A special Main Space presentation of works by Louise Bourgeois from the 1949 to the large-scale cell sculptures (The Last Climb), 2008. Three Known Points is an exhibition of recent sculptural work and photographs by David Armstrong Six. Dancing With Che: Enter Through The Gift Shop is an intervention-installation of Che Guevara souvenirs by Barbara Astman.
The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) is pleased to launch our Summer 2013 program with the Toronto premieres of three solo exhibitions: Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010; David Armstrong Six, Three Known Points; and Barbara Astman, Dancing With Che: Enter Through The Gift Shop, in our galleries from June 22 – August 11, 2013.
Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010 is a special Main Space presentation of the widely-acclaimed National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program. Drawn from the collection of the NGC and loans from the Louise Bourgeois Trust, this installation pays homage to the remarkable career of one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Included are works from her very first solo sculpture exhibition in New York in 1949, as well as the NGC’s recent acquisition Cell (The Last Climb), 2008, the last of the more than twenty large-scale cell sculptures that she produced. Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010 is organized by the National Gallery of Canada and presented by MOCCA.
Early on, Bourgeois focused on painting and printmaking, turning to sculpture only in the later 1940s. However, by the 1950s and early 1960s, there are gaps in her production as she became immersed in psychoanalysis. Then, in 1964, for an exhibition after a long hiatus, Bourgeois presented strange, organically shaped plaster sculptures that contrasted dramatically with the totemic wood pieces she had exhibited earlier. But alternating between forms, materials, and scale, and veering between figuration and abstraction became a basic part of Bourgeois’s vision, even while she continually probed the same themes: loneliness, jealousy, anger, and fear.
Bourgeois’s idiosyncratic approach found few champions in the years when formal issues dominated art world thinking. But by the 1970s and 1980s, the focus had shifted to the examination of various kinds of imagery and content. In 1982, at 70 years old, Bourgeois finally took center stage with a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. After that, she was filled with new confidence and forged ahead, creating monumental spiders, eerie room-sized “Cells,” evocative figures often hanging from wires, and a range of fabric works fashioned from her old clothes. All the while she constantly made drawings on paper, day and night, and also returned to printmaking. Art was her tool for coping; it was an exorcism. As she put it, “Art is a guarantee of sanity.”
David Armstrong Six
Curated by David Liss and Jonathan Shaughnessy
Three Known Points is an exhibition of recent sculptural work and photographs presented in the MOCCA Project Space by Berlin and Montreal-based artist David Armstrong Six. Working in a diverse range of materials, including wood, bronze, plaster, metal and glass, this new body of work, referred to as “associative abstraction” was produced in Berlin within the last year and first exhibited in Canada at PARISIAN LAUNDRY in Montreal this past May. David Armstrong Six | Three Known Points is organized by MOCCA and curated by David Liss and Jonathan Shaughnessy. David Armstrong Six is represented by PARISIAN LAUNDRY, Montreal.
“The sculptures arrive in an all-too material manner, off-gassing as the modalities of a transparent radiation.”
Notes on Navigating the Studio at Night, David Armstrong Six
Drawing on the tradition of Cubism, Surrealism and other Modernist artistic precedents which include the conceptual turn toward Minimalism and forms of assemblage and abject object-making in the 1960s and 1970s, David Armstrong Six’s contemporary explorations into sculpture’s “expanded field” apply a diverse range of raw and readymade materials compiled into aesthetically intriguing and ambiguously legible compositions.
This exhibition presents a selection of new pieces created by the artist during a 2012 residency in Berlin that saw the realization of an ambitious group of vertically-oriented sculptures known collectively as “Brown Star Plus One.” Individually titled after particular yet generic vocations and characters – from the labouring “Janitor” to the anomalous “Changeling” – the identification of humanly-accessible traits only occurred in retrospect, as the outcome of slow and lengthy “trial-and-error” juxtapositions and the assembly or disassembly of materials without a specific endpoint in mind. Armstrong Six calls this method of deliberation over sculpture’s formal and material possibilities “associative abstraction,” a process that he engaged in late at (and throughout the) night within the space of his Kreuzberg studio after long walks through the streets and sounds of Berlin.
Dancing With Che: Enter Through The Gift Shop is an intervention-installation of Che Guevara souvenirs in the MOCCA Media/Retail Space. Internationally-acclaimed artist Barbara Astman considers what it means for a cultural icon to appear on a multitude of mass-produced consumer items. The artist entices visitors with her retail display, but does not allow them to satiate their consumer desire – none of the objects are for sale. Barbara Astman is represented by Corkin Gallery, Toronto.
Intrigued by the idea of a souvenir as an object, artist Barbara Astman considers what it means for a cultural icon to appear on a multitude of mass-produced consumer items. Starting with a self-portrait in which she wears a souvenir Che Geuvera t-shirt purchased during a trip to Cuba, the artist created multiples of mugs, postcards, and playing cards; these objects are typically created for mass consumption, acting as cultural substitutes for a memory or experience. But while the artist entices visitors with her retail display, she does not allow them to satiate their consumer desire – none of the objects are for sale.
MOCCA will also be presenting Artist Talks on Saturday, June 22, 3pm. Join artists Barbara Astman, David Armstrong Six, and Jonathan Shaughnessy, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, for a tour of the exhibitions.
Image: Barbara Astman, Dancing with Che: Enter Through The Gift Shop (detail of merchandise), 2011. Courtesy of the Corkin Gallery. Photo: Jennifer Rose Sciarrino
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The public opening reception will take place on Friday, June 21, from 8 – 10pm. MOCCA has teamed up with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery to provide a free shuttle bus that will operate on Friday evening between the two locations as we both celebrate the opening of our summer exhibitions. The bus will make its first MOCCA departure at 8:15pm and runs between the two locations until 11pm.
The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
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