Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario and owns one of the finest collections of art in Canada, featuring over 10,000 works of art including historical European, historical Canadian and contemporary art. In October 2003, the AGH began its major renovation project, transforming our aging building into an international art destination and safeguarding art works from the leaks that plagued the building. In response to popular demand, the AGH altered its public hours of accessibility to open earlier on January 3, 2012 to open earlier.
In July 2012, the AGH launched an exciting new venture in the heart of the James Street North Arts District, the AGH Design Annex. Born and raised in Windsor, a child of the North American working class and of the 1960s, activism has never subsided in John Scott’s work. Viewers may be familiar with Scott’s consistent and eerily prescient style in his works on paper, plotting intersections of humanity and technology, religious fervor and military might, utopian visions and dystopian outcomes. Collection Classics and Evolution of Form present both asked-after favourites and rarely-seen masterworks from the collection.
Saga of a City commemorates the bicentennial of the founding of the city of Hamilton in 1816.
This historical exhibition traces the foundations upon which an obscure frontier hamlet in 1816 grew to become a major North American manufacturing and transportation centre by 1925. Early European settlers at the Head-of-the-Lake created agricultural lands and harnessed the power of the many waterfalls to create mill towns like Ancaster, Albion, and Dundas. Staging Abstraction features quintessential examples of Canadian abstract painting from the 1960s to 80s, drawn from the Art Gallery of Hamilton collection, which has one of the most comprehensive holdings of this type of work.
Abstraction generally fell out of favour in the late 1980s and 1990s as trends in painting moved toward more figurative and representational work. The exhibition includes over twenty works, and explores the important styles and techniques of late 20th century abstraction through the works of influential artists such as K.M. Repeatedly in his work, Canadian artist Kim Adams has explored the patterns of a mobile society, creating works of art that are eccentric hybrids of the readymade. A magnificent visual masterpiece, Bruegel-Bosch Bus consists of a 1960 Volkswagen that appears to pull a post-industrial universe displaying a cornucopia of fantastic and seductive worlds that play with our senses.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton is proud to celebrate the achievements of the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton by presenting their annual juried exhibition. Show your current AGH Membership card or use AGH promo codes* to receive special AGH Member discounts and benefits at these local businesses.


Lighthouse Festival Theatre ticketholders receive 2-for-1 admission to AGH ticketed exhibitions.
Graphic Portrait, 11" X 16", mounted behind black acid free mat, inclosed in black glass frame. Designed by Hamilton-born and raised architect Bruce Kuwabara, the $18 million recladding and revitalization project was funded by the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program (through the Governments of Canada and Ontario), the City of Hamilton, Dofasco, and the generous support of corporations, foundations and individuals. The AGH Design Annex is a creativity lab where experimental exhibitions are mounted and intimate performances staged, complemented by an exciting home and office Art + Design Store and versatile venue rental space. His imagination has been fed by science fiction, the Space Age and Motor City manufacturing might and blight. His articulation of these themes through sculpture may be less familiar, and this poignant material aspect of his practice will serve to generate new readings of his four-decade-long practice. 3, (1998-2000), an actual car, which the artist painted matte, incising on the surface words from the Book of Revelation that refer to the apocalypse. As these two exhibitions attest, the 10,000-work strong AGH holdings are a remarkable and impressive resource for our community and region. Historically, the development of the city rested solidly on the foundations of location, water, rails, immigration, and industry. The proximity to water, a temperate climate, and bountiful natural resources made this location ideal. This area of the AGH collection of contemporary art comprises nearly 600 pieces, which numbers a quarter of our contemporary art holdings. We can now observe a resurgence and a return to abstraction in the studios of many painters today.
As one of Hamilton’s oldest and most important art associations, WAAH shares longstanding ties with the AGH, going back to the founding of the Gallery more than 100 years ago. Hamilton's Urban Design and Architecture Awards 2005 Winner: Excellence in Architectural Design. Located at 118 James Street North in a beautifully restored early 20th century heritage building, the AGH Design Annex provides an alternate venue for AGH programming and events that is unique in Hamilton. Sympathy for the worker as a human tool in the global industrial complex pervades what some have called his apocalyptic vision. This work is on loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario, who are partnering with us to perform some necessary conservation to the surface of the car during the exhibition.


Bringing together over one hundred objects in a variety of media and from across several centuries and countries, these presentations provide a glimpse into the strength and quality of the AGH holdings. However, since 1945 these traditional foundations have been shaken, and today a very different city is in the process of reinventing itself.
One such was Niagara businessman George Hamilton, who in 1815 purchased 257 acres of land upon which to found a town. It was largely built in its time when the artists were emerging, through visionary purchases made by AGH Director Glen Cumming, who also acted as contemporary curator. This observation was the starting point for this exhibition, which arose during a casual discussion had by local painter Daniel Hutchinson and AGH Curator of Contemporary Art, Melissa Bennett after both had participated in student critiques that demonstrated this return to abstraction.
This futuristic diorama is a permanent fixture in the AGH Sculpture Atrium overlooking the Irving Zucker Sculpture Garden, past Hamilton City Hall and the Niagara Escarpment. The strong relationship between WAAH and the AGH continues through the annual hosting of an exhibition of work by WAAH Members, carefully selected by a jury. Check back for the dates in February 2016 during which you can visit the exhibition and meet an AGO conservator to learn more about this rare and compelling project. Many of the students had studied the key abstract styles and techniques but lacked first hand experience with the pieces, despite the original intention of many of the artists, which is to transport viewers through an exploration of the painting’s real life surface. His works have been presented in two very different social worlds: in a densely social environment such as a park or street and in a museum setting like the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Reminiscent of a previous installation by Adams titled Earth Wagons that presented a micro-model North American society fixed on leisure and entertainment, the Breugel-Bosch Bus encapsulates the next whole world picture, a world in which reality and unreality, logic and fantasy, banality and sublimation of existence, form an inexplicable unity. This ‘bus’ is a Kubrickesque megalopolis made of icons symptomatic in present society and draws upon urban fantasies, phantasmagoric, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and a plethora of different times and cultures. Buildings from different epochs are aligned side by side and space becomes an imaginary territory where chaos prevails.



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