The most comprehensive survey of Canadian contemporary art yet published: a new kind of travel guide with art as the main attraction.
The fact that Canada has a vibrant contemporary art scene is no secret to Canadians, but in other parts of the world, including the United States, this is not as recognized as it deserves to be. This wide-ranging, comprehensive survey of contemporary Canadian art, showcasing the work of artists from all across the country, will change that. These artists include those who have risen to international prominence—Michael Snow, Garry Neill Kennedy, and Marcel Dzama, among others—as well as many artists who have yet to be discovered outside Canada.
Oh, Canada (and the exhibition it accompanies at MASS MoCA) surveys nearly every province and territory, grouping artists by region, offering a new kind of travel guide with art as the main attraction. The result is not art that defines itself by national identity but rather some remarkable contemporary art that happens to be Canadian. Each section—from British Columbia and the Yukon to the Prairies and North, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the Ex-Pats—includes a text on the art of the region, interviews between artists, and examples of their work. Oh, Canada also includes a detailed exploration of today's Canadian art scene by the editor and whimsical shorter pieces in a variety of forms (travelogues, poems, even fiction) by other writers, among them Douglas Coupland and Jane Urquhart. An appendix offers two lists of Canadians you didn't know were Canadian—one compiled by an American and the other by a Canadian. Oh, Canada is an unprecedented, near-encyclopedic guide to Canadian contemporary art, and to Canada itself.
Denise Markonish is a curator at MASS MoCA. Her curatorial projects at MASS MoCA include the 2008 exhibition Badlands, for which she edited the accompanying catalog Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape, published by the MIT Press.
It is beautifully illustrated with color reproductions of artworks in the exhibition as well as other works. This catalog is not only recommended for contemporary art specialists (curators, critics, artists, art librarians, etc.), but also for a museum-going public.