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Celebrating the AGGV Collection

May 19, 2020 - February 25, 2022 Curated by Michelle Jacques, Heng Wu and Nicole Stanbridge

As an intimately scaled art museum, the AGGV usually dedicates its spaces for art to temporary exhibitions. Sometimes those exhibitions include works from the collection, but typically, the AGGV does not have “Canadian galleries” or “Contemporary galleries” or an “Asian wing” like many larger institutions do.

Before COVID-19 forced our closure, we were in the midst of installing the two largest galleries with works from the collection – one space focused on historical Canadian artworks, the other on contemporary art. At the time, the intention was simple – we wanted to explore what it would feel like for the institution to have permanent collection galleries. Such galleries permit a different approach than when you create an exhibition – with the need for a curatorial thesis or narrative put aside, all of a sudden, work can be brought out of storage and put on view simply because it hasn’t been seen before, or it makes a compelling counterpoint to a more commonly exhibited work, or it is just plain interesting.

Now, since re-opening in May 2020 we are a year into the pandemic, and are taking the opportunity to refresh some of the galleries with more works from our collection. Starting on February 27, there is a new installation of contemporary art in the Ker Gallery which aims to create a contemplative, mostly monochromatic space. The exhibition spans time, cultures and techniques. Through these works aspects of design, architecture, craft, history and identity are present. Through the lens of Celebrating the Collection, it has been a great opportunity to dive into the permanent collection and see what works are long overdue for display, and to consider which artists and stories can be highlighted in that process.

We also have a new exhibition, Blue and White, which looks at blue and white ceramics as a global product. Works in this exhibition are primarily from the Asian art collection, and include work from the Historical European and Contemporary collections as well, currently on view in the Pollard Gallery.

Focusing on the collection allows us to work with intimacy and fiscal responsibility to create experiences for our visitors as they rely on cultural spaces like the AGGV to connect to the world and each other safely during the pandemic. New exhibitions are on the way for Summer 2021 stay tuned!

(L-R) Shushan Egoyan, Blue Reflection, 2005, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 101.6 cm, Gift of the Artist, 2018.015.001, Emily Carr, Big Eagle, Skidigate, B.C., 1929, watercolour on paper, 76.2 x 56.7 cm, Donated in memory of Dorothy Plaunt Dyde, 1980.034.001, A.Y. Jackson, Northern Lights, Alaska Highway, 1943, oil on canvas, 78.8 x 76.5 cm, Dr. T. J. Mills, Winnipeg, 1979.285.001
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