Tapas Tuesdays at Art Gallery of Alberta’s ZINC Restaurant

In mid-May, the Art Gallery of Alberta announced an initiative called “all access evenings”, offering free admission to the gallery between 5-8pm every Tuesday and Wednesday night. This replaces their previous promotion of once monthly free admission evenings; museum officials hope this will encourage even more people to take advantage of the cultural institution.

In conjunction with this, the gallery’s in-house restaurant, ZINC, has developed a special “tapas Tuesday” menu to entice patrons to include a meal along with their visit. All of the items are priced under $20, and though most dishes can be found on their regular lunch or dinner menus, a half dozen dishes are exclusive to Tuesday evenings.

In early July, I met up with Mack after work on a Tuesday night for a bite to eat and a walk through the gallery. Signage signifying the dinner deals would be helpful to their cause, either outside the restaurant or at the gallery desk; the menu wasn’t visible until it was presented to us at the table.

ZINC

ZINC interior

We chose to share the weekly mac and cheese ($16) and the sweet spicy prawns ($12.50). Given the pulled pork burger was just $4, we opted to order two.

Linda wasn’t a huge fan of the mac, but we both enjoyed how creamy it was – it’s a quality many other local versions surprisingly lack. This incarnation featured lots of bacon, mushrooms, and kale, and left us satisfied.

ZINC

Mac and cheese

I ultimately ordered the prawns because my favourite dish at ZINC remains their prawns over risotto, and this didn’t disappoint. The prawns were well prepared (as always), and we liked the punchy flavours of the accompanying tomato ginger chutney.

ZINC

Sweet spicy prawns

We expected slider sized pulled pork sandwiches, but instead, were each presented with a full-sized burger. Mack loved the soft, pliable pretzel bun, and we both commented on the generous portion of pork. It’s notable that the locally-sourced Bear and the Flower Farm pork is not doused in sauce so it can stand on its own, though it was paired with cabbage for texture. Chef David Omar confirmed that they are taking a loss on this dish with the hopes that it will bring diners in.

ZINC

Pulled pork sandwich

During our stay, there were only four other tables occupied. While ZINC is a beautiful space, with its vaulted ceilings and grand windows overlooking City Hall, the atmosphere may be too formal for more casual diners seeking to share a few small plates. If ZINC is serious about attracting a different crowd, could they consider carving up the dining room to include a few communal tables or feature some less conventional seating? Or (recognizing that this is easier said than done), set up some makeshift seats in the foyer just outside of ZINC, and perhaps reduce the menu offered in this space to just a handful of items (potato skins, pulled pork, sausage, a feature cocktail and beer)? It’d help make ZINC much more approachable, which seems to be one of the motivations behind the idea of “tapas Tuesdays”.

At any rate, we did enjoy our night out – we walked off our meal with a spin through the gallery (in time for Canada 150, most of the current exhibits feature Canadiana, including my favourite of the bunch, Gretzky is Everywhere). Hopefully this promotion does encourage more Edmontonians to consider visiting the gallery – and to take a chance on the restaurant as well.

By the Bite: ZINC’s Fall Menu

It’s hard not to admire restaurants that take risks – especially if those risks challenge diners to take a chance on something out of the ordinary. ZINC’s fall menu is one such gamble – it offers an interesting twist on the recent trend of small plates.

Zinc

Nearly three dozen people attended ZINC’s media launch dinner, held on November 1, 2010 (oh yes, I am that behind). Chef David Omar introduced the driving concept behind his new menu, generously illustrated by a sample of eighteen dishes, plated and served as they would be on any other night, to any other diner.

Zinc

Chef Omar explained that he wanted to provide guests with the option of ordering food as one would order wine – either by the glass or by the bottle. So, frustrated with the idea of confronting a customer with multiple menus, he designed the Fall 2010 menu to allow for both “by the bite” and “by the plate” selection.

Mack and I were seated with Chris, Sarah, Marianne and Charles – I’m sure jokes about dining with food bloggers abound, but for such an experience, there are no better dining companions (especially when they are much more on top of things than I am, having written about it weeks ago).

It was an intense meal to be sure, and to tell you that I remember everything, even with my notes, would be a lie. The flip side, however, is that the elements that stood out on that brisk fall day still do, while other, less memorable courses have fallen away.

