As part of the Agnes’s 50th anniversary celebration, Roll Out unfolds in the galleries. Beginning with the first piece acquired, works are hung in the order in which they entered the collection, refreshed with later acquisitions throughout the run. Agnes Etherington: A Legacy, by Public Programs Officer Pat Sullivan, is published, along with Beyond the Silhouette: Fashion and the Women of Historic Kingston by M. Elaine MacKay, the first exhibition catalogue focusing on the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress.
In another cause for celebration, a second painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of a Man in a Turban (around 1661), joins The Bader Collection.
The in-gallery film Community Matters: The Art of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge is created for the retrospective, touring exhibition Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge: Working Culture, expanding the Agnes’s interpretive offerings. The short documentary features the artist-activist duo working in their studio and discussing their practice, as well as informed commentators on the significance of their work. The project wins the first Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Visual Art Film Award. Jan Allen also receives an OAAG Curatorial Writing Award for her essay in Condé and Beveridge: Class Works, co-published with NSCAD University Press.
Harun Farocki: One Image Doesn’t Take the Place of the Previous One, organized by the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University, is the first exhibition in North America to bring together installations by the German filmmaker.
The Solo Studio-Watch Series spans the year with solo exhibitions by six local artists, held in the former study of Agnes Etherington’s husband, Dr. Frederick Etherington. The Study is one of Etherington House’s few spaces (along with the Dining Room prior to 2000) that retain a historical feel while also serving as programmed gallery space. Since the gallery’s inception, the downstairs front rooms of Etherington House are maintained as they were in Agnes Etherington’s lifetime, with occasional artistic interventions.
The Agnes is busy lending works from its collection to institutions around the world. Among them, Jan Lievens’s Profile Head of an Old Woman (around 1630) travels to Amsterdam, Washington and Milwaukee; Parmigianino’s The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth and the Infant Baptist (around 1524–1527) to Ottawa; Marlene Creates’s Questions about the Place, Nova Scotia, 1998 (1998) to Regina; El Greco’s The Adoration of the Shepherds (around 1567) to New York City; and Arthur Lismer’s Quebec Village (1926) to Hamilton. In the most recent decade, the Agnes averages eight loans annually with two going to international venues.
Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control, curated by Jan Allen and PhD candidate Sarah E. K. Smith, addresses the widening data net in collaboration with “The New Transparency” project of Queen’s Surveillance Studies Centre. As part of the exhibition, Kathleen Ritter’s Hidden Camera (2006) is installed at the Union Gallery. Another exhibition, Don Maynard: Franken Forest, plumbs environmental anxieties, through local artist Maynard’s fantastical grove of trees.
To acknowledge an invaluable campus-based fund, New Canadiana: The Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Art as Social History exhibits Canadian works purchased with the fund’s assistance since 1973. By 2017, the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund makes 663 acquisitions possible at the Agnes.
Caterina Florio is the first Isabel Bader Fellow in Textile Conservation and Research in residence at Queen’s. Jointly offered every two years by the Agnes and Queen’s Master of Art Conservation Program, the fellow and a graduate intern support learning and the study, care and treatment of historical textiles, especially the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress.
The Summer SmARTS series of one-week programs for children and youth are initiated with the support of the Iva Speers Fund for Art Education, created by bequest in 2007. Due to continuing popular demand, camp sessions increase to three weeks in 2015.
Another important bequest, The Donald Murray Shepherd Fund becomes a vital source for acquiring significant Canadian art.
Ottawa philanthropist Ruth Soloway donates sixty-one paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture from her collection, making it one of the most significant gifts of Canadian art in the gallery’s history.
Two exhibitions respond to the bicentennial of the War of 1812. In Howie Tsui: Friendly Fire, a collaboration with the Museum of Health Care, the artist incorporates and responds to 1812-era medical instruments and practices, undermining dominant narratives that historicize the war, while Art, Elegance and Hospitality: The War of 1812 contemplates the war’s impact on cultural life in Kingston. A riveting cross-disciplinary series of talks, Beyond the Battlefield: The World of 1812, addresses both shows. At the reception, members of the Heritage Ambassadors, in historical dress, mingle with guests.
