Art Gallery of Alberta Announces Exhibitions for Opening of its New Building

The Art Gallery of Alberta’s (AGA) Executive Director Gilles Hébert announced today the exciting exhibition line-up for the grand opening of the new AGA on January 31, 2010. The nearly doubled AGA gallery space will showcase three floors of exceptional exhibitions.

Edgar DegasOpening shows will include major works by the famous EDGAR DEGAS, celebrated Canadian photographer YOUSUF KARSH and internationally renowned Canadian artists JANET CARDIFF and GEORGES BURES MILLER.

“I am thrilled to start my tenure as the AGA’s new Executive Director by sharing this remarkable line-up of opening exhibitions. The caliber of these exhibitions illustrates our commitment to connecting people with outstanding art from Alberta, Canada and beyond”, said Gilles Hébert, AGA Executive Director.

Catherine Crowston, AGA Deputy Director and Chief Curator, highlighted the possibilities that the new AGA facility provides. “The features and flexibilities of the new building’s exhibition spaces allow us to deliver the most exciting range of historical and contemporary art experiences.”

EDGAR DEGAS: Figures in Motion runs January 31-May 30, 2010. This exhibition features 40 Hébrard sculptures of ballet dancers and horses, dating from 1865-1911, together with a selection of paintings, prints and drawings. The exhibition includes the famous sculpture Little Dancer, which is the largest and rarest of Degas’ sculptures and was the only work ever exhibited during the artist’s lifetime. This rare and historically significant work is on loan from a private collection in Europe.

EDGAR DEGAS: Figures in Motion examines the close relationship of form and movement in Degas’ sculptures and two-dimensional works. The exhibition is organized by International Arts ®, with lending institutions including the Musée d’Orsay (Paris), The National Gallery of Art (Washington) and the National Gallery of Canada and other significant museums and private collectors in Canada, the United States and Europe.

KARSH: Image Maker runs January 31-May 30, 2010. This major exhibition presents the life, influence and work of legendary Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh who created iconic portraits through brilliantly crafted images. The exhibition brings together original prints and studio artifacts, such as cameras, an enlarger, retouching pens, brushes and more. Included are portraits of Andy Warhol, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, Princess Elizabeth, Alfred Hitchcock and Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few.

KARSH: Image Maker is organized by the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Portrait Gallery of Canada, a program of Library and Archives Canada to mark the centenary of one of Canada’s most eminent photographers.

The AGA will present two exhibitions by internationally celebrated Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller, recipients of the prestigious La Biennale di Venezia Special Award at the 2002 Venice Biennale. The North American premiere of Cardiff and Miller’s largest sound installation to date, The Murder of Crows, runs January 31-May 9, 2010. The work will occupy the entire 6,000 square foot third floor of the new Art Gallery of Alberta. The Murder of Crows has been shown in Sydney, Berlin and Brazil, but comes to Canadian audiences for the first time as part of the AGA’s opening. The 30-minute piece presents a dreamscape of voice and music transmitted over 98 speakers.

The artists, whose careers began in Alberta, have also created a new work specifically for the opening of the AGA. Storm Room runs January 31-May 9, 2010. It will be presented in the RBC New Works Gallery.

The opening also brings the return of the AGA’s children’s gallery, a long-time favourite space for families. Newly named the BMO World of Creativity, this highly interactive gallery will be themed around architecture in 2010. The space has been designed by local architects Shafraaz Kaba from Manasc Isaacs and Group2’s Laura Plosz and Troy Smith.

The AGA has commissioned a series of photographs of the construction of the new building by renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, which will also be on display. Works by Alberta artists Peter Hide and Ken Macklin will be installed on the Gallery’s new sculpture terraces.

Exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Alberta will be animated with re-envisioned programs and events that will transform the AGA into a site of public exploration, connecting people to art in new ways. More details regarding programming will be released in early 2010.

Image: Edgar Degas, (French, 1834-1917), Two Dancers, c. 1896-99, Pastel, 16 ¼ x 13 inches. Private Collection. © 2009 Courtesy of International Arts®