Contemporary Conversations invites iconic American artists to Ottawa for discussions on topics that transcend national borders, inspire critical thinking, and connect people across cultures. This year, Contemporary Conversations will bring artists Kiki Smith, Theaster Gates, and Anne Chu to the Gallery for a series of public lectures accompanied by temporary installations of their work. Each of the featured artists is well-known for his or her unique ability to address creatively some of today's most complex social issues. Sharing a commitment to cultural diplomacy, all three artists have participated in numerous Art in Embassies exchange programs, and their work has been installed in U.S. embassies, consulates, and ambassadors' residences around the world.
March 31: Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith's diverse and highly influential body of work includes sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing, and textile. Balancing a quiet sensitivity to the natural world with a keen awareness of contemporary social issues, Smith's work constantly invites us to reexamine ourselves, our histories, and our places in the world. In 2012, Smith was awarded the U.S. Department of State International Medal of Art award by Art in Embassies for outstanding work in the field of cultural diplomacy.
May 12: Theaster Gates
Artist Theaster Gates has expanded his scope of artistic practice to include issues of land use, space policy, and race. These topics that he explores under the larger umbrella of Black Space are the heart of a series of ongoing public conversations Gates has initiated.
September 29: Who is the late Anne Chu?
The Embassy of the United States in Ottawa and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies, in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, will close the 2016 season of the Contemporary Conversations series with a presentation on the work of recently deceased American artist Anne Chu.
Anne Chu, who died on July 25, had been scheduled to appear as the third and final artist of the 2016 series. In recognition of her continuing cultural significance as an artist whose work embodies the spirit and mission of the Contemporary Conversations series, the Embassy and the Gallery have decided to continue with an amended program on Chu titled: Who is the late Anne Chu?
In lieu of a conversation with the artist, the Gallery will host a presentation on Anne Chu’s work by National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO Marc Mayer, who will be joined by Anne Chu’s agent, Tracy Williams, President of Tracy Williams Ltd., for a conversation. The Gallery will also exhibit a selection of the artist’s works, including Hanging Goat, 2008, drawn from the Gallery’s collection.
More information about the series can be found at www.gallery.ca/conversations/en.