By B. Simm
CALGARY — Between 2013 and 2014, the Glenbow Museum presented Made in Calgary: An Exploration of Art from the 1960s to the 2000s, which featured 577 artworks by 219 artists spanning 50 years of art-making in Calgary. Based on that exhibition, the Glenbow has published an art book, Made in Calgary, which celebrates those artists and their work during that time.
Melanie Kjorlien, the Glenbow’s VP of Access, Collections and Exhibitions says the 1960s was chosen as the starting point because “that’s when the Art College (now ACAD) and the fine arts program at the U of C started happening. There was a greater influx of people, artists and instructors coming to the city and a lot more development happening at that time.”
While the educational institutions and the ideas generated inside those walls certainly played a vital role in developing Calgary’s artistic community, Kjorlien notes that the economic growth and decline that took place over the last five decades also affected and shaped the city’s artistic climate.
“The whole the boom and bust cycle, which is unique to Calgary, had a huge impact on things like arts funding, which is hard sometimes to appreciate but affects the ways in which people produce and end up making in terms of their work.” Five curators, that each oversee one particular decade in the book, write expansive essays about the artists, their personalities and mindset, along with the social, political and economic landscapes that existed during that 50-year span. In doing so, they cover a broad cross-section of events which not only tells the story of how Calgary’s artistic community emerged and developed, but also reflects the cultural growth of the city itself.
Made in Calgary is now available at the Glenbow Museum Shop.AB, Alberta, Art, Glenbow Museum, Made in Calgary