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4 art exhibits to check out in Calgary

By Silvia Pikal

HOUSE OF DIOR
Check out an exhibition dedicated to one of the world’s top fashion houses at Glenbow. Christian Dior is a retrospective of the fashion legend’s haute couture from 1947-1957. In 1946, Dior set up his own couture house in Paris and presented his first collection the following year, featuring voluptuous silhouettes that were a departure from women’s fashions before the Second World War. Browse a selection of Dior’s designs that transformed the French fashion industry; the exhibit runs until June 2.

DELPHINE COCKTAIL DRESS. CHRISTIAN DIOR, PARIS, AIMANT AUTUMN-WINTER 1956. © ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM.

THE RISE AND FALL OF CIVILIZATION
A statue of Kent Monkman’s glamorous alter-ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle stands on a rock-face buffalo jump in a room-filling installation at Glenbow. She’s overlooking the sculptural bison that roam throughout the room, while one sculpture is in shambles on the ground and surrounded by broken china. Kent Monkman: The Rise and Fall of Civilization is a poignant reminder that the North American bison, a source of sustenance for Indigenous people for thousands of years, was nearly hunted to extinction by European settlers in the 1800s. They hunted the bison for their pelts and left the meat to rot, then harvested the bones for fine bone china. The exhibit will be available for viewing throughout 2019.

KENT MONKMAN, THE RISE AND FALL OF CIVILIZATION (INSTALLATION VIEW), 2015, COURTESY THE GARDINER MUSEUM. PHOTO JIMMY LIMIT.

ALBERTA’S HOMEGROWN TALENT
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), is showcasing Alberta’s musical groundbreakers in a new exhibit. Trailblazers: Alberta makes use of video interviews, concert footage and more to showcase big names hailing from Alberta, including Tegan and Sara, Feist and Chad Kroeger. Emerging artists and their accomplishments are also featured, from country singer Lindsay Ell to The Static Shift, a trio of Calgary-based blues-rockers. The exhibit is located on the second floor of the NMC, and there will be a rotating cast of Alberta trailblazers over the next few years.

Photo by Brandon Wallis.

THE ART OF CLAY
On June 16, 1904, “Eureka We Have Found It!” was printed on the front page of the Medicine Hat News. A large natural gas well had been discovered, which led to a boom in Medicine Hat’s economy. Clay quickly became a shining star thanks to the availability of cheap natural gas to fire the kilns, as well as the abundance of the material in the area and neighbouring province Saskatchewan. At one point Medicine Hat supplied Canada with more than 75 per cent of its ceramics. A lasting reminder of the boom is the Medalta potteries site — the former massive industrial operation was transformed into a museum, ceramic art gallery and event space. Artists come from all over the world to work in the studios, or complete an artist-in-residence program. Home at the Alberta Craft Gallery brings Medalta art to Calgary. View everything from delicate, hand-built porcelain plates to impressive sculptures from artists who stayed in Medicine Hat after completing their residency; the exhibit runs until March 30.

Artist: Noriko Masuda, Reach Yunomi, 2016. Bone china, slip cast, underglaze.

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