"Oh, Canada" At Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant
A funny music video at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art encapsulates the thoughts visitors may have when entering the exhibit, "Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America":
"What exactly is contemporary Canadian art? It is neo-lumberjack abstraction? Beaver dam earthworks? Something called universal health care? That's not so crazy, it must be art," the Cedar Tavern Singers sing, as iconic Canadian images float by: moose, Mounties, igloos, Tim Horton's, ketchup-flavored potato chips, fries with poutine. "Is it about hockey? Maybe post-painterly hockey?"
What "Oh, Canada" actually is is the largest overview of Canadian art ever mounted outside Canada, featuring 62 artists from across the nation who may be well known north of the border, but not in the United States. It's also the largest exhibit in the history of Mass MoCA.
It's a wide-ranging show that encompasses urban and rural themes, absurdity, realism and surrealism, humor and tragedy, in sculpture, painting, video and kinetic art, made by Caucasian-, Asian- and African-Canadians, French-speaking and English-speaking, as well as and Native Canadians, which are called First Nations.
The result is so wide-ranging, museum spokeswoman Katherine Myers says, it points to the narrow concept American may have of Canada as a country of limited themes. "The interesting thing is that Canada is the second biggest country in the world. It's like putting on a show called 'America'," Myers said. "It's a huge country. Some people are doing this, some people are doing that. It's going to be varied."
Denise Markonish, the curator of "Oh, Canada," said that doing a show about a nation's art is "the most ridiculous thing in this day and age.
"The idea of a survey of a country in this very global era, where a lot of people travel and can see things online, it's just the most old-fashioned idea, like the Grand Tour," Markonish said. "That was part of what made me want to do it. I want to be a little contrary to what's going on out there."
To read the full article: http://articles.courant.com/2012-09-16/entertainment/hc-oh-canada-0916-20120916_1_contemporary-art-native-canadians-wide-ranging-show