In the order that they were served:

Zinc

Cucumber and Tomato Salad ($4/bite, $10/plate) –  I loved the textural variants, from the cucumber to the tomato to the quinoa. It did alarm me a little when Chef Omar mentioned that quinoa was very “in” at the moment – as much as I love fads sometimes, I was hoping there was more to his inclusion of the grain. Still, it was a lovely dish that longs for an Indian summer.

Caesar Salad ($4/bite, $10/plate) – My favourite of the trio, if only because of the bacon bits: prosciutto that had been deep fried, then dried in the oven. More please.

Beet Salad ($4/bite, $10/plate) – Not being the biggest fan of beets, I would never order this, but bravo to Chef Omar to demonstrate the versatility of beets – as a sorbet, and as a chip.

Zinc

Salmon Three Ways ($5/bite, $12/plate) – It was great to have Chef Omar introduce each course, particularly when they were preceded by a story or a rationale. With this dish, we got both: continuing to order his salmon from Fin’s, this dish was his way of opposing the movement towards GMO salmon; while the maple cured candy (which tasted like fish jerky, emphasis on the fish), was something Chef Omar snacked on during his honeymoon. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the plate, narratives or not.

Lobster Bisque ($4/shot, $10/bowl) – Playfully served in a small cup, I thought the bisque was well-prepared.

Pan Seared Scallop ($6/bite, $18/plate) – ZINC’s staunch regulars demanded this dish carry over from the summer menu, and so, it remains. It wasn’t difficult to see why; the scallop was cooked well, and the sweet potato and maple ginger puree was perfection. Purees are a resolute strength of the kitchen.

Zinc

Beef ($9/bite, $38/plate) – I still can’t wrap my head around who would only want a smidgen of beef. Around the table, the slices of Spring Creek Ranch striploin (individually fired) were all well-done and dry. No amount of goat cheese butter or shiraz jus could have saved it.

Vegetables ($7/bite, $24/plate) – Orzo really isn’t ideal for risotto; it doesn’t soak up flavour as well as rice or barley. Although it was all right to eat (I am a fan of the crunchy microgreens and sundried tomatoes), it was a poor vegetarian option.

Chicken ($7/bite, $29/plate) – The chicken supreme saltimbocca was delicious – moist and particularly flavourful in its swath of red pepper butter, it definitely did not suffer the same fate at its Angus brother. The roll of naked papperdelle noodles seemed like an unnecessary afterthought, and as much as I enjoy asparagus, given Chef Omar’s mentions of seasonality, it seemed inconsistent.

Zinc

Duck ($8/bite, $32/plate) – Memories of Wild Tangerine’s jasmine tea, wok-smoked duck danced on my tongue when Chef Omar described that his duck breast had been smoked in green tea. Unfortunately, the smoked flavour didn’t really come through. The accompaniments, however, helped make this one of the most interesting dishes – a delicate, vanilla-scented cherry tomato, and a pumpkin and potato puree that would have been fit for dessert. It’s worth noting that while Chef Omar does his best to source locally (and does feature some local proteins on his menu), he told us later that Greens, Eggs and Ham isn’t able to supply him with the consistent volumes that he needs, so only he is only able to serve their duck on occasion).

Braised Lentils ($4/bite, $12 plate) – With pork belly atop the lentils, I expected fireworks. But with a slice of belly with too much fat but not enough flavour, the lentils, turned in a red curry cream, ended up being the most exciting taste to be had.

Lamb ($9/bite, $38/plate) – One of Mack’s favourites, and unlike the steak, was perfectly cooked. Sadly for me, as our tablemates were noting down their love for the dish, I dropped my piece on the floor. Sigh.

Zinc

Pork Tenderloin Medallion ($6/bite, $16/plate) – The pork was overcooked and chewy, again a victim of precise timing needed with such small portions. The Savoy cabbage was nice, but Chef Omar emphasized that he would use whatever cabbage was fresh.

Cannelloni ($6/bite, $14/plate) – Greens, Eggs and Ham duck confit made an appearance in this dish, hurrah! Mack and I differed on opinions here though – he absolutely loved it (the melted manchego cheese, from Paddy’s, and the mushrooms and leeks didn’t hurt either). The texture of the confit reminded me a little too much of pate, though I agreed that the flavour was amazing.

Bison ($9/bite, $40/plate) – The pan-seared tenderloin sung to me in this trio, the Saskatoon berry jus providing a pleasantly sweet finish.

