In a catalogue essay accompanying the 1992 Painting in Quebec exhibition, Laurier Lacroix suggests that during the period 1820-1850, the visual arts provided a "breeding ground for common practices" through which French-Canadians and British colonists could communicate. According to this theory, painting and drawing were activities by which the social élite of each community could "establish a local culture, identify its components and develop the creative forces within the community." Furthermore: "painting in Lower Canada provided a meeting ground for two traditions. … [It] was seen and appreciated by each of the ethnic groups as a means of moulding the colony to fit its own image: a double image, combining British allegiance and a need for national identity."
The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Decision-makers and the socio-aesthetic tendencies of the collection
This sociological study first defines the socio-professional profile of the network of decision-makers at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal regarding its acquisition policy; secondly, it produces an analysis of the museum collection with a view to determining the socio-aesthetic morphology of the collection; and thirdly, it establishes a relationship between the two. Finally, I examine the collection as art-historical materials and as an archive of the institution. Since the value and market price of the works in the MACM collection have not been disclosed by the institution, economic factors do not enter into this analysis. The study constitutes an open-ended information base to encourage future research in museology.
Dissemination of the Visual Arts in Montreal
The Nineteen Fifties – Locations and Chronology
This article grew out of research for an exhibition on the Galerie Agnès Lefort, to take place in spring 1996 at the Leonard Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal. Thus it was initially intended to be merely a working document. However, it has been subsequently expanded and revised to such an extent that it can exist in its own right. The extension of a study of a single gallery to such a general review involved two stages. First, one has to specify what Lefort achieved – the artists she had exhibited, the dates and the choice of works. And second, it was important to assess the impact of her activity on the Montreal community, specifically in what ways the gallery had contributed to changing the dissemination of visual arts in Montreal over the period concerned. Simply listing the exhibitions held at the Galerie Lefort would not have been sufficient. It was necessary to survey the whole decade, including an inventory of galleries and a chronology of the exhibitions.
It is more than a truism—it has become a platitude—that Canadian art and identity have, for much of the twentieth century, been defined by landscape. Urban scenes have occupied only a small area in the Canadian visual consciousness. In 1990, Dorothy Farr reminded the readers of her catalogue Urban Images, Canadian Painting that there has been no shortage in Canada of exhibitions of landscape art. She then went on to remark, entirely accurately, that "until now, few [exhibitions] have looked at the urban image."
George Swinton's Sculpture of the Inuit published in 1992 and recently released in paperback, is a revised and updated edition of his Sculpture of the Eskimo, 1972. It continues the encyclopedic survey of Inuit carving first catalogued in his classic work Eskimo Sculpture of 1965. This updated publication has a melancholy tone, evoking a nostalgia for an earlier time in Inuit contemporary art; a time of different sensory involvement, when sculpting meant "hearing" the stone and good work was sensuously tactile.
The addition of 33 pages to Sculpture of the Inuit unfortunately neither does justice to many of the artists working since 1971, nor to the one million carvings produced since that time. Swinton states that both for economic reasons and time constraints, it is no longer possible to produce the kind of comprehensive image bank which was the foundation of the 1972 work. Instead he aims to provide the reader with an overview.