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Exhibiting Canada : articulations of national identity at the National Gallery of Canada

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Exhibiting Canada : articulations of national identity at the National Gallery of Canada

Whitelaw, Anne (1995) Exhibiting Canada : articulations of national identity at the National Gallery of Canada. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Under the 1990 federal Museums Act, the National Gallery of Canada has a specific mandate to "preserv (e) and promot (e) the heritage of Canada and all its peoples throughout Canada and abroad, and (to) contribut (e) to the collective memory and sense of identity of all Canadians." This mandate is not taken lightly by the Gallery which conceives of its responsibilities not only in terms of the pedagogical dissemination of Canadian art to the world, but also in terms of the definition and legitimation of a specifically Canadian art practice. This thesis unravels the threads of the Gallery's commitment to a national programme by examining the mechanisms through which discourses of art and of the nation are constituted and negotiated across the different elements which characterize the Gallery as an "exhibitionary complex." An inquiry into the Gallery's permanent collection of Canadian art and four temporary exhibitions of contemporary Canadian art on display at the Gallery between 1980 and 1992, will situate the ways in which these exhibitions constitute specific articulations of national identity and the aesthetic within the institutional frame of the National Gallery. The thesis argues that far from projecting a single discourse of Canadian identity in its display of Canadian art, the Gallery proffers often disparate views of Canadian cultural production, views that can be traced to the display practices of the Gallery's permanent collection and of its temporary exhibitions.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Whitelaw, Anne
Pagination:x, 301 leaves; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Communication Studies
Date:1995
Thesis Supervisor(s):Allor, Martin
ID Code:3208
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 15:25
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:31
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