Zinc

Bison Carpaccio ($6/bite, $40/plate) – Some of the plates (bisque, scallop), seemed to be a more natural fit for the “by the bite” concept. The bison Carpaccio was another, as some might be uncertain about committing to an entire dish of unknown. The plate was elegant, but the paper-thin slices of meat were overpowered by the pink peppercorn. I would order it again; it was promising.

Spaghetti ($8/bite, $26/plate) – The alpaca meatball I had a few days later from ZINC’s station at the Chili Cookoff wasn’t dry, so I’d say that much like some of the other proteins, that the kitchen just had to work on the timing.

Salmon ($8/bite, $36/plate) – Why eat salmon when you can have an amazing roasted barley pilaf with kohlrabi and carrot instead? This accompaniment knocked my socks off, and made me wonder why it wasn’t the vegetarian option.

Dessert, to my mind, made the easiest transition to the tasting concept – how often have you wanted to order one of everything off of the dessert menu? In a city with a distinct lack of dessert bars, I hope someone steps up soon.

While Chef Omar couldn’t provide “by the bite” servings of his desserts, he did treat us to his banana bread pudding. Served warm, it was a lovely way to end the night.

Zinc

Again, I’d like to commend Chef Omar for introducing this concept to Edmonton diners. Though some dishes worked better than others, I can imagine the menu is a work in progress. I would also guess that with time, the kitchen could perfect the preparation of the proteins.

Thanks to Chef Omar and the rest of the staff at ZINC for a memorable experience!

ZINC (inside the Art Gallery of Alberta)
2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2:30pm; Dinner: Tuesday-Wednesday 5-9pm, Thursday-Saturday 5-10pm; Brunch: Sunday 11am-2pm; closed Mondays

Refinery at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Two weeks ago, the Art Gallery of Alberta hosted their second Refinery Late Night Art Party, a new series of events with music, food and drinks aimed at making art more accessible for the “next gen” set. I love the idea, particularly because I think the gallery space, with such a fantastic location, is underutilized in the evening hours. And, really, who doesn’t love a good party?

Refinery

In place of a welcome sign

Mack was offered two free tickets in exchange for twittering during the event – a fair request, and one he happily accepted. We arrived promptly at 8pm, then realized it was one of those functions where it was chic to be fashionably late. On the bright side, it meant we had ample time to explore the exhibits before the other guests arrived, and had the gallery spaces mostly to ourselves.

Refinery

Perfect night to enjoy the terrace

Each Refinery party is themed around one of the current gallery exhibitions – this one highlighted The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, which will be displayed until October 11, 2010. Related activities included: the opportunity to contribute to a film reel, which would be screened later that night; a lecture from artist Josh Holinaty, who had created fun “ACME pocket companions”; an improv show out on the terrace featuring Rapid Fire Theatre’s Amy Shostak and Arlen Konopaki; and amusing condiment portraits with Sarah Jackson, one of our favourite local designers (she was a trooper, drawing non-stop for several hours).

Refinery

Working on the collective film reel

Refinery

Amy Shostak and Arlen Konopaki, improvisers extraordinaire

Refinery

Sarah hard at work

We even had our photo taken in front of a Warner Bros. backdrop, complete with props!

Refinery

In our own cartoon

ZINC Catering took care of everyone with non-stop trays of food. We were a little aghast at the constant flow of servers who doled out over a dozen appetizers. Most were variations of crostini, but there were some other interesting bites, including rabbit and wild boar patés, and a jicama slaw. The best food item of the night was hands down the ice cream bar – it was difficult to choose between chocolate, strawberry, and strawberry banana flavours, so I took one for the team and sampled all of them (strawberry won out).

Refinery

Caramelized onion and goat cheese crostini

Refinery

Jicama salad

Though tickets were on the pricey side ($55, and $45 for AGA Ultra members), between the food and drink, opportunity to view the exhibits and added entertainment, I think it works out to be a pretty good deal. I’ll definitely consider attending the next Refinery party, slated for November 20, 2010.

Refinery

The crowd after dark

Thanks to the AGA for the tickets and to the organizers for a great night!

You can read Mack’s recap here, and see our photoset here.

Artful Dining: ZINC

In spite of my criticisms of Downtown Dining Week, I had every intention of partaking in the food festival. While I do think the Downtown Business Association could do much to expand and better promote the event, the pre-fixe menus are still undoubtedly a great way to sample new (and revisit favourite) restaurants.

