Canada’s museums and galleries will be busy this summer. The sector has emerged from the pandemic with lots of bright ideas about how to draw visitors. Climb inside a submarine, film yourself on a green screen or simply admire some unusual contemporary art from the bold carvings of the Northwest Coast artist Dempsey Bob to the dense works on paper by the Japanese artist Manabu Ikeda. Here are some of the most tantalizing offerings from East to West.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax picks up the impressive Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity exhibition that originated at Toronto’s Power Plant last summer. The show features engrossing juxtapositions of work by Indigenous artists from Peru, Brazil and Venezuela with Inuit artists from the circumpolar regions of Canada, the United States, Finland and Norway. Until Sept. 17.
Bestselling children’s book illustrator Hatem Aly (The Proudest Blue; In My Mosque) was born in Egypt but now lives in Bathurst, N.B., with his family and many pets. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton celebrates this new New Brunswicker with an exhibition of his cheerful work. From June 1.
The Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec in Quebec City welcomes the first North American exhibition devoted to the radical British designer Alexander McQueen, famed for the “bumster” jeans, which launched the low-rise trend in 1990s. The show includes 69 fashion ensembles by the designer, who died in 2010, but also reveals his historical references with 50 works by other artists. From June 15.
Dempsey Bob, leading carver of Northwest Coast totem poles and masks, is a descendant of the Tahltan and Tlingit peoples and member of the Wolf clan, traditional cultures that he blends into his contemporary art. Wolves, the first-ever retrospective of his work, seen previously in B.C. and Ontario, now stops at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Until Sept. 10.
To this day, Canada earns plaudits for making great children’s TV. The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau explores the classics with a show called From Pepinot to Paw Patrol: Television of Our Childhoods. It features costumes, puppets and numerous video clips. Until Sept. 1.
Kids will enjoy climbing into a submarine in Voyage to the Deep, a maritime exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, inspired by Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Meanwhile, adults might want to check out the science centre’s classic modernist architecture, now threatened by Ontario government plans to move it downtown. From June 5.
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is organizing Being and Belonging, an exhibition in which 25 contemporary female artists from the Islamic world explore such themes as sexuality, power and identity. From July 1.
In Impostor Cities, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto will investigate the intriguing way in which Canadian cities pose as other places in popular television and film. Conceived by Thomas Balaban, David Theodore and Jennifer Thorogood, the project, featuring a screening room and a green-screen installation, was originally commissioned for the 2020 Venice Biennale architecture exhibition and will now finally be fully realized at MOCA. From June 2.
With both contemporary art and precontact pieces dating back as far as 200 BCE, Inuit Sanaugangit: Art Across Time brings together 400 works of Inuit art from Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Now at the Winnipeg Art Gallery/Qaumajuq to Jan. 7, 2024.
Remai Modern in Saskatoon will play host to Oma-je, the largest North American show to date from the celebrated French artist Laure Prouvost, known for her experimental videos and surreal installations whose otherworldly environments are created from everyday things. From June 30.
Contemporary Calgary is playing host to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s chronological retrospective of Diane Arbus photographs drawn from its own collection. Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956-71 features many of her best-known and famously unsettling images including the twins in party dresses, a boy with a toy grenade and several of “female impersonators.” Until Sept. 17.
The West Coast Modern design movement was famous for Vancouver houses of glass and wood adapted to their spectacular cliffside sites. At the West Vancouver Memorial Library, artist Paul Hetherington has unveiled eight miniature models of the best examples in partnership with the West Vancouver Art Museum. His building material is Lego. Until July 31.
In his current show at the Polygon Gallery in Vancouver, Abraham O. Oghobase, a Toronto artist of Nigerian birth, investigates the legacy of mining in Africa, considering the impact of colonial resource extraction on land, labour and the body. His intriguing montages combine diagrams from a 1912 mining handbook with photographs of his own body while he also works with images from an American archive of East African photography, which he degrades through repeated photocopying. Until July 30.
The Audain Art Museum in Whistler, B.C., offers a first major North American solo show of work by the Japanese artist Manabu Ikeda. Creating claustrophobic accumulations of detail in pen and ink on paper, Ikeda renders scenes of both natural beauty and environmental apocalypse. From June 24.
Buried in the Cambodian jungle for centuries, the famed temple at Angkor was created by a Khmer civilization dating to the 12th century. The Royal BC Museum in Victoria plays host to a Canadian stop for Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia, a touring exhibit of 120 works including original artifacts from the site and information about the continuing research there. From June 2.