The Calgary Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), formerly known as the Triangle Gallery, is getting a double dose of artistic excellence from its two latest exhibitions.
The first is Calgary Modern, curated by Jeffery Spalding, artistic director of MOCA. The exhibition brings together a collective of works from the post-Second World War era from private and corporate collections.
Sound like a familiar concept? It should. Spalding also guest curated Calgary Collects, which is still being shown at the Art Gallery of Calgary. Spalding says Calgary Modern is a compliment to AGC's show and audiences can get a quick crash course in art history through the modern era if they visit the pair.
The art collected for the exhibition showcases the evolution of artistic practices during the years following the Second World War from national and international artists. "So many things evolved and changed immediately after the war," says Spalding.
These evolutions occurred in abstraction, expressionism, minimalism and even pop art, all of which are on display at MOCA. Notable artists include Gerhard Richter, Christian Eckhart, Roy Lichtenstein, Chris Cran, Jack Bush, Jules Olitski and Henry Moore.
The exhibition is reminiscent to what would be found in museums around the world, but Spalding says being able to walk through an exhibit in Calgary and be exposed to the evolution of artistic practice in a single show is hard to come by.
"For those of us who are really excited by art, that's an important thing, but that's not really so much available for us to see in Alberta on any kind of regular basis, so for the idea to put on the two shows simultaneously... it was our attempt to at least emulate some of that opportunity," he explains.
Calgary Modern also serves as a reminder to Albertans of the artistic resources available on a local level.
"While we all love to travel and see cool things when we go somewhere else, there really are wonderful works of world-renowned artists that reside here in Alberta," says Spalding.
The second aspect is a print portfolio fundraiser for the gallery. This unique fundraising opportunity is being done in the spirit the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society (CCAS), which operated the Triangle Gallery since 1988. the society made donations of their artwork in support of the then fledgling gallery, and now, a dozen contemporary artists have come together to do the same.
There are only 12 portfolios available and bring together works from influential contributors spanning an assortment of styles and interests. Helena Hadala and Gary Olson, both eminent Calgary-based print artists and educators, organized and curated the fundraiser.
Olson hopes that in addition to raising money for the gallery, the fundraiser will also create a stronger appreciation for printmaking as an art form, since there are very few exhibitions focused on it.
"It's kind of a one-shot deal," Olson says, adding this same collaboration of work will not take place again."Mostly, you see this in a professional print shot or in a school, not really in a gallery."
The artists who have contributed work are not all print makers by trade, but they stepped outside their comfort zone an explored unchartered territory for the sake of art.
Both shows run until November 19.