- Michael Snow
Other Canadian cultural figures are also included in Oh, Canada.
Broken Social Scene co-founder Brendan Canning is DJed an opening dance party on Saturday. Meanwhile, organizers have also prepared a comprehensive exhibit catalogue that includes a timeline of Canadian art as well as contributions from writers like David Rakoff, Lisa Moore, Douglas Coupland and Jane Urquhart.
Oh, Canada runs through April 1, 2013.