Art Gallery of Alberta

New AGA exhibition the first to explore Canadian role in pivotal art movement

Groundbreaking project looks at the diversity of early Conceptual Art across the country

EDMONTON, ABThe Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is excited to present TRAFFIC: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980, on view from June 25 to September 25, 2011.

This nationally touring exhibition is the first to track the influence and diversity of Conceptual Art—one of the most the most transformative art movements of the late 20th century–in Canada.

TRAFFIC features more than 400 works by over 70 artists, including artists such as N.E. Thing Co, Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland and Jeff Wall. Concerned with language, body, place and geography—all constitutive elements and primary interests of Conceptual Art — TRAFFIC has been organized around urban and regional centres in Canada (Halfiax, Montreal, Toronto, Guelph, London, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver) but also seeks to capture the effervescent, and often contentious, lines of artistic traffic that existed between them.

Media are invited to attend:

Media Preview
Friday, June 24, 1-2 pm
The AGA’s Deputy Director/Chief Curator Catherine Crowston and Executive Director Gilles Hébert will be on hand for interviews.

Opening Reception for AGA Members and VIPs
Friday, June 24 at 7:30 pm

Please RSVP to Alison Bulloch, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator 780.392.2468

Conceptual Art became a global phenomenon in the 1960s amidst the post-war political unrest that gave birth to the student, women’s, civil rights and gay liberation movements, and the emergence of new information technologies such as the television, fax machine and computer. Asserting that a work of art no longer even needed to actually be produced in order to exist, conceptual artists embraced the notion that the idea itself is art. This shift from aesthetic and material concerns to a focus on concepts and ideas had a great and enduring influence on subsequent art production and is evident in contemporary art today.

TRAFFIC: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980 places emphasis on how Conceptual Art in Canada developed within particular local and geographic areas and how it came to represent the interests of the individual artists, collectives as well as art communities. The exhibition also offers a glimpse of some of the movement’s most energetic institutions in the form artist-run centres and networks, which offered an alternative to traditional commercial galleries and public museums.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the AGA will present TRAFFIC: The Panel on Thursday, June 16, 7 pm at the Epcor Centre for Performing Arts in Calgary. This free event will look at Calgary’s art community in the 1970s, and how artistic production in that decade played a critical role in shaping the foundations of the city’s current art scene. Panelists will include: artists Rita McKeough, Ron Moppett and Paul Woodrow, as well as Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) Critic in Residence Nancy Tousley. The panel will be moderated by AGA Deputy Director/Chief Curator, Catherine Crowston, one of the curators of the TRAFFIC exhibition.

The AGA will also be hosting A Day of Traffic on the exhibition’s first public day, Saturday, June 25 from 12-4 pm. This day of programming includes a curator’s tour, a lecture by Dr. William Wood on Warhol and Conceptualism, a performance of Paul Woodrow’s Tadpole Quartet and a barbeque on the City of Edmonton Terrace. Event details and times can be found at

TRAFFIC is the result of a multi-institution partnership that has been a joint curatorial research project for the last five years, funded by the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This exhibition is curated jointly by the AGA’s Deputy Director/Chief Curator Catherine Crowston, Grant Arnold (Vancouver Art Gallery), Barbara Fischer (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery), Michèle Thériault with Vincent Bonin (Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal), and Jayne Wark (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design).

This touring exhibition was previously exhibited in Toronto and Halifax, and will travel to Montreal and Vancouver following its presentation at the AGA. Please see attached Backgrounder for dates.

TRAFFIC: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 is presented at the Art Gallery of Alberta by Enbridge Pipelines Inc. as part of a three-year partnership with the AGA facilitating the creation and presentation of contemporary and modern art exhibitions.

See attached Backgrounder for more information and a complete list of programs offered with this exhibition.

For interviews, images or to RSVP, please contact:

Alison Bulloch, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
T: 780.392.2468 E:


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.