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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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Jonathan Shaughnessy, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, and Catherine Crowston, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta, discussed institutional perspectives, collaborations, and past and upcoming projects aimed at situating contemporary art in Canada within broader national and international contexts. Placing works of art front and centre, Mr. Shaughnessy shared his research towards the 2017 Canadian Biennial at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and Ms. Crowston presented her experience working with some of Canada’s most notable contemporary artists at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton. The speakers were keen to expand their knowledge and understanding of developments in modern and contemporary Indian and South Asian art through this discussion and exchange.

Jonathan Shaughnessy is an Associate Curator in the Contemporary Art Department of the National Gallery of Canada where his exhibitions have included “Human Scale” (2016), “100 Years Today” in Shine a Light: Canadian Biennial 2014 (2014-15) and Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012. He organized Louise Bourgeois: 1911-2010, the Gallery’s homage to the late sculptor that was on view in Ottawa before traveling to the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, and MOCCA, Toronto (2011-13). His most recent publication Points of Departure: Vera Frenkel’s Words and Works (Black Dog, 2016) followed from the major survey exhibition on the Toronto artist he organized for the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (now MOCA_Toronto_Canada) in 2014. He has written essays and catalogues on the work of many Canadian and international artists, and is presently working towards the NGC’s upcoming Canadian Biennial opening October 2017 in Ottawa. Shaughnessy is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, and a PhD student in the Institute of Comparative Studies in Literature, Arts and Culture (ICSLAC), Carleton University, where his research interests include Canadian and international contemporary art production and its institutional collection as related to issues of globalization, transnationalism, and diaspora.

Catherine Crowston is Executive Director/ Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta, having joined the Gallery in 1998. From 1994 to 1997 Crowston was the Director/Curator of the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre and Editor of the Walter Phillips Gallery Editions. Prior to that, she was Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of York University in Toronto (1986 to 1994), and a member of the Editorial Board and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fuse Magazine. Over the course of her career, Crowston has curated numerous original exhibitions and most recently has worked with artists such as: Yael Bartana, Allora and Calzadilla, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen. In 2002, Crowston served as the Canadian Commissioner for the Sydney Biennale of Contemporary Art and was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts. In 2005, she received the City of Edmonton Salute to Excellence Award and in 2015 was inducted into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame. Crowston served as the Commissioner of the Canadian Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. In addition to her work at the AGA, Crowston has taught courses on curatorial practice and public art at the University of Alberta, and currently serves on the MacEwan University Fine Arts Advisory Board. She has also served as Vice-Chair of the City of Edmonton Public Art Committee (2008-2012).

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