Home » Summer Exhibitions: The Must-Sees

Summer Exhibitions: The Must-Sees

As the summer gallery season gets underway, here are my picks for the country’s best blockbuster exhibitions:

Vancouver Art Gallery

Through September 25, 2011

Man Ray, close up of The Kiss, 1930. Image: ultraorange.net

The VAG has organized the most comprehensive survey of Surrealist art ever to be shown in Canada. With 350 works by all the masters (Man Ray, Rene Magritte, Dali and Andre Breton, author of the Surrealist Manifesto), it also will “reveal the Surrealists’ passionate interest in indigenous art of the Pacific Northwest.” Given that the exhibition will include works from the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan, the MoMA, the Reina Sophia, the Georges Pompidou and the Tate, it should be pretty good.

Shary Boyle, Lovers, 2009. Image: canadianart.ca

Is Surrealism having a ‘moment’? The work of much celebrated Canadian artist Shary Boyle comes to mind, as does the work of several of this year’s Sobey Prize shortlisters (hello, Zeke Moores and the excellent Manon de Pauw)

Manon de Pauw, L’atelier d’écriture, a video and sound installation, and performance from 2006-7.

From de Pauw’s website: “In (this) video series, groups of artists are gathered in silence around a table, and given basic choreographic instructions. Throughout the session, the act of writing is transformed into line, drawing, collage, and audible rhythm.”
Check out the VAG’s website, HERE

Caravaggio and his followers in Rome

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
17 June – 11 September 2011

John the Baptist, by Caravaggio (1571-1610). Image: wikimedia.org

Canada’s first exhibition devoted to the work of the truly brilliant Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is a little late – after numerous shows of the artsts work circulated in Europe over the past few decades he has rightfully become the hottest, and arguably the most modern of the Old Masters.

But better late than never, and it’s always a joy to see these dramatic works, in this case juxtaposed against works by painters whom he inspired, including Peter Paul Rubens and Orazio Gentileschi. If you haven’t seen Caravaggio’s works in person (and even if you have), this will surely be a must-see show!

Click HERE for the gallery’s website.

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Through September 4, 2011

Franz Kline, Cardinal, 1950. Image: friendsofart.net

This show, coming from MoMA to Toronto features over 100 works by major American masters including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko (a play about whom, incidentally, is coming to Canstage soon after having rave reviews in NYC) and, from what I hear, some fantastic Franz Klines. Of course, it’s always nice to see de Kooning’s work, though I also hear there aren’t as many as have been reported in this show.

A scene from John Logan’s play, RED about artist Mark Rothko. Image: artknowledgenews.com

These are works by artists who are, to put it mildly, darlings at auction. Pollock’s No. 5, 1948 de Koonings Woman III went for the second highest price, $137.5 million a few days later.

As the AGO notes, this is “a generation of artists who catapulted New York to the centre of the international art world in the 1950s,” reason enough to see the show.

Click HERE for more info.

7 Responses to “Summer Exhibitions: The Must-Sees”

  1. maeve says:

    no blockbuster summer exhibitions in Montreal?

  2. ChrisToronto says:

    Thanks for the heads up about Caravaggio.
    Loved AbEx and definitely plan to go again before it departs in September.
    I’d love to hear your response to Raphael Bendahan’s opinion piece in NOW (http://tinyurl.com/3znu6lp) in which he states, “Today’s established artists have had it too easy for too long with their chic cafés, their magazines, their artist-run galleries, their websites and government funding. Art has gotten fat and lazy on stipends.”

  3. Bill says:

    I can’t wait for the General Idea retrospective that comes to the AGO at the end of July!

  4. Andrea says:

    @ChrisToronto – i’ll think about that one and get back to you…maybe with a whole blog post! its definitely not a black and white issue. thanks for drawing my attention to the piece!

  5. Fantastic exhibition and great body of work. We did an interview with one of the AGO exhibition designers, Emma Reddington, on our Journal if you’re interested in getting a different perspective on the exhibition.

  6. Rhonda says:

    The Surrealist show at the VAG was fantastic. I thought I’d seen and done this to death, but the curators made it feel fresh and reminded me how seemingly playful and unforced art can be.

    You make a good point about the influence of this movement in some Canadian contemporary art.

  7. Birte. says:

    Loved the whole thing. Recommend it highly.

    Amazing opportunity! I was impressed with the works (though of course not all), and also their presentation.

    Must admit though, parts of the exhibition left me wanting — for more substance. There was not enough representative works by female artists of the time and too little of those included: felt too much like tokenism for afterthoughts for those whose works form part of the exhibition.

    But, then, again, maybe it is me… Fact is, women, and thus their works, did take second place, or less, in what was then a male dominated art world & the exhibition falls does fall into line. To be expected. I get it.

    All in All, and most extraordinary chance to see works ‘up close and personal’ that, in my case, have— been enjoyed only in art history texts.

    Will go again before it goes down – 4 sure.

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