1981

February

The WAG begins its Manitoba Series of exhibitions, bringing audiences into closer contact with new works by artists residing in the...
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June

Carol Barbee is elected President of the Volunteer Committee.

Today, then the country’s highest circulation magazine, awards the WAG the distinction of being Canada’s best art gallery.
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November

The exhibition Occurrences: 4 Manitoba Painters opens. Artists include Caroline Dukes (1929–2003), Aliana Au, Jill Brooks, and Celia...
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1982

February

With the acquisition of a stoneware vase by the British studio potter Bernard Howell Leach (1887–1979)in February, the WAG demonstrates...
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April

Marcel Breuer: Furniture and Interiors, a major exhibition from the Museum of Modern Art in New York of furniture by modern 20th century architect...
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May

On May 10 the internationally acclaimed virtuoso violinist Eugene Fodor (1950–2011) performs at the WAG’s Muriel Richardson...
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June

Accountant Donald E. Vernon becomes Board President.

September

The WAG purchases its first art-transport vehicles, used for shipping and receiving Gallery supplies and works of art.

October

In October The Pleasures of Poetry, an annual lecture series on poets and poetry running to April and led by famed University of Manitoba...
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The WAG-organized exhibition A Distant Harmony opens on October 8. A Distant Harmony compares Canadian painters from the 19th and 20th centuries...
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November

Director Roger Selby (1934–1995) predicts that “Winnipeg might one day become a study centre for Inuit art.” In 2012, this dream...
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December

A work by American minimalist Dan Flavin (1931–1996) is donated to the WAG by Dr. William and Isabelle Campbell.  [The Campbells, who...
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1983

February

The WAG presents Baker Lake: Prints and Drawings 1970–1976.  This exhibition capitalizes on the major acquisitions the Gallery had...
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April

The famed New York Times art critic John Canaday (1907–1985) delivers a lecture entitled “The Artist, the Critic, and the...
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May

The exhibition Latitudes and Parallels: Focus on Contemporary Photography opens on May 26. This juried WAG-organized exhibition includes 80 works...
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June

Elaine Margolis becomes President of the Volunteer Committee.

July

Following the resignation of Roger Selby (1934–1995), the WAG hires a new Director, Terrence Heath.

The year’s major Inuit exhibition entitled Baffin Island opens on July 23.  As its title suggests, Baffin Island encompasses an entire...
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September

In memory of the life of Dorothy Naylor (1908–1983), a supporter, important donor of decorative art, early Gallery volunteer and Board...
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A Boundless Horizon, curated by Dr. Virginia Berry (d. 2003), longstanding WAG volunteer and former President of the Women’s Committee...
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1984

January

Wayne Morgan becomes the Gallery’s Chief Curator.

March

The first Through the Eyes of a Child exhibition is held. This becomes an annual event, and still is today. The exhibition consists of works by...
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May

The exhibition Sculpture from Germany opens on May 5, featuring work by contemporary artists such as Joseph Beuys (1921–1986), Rebecca Horn,...
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June

Katherine Duckworth (d. 1991) becomes President of the Board.

On June 21 the WAG opens The Art of Photography, the first public display of contemporary photography from the WAG’s collection. That same...
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July

John McEwen’s sculpture Marconi is acquired with funds donated in memory of J. Bruce Goodhand and with a grant provided by the Canada...
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October

The WAG announces that it has acquired, through funds provided by the Richardson Foundation, two pianos, including a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand...
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November

The Gallery announces the signing of its first union contract with employees.

1985

January

Lawyer Leo C. Kelekis becomes Board President.

 

March

The WAG-organized exhibition Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art opens. The exhibition explores the complex and entwined relationship between...
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June

Dore Aston, American art critic, author, and champion of Abstract Expressionism, delivers a lecture in the Muriel Richardson Auditorium.

The WAG receives a major donation of nearly 200 Inuit sculptures dating from 1900 to 1981from Ian Lindsay (1917–1995). Half the...
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Pippy Michener becomes President of the Volunteer Committee.

August

The WAG announces a major acquisition from an anonymous donor of 180 photographs, dating from 1914 to 1981, by American-Hungarian artist and...
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September

Terrence Heath resigns, and Carol A. Phillips becomes the WAG’s first female Director. Before joining the WAG, Phillips was Curator at, and...
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November

Wanda Koop: Airplanes and the Wall opens. The solo exhibition of one of Manitoba’s best-known contemporary artists tours to the Art Gallery...
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Art collector John Crabb makes a major donation to the WAG  of 120 works by the Gallery’s first Curator, Alexander Musgrove...
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1986

January

Darlene Coward Wight is hired as the WAG’s Associate Curator of Inuit art, replacing Bernadette Driscoll. Jon Tupper is appointed...
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May

The WAG unveils its new art conservation laboratory. With funding from the provincial government, the federal Museums Assistance Program, and the...
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June

The WAG’s Education Department receives the Western Canada Art Association’s award for excellence for developing a hands-on Gallery...
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July

The WAG acquires Portrait of a Little Girl by Robert Harris (1849–1919) with funds donated by Alice MacDougall Rait (1915–2005) in...
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August

The WAG acquires Portrait of a Little Girl by Robert Harris (1849–1919) with funds donated by Alice MacDougall Rait (1915–2005) in...
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Director Carol Phillips announces that the WAG building, “after 15 years of public service,” is now in need of an urgent plan for...
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September

The Discovery Theatre, an orientation space designed and designated specifically for children’s groups opens.

