Art Gallery of Alberta

Summer starts on a high note at the Art Gallery of Alberta!

Media Release
May 17, 2013

Summer starts on a high note at the Art Gallery of Alberta!

Your AGA premieres two exhibitions of contemporary art with a musical focus, along with a debut of new acquisitions to the permanent collection.

Edmonton, AB (May 17/13) – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is thrilled to announce three new exhibitions opening in May and June: The Piano (May 25-August 18); New Acquisitions: The Mitchell Endowment (May 25-July 1); and ADAM WALDRON-BLAIN: does his best (June 29-August 18). Unique programs and events will complement these exhibitions including, a baby grand piano turned bar (complete with summer cocktails!); a not-to-be-missed performance; a Rip-Roarin’ Refinery party and an amateur music night.


The Piano and New Acquisitions: The Mitchell Endowment
Friday, May 24, 1:30 pm, Art Gallery of Alberta

Remarks by Catherine Crowston, Executive Director / Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta.
The following artists from The Piano will be available for interviews:
Dean Baldwin
Charles Stankievech

Interviews and exhibition access are available following the opening remarks.

The Piano features work by 13 contemporary artists, which take the form of video projections, performances and sculptural installations—from gutted innards to hammered keys, synchronized scores and the comfort of a piano bar. The works examine the image of the pianist, from the virtuoso to the DIY amateur and the role of the piano, from a hub of bar room entertainment to an instrument of reverie and personal salvation.

“Visitors will be immersed in a powerful auditory and visual experience focused on the piano. The works in this exhibition continue the experimental tendencies of the post war avant-garde”, says Catherine Crowston, AGA’s Executive Director / Chief Curator. “Some of the artists seek to produce new and innovative sounds; others transform the piano into a mute, sculptural object, thereby denying its function as a musical instrument and source of popular entertainment.”

Artists in The Piano are: Dean Baldwin, Patrick Bernatchez, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Carole Itter, Tim Lee, Euan MacDonald, George Maciunas, Gordon Monahan, Katie Paterson, Rober Racine, Michael Snow and Charles Stankievech.

Unique highlights of this exhibition include Dean Baldwin’s Bar Piano, a fully functional bar built from a baby grand piano. From May 29-August 14, visitors will be able to enjoy a complimentary cocktail on the Gallery’s outdoor Terrace served from the Bar Piano during the AGA’s new late-night Wednesdays. A one-time re-creation of George Maciunas’ Piano Piece #13 (for Nam June Paik), where all 88 keys of an upright piano are nailed down one-by-one, will take place on Friday, May 24 at 7 pm, performed by Nik 7 of Shout Out Out Out Out. Admission to this performance is free.

In partnership with Metro Cinema Society, the AGA presents The Piano Film Series, featuring critically acclaimed, feature-length films that revolve around the subject of the piano. The Piano Film Series begins on Saturday, May 25, 4 pm at Metro Cinema at the Garneau Theatre. The AGA is also presents BMO All Day Sunday: Perfect Pitch on Sunday, May 26 from 12-4 pm. Visitors of all ages will be able to make their own instrument, take part in a jamming session, listen to live music and have fun with the hands-on Instrument Petting Zoo, courtesy of the Winspear Centre.

The Piano is organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House. The exhibition is curated by Barbara Fischer and Catherine Crowston and presented by Enbridge and Giovanni Music.

Also opening on May 25 is New Acquisitions: The Mitchell Endowment, which is the first of two exhibitions this summer that showcases artworks recently add to the AGA’s permanent collection. As part of their support of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s New Vision capital project, Edmonton’s Mitchell family donated funds to build the AGA’s permanent collection, focusing on works by living Canadian artists. The exhibition features the first works acquired with this fund by five Alberta artists: Robin Arseneault, Calgary; David Hoffos, Lethbridge; Chris Millar, Calgary; Royden Mills, Edmonton and Laura St. Pierre, Grand Prairie. This exhibition is on view until July 1, 2013.


To harmonize with our musical theme, your AGA will premiere new work by Edmonton artist Adam Waldron-Blain. ADAM WALDON-BLAIN: does his best, on view from June 29-August 18, 2013, presents us with the amateur musician, with all of their flaws and imperfections.

Using performance, video and text, Waldron-Blain takes his broken heart turns it into the centre of his work. While some may sing a sad song, Waldron-Blain stretches his to an absurd end; in an exhaustingly long performance that points to the emptiness and simultaneous sincerity of popular music. As he places the personal into the public realm, Waldron-Blain draws our attention to the inadequacy of the language of love.

Over the course of this exhibition, Waldron-Blain will undertake a series of durational performances on the violin. These will be accompanied by videos and a text-based installation. Visit for a performance schedule. This exhibition is presented in the AGA’s RBC New Works Gallery, a space devoted to the presentation of contemporary work by Alberta artists.

Conversation with the Artist, featuring Adam Waldron-Blain with exhibition curator Ruth Burns, will take place on Friday, June 28 at 6:30 pm and is free with Gallery admission.

Public Programs and Events

Dean Baldwin, Bar Piano, 2012
May 29-August 14, Wednesdays, 5-9 pm
Serving Signature Cocktails on the Third Floor Foyer

Performance: George Maciunas, Piano Piece #13 (for Nam June Paik), 1962
Friday, May 24, 7 pm

Members’ Opening Reception
Friday, May 24, 7:30 pm
AGA Members and VIPs Only

The Piano Film Series
Starts Saturday, May 25, 4 pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau Theatre, 8712 109 Street
$10 Adults/$8 AGA & Metro Members, Students and Seniors

BMO All Day Sunday: Pitch Perfect
Sunday, May 26, 12-4 pm
Free with Gallery Admission

The Rip-Roarin’ Refinery
Late-Night Art Party
Saturday, June 1, 9 pm-2 am
$45/$39 AGA Members

Art for Lunch: Piano as an Artistic Medium
Thursday, June 20, 12:10-12:50 pm

AGA Book Club: Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould by Kevin Bazzana (2003)
Thursday, June 27, 7 pm
Free; registration required

Amateur Night at the Gallery
Wednesday, August 14, 5-9 pm
City of Edmonton Terrace
Free with Gallery admission

For media information, to coordinate interviews and to RSVP for the Media Preview, please contact:

Kimberly Van Nieuvenhuyse, Communications Specialist

T: 780.392.2468 E:

Oksana Gowin, Director of Marketing & Communications

T: 780.392.2466 E:

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 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.