The Making of a Museum
Published by: McGill-Queen's University Press
Imprint: McGill-Queen's University Press
Published: October 2021
216 Pages, 165.00 x 241.00 x 0.85 in, 95 photos, colour throughout
In StockAdd to Wishlist
The book is beautifully illustrated with eighty images of artworks in the permanent collection, beginning with the gallery's first acquisition, Tom Thomson's 1917 masterpiece The Drive, the last large canvas he painted before his tragic death. As curator, Nasby oversaw the creation of one of the most comprehensive sculpture parks in Canada and the amassing of a permanent collection of some nine thousand artworks. In The Making of a Museum Nasby reveals how the museum developed its internationally recognized collection of contemporary Inuit drawings and wall hangings that toured four continents. She discusses the development of the collection's specializations in contemporary works by Canadian silversmiths; historical European etchings; Woodland and Northeastern Indigenous beadwork; and others that arose from curatorial collaborations, such as molas by Kuna women artists from Panama and contemporary paintings and indigenous woodcuts from Chongqing, China.
Nasby recounts her long career as founding director and curator, peppering the hundred-year history of cultural development on the University of Guelph campus and in the city with humorous anecdotes and personal insights to reveal how arts institutions can be created through dedication, serendipity, and perseverance.
"Chronicling a century of cultural engagement with a focus on Guelph's growing artistic community, Judith Nasby weaves personal recollections with reflections on her journey: building a collection, creating an exhibition, publication, and education program, and profiling Indigenous and Canadian art. The Making of a Museum is as much a portrait of Guelph's art centre as it is the story of the development of generations of contemporary artists in Canada. With this book, Nasby focuses attention and research on Guelph's active and engaged artistic communities." Georgiana Uhlyarik, curator of Canadian art
"The Making of a Museum is a timely account of the creation and growth of a mid-sized Canadian university art museum. The themes are broadly conceived around cultures of display, yet this is not a study of abstract museology. Judith Nasby interweaves her story with personal anecdotes that tell the tale of the art institution, while revealing the passion and behind-the-scenes manoeuvres that have sustained it. The end result is something quite rare and unexpected – the story of a university art gallery brought to life by a narrator who has dedicated her career to the art museum." Carmen Robertson, Carleton University
"Judith Nasby draws on her forty-five-year experience as curator and director of the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (now the Art Gallery of Guelph) to tell the story of the museum's evolution, which drew initially from the art collections of regional educational institutions that introduced fine arts to rural Ontario in the early 1900s. Lively vignettes illustrate Nasby's interactions with artists, donors, gallerists, tobacco magnates, and civic leaders to present a fascinating 'who's who' of individuals and events that shaped today's museum, making this book a fascinating read as well as an insightful narrative documenting how the Art Gallery of Guelph achieved its distinctive character and national stature." Marion E. Jackson, Wayne State University