Remember the National Portrait Gallery debacle? It received a lot of (merited) outcry in the past few years.
This summer, Latitude 53, an Edmonton artist-run centre, intends to resurrect the NPG dream, if only in a small way. Its savvily framed exhibition is described as follows:
This summer from June 11 until July 17, Latitude 53 hosts an artist-initiated response to the Portrait Gallery of Canada fiasco that has made headlines over the last few years, culminating in cancellation and sublimation into Library and Archives Canada in 2009. Conceived by a group of Edmonton artists, this National Portrait Gallery includes work from across Canada in a vital, artist-focused collection intended as a shadow of the official project with an eye to contemporary relevance. Organizer Fish Griwkowsky says, “Instead of lamenting Edmonton’s ignored bid to house Gatineau’s treasure, we decided to build a grassroots collection in the West, calling on artists across the country to join in. The NPG hopes to revitalize, decentralize and liberate the very idea of a national portrait gallery.”
The first stage of the National Portrait Gallery, a group show opening June 11, 2010, at Latitude 53 in downtown Edmonton, includes the work of thirty artists in a variety of disciplines, includ- ing traditional painted portraiture, music, film and experimental forms. The artists include well- known Canadian names like Douglas Coupland, exciting and varied contemporary talents such as Hank & Lilly and Daniel Barrow, and a strong contingent from Edmonton and Western Canada including Kristy Trinier, Jonathan Kaiser, Terrance Houle, Brandon Blommaert, Megan Morman and many more.
It's sounds like a great idea and I'm intrigued to hear how it pans out.
Image of what might have been our National Portrait Gallery in Ottawa from the National Post