Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America

January 31 - April 26, 2015

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Organized by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)
Curated by Denise Markonish
Presented by TD Bank Group

An epic exhibition of art from across the country is taking over Calgary. Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art From North North America is the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside the country.

Oh, Canada is the creation of American curator Denise Markonish, who spent three years criss-crossing Canada, consulting with curators and artists, visiting studios, museums, galleries and artist-run centres. The exhibition she has put together presents a fresh, outsider perspective on Canadian art. It features work by artists spanning multiple generations and working in all media. Debuting in 2012 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, this exhibition has been shown in Canada only once before, in the summer of 2014 in Atlantic Canada.

Markonish gathered some of the most exciting artists in Canada in an attempt to represent our complicated and diverse country. "I found myself in an art world that knew more about artists in China than in Canada . what started out as a quest to find art has turned into an exploration of a whole country," she states. Oh, Canada proves that despite stereotypes and kitschy assumptions about what it means to be Canadian, our country and our creativity cannot be easily defined.

Much of the artwork in Oh, Canada embodies qualities often attributed to Canadians: curiosity, humour, absurdity and self-deprecation. The artists selected by Markonish are connected by their exploration of ideas that could potentially inhabit the heart of every Canadian. There are works that explore landscape and its powerful hold on the Canadian psyche; dread and bravery in the exploration of the uncanny; aboriginal histories and the effects of colonialism; traditions of storytelling; the idea of the North; identity issues and the Canadian cultural mosaic; a return to craft and making and more.

Oh, Canada is vast in scope and size - so big that no one gallery space in Calgary is large enough to host the entire exhibition. In order to bring this ambitious survey of contemporary Canadian art to our city, four Calgary art institutions - Esker Foundation, Glenbow, Illingworth Kerr Gallery and Nickle Galleries - have partnered to co-present it. In addition to the four exhibition spaces, there will be art events and programs happening in locations all over Calgary. Check out the exhibition website www.ohcanadayyc.com for artist bios and a calendar of events and programs related to the exhibition.


Make sure you see the whole exhibition! Get your Oh, Canada passport stamped at each of the four exhibition venues and enter to win a $1,000.00 pre-paid credit card.

Pick up a passport and get it stamped at Esker Foundation, Glenbow, Illingworth Kerr Gallery and Nickle Galleries. Drop off your completed passport in the contest box located at any of the four galleries. No purchase required. Contest closes on April 11, 2015. One winner will be selected by random draw from all valid entries and will be notified by email or phone after April 13, 2015.

Click here for complete contest rules.

Oh, Canada Playlist

Guest curator Katherine Ylitalo collected an Oh, Canada playlist from some of the artists in the exhibition. Here's a list of music that inspired them as they worked.

Shary Boyle
I was listening to a lot of Will Oldham's "The Letting Go" album at that time... as well as the Finnish musician Ville Leinonen.

Daniel Barrow
The artist who developed the music for The Thief of Mirrors (both the installation and the performance) is Greg Goldberg from the NYC band 'The Ballet'. His website is thepirateship.org

Eric Cameron
Ella Fitzgerald, Love for Sale
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, Night in Tunisia
Louis Armstrong
Lennie Tristano
Anton Webern, The String Quartet Op. 28, twelve-tone

Douglas Coupland
Music: Probably "Hearts Like Bears" by Maybe Smith and "Your Money" by Bradley Much

Wally Dion
Basically I'm into a lot of electronic when I'm in the studio, Underworld, AWOL Nation, Daft Punk, Justice, New Order etc.  Actually, I listen to a lot of podcasts/ speakers. Topics include: history, contemporary art panels, i.e. moma & met, as well as talks and speakers about spirituality - faith.   

Mario Doucette
It is a mixture of Indie Rock, Francophone and local music.

English bands like : Ty Segall, Broncho, TV on the Radio, Arcade Fire, John Jerome and the Congregation...
French or local bands : Les Hay Babies, Lisa LeBlanc, Les Hôtesse d'Hilaire, Radio Radio, Kevin McIntyre, Indochine...

David R. Harper
Music music music.
i think at the time i had just introduced my then studio mate and good friend Soo Shin to Daniel Johnston and she was obsessed so there was a lot of that going on.
I also remember listening to a lot of FOALS.

Terrance Houle
here is the band I listen to usually when I make work especially the buffalo 
The Beans - Inner Cosmosis

Micah Lexier
There was one song that I did have in mind when I was working on the piece…mostly for the title, which was Boy With A Coin by the band Iron & Wine.

Chris Millar
Songs……these ones remind me of the months I was making 370H55V:
Cut Copy - Time stands still
Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer
Girl Talk - All Day

Ed Pien
The piece by Bjork, "Come to Me".

Divya Mehra
I was listening to a lot of Tupac (still am). The title for my work is specifically from his song, Changes. 

Andrea Mortson
Wonderful Life, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, from the album Nocturama.
See the Sky About to Rain, Neil Young, from the album On the Beach
Heaven, Talking Heads, from the album Sand in the Vaseline
Why I didn't like August '93, The Constantines (covering Elevator To Hell), from the Believer Music Issue June 2005

Janet Werner
My usual routine in the studio is to listen to classical music on CBC when I get in, beginning with Julie Nazrala and then Tom Allen's show SHIFT that starts here at 1. When he shifts into contemporary music around 3 pm I switch to my own cds, which range from Beck, Alison Krauss, the Beatles, Van Morrison, Amy Winehouse (probably I was listening to her alot in 2011 when this work was made). I also listen to and love bluegrass!


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