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Canadian Contemporary Art

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Canadian Contemporary Art can refer simply to any visual art made in Canada currently or by living Canadian artists. However, it is a term that more accurately refers to Canadian visual, media, performance, video, and other artistic and/or conceptual practices that are critically and intellectually engaged and that deliberately address both a local and global context. One might further define it by the intended audience and expected venues for its exhibition and display: public galleries, art museums, artist-run centres, certain commercial galleries, etc.

There has been much debate over whether such a national style, philosophical outlook, or unified and cohesive culture exists or ever has existed within Canada. It is large geographically, with many distinct regions, and its population is diverse and is made up of varying national and ethnic backgrounds. Also, as traditional distinctions between "high art" and "low" and "popular" art seem to be becoming less clear, the task of locating one or even a few common characteristics of Canadian art or culture becomes difficult.

There are, however, a few notable moments when Canadian contemporary artists – as individuals or groups – have distinguished themselves through commonality, international recognition, collaboration, or zeitgeist:

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