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Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980

September 29, 2012 to January 20, 2013
Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House, University of Toronto) and the
Vancouver Art Gallery, in partnership with the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University) and Halifax INK,
with the support of the University of Toronto Art Centre, Blackwood Gallery (UTM) and Doris McCarthy Gallery (UTS)

Curated by Grant Arnold (Audain Curator of British Columbia Art, Vancouver Art Gallery), Catherine Crowston,
Barbara Fischer, Michèle Thériault with Vincent Bonin, and Jayne Wark

Conceptual art is widely considered to be the most transformative art movement of the late twentieth century.
Marked by the political unrest of the 1960s, it challenged the idea of art as a form of individual expression or
special technical skill. Rather than adding objects such as paintings or sculptures to a world already full of
“things,” conceptual art engaged critically with the conditions that have defined art as well as new systems of
meaning-making in an age of mass media.
Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980 was the first major exhibition to track the impact of conceptual
art as it was taken up across Canada. Comprising work by more than ninety Canadian and international artists,
it examined the complex, rigorous and diverse forms in which conceptual art appeared and the ways in which its
premises were inflected by the specific needs, interests and geographic situations of Canadian artists, collectives
and communities. While Traffic was organized along regional lines, it emphasized the effervescent, sometimes
contentious, lines of traffic that crossed geographic boundaries. Traffic received the Canadian Museums Association
Award for Outstanding Achievement in Exhibitions. LEFT: Installation view of Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965–1980.
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