What are RBC's main criteria to add artworks to its collection?
In general, we look to acquire works from artists with ties to Canada for the collection. As a global collection, seeing Canada’s presence in the international art community is quite impressive. There is a vast network of exceptional artists around the world who we’ve been fortunate to work with. In terms of our criteria, we aim to have the collection spark conversation while reflecting RBC’s values by supporting innovative and diverse perspectives. Each artist we look at acquiring has a truly distinct and important approach to making art that we feel is essential to be championed within the collection.
The artwork we acquire are assets that we track and care for, but also investments in the intrinsic importance of artists, their productions, and the impact of the arts on our communities. It’s important to mention that we also look to support the works of artists whose work has been championed by their peers and exhibited in public intuitions, embedding the artists and their work as part of a larger cultural dialogue and reflecting the social value of these works.
Why is RBC committed to building such a collection?
At RBC, we are committed to helping our clients thrive and communities prosper. Through our art collection, we demonstrate our understanding of the role artists play in our communities and society at large. They are catalysts for dialogue and discourse – reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going. Supporting artists means supporting vibrant communities. Bringing their works into the RBC collection supports their livelihood – but also brings these conversations into the spaces where we live and work.
At RBC, artwork is acquired and installed with a focus on creating and inspiring cross-generational conversations. Why is this important, and what do you want people learn from cross-generational conversations?
Given the deep history of the RBC Art Collection, cross-generational dialogues have become an important part of how we navigate the collection. We look to focus deeply on the acquisition and support of emerging artists, but always look to contextualize their works alongside the artists who have been their mentors and teachers. These threads of thought and influence are so important to understanding how perspectives evolve.
Thinking about how ways of looking and making develop and change over time is so valuable to understanding our own biases and assumptions. When we look at work from different moments in time, we can think to the context of their making, and how the content might have been read at the moment the work was made vs now. Great art seems to have a way of always feeling relevant throughout time, and brings us back to ourselves.
At Masterpiece, artworks of different eras and categories are presented together. How do you find the "cross-generational" spirit is reflected through the fair?
Masterpiece truly looks to navigate the role of art and artefacts across time. Many contemporary artists draw from art history in their reference points and source material. Cross-collecting lets us bring together reference points, and create a deeper narrative between objects. Seeing a historical object alongside something from the contemporary allows us to think about the many ways our relationship to objects and art has changed, and at times stayed the same. Additionally, it can help us see the arts relationship to the political, the cultural, the religious… as well as shifting approaches to patronage. Through these objects we can understand the influences that have been developed across generations. This brings perspective to contemporary art which helps us be more aware of the many threads that lead us into our current moment.