Understanding artscanada : history, practice and idea (1988)

Graham, Robert. (1988). Understanding artscanada : history, practice and idea. [Master's thesis, McGill University]. eScholarship@McGill. https://escholarship.mcgill.ca/concern/theses/6969z1983


The cultural support organizations established in Canada since the Second World War have reached a stage of maturity which makes them now available for historical analysis.

The art publication artscanada (1943-1982) is identified, in this work, as an institution whose origin and development can be viewed as illuminating the terms of formation and operation which have shaped national arts organizations and the policies which brought them into being and to which they remain related.

Focussing on the framework which supported the magazine and the way in which the magazine itself constituted a portion of the art support system, the work forms a critical history and an “institutional hermeneutic” which treats the institution as a text which can be read and interpreted, and which implies that the commentator must acknowledge his own participation in the construction of a representation of the institution. Furthermore, this hermeneutic suggests ways in which ongoing institutions can be related to by participants in art communities as spaces which enclose membership and codes which grant meaning.