Art Gallery of Alberta

Annual Report Feature: Transformative Exhibitions

CHRIS CRAN, Sincerely Yours was shown at the Art Gallery of Alberta prior to showing at the National Gallery—a truly important and significant milestone for the AGA.

Looking back on the 2015 exhibition, Artist Chris Cran said the following: “The offer of a large solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta was a great honour. The time between the offer and the exhibition itself was a time of reflection on my years of studio output. Then came the exhibition itself, which was the physical revelation of those reflections. Here, in front of me, were many works I had not seen since they left the studio and they were arranged in such a way that I could see connections that I had previously not made. It was an extraordinary experience that I feel hugely privileged to have been given.”

CHRIS CRAN, Sincerely Yours, was on view at the Art Gallery of Alberta from September 12, 2015 to January 3, 2016. It was the most comprehensive exhibition of Cran’s ever curated. It featured over 100 paintings and drawings from the National Gallery collection, private lenders and other institutions, an impressive survey of his artistic production over the last 40 years. The exhibition has moved on from the AGA to show at the National Gallery of Canada from May 20 to September 5, 2016.

This exhibition was one in a long line of shows presented as part of the NGC@AGA series, a ground-breaking partnership with the National Gallery of Canada launched in 2010. However, what is unique about CHRIS CRAN, Sincerely Yours, is that it was shown at the Art Gallery of Alberta prior to showing at the National Gallery—a truly important and significant milestone for the AGA. The future vision of the AGA is to expand its presence and relevance on a local, regional and national scale, and the presentation of Cran’s work last year was a pivotal moment not only in his career, but in the history of the gallery— bringing increased recognition for the gallery on the national and international stage.

AGA Executive Director Catherine Crowston said this about about the partnership: “The National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta is a special program that provides the AGA with the unique opportunity to work with National Gallery staff on the development and presentation of new, special exhibitions from the National Gallery of Canada’s incredible collections. We are proud of this ongoing museum partnership, which gives local audiences opportunities to look at our world from different perspectives and stimulates them to actively engage with visual art and culture.” – Catherine Crowston, AGA Executive Director / Chief Curator.

The NGC@AGA exhibition series is only one initiative that supports our commitment to curatorial excellence. As part of our new exhibitions vision and strategy, the AGA wants to work with arts partners to enhance and build community, and to develop activities that support the arts in a variety of ways. In addition to the partnership with the NGC, the Art Gallery of Alberta currently has ongoing exhibition presentation partnerships with (among others):

• Capital Power, through the Capital Powered Art initiative;

• RBC, through our RBC New Works Gallery initiative;

• ATB through their presentation of the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art and the upcoming 2017 Biennial; and

• BMO, with the BMO World of Creativity children’s gallery.

Building on these already strong alliances, the gallery is poised to bring increasingly relevant and engaging exhibitions to Alberta audiences.