A huge new development emerged late last month, as it was announced that three of our largest visual art institutions will now be merging into one, known simply as Contemporary Calgary. This will consolidate what are currently known as the Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary (MOCA), the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC) and The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Art (IMCA). What they all have in common is that they are the recipients of major corporate donations, have some government affiliations and collectively represent Calgary’s version of an art museum.
MOCA is located at City Hall and only recently rebranded after having been the Triangle Gallery, when a house-based gallery started by Bree Zorel and Heather Kai Smith poked fun at the fact we didn’t really have a contemporary art museum and titled their space as such in 2009. IMCA was a project tied to Glenbow Museum that began in the ‘90s to respond to the same gap. It received many major donations, including a building on Sixth Avenue owned by Telus, but it largely fell apart. The concept was revisited around 2009 to possibly exist as part of a series of standalone buildings under Glenbow for 2015, and clearly remains in suspense, although an exciting thing to keep an eye on. The AGC made headlines in major media when their former CEO was accused of diverting about $500,000 for personal use between 2005-2012.
They’re all going to be housed in the current AGC space on Stephen Avenue. It will be much smaller in physical size, but probably much bigger in recognition and national status, which theoretically means higher-profile exhibitions reaching us like never before. It combines the organizational talents of the brightest people behind each of those places, as well, co-chaired by Carol Ryder (director at MOCA), David Rehn (chair at AGC), and David Fridhandler (director IMCA).
In other news, there has been a strong pattern of creative businesses moving much farther southeast. This is true of our beloved Kensington Art Supply, which will still continue to house Hughes Fine Art classes at 6999 – 11 St. S.E., just north of Deerfoot Meadows. Christine Klassen Gallery is moving to 50th Avenue S.E. from 10th Avenue S.W. and reopening in February. Ceramics Canada is also moving from 45th Avenue S.E. to #16 – 240040 Frontier Place SE (approx. 90th Ave). Fortunately, cars heat up faster when there are more people in them.
By Cait Lepla