The Agnes hosts Student Affairs’ Canvas on Campus, welcoming first-year students, who deposit “canvases” about their experience of coming to Queen’s in the Atrium.
A Vital Force: The Canadian Group of Painters is the first major touring exhibition to focus exclusively on this artistic group from the 1930s to 1950s. Alicia Boutilier, Curator of Canadian Historical Art, receives an Ontario Association of Art Galleries Curatorial Writing Award for her catalogue essay. Akram Zaatari: All Is Well, guest curated by Victoria Moufawad-Paul, is the first Canadian solo exhibition of works by one of Lebanon’s most respected contemporary artists.
The Agnes arranges for photographer Geoffrey James to visit Kingston Penitentiary through its final months of operation. The resulting show, Geoffrey James: Inside Kingston Penitentiary, is presented the following year, and forty-five of his photographs are acquired.
Bader Curator of European Art David De Witt publishes his second volume on the Bader collection, The Bader Collection: European Paintings, following upon his authoritative 2008 The Bader Collection: Dutch and Flemish Paintings. The publication caps a transformative donation by Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader of sixty-eight paintings. To sustain and enhance work with the Bader Collection, the couple generously creates the Bader Legacy Fund.
Sunny Kerr is appointed Curator of Contemporary Art and Norman Vorano, cross-appointed to Art History and the Agnes as a Queen’s National Scholar, becomes the Agnes’s first Curator of Indigenous Art.
Charles Stankievech’s Monument as Ruin extends the Agnes’s curatorial investment in themes of surveillance and wins a Solo Exhibition of the Year Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.
The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists, co-produced with the Art Gallery of Hamilton, is the first exhibition to focus on self-portraits by historical women artists in Canada, and a first, for the Agnes, to use in-gallery interactive tablets. 2015 also features two exhibitions curated by Queen’s graduate students as part of the Art History practicum course: I hope humanity… by Elysia French and The Park and the Forest by Marla Dobson.
The collections database is made available online for browsing and searching, through the efforts of Collections Manager Jennifer Nicoll and a team of assistants. In 2016, Nicoll receives the Ontario Association of Art Galleries Colleague of the Year Award.
The Agnes’s new Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art, Jacquelyn N. Coutré, shepherds in the gallery’s third Rembrandt gift from Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader. Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo (1658) is unveiled to the public the following year, making the Agnes the repository for three of the six authenticated paintings by Rembrandt in public Canadian collections.
Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies and Stories to Tell: Africans and the Diaspora Respond to the Lang Collection bring artists and community members into dialogue with the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art. Both exhibitions challenge the problematic history of colonial-era appropriation, collection and display of African art in Western museums. Lost Bodies also incorporates objects from exhibiting partner the Textile Museum of Canada. At the opening, Lost Bodies is activated through dance performance by Lua Shayenne; and the newly acquired mask-based neon sculpture by Fernandes, 1978.412.367 (2010), flashes above the gallery entrances.
Visiting Artist-in-Residence Ciara Phillips’s Workshop (2010–ongoing) transforms the Davies Foundation Gallery into a participatory screen-printing studio as part of her exhibition Ciara Phillips: Comrade Objects.
2017 is a year of anniversaries and firsts, with the exhibitions Alfred Bader Collects: Celebrating Fifty Years of The Bader Collection; Road Trip: Across Canada with Alan C. Collier, which marks the nation’s sesquicentennial as well as a gift from the artist’s son; and At Home: The Interior in Canadian Art, the Agnes’s 60th-anniversary feature show. The Canadian artist duo, Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, is the Agnes’s inaugural Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence. And Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964, having garnered the Agnes’s largest exhibition grant ever from the Museums Assistance Program, travels to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, Iqaluit, Nunavut.