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"Collector's Items and the Connoisseur's Gaze"
2002-05-08 until 2002-06-16
Bishop's University Art Gallery
Lennoxville, QC, CA

The Art Gallery of Bishop's University is pleased to present Collector‚s Items and the Connoisseurs Gaze from May 8 to June 16, 2002. Curated by Valerie Rousseau and Jean Simard of the Société des arts indisciplinés, this exhibition showcases a selection of works from the private collection of Pierre Riverin. Between 1961 and 1996, Pierre Riverin built a collection of folk art composed of hundreds of works by artists who had followed their course on the fringe of official art networks.

This collection is a microcosm which is difficult to divide, however the curators have decided to highlight eight artists of significance whom Riverin referred to as "key figure". Through its staging, this exhibition presents the works of Arthur Villeneuve, Arthur Bouchard, Léo Fournier, Félicien Lévesque, Yvon Côté, Edmond Châtigny, Oscar Héon and Honoré Hunt, as artists recognized for their singular and persuasive artistic aims. By individualizing them in this way, the exhibition opposes the tendency towards standardization and homogeneity still frequent in folk art, and strives to allow the works to reflect a certain coherence of expression and aesthetics absent in the discourse intended for their defence.

Is there a folk art specific to Francophone Quebec and its diaspora scattered to the four corners of the continent? If such is the case, ought one to search for the explanation in the origins of the culture? In other words, is art an inheritance just as language is? Is there a folk art which has come from France and taken on an American accent? For even before knowing whether or not Francophone folk art exists in North America, it is necessary to assemble the criteria around which the objects themselves have been brought together. The identity of folk art is based on displays created by museologists, writers and collectors, distinguished by their points of view, tastes and classification of different works. There is, therefore, no overall consensus on the issue of folk art, but rather diverging and contrasting views.

Valerie Rousseau and Jean Simard would like to thank Fonds Jeunesse Québec, La Fondation du maire de Montréal pour la Jeunesse, La Société des arts technologiques, The American Folk Art Museum and Véron ique and Pierre Riverin for contributing to the realization of this exhibition.


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