Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Greetings from the Art Gallery of Alberta
The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. Located in the heart of downtown Edmonton and on Treaty 6 territory, the AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of over 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. The AGA is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture.
The AGA’s iconic building is a local landmark and serves as an inspired tribute to the city. The previous building was built in 1969 and designed by Architect Don Bittorf. The building was a shining example of Brutalist Architecture, which is characterized by its use of concrete and strong geometric forms. By the early 2000s, due to out-dated mechanical systems and external envelope, a new building was needed. An international architectural competition was launched in 2005 with design submissions coming in from all over the world. Architect Randall Stout from Los Angeles won the competition with his thoughtful and inspired design. Upon entering the competition, Stout visited Edmonton and was inspired by two key things about the city. The largest source of influence was the Aurora Borealis. The ribbon of metal that runs through the main atrium of the building has been called the “Borealis” as a nod to this influence. The second source of inspiration is Edmonton’s river valley. The ribbon of steel cuts across the grid of the glass in the same way that the river cuts across the rectilinear grid of the city streets and avenues.
The AGA presents a diverse array of visual art from Alberta and around the world. In recent years, the AGA has presented major exhibitions of internationally known artists such as Edgar Degas, M.C. Escher, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol. The AGA is equally committed to producing large exhibitions of Canadian contemporary artists, which in the past have included Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Chris Cran, Geoffrey Farmer, Alex Janvier, Brian Jungen and Lyndal Osborne. Since 1999, the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art exhibitions have also been a major component of our contemporary program. In 2016, we were proud to present the exhibition, 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., which featured work by this ground-breaking Indigenous artists’ collective one of Canada’s most important early artist alliances. Our ongoing commitment to showcasing art by Indigenous, First Nations and Metis artists will be a highlight of our 2017 and 2018 exhibition programs.
This fall, we will be presenting Turbulent Landings, a component of the 2017 Canadian Biennial that we have co-organized as part of our ongoing partnership with the National Gallery of Canada. This will be the first time that the Canadian Biennial will be presented in a venue outside of Ottawa and in two discrete and concurrent parts. The exhibition at the AGA will feature work by internationally acclaimed artists such as John Akomfrah, Mark Bradford Chris Ofili and Wael Shawky, as well as remarkable Canadian artists that include: Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Belmore, Edward Poitras, Kelly Richardson and Hajra Waheed.
The AGA warmly welcomes all the delegates from the Alberta Museums Association and we hope you enjoy your time in Edmonton.