B.C. artist Brian Jungen causes big buzz with summer solo show at Art Gallery of Ontario

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      Well known to art fans in Vancouver, Brian Jungen is making a big splash in Toronto this summer.

      The Swiss-Dane-Zaa artist and Emily Carr University of Art and Design grad is showing some of his most iconic works in a major solo exhibit called Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

      The exhibition, organized by former Vancouver curator Kitty Scott, now the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, is showing more than 80 of his works, including new headdresses, masks, and an epic film installation. And, since the show opened June 20, they've already been hitting Instagram at #brianjungen.

      Those pieces sit alongside the artist’s personal archive of materials that have inspired his work his work.

      Among the iconic pieces on view are the Vancouver Art Gallery's 40-foot-long patio-chair sculpture of a whale skeleton, Cetology (2002), hung from the AGO ceiling.

       For the first time, the majority of Jungen’s freestanding sculptures and masks, are also shown together in one spot. They include including several recent pieces never seen in Canada. Many are from the artist’s famous series "Prototypes for a new Understanding" (created between 1998 and 2005), in which he deconstructed and transformed Nike Air Jordan sneakers into sculptures resembling everything from Northwest Coast masks and Plains Indian headdresses.

      Many of the sports-sneaker works are shown in a Jungen-designed, basketball-court-like setting that plays on the idea of Indigenous friendship centres and band community centres across Canada, and their use of gymnasiums for both culture and athletics.

      The exhibition runs to August 25, 2019.

      Brian Jungen's 1980, 1970, and 1960,
      Sean Weaver, Art Gallery of Ontario