ZINC, the sparkly new restaurant in the beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta, topped my list of eateries I wanted to try, with their $50, 4-course menu highlighting four of the current exhibits seeming too good to pass up. I wasn’t sure what to expect – most of the chatter has been decidedly negative, though there have been some bright spots for the month-old restaurant. Needless to say, our expectations at the gate leaned to the low side of the spectrum approaching our dinner.

A week prior, I made a reservation online (nope, not on Open Table), noting down a request for a window seat, as well as listing the special occasion we were celebrating. Upon arrival, we were seated one table shy of a window, and at no point was our occasion acknowledged. While I had no issue with either of these things, if the restaurant has no intention of fulfilling seating requests or recognizing the reason for dining, they should simply take those categories off of the reservation system.

The view from our table (the two-top next to us was taken when we arrived)

During our preview tour of the AGA in January, we were privy to a sneak peek of ZINC. At that time, I already knew I loved the soaring ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the dramatic cobalt-blue bar. Sitting inside the restaurant, however, the echo-chamber effect of the high ceiling wasn’t conducive to an intimate conversation, particularly with an unnecessarily long table. The metallic strip around the edges of the tables and as a menu backing were nice touches though, reminding diners of the restaurant’s namesake.

Interior (the Douglas fir wall is another beautiful feature)

Mack

We were a bit apprehensive about the service we would receive at ZINC, but as it turned out, we needn’t have worried. Our waiter, Nick, was excellent, and though he looked familiar to us, we couldn’t quite place him. We eventually asked if he had worked anywhere else in Edmonton, and he told us the Wildflower Grill had been his previous post (he had served us one of our best meals there). Nick was particularly great at explaining the connection each of the DDW dishes had to the art exhibits – I’d recommend asking to be seated in his section if you are concerned about potential service issues!

ZINC menu

Like Wildflower, ZINC also serves an amuse bouche. Presented on an ice-cold spoon, we were treated to foie gras yogurt topped with a raspberry segment. It was not our cup of tea – the guttural richness was not pleasing to our palates.

Foie Gras Amuse Bouche

The bread course, however, was! Hot (and I mean hot) out of the oven, two beautiful buns were delivered, accompanied by herbed butter. Mack especially appreciates warm bread (always noting the dearth of restaurants that pay attention to this comforting detail).

Gloriously Warm Bread!

My appetizer was a duo of sardines: sardine paté and grilled marinated sardine filet, with sundried tomato, brioche bread, and fresh herb salad. Apparently related to Goya, this dish had the weakest connection to art – Nick explained that during the Peninsular War, Goya’s native country of Spain had an alliance with Portugal. As a result, Chef David Omar drew inspiration from Portuguese cuisine, which includes the use of sardines and sundried tomatoes. I had to applaud Chef Omar for the playful presentation though, with the upright placement of the sardine, and the spin on sardines on toast. It was my favourite aspect of the dish (the paté, like the foie gras, was too strong for me). The greens were light and offered a burst of freshness, dressed with a champagne vinaigrette.

Duo of Sardines

Mack had decided to order off the regular menu, and thoroughly enjoyed his first dish of pan-seared scallops ($18), with sweet potato and maple ginger purée, red radish, organic microgreens, glace viande and citrus foam. The presentation was beautiful, and he noted that the scallops were cooked perfectly.

Pan-Seared Scallops

My entree was a trio of house-made ravioli (inspired by Karsh’s portraits), and was the dish I had been looking forward to the most. Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed quite right. The squid-ink ravioli was supposed to burst with its stuffing of an egg yolk and goat cheese, but unfortunately, had been bathed too long. On the other hand, the oyster mushroom and ricotta ravioli had been undercooked, the pasta still bearing that telltale chewy firmness. Still, I liked the creativity behind each of the pasta rounds, with my favourite being the black ravioli and its salty filling.

Trio of Ravioli

Mack’s Spring Creek Ranch beef tenderloin entree ($42) was similarly uneven. The steak was inconsistently prepared, with only a part of it registering the requested medium rare (the rest was most definitely well done). Mack did like the flavour of the watercress mashed potatoes though.

