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January 24, 2011
EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) will begin a new year of exhibitions with the opening of BRIAN JUNGEN, running January 29-May 8, 2011.
This exhibition features three large sculptural installations by internationally celebrated artist Brian Jungen. Throughout the month of January, Jungen has been working on site at the AGA to develop a new, unique configuration for Carapace, one of three works included in the exhibition. The entirety of the AGA’s 6,000 square foot (557 square meters) third floor gallery has been devoted to this major exhibition.
Winner of the inaugural Sobey Art Award in 2002 and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize for Visual Arts in 2010, Jungen has exhibited in galleries and museums world-wide, including the National Gallery of Canada, Tate Modern in London and the New Museum in New York City. Best known for transforming everyday manufactured goods into compelling and often paradoxical works, Jungen gives rich cultural and social meaning to common objects.
“Jungen is one of Canada’s leading artists and a significant contributor to international art and culture,” says Catherine Crowston, Chief Curator / Deputy Director at the Art Gallery of Alberta. “His work reveals the tensions between contemporary material culture and traditional symbolism, often linking his First Nations heritage to political and social issues.”
Carapace was first created in 2009 for an exhibition at the FRAC des Pays de la Loire (France) and completely reconfigured for an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.) later that year. The work is inspired by the geometries of the geodesic dome and the tortoise shell, and unites Jungen’s interest in modernist architecture with his ongoing engagement with animal imagery.
The exhibition also includes two renowned works by Jungen, Shapeshifter (2000) and Cetology (2002). Made from white plastic lawn chairs that have been cut, deconstructed and re-assembled, the works, based on whale skeletons, hang suspended in the gallery space. Oscillating between objects of natural history and critiques of consumer culture, the works reference and call into question the traditions of artifact display typical of natural history museums.
Born in Fort St. John, B.C. to a Canadian-Swiss father and a Dunne-za mother, Jungen graduated from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1992. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and his work has been included in many publications and museum collections. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized by the Tate Modern, London, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam in addition to participation in numerous group exhibitions. Jungen is the first living Native American artist to exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., with the exhibition Strange Comfort.
A public lecture on Brian Jungen will take place on Wednesday, February 23 at 7 pm. This special lecture will be led by Paul Chaat-Smith, the Associate Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. and the curator of the exhibition Brian Jungen: Strange Comfort. Tickets are available online at youraga.ca.
The AGA’s popular late night art party series, Refinery, will draw inspiration from BRIAN JUNGEN with an event on Saturday, March 5 from 9 pm-2 am.
Please see the attached Backgrounder for a full list of programs.
BRIAN JUNGEN is organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and supported by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.
The AGA’s hours of operation are: 11 am to 7 pm on Tuesday to Friday; 11 am to 5 pm on weekends; closed Monday. Admission is $12.50 for adults; $8.50 for students and seniors; $26.50 for families (two adults and up to four minors); free for children six years old and under and free for AGA Members. AGA Memberships cost $55 for adults; $85 for families; $35 for students and seniors and $70 for senior couples.
ABOUT THE ART GALLERY OF ALBERTA
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 and 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.