AGM Book Project | Exhibitions

How has the Art Gallery of Mississauga developed since its creation in 1987, and how does it continue to grow? AGM intern Alexandra Hartstone has been hard at work at creating a book that documents the past 27 years, and looks forward to future of the institution. In this post, she gives us an update on the book project, focusing on the AGM’s exhibition history, highlighting an exhibition from the past.

Exhibitions
Alexandra Hartstone, Curatorial Intern | Special Projects – Georgian College

As the Book Project gains momentum, discovering what lays behind the doors and corners of the Gallery have become an adventure in connecting the pieces of its history together.

Bringing art to the community and the community to art has been the AGM’s mandate and words of special focus to the Gallery since its inception in 1987. Providing a window to the art world, the AGM centres its focus on streams of engagement that opens multiple platforms of accessibility and discourse to the community.  Connecting with the social fabric of Mississauga by encouraging reflection, thought, and response; artists and exhibitions at the AGM are continually finding new ways of drawing contemporary ideas to the social identity of the city and its residents.

Combing through the archives, the list of exhibitions is grand and has challenged visitors to engage with and stay open about contemporary ideas. As the Gallery looks forward and continues to push boundaries in forging new and contemporary programming, it is important to take a moment to revel in its vibrant past through highlighting former exhibitions. In this post, we take a look at the exhibition Hawk 33, from 1999, curated by Stuart Reid.

Formed in 1979, FASTWÜRMS is the trademark and collective of Canadian artists, Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse.  Working as multidisciplinary artists, FASTWÜRMS experiment and connect high and popular cultures, politics, and social exchange through public collaborations and a DIY responsiveness.  The exhibition Hawk 33 challenged Mississauga to think critically in engaging with the site-specific installation of 36 hand painted banners representing an array of falcons, hawks, and raptors commonly seen flying across the skies of Ontario. Creating a sort of classification system of variations within a species, the silhouettes are filled with letters lending to clues to the common name of each bird. Bordering the banners are two flags loosely representing the Canadian and American flags. Replacing the maple leaf and stars are pentagrams, and the original bands of red and blue are substituted for green offering a ”juxtaposition of nature and nationalism as it points out the irony in the human impulse to state domain over an anarchic natural world which does not recognize borders between cities, provinces, or countries”. [i]

Particularly interesting as the AGM moves forward, FASTWÜRMS work on platforms which include public collaboration and engagement. Their interests in culture and social politics connect with the movement at the Gallery, setting the stage for artist initiatives and activism through critical exhibitions and programmes.

Look out as the Art Gallery of Mississauga continues to gain momentum as a cultural producer and facilitator within the city and beyond!

[i] Stuart Reid. FASTWURMS: Hawk 33. Mississauga: Stuart Reid, 1999. Print.

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What else has Alexandra discovered in her research into the AGM archives? Stay tuned to this blog for a series of posts, every other Thursday, featuring images, stories and other exciting news from the rich past of Canada’s smallest — but mightiest! — public art gallery.

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