MASS MoCA to Present First-Ever U.S. Survey of Contemporary Canadian Art

'Eden' by Shuvunai Ashoona (courtesy MASS MoCA)

'Eden' by Shuvunai Ashoona (courtesy MASS MoCA)

(TORONTO, ON)  – Beginning Memorial Day Weekend 2012, the galleries at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass., will be turned over to the largest U.S. survey of contemporary art from our neighbors to the north. Last week, at the Toronto International Art Fair, the museum released new details about Oh, Canada, its major survey of Canadian contemporary art. The show, which opens May 27, 2012 at MASS MoCA, will feature over 100 works in all media, showcasing 62 artists who hail from every province and nearly every territory in Canada and who span multiple generations.
Oh, Canada will fill approximately 25,000 square feet of galleries and courtyard space and will extend to downtown North Adams, with new site-specific installations by Eryn Foster, Brendan Fernandes, Michael Fernandes and Dean Baldwin. The exhibition will be accompanied by live events featuring Canadian music, dance and performance art at MASS MoCA.

“After visits to nearly 400 studios all across Canada, our curator, Denise Markonish, has selected an exhilarating snapshot of the Canadian art scene today – the depth, breadth and quality of work being made now in Canada is simply remarkable,” said MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson.

The first work visitors will encounter at the museum will be Kim Adams’s Optic Nerve, a car that has been altered to glow from within like a giant lamp. A new massive outdoor commission by Michel de Broin will use full-sized picnic tables as its basic building element, while another new work by BGL will be comprised of crowd control barriers snaking 140 feet up MASS MoCA’s iconic clock tower.

'Miss Chief Eagle Testickle' by Kent Monkman

'Miss Chief Eagle Testickle' by Kent Monkman

Visitors will find new work from Gisele Amantea, who will create a densely patterned abstraction reconceiving the foyer of MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center for the Performing Arts. In the lobby, viewers will encounter work by Rita McKeough and new songs by the Cedar Tavern Singers (who will record new songs based on Canada’s arrival in the Berkshires). In the main galleries, John Will’s new text-based piece will include the names of all the artists from the exhibition.

Ten other new commissions will join 95 already existing works (made within the past five years) for the exhibition including: Micah Lexier’s A Coin in Every Corner comprised of a series of specially minted coins painstakingly installed in corners throughout the multi-building factory campus; Kent Monkman’s double diorama based on fictitious buddy characters Tonto and the Lone Ranger, and Germany’s Winnetou and Old Shatterhand; and Ed Pien’s installation made from cut paper and projected video; and new work from Terrance Houle, Divya Mehra, Graeme Patterson, Garry Neill Kennedy, Mitchell Wiebe, Craig Leonard, Janice Wright Cheney and David Harper.

A comprehensive full-color 450-page catalogue by MIT Press will accompany the exhibition and will provide insights into Canada’s thriving contemporary cultural scene. The book will guide readers through the provinces and territories of Canada, introducing them to Canada’s cultural topography and the artists who inhabit it. Curator Denise Markonish will provide a history of recent Canadian art, placing this new body of work into the context of 20th-century Canadian art. Featuring artist-to-artist interviews, the book also includes contributions from notable Canadian writers and poets Lisa Moore, Warren Cariou, Douglas Coupland, and Jane Urquhart. Contributing curators include John Murchie, Wayne Baerwaldt, Lance Blomgren, Candice Hopkins, David Liss, Lesley Johnstone, Steven Holmes, Louise Déry, Sarah Fillmore, Pan Wendt, Bruce Johnson, Cliff Eyland, Jen Budney, and Nancy Campbell.

'Domaine de l’angle #2' by BGL

'Domaine de l’angle #2' by BGL

The exhibition will also include existing works by Shuvinai Ashoona, Amalie Atkins, Nicolas Baier, Daniel Barrow, Rebecca Belmore, Patrick Bernatchez, Valérie Blass, Shary Boyle, Bill Burns, Eric Cameron, Douglas Coupland, Ruth Cuthand, Dave and Jenn, Wally Dion, Mario Doucette, Marcel Dzama, Noam Gonick and Luis Jacob, Hadley + Maxwell, David Hoffos, Kristan Horton, Allison Hrabluik, Sarah Anne Johnson, Wanda Koop, Diane Landry, Myfanwy MacLeod, Kelly Mark, Luanne Martineau, Rita McKeough, Chris Millar, Kim Morgan, Andrea Mortson, Clint Neufeld, Annie Pootoogook, Ned Pratt, Michael Snow, Charles Stankievech, Joseph Tisiga, Hans Wendt, Janet Werner, and Étienne Zack.

After closing at MASS MoCA in March 2013, the exhibition will tour to selected cultural venues in the U.S. and Canada.


MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country and is located in North Adams, Massachusetts, on a restored 19th-century factory campus. MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am –5pm every day except Tuesdays. Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6 – 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413-662-2111 or visit MASS MoCA. MASS MoCA is an independent 501C3 whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support and private gifts and grants

Housed in a 19th-century restored factory campus in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, MASS MoCA is one of the largest and most active centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country.




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