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Courtesy Joice Hall

Made in Calgary book showcases five decades of local art at the Glenbow

By Josh Perlette, June 9 2016 —

June 1 marked the official release of Made In Calgary: An Exploration of Art from the 1960s to the 2000s. Assembled by five curators, the book showcases Calgary art spanning the past 50 years.

The book is based on the Made In Calgary exhibition at the Glenbow Museum that ran from 2013 until 2014. The exhibit brought together 577 pieces of visual art produced by 219 local artists.

Courtesy John Hall

Made In Calgary highlights the metamorphosis of Calgary’s art culture and the city’s evolution from a small prairie town to a booming cosmopolitan centre. The exhibit and book gathered the talents of curators Mary-Beth Laviolette, Ron Moppett, Jeffrey Spalding, Nancy Tousley and Katherine Ylitalo.

“[In the book] we wanted the art to be as large as possible, so the readers can really appreciate the work as best as possible,” says managing editor of Made in Calgary Melanie Kjorlien.

Kjorlien says artists in the early chapters become the influencers, instructors and mentors for the following generations. Each decade shows conversations across generations and the shift in artistic mediums and contexts.

“When you start in the ’60s, it’s mainly paintings and some ceramics,” Kjorlien said. “Then you move to the 2000s and there is just an explosion in terms of ideas and ways that people are creating their art.”

Guest curator Katherine Ylitalo was tasked with curating pieces from the 2000s.

Ylitalo highlights her discoveries over the course of exploring art throughout the era, and says she was fortunate to be able to work with artists that were still alive.

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Courtesy Chris Cran

“For the most part I was working with living artists. I tried to include artists that were emerging artists, artists who were mid-career artists, and artists that were senior artists,” Ylitalo says.

Her selected pieces reflect the trickle-down of community and influence over half a century. Ylitalo says she hopes the book impacts the Calgary art community.

“[There’s] a real range of activity. It’s just so diverse what people are doing now as visual art,” she says. “The idea of having a really engaged and really informed audience is key.”

In an essay Ylitalo contributed for the book, she discusses how curating the project was a learning experience regarding her view of the art world.

“Artists absorb ideas with international currency, converse across generations and persevere in stretching the ideas of what art can be,” she writes.

In informing Calgarians of the diverse art culture from the past and present, the creators of Made In Calgary hope to support the arts and encourage Calgarians to live a creative lifestyle.

Made In Calgary: An Exploration of Art from the 1960s to the 2000s was released at the Glenbow Museum on June 1 and is available for purchase at the Glenbow.

For more information, visit glenbow.org

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