The Piano is a socio-political and artistic look at the roles played by the piano in the visual arts over the past 50 years. The eclectic exhibit features the work of 13 contemporary artists: Dean Baldwin, Patrick Bernatchez, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Carol Itter, Tim Lee, Euan Macdonald, George Maciunas, Gordon Monahan, Katie Paterson, Rober Racine, Michael Snow and Charles Stankievech.
As a fixture of Canadian middle-class homes in the mid-20th century, the piano symbolized the aspirations of a post-war generation who sought the accoutrements of a cultured life through, in part, classical European music. The love affair with the piano was displaced by the emergence of increasingly sophisticated acoustic technologies, and by the counter-revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which shunned middle-class affectations. From the 1960s on, artists have questioned its bourgeois status, experimented with its unique form, pushed the boundaries of its musical capacities, and examined it as a form of popular entertainment.
Presented with the support of Enbridge, The Piano is organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House. The selection of drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture, video projections, performances and sculptural installations was curated by Barbara Fischer and Catherine Crowston. Accompanying the exhibit, The Piano Film Series features critically acclaimed feature-length films on the theme of the piano