On September 17, the WAG hosts “The Abstract Ball,” the first of the Gallery’s successful and highly anticipated annual...
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November

The WAG acquires over 70 paintings, drawings, and prints by Manitoba-born and -raised artist Dalla Husband (1898–1944). The acquisition,...
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The first WAG-organized retrospective exhibition on Inuit artist Jessie Oonark (1906–1985) opens on November 16 and later goes on tour to...
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1987

January

Ralph Palmer becomes Board President.

Shelley Nimchonok is elected President of the Volunteer Committee.

Celebrations begin for the WAG’s 75th anniversary year with The Eckhardts in Winnipeg, an exhibition honouring former Director Dr. Ferdinand...
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April

1912: The Break Up of Tradition opens on April 7. The exhibition includes over 100 major loans from around the world, works of art completed...
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August

The WAG celebrates the province’s contemporary scene with 1987: Contemporary Art in Manitoba. The exhibition includes over 60 works in...
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September

Dr. Melville Swartz (1912–2006) and Ruby Swartz (1917–2008) donate a collection of over 90 Inuit prints dating from 1966.

October

The Winnipeg Foundation arranges for the long-term loan of 10 important European and Canadian works from the late Kathleen Burrows Lightcap...
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Canada’s entry at the 19th San Paulo Biennial is curated and organized by WAG Adjunct Curator Bruce Ferguson. The works of Winnipeg painters...
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1988

January

The WAG initiates its Art Reach program this year, which involves the transport, educational programming, and display of works from the...
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March

The WAG takes an uncharacteristically partisan position in its spring newsletter in a highly politicized national debate surrounding the...
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April

The WAG hosts separate lectures by two distinguished scholars, British popular culture analyst and historian Dick Hebdige and American art...
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The Impossible Self, an exhibition that includes contemporary art investigating the concept of selfhood and identity, opens on April 10. The...
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May

The Naylor Collection opens, an exhibition featuring works drawn from the collection of mostly Canadian and British painting and decorative art...
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October

The WAG becomes the first major Canadian gallery to hire a Curator-in-Residence, Brazilian, Ivo Mesquita. The WAG had connected with Mesquita...
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A year of stellar lectures continues with an address by controversial and internationally acclaimed art critic Robert Hughes at Pantages Theatre.
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The Gallery introduces the Talkback program.  Instituted as an interactive educational initiative to encourage visitors to express their...
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December

Ivan Eyre: Personal Mythologies/Images of the Milieu, a retrospective curated by the WAG’s former Director Terrence Heath, opens on December...
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1989

January

Charles R. Pike, Senior Management Consultant for CP Rail, becomes Board President.

Linda Dooley is elected President of the Volunteer Committee.

Manitoba First Nations artist and curator Robert Houle is hired on a two-month contract as the WAG’s first Artist-in-Residence.  
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Out of Tradition: Abraham Anghik/Ruben Piqtoukun opens on January 15. The work in the exhibition, by two Inuit brothers living in southern...
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April

The WAG Volunteer Committee receives the Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award for Arts and Humanities.

 

Also in April, the Gallery acquires 100 works of contemporary Inuit sculpture, work produced since 1970, from University of Saskatchewan English...
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July

The WAG receives its largest single donation. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs gives a collection of over 1,400 Inuit graphics,...
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September

On September 2, the WAG mounts the first of its new Studio Series, month-long exhibitions focusing on the work of contemporary Manitoba artists....
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Bill Viola: Installations and Videotapes, an exhibition of the work of the well-known American video artist organized by the Museum of Modern Art...
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October

In October and November, and January 1990, Manitoba sculptor Marcel Gosselin is Artist-in-Residence at the WAG.  His residency is unique for...
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The WAG marks the bicentenary of the French Revolution with the exhibition L’image de la Révolution Française, borrowed from...
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1990

January

John Greene becomes Board President.

The exhibition The First Passionate Collector opens, featuring work from Ian Linday’s 1985 donation of Inuit sculpture.

February

Dutch Curator Els Hoek spends two months at the WAG as the institution’s second Curator-in-Residence.

March

An exhibition of artist Eric Cameron’s “thick paintings” opens.  Cameron is a conceptual artist and an active proponent of...
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The public forum Art and Outrage, organized by and held at the WAG, addresses issues of artistic controversy and censorship in public galleries....
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April

The Holman Eskimo Co-operative donates over 600 graphics produced at its print shop.  Founded in 1961, the print co-op was a means of...
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June

On June 6, the Volunteer Associates of the Winnipeg Art Gallery presents A French Country Picnic on the Rooftop, an auction of picnic tablecloths...
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September

Nine WAG employees are laid off and six positions are reduced to half time. Programming initiatives are significantly reduced. The move reflects,...
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November

Robert McKaskell is hired as the WAG’s Academic Curator, a post he maintains in conjunction with an Associate Professorship at the...
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December

On December 15 Colin Campbell: Media Works 1975–1990, an exhibition of work by this pioneering Manitoba-born video artist...
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The first major retrospective exhibition of Winnipeg watercolourist and printmaker H. Valentine Fanshaw (1878–1940) opens on December...
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