Spring Creek Ranch Pan-Seared Beef Tenderloin

We shared my dessert, a three part affair of corn pudding, caramelized popcorn and wild boar bacon ice cream. The duo of Cardiff/Miller inspired this plate – with Miller’s birthplace of the farming community of Vegreville leading to the use of corn and bacon. We were also supposed to combine the flavours of the dessert (as the couple work together to complete their art installations). The silky corn pudding was our favourite, and Mack noted its flavour resemblance to rice pudding. The bacon ice cream, aside from the occasional piece of bacon as a reminder, wasn’t as flavourful as I would have liked.

Cardiff/Miller Dessert

The last course was a chocolate little dancer martini, which I let Mack take care of. The Degas connection was in the movement and swirl of the Baileys and Kahlua within the transparent house-infused vanilla vodka. Mack liked the chocolate syrup rim, and finished the drink without complaint.

Chocolate Little Dancer Martini

It seems some of the early issues at the restaurant may have resolved themselves with time, but not all of them. I hope the rest of the kitchen miscues are eliminated soon, as I am optimistic that ZINC could evolve into a great restaurant. I hear that Chef Omar is working closely with area producers to include even more local content on the menu – this, combined with the creativity he demonstrated with the Downtown Dining Week menu, leads me to believe that the best may be yet to come.

ZINC (inside the Art Gallery of Alberta)
2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2:30pm; Dinner: Tuesday-Wednesday 5-9pm, Thursday-Saturday 5-11pm; Brunch: Sunday 10am-2pm; closed Mondays

A Gem for the Core: the Art Gallery of Alberta

I haven’t always been sold on the new Art Gallery of Alberta. When Randall Stout’s design was announced as the winner, I remember flinching at the thought of such a jarring steel structure anchoring Edmonton’s arts and culture district. Over time (and recognition of the “big picture”), I’ve begun to really appreciate the structure and what it might mean to the city. When I attended Stout’s presentation on his inspiration for the design back in September, I was even more enlightened – even though he is not from Edmonton, Stout seemed to understand what we needed – from an architectural perspective as well as a community engagement standpoint. Not only did the building make a statement visually, but the incorporation of more public space (including an outdoor terrace), classrooms, and an underground entrance that connects directly to the LRT should encourage better usage and visitation of the gallery as a whole.

The new Art Gallery of Alberta

I was really excited when Mack told me that the AGA would be extending social media folks a sneak peek of the facility. Although the gallery spaces would be off limits (we have tickets to the grand opening this weekend anyway), it would still be a great opportunity to preview the building, construction and all.

The crowd

Mack behind the camera

Executive Director Gilles Hébert and Media Relations and Communications Coordinator Sarah Hoyles acted as our tour guides, and led our group of thirty or so to all of the public spaces.

Sarah Hoyles and Gilles Hébert

No question – the new AGA is an absolutely stunning facility. Between the sweeping steel aurora borealis, four stories of glass panes, unadorned Douglas fir panels, and alternatively lustrous/matte zinc blocks, the gallery is the building equivalent of a photogenic superstar. In the next few weeks, the public will be treated to an endless image parade of its shiny, pretty interior – and I have to say that I for one won’t get tired of looking at any of them.

Looking east

Glass, steel, Douglas fir, zinc

Collecting snow

I was most excited to hear that the AGA doubled its public/events space, something I think that is sorely lacking in the core. Besides the great hall, I loved the third floor terrace – it’s about time Edmonton has another rooftop patio downtown (the cafe adjacent to the patio will be installed in February).

Terrace reflections

The view from the terrace

Many are also looking forward to the new downtown dining option of ZINC. Walking into the space, I was immediately reminded of Cactus Club Bentall 5, but I couldn’t fathom how 76 people could be seated inside. Staff were busy being trained so we couldn’t stick around, but I loved the blue glass against the bar and all of the natural light. Menu details have been sparse (you can see the teaser here), but the chef has said he will be sourcing ingredients locally.

With fellow food blogger Chris in front of ZINC

The bar at ZINC

Soon to be a cafe (on the basement floor)

Last but not least – the art. Though we weren’t able to view any of the exhibitions (most of them were still being installed anyway), Sarah and Gilles provided us with what to expect. Besides the Yousuf Karsh portrait exhibition (photos include Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill and Audrey Hepburn), I am also looking forward to the multimedia piece called Storm Room. The ten minute installation will treat parties of ten to the experience (showers and all) of an approaching storm. The AGA’s  innovative partnership with the National Gallery of Canada will also mean that the AGA now has access to the National Gallery’s collections, and will be able to design their own exhibitions to display in Edmonton. First up: Francisco Goya’s prints.

