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David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East Comes Home to Halifax


David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East
Saturday April 13 – Sunday June 23, 2013

David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East Comes Home to Halifax

April 12, 2013 – HALIFAX, NS – The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) is pleased to announce that after touring to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown and The Armory in Los Angeles, its travelling retrospective exhibition David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East, curated by David Diviney, Curator of Exhibitions at the AGNS is coming home to Halifax. David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East will be on display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia from April 13 through June 23, 2013. An opening reception will take place on Friday April 12 from 7-9pm.

Identified by the international art magazine, Artforum as one of the top 50 shows of 2011, the exhibition features over 40 works that consider the four strains of Askevold’s exploratory journey: sculpture/installation, film and video, photo-text works, and late digital images. It includes key pieces from each stage of the artist’s career. The exhibition fills three rooms at the Gallery.

Curator David Diviney says:

“The AGNS has had a longstanding relationship with David Askevold and throughout it we have always viewed him as perhaps the most influential artist of his generation. He was one of the most important contributors to the development and pedagogy of conceptual art. His pioneering film and videos from the late 60s and early 70s were some of the very first in the art form. His famous Projects Class at NSCAD brought the likes of Sol LeWitt, Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, and Lawrence Weiner to Halifax, focusing critical attention on the city, the college and his own unique, unorthodox approach to making art.” 

Born and educated in the United States, David Askevold (1940-2008) spent much of his career in Nova Scotia. Recognized as a pioneer in the development of conceptual video and photo-based art, he broke into the international art scene in 1970 when his work was included in the seminal exhibition Information at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Askevold made his way to Southern California, where his rich career, as an artist and teacher informed a number of younger artists, including Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler, both of whom later became his collaborators.

In 1968 Askevold moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to lecture at NSCAD University. As an instructor there into the early 1970s, Askevold developed and led the legendary Projects Class that is still widely regarded as a radical innovation in contemporary art pedagogy. He continued to teach for much of his career, and was highly influential in Canada and the United States.

As Christoper Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic writes:

"He was tilling new fields where other artists found fertile ground. Askevold’s materials are typically modest, but at their best they generate a presence that can surprise. The adjectives that repeatedly come to mind – mercurial, haunted, perverse, ephemeral, quicksilver –suggest his often remarkable capacity to exorcise the ghost in the machinery of modern life…his art …worms its way into your consciousness.”

About the exhibition
Once Upon a Time in the East begins with Askevold’s early, ground-breaking video works from the early 1970s, considered to be the first conceptual video art ever made in Canada. It includes The Nova Scotia Project, a large-scale, multi-disciplinary work from the mid-‘90s in which Askevold systematically documented the thousands of harbors along the rocky coast of Nova Scotia. This epic project comprises four elements: Once Upon a Time in the East, a series of aerial photographs of small craft harbors taken by the provincial department of fisheries and oceans; The Road Journal, photographs taken at road level on the way into the harbors; the End of the Road Matrix, photographs of structures such as fishing sheds from each harbor; and, Don’t Eat Crow, a garden shed housing a video installation. The exhibition also offers a mix of later pieces, primarily photo-based, and a video installation entitled Two Beasts, which was to be his last work. Askevold was collaborating on Two Beasts with his former student and New York artist Tony Oursler when he died in 2008; Oursler completed the project in 2010.

David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East is organized by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia with the support of the Museums Assistance Program (MAP) of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage.

Catalogue: The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color, hardcover, 144-page book published by Goose Lane Editions and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and edited by David Diviney. It includes texts by Diviney along with Ray Cronin, Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Aaron Brewer, artist and writer; Peggy Gale, curator and writer; Mario Garcia Torres, artist; Richard Hertz, former director of Graduate Programs at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; Tony Oursler, artist; and Irene Tsatsos, Chief Curator, Armory Center for the Arts. It is available in English and French editions, in hardcover for $50 at the Gallery Shop.

Media Preview
: Friday April 12 at 10.30am. A chance for media to preview the exhibition, and meet the curator.
Evening Reception: Friday April 12 at 7:00pm. Members and Invitation Only Event.
Open to Public: Saturday April 13 to Sunday June 23rd.
Hours: To May 19th hours will be: Wednesday to Friday 10:00am - 9:00pm (Thurs 5:00pm - 9:00pm is BMO Free Access Thursday), Saturday 10:00am - 5:00pm, Sunday 12:00 noon - 5:00pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (except for pre-arranged group and school tours). From May 20th hours summer hours will come into effect and the Gallery will be open: Monday & Tuesday: 10:00am - 5:00pm, Wednesday - Friday: 10:00am to 9:00pm, (Thurs 5:00pm - 9:00pm is BMO Free Access Thursday), Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm and Sunday 12:00 noon – 5:00pm.
School Groups: To book a free Canaccord School Tour, please call Laura Carmichael, Assistant Curator of Education at 902-424-6314, gov.ns.ca
Public Programming: Telus Family Sunday inspired by David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East – Sunday April 12, 1:00-4:00pm; Curator’s Talk with David Diviney – Thursday April 25, 7:00pm. There also is a Family Guide available in both French and English.
Admission is $12 full price; $10 senior; $7 student; Youth $5; AGNS Members and children under 5 free. Admission is free every Thursday 5-9pm courtesy of BMO Financial Group.

Images from David Askevold: Once Upon a Time in the East are posted on the AGNS website - www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca (Halifax, AGNews tab, Media Centre) 

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada with a mission to engage people with art. With locations in downtown Halifax and Yarmouth, the Gallery houses the Province’s art collection and offers a range of exceptional exhibitions, education and public programming. For information: www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca


For information contact: Donna Wellard | Marketing and Communications | Art Gallery of Nova Scotia | Phone 902-424-2903 | Cell 902-483-2019 | gov.ns.ca

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