Show Me Yours (Art Gallery of Alberta)

The last time I went to the art gallery, I made the mistake of enjoying myself.

This led me to the belief that I didn’t need to visit a gallery for a while, I mean, I’d done my part and contributed to the bigger picture of supporting the arts. I even posted some photos from my visit for social proof. But if I’m being really self-reflective, I should probably visit a local gallery at least once a week. Not because I want to support the institutionalization of art, God that would tragic. No, because it’s important to be inspired by artists and to be informed of what’s going on in that art world of ours. Also, doughnuts.

Metaphorical doughnuts of course. You see dear readers, the history of doughnuts is storied much like the story of art, all perspective and no objectivity. We accept the gallery system, much like we accept the donut, but no one person is capable of upending the mythos or claiming it’s birthright.

By the by, I’ve never liked the term art world, it’s a catch-all for everyone involved in producing, commissioning, presenting, preserving, promoting, chronicling, criticizing, and selling fine art, but what about the people consuming the art, eh? Eh, Pacha?

It’s important to acknowledge the people who spend the most time with the art, the audience. Fuck, they’re the ones that are going to spend the money to support the continued existence of the building(s).

For instance, I went down to the Art Gallery of Alberta last Sunday, January the 15th with my belle and took in a good mix of exhibitions. This is what we saw –

  • Hannah Doerksen: A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves Part mythology, part conspiracy, part vanity project… Doerksen ripped a page straight out of the 80’s and it’s eerie to view this alien display of ancient artifacts
  • Season to Season, Coast to Coast: A Celebration of the Canadian Landscape showcasing paintings from the 19th century to today, this exhibition features works across Canada and in all seasons. It’s a clever nod to the 150th anniversary of Canada and there are some great paintings there
  • David Altmejd: The Vessel essentially a piece on movement, featuring references to the act of creation, my favourite part about this piece was the accompanying gallery of works by other artists that drew connections between the themes in his work
  • The Edge: The Abstract and the Avant-Garde in Canada yet another exhibit focusing on Canadian paintings, this time the draw was the Avant-Garde and how it unfolded at home

But the gallery at large wasn’t exactly brimming with visitors.

There were maybe fifty people in the whole 85,000 sq ft space. I have this theory that part of the problem is parking, another is that ZINC, the on-site restaurant is over-priced and open at weird times, but mostly I think the largest problem is the $10 price tag for each entrance. If the art gallery were free to the public, like the EPL, then attendance would jump from 100 people a day to 300 people or more – and when the EPL was struggling with attendance people were hesitant to pay an annual $12 for a library card.

Overall I enjoyed my recent experience, and it reminded me to keep making art, because I can make better stuff than what it being touted there. And thus I set the stakes for competition.

But you might not be interested in viewing the gallery for the same reasons. Instead, you should set your own expectations and head over at your discretion. Located in the heart of downtown (2 Sir Winston Churchill Square), the AGA is open Tuesdays 11-5, Wednesday & Thursday 11-8, Friday 11-5, and Saturday & Sunday 10-5. The gallery is closed on Mondays and some holidays, but well worth the visit.

Tim!

 

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