Thanks to the AGA for organizing this preview! I didn’t think I could anticipate the official opening any more, but after this teaser, I am counting down the days to the weekend.

There are numerous posts on the tour, but here are a few: Mack’s blog, Chris at Eating is the Hard Part and Bruce at Moments in Digital. You can see our photoset here.

Alberta Arts Days: Citadel Open House and Randall Stout

After a visit to the City Centre Market (only 2 more opportunities left!), I packed up a lunch and met Mack at Churchill Square. Our day of arts activities would start at the nearby Citadel. As a part of Alberta Art Days, the Citadel had opened its doors and stage to the public for a behind-the-scenes look at their theatre, and I wasn’t about to miss it as I had last year.

Mack in the Tucker Amphitheatre

There were costumes on display, in addition to dance and stage combat demonstrations, but the real draw for me was the backstage tour.

Costumes from the Wizard of Oz

Citadel staff led us behind the Shoctor Theatre stage, where we took a peek inside their beautifully-refurbished green room, narrow change area, quick change area, and incredibly complex fly system of ropes and pulleys.

Change area

Quick change area (with my reflection in the mirror)

 

A small portion of the ropes backstage that control the fly system (to allow for backdrop changes, among other things)

The brother-sister team who head up carpentry and lighting then gave us a quick orientation to their work. Unlike some other companies, the Citadel constructs all of their own sets. However, they pressed upon us how “low-tech” things could be – for example, the bottle that conveyed Tinkerbell’s bottle prison in Peter Pan was nothing more than LED lights and a circuit board controlled by simple switches.

Heads of lighting and carpentry, on the set of The Drowsy Chaperone

The view from the Shoctor stage

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the whole of the tour, as we had to leave for our engagement next door at the Winspear. When we both heard that Randall Stout, the man behind the controversial new Art Gallery of Alberta design, would be speaking, we jumped at the opportunity to hear his address.

Randall Stout

Like having the curtain drawn on anything, listening to Stout talk about his inspiration and choices behind the design made me appreciate the building further. The dichotomy of the sweeping stainless steel curves and boxy zinc forms was Stout’s observation of the disparity between our serene river valley and urban core, although the curves also reference the aurora borealis. The interior will have not only a great hall accented by four stories of glass panes, but also a grand staircase that will link it all together. Photos of the hall reminded me of the stunning Newseum we visited in DC, and if it has even a fraction of the grandiosity of that building, I think Edmontonians will have something to be extremely proud of. I’m also excited to see the  third floor outdoor terrace and street-level cafe.

What most struck me about his address was how well Stout seemed to know Edmonton, or at least the ideal that the city could be. For example, he showed one early conceptual shot of the gallery, with a similarly sweeping steel entrance highlighting the LRT across the street – he said that although the LRT entrance was beyond the scope of the competition, it was his “gift” to the City’s fathers, in the hopes that they would incorporate it on their own.

The new AGA, still under construction

The gallery will officially open on January 31, 2010. If you want to learn more about the background of the design, the Art Gallery of Alberta is currently hosting an exhibit called Building a Vision, which covers its conception to construction (remember – the gallery offers pay-what-you-may admission on Thursdays from 4-8pm!).

These are exciting times in Edmonton – I’m looking forward to January already!

Art Gallery of Alberta: China Sensation

One of the city’s best kept secrets is the Art Gallery of Alberta‘s free admission on Thursday evenings from 4-8pm. So on Thursday I headed to the temporary gallery location (100, 10230 Jasper Avenue) with a few friends to view the current exhibits.

As the Enterprise Square space is merely provisional, I wasn’t expecting much. As it turns out, with expansive white walls and bright spot lighting, it is a definite improvement upon the dingy, dark halls of the previous building.

I was especially interested in the pictures that were a part of the China Sensation display, as I had read some of the media coverage surrounding these “cutting edge” works. Though I can’t say I understood most (okay, almost all) of the pieces, it was definitely interesting to be exposed to Chinese art that was anything but landscapes and flowers. Between the flamingo-human hybrids, cannibalistic pigs, and neon portrayals of child pest slayers, it was quite the barrage of images. I had no idea art on this plane was being produced in China.

The exhibit runs until June 10.