Art Gallery of Alberta

Internationally renowned art critic Michael Fried to give lecture at AGA

Internationally renowned art critic Michael Fried to give lecture at AGA

Public talk will focus on photography’s importance in contemporary art

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2011

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is proud to host poet, art historian, art critic, and literary critic Michael Fried in an exclusive lecture on Saturday, October 15 at 2 pm. This lecture is presented in partnership with the Canadian Art Foundation as part of the Canadian Art Foundation International Speaker Series and is being held in conjunction with the recently-opened AGA exhibition 19th Century French Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada. Tickets for the talk are $15 / $10 for AGA Members, and are available at

While the 19th Century French Photographs exhibition considers the early years of this medium, Fried will contextualize the changing status of photography and the role it plays in artistic practice today. In his 2008 book Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, Fried traces the development of photography beginning in the 1970s, when it was primarily used as a journalistic tool, to the present day where photography has been mobilized as an artistic medium meant for the gallery wall. This new form of “art” photography faces issues that centre on the relationship between image and viewer, but unlike painting, requires no viewer participation. Fried argues that this relationship puts photography on the cutting edge of contemporary art. Fried will draw from this publication to speak on the changing nature of photography and the medium’s importance in contemporary art.

Michael Fried studied at Princeton University and Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford University. He is currently the J.R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and Art History at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Fried has written extensively about abstract painting and sculpture since World War II. His most recent publications are Four Honest Outlaws: Sala, Ray, Marioni, Gordon (2011) and The Moment of Caravaggio (2011).

19th Century French Photographs features 66 photographs from the National Gallery of Canada’s extensive collection. The exhibition traces the early explorations of the photographic medium through works by major pioneers of French photography, including Eugène Atget, Gustave Le Gray and Charles Marville. Subjects such as landscape, portraiture, street life, war, and the human figure are captured in daguerreotypes, salted paper, albumen silver and photogravure prints.

19th Century French Photographs is presented as part of The National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta, with the support of Capital Powered Art; an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation. The exhibition is on view at the AGA until January 29, 2012.

Michael Fried
Canadian Art Foundation International Speaker Series

Saturday, October 15, 2 pm

$15 / $10 AGA Members
Buy tickets online >

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. The AGA recently underwent a major re-building project. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the 85,000 sq foot (7,900 sq metres) new AGA opened to the public on January 31, 2010. The new Gallery features three floors of premiere exhibition space; the City of Edmonton Terrace; the Singhmar Centre for Art Education; Zinc Restaurant; Shop AGA; Ledcor Theatre and an Art Rental and Sales Gallery.


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The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.