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Moving Forward by Looking Back

The First 30 Years of Collecting Art at the AGGV

February 25, 2017 - October 8, 2017 Michelle Jacques | Founders & Drury Galleries

The AGGV’s collection is an important resource for the institution. Many of the exhibitions that we create for the community would not be possible without it. But how does a collection come to be? Who builds it? And for whom?

In 2009-10, the AGGV presented two exhibitions, both with the title Vision into Reality. One bore the subtitle The Birth of the Collection, the other, The Asian Collection Begins. These exhibitions celebrated the extraordinary achievements of Colin Graham, The AGGV’s first director, and the circle of collectors who helped him to establish the institution’s collection, working from an essentially blank slate. Moving Forward by Looking Back: The First 30 Years of Collecting Art at the AGGV has a different aim. As the AGGV considers the future of The NEXT Gallery, we are taking a moment to review our past with a critical eye so that we may step most successfully into our future.

Using the manuscript “Moss Street Years; or Three Decades of Controversial Hangings,” written by Graham 1981 on the occasion of the AGGV’s thirtieth anniversary as our guidebook, we will examine elements of collection through the lens of Graham’s anecdotal ruminations on the collectors, artists and audiences engaged in the institution during his tenure as way of coming to an understanding why our forebears made the decisions that they did about the collection, and how those decisions were received at the time – with an aim to understanding how artistic tastes and interests have evolved over time so that we can imagine how our collecting activity today will be interpreted by future generations.

Kathleen Morris (Canadian, 1893-1986), Kiosk, not dated, oil on board, 25.7 x 35.4 cm, Gift of Mrs. F. Maud Brown
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