Local artist Elle Virago stealthily left one of her Guerrilla Hearts on the doors of the Art Gallery of Calgary, locking the front doors with a chain and combination lock that held the heart in place.
Virago has placed hearts around the city, including on the old King Eddy, a small pixelated heart in front of Caffe Beano and downtown in the Bow Valley Square Plus-15.
This particular heart was made of cleaning implements — gloves, sponges and scrubbing pads — symbolizing the hopes of many in the arts community that the gallery can clean up its act and get back on track. This comes after former president and CEO of the AGC, Valerie Cooper, was let go and is currently being sued by the gallery for $500,000 and is facing six counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count each of theft under $5,000, mischief, obstruction and falsifying documents.
In an artist statement on the Guerrilla Hearts projects, Virago writes: "The guerrilla aspect of the hearts is about revolution. At a time when our choices are more often than not ruled by money and fear, they arise as a gentle reminder of our own knowing infusing the city with their deeper meaning. I don’t necessarily see these hearts as my own creation. Each one seems to reveal itself to me and I merely make it visible in the world. As they emerge from a specific location, it is the surrounding environment that dictates the materials and approach making each heart unique and respectful to its location."
The heart has been removed from the gallery's front doors, but has been placed on an easel for display on Stephen Avenue. The gallery intends to keep it on display for the foreseeable future.
Inexplicably, the gallery won't comment on the heart, saying that it migh interfere with the court cases. It's unclear how this would affect anything, but I was told that they aren't allowed to talk about anything.
Seems like there's still some scrubbing to do.