Most Americans who don't know much about Canada can name a few actors, singers, and comedians from the Great White North. But how many Americans, even knowledgeable ones such as your humble narrator, can name 1 or 2 Canadian artists?
The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA) is a good place to check out Canadian art as the museum is hosting the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside Canada. The show is called "Oh, Canada" and runs through April 1, 2013.
MMCA's curator Denise Markonish had the job I would love: spending three years across Canada, seeing hundreds of exhibitions in museums and galleries. Markonish went to over 400 artists' studios, whittling down from a list of 800 artists to 62 artists for the show.
Her obsession with Canada went well beyond art. As told to the Boston Globe:
"I have tried poutine, Nanaimo bars, caribou, Saskatoon berries, and Timbits; I watched the aforementioned hockey, rode a skidoo, came to understand what a 'dry cold' is; I drove through Vulcan, Alberta, and Dildo, Newfoundland; I know who Grey Owl, Emily Carr, and the Group of Seven are; I know that Captain Canuck's (Canada's superhero) motto is 'peace, order and good government.' "
The tricky part is getting to the museum. The museum is located in North Adams, Massachusetts. No, that is nowhere near Boston. North Adams is in the northwest corner of the commonwealth, near the Vermont and New York borders. According to the museum, the closest airport and train station are in Albany … New York.
You might find it difficult to rattle off a couple of names of these Canadian contemporary artists since there are so many in the exhibit. But if you can make it to North Adams, you will get to see more than 14,000 square feet devoted to Canadian artists across a broad spectrum. You have until April 1 to make your plans.
"Detail of Spills in Safe Environment" is the painting by Etienne Zack from the Oh, Canada exhibit.
Photo credit: Christine Guest