Two artworks suspended in a grey background; Nicholas Baier's Octobre, and Shelley Niro's Nature's Wild Children. Two artworks suspended in a grey background; Nicholas Baier's Octobre, and Shelley Niro's Nature's Wild Children.


Chasm continues a series of recent exhibitions exploring the permanent collection at the McMaster Museum of Art through critical curatorial frameworks. This exhibition offers diverse and transcultural perspectives and interpretations of the museum’s holdings, including recent acquisitions.

Chasm takes the unique vantage point of critiquing the power dynamics of colonialism from within the museum, informed by the transcultural positions of resistance that seek Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation.

Guest curator and former M(M)A Senior Curator Pamela Edmonds, and M(M)A Adjunct Senior Curator Betty Julian present this critical and exploratory exhibition as a project making connections to art discourses and ideologies related to modernism, critiques of the white cube gallery, alterity, and ontological space. Our interests are to consider and to actively shift hegemonic paradigms through a radical rethinking of the exhibition space.

Our curatorial conversations on how to activate critical dialogue within museums through exhibitions are meant to encourage and expand informed engagement. Our critical and curatorial tasks have been to find ways through our work to redress and resist the cultural amnesia surrounding intersecting systems of colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism and the anti-Black racism inherent in the foundation of our art institutions.

The full exhibition will be available for viewing until December 8, our fourth floor will remain on view until January 26.

Artists: Marissa Y Alexander, Sonny Assu, Nicolas Baier, Catherine Blackburn, Deanna Bowen, Joseph Calleja, Douglas Clark, Chris Cran, Paul Cvetich, Cathy Daley, Max Dean, Stan Douglas, FASTWÜRMS, Gerald Ferguson, Yves Gaucher, Betty Goodwin, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Angela Grauerholz, Spring Hurlbut, Clarissa Inglis, Alfredo Jaar, Svava Thordis Juliusson, Anselm Kiefer, Kapwani Kiwanga, James Lahey, Rita Letendre, Gino Lorcini, Liz Magor, John Massey, Guido Molinari, Shelley Niro, Ed Pien, Margaret Priest, Arthur Renwick, Susan Schielle, Takao Tanabe, Michael Thompson, Graham Todd, Serge Tousignant, Jan Wade, Shellie Zhang

Gallery Maps: Second Floor, Fourth Floor

A curatorial research document is available in both English and French for this exhibition. If you are interested in receiving a copy, please contact us at museum@mcmaster.ca.


Opening Reception
Thursday, September 28, 5-8 PM
Please join us for an evening celebrating the opening of the collection exhibition Chasm, co-curated by Pamela Edmonds and Betty Julian. Remarks will begin at 6:30PM. We are excited to share that many of our exhibiting artists will be in attendance. This event is free and all are welcome!

Talk with Christina Leslie
Wednesday, October 25, 12:30-1:20 PM

Curators in Conversation
Wednesday, November 1, 12:30-1:20 PM
Please register

Talk with Alex Jacobs-Blum
This event was cancelled, please enjoy the virtual talk and tour here.

Left: Nicolas Baier, Octobre, 2000. Digital print on Duraflex paper mounted on rolled steel. Gift of Miriam Shiell, 2012.

Right: Shelley Niro, Nature’s Wild Children, 2022. Archival inkjet print. Donald Murray Shepherd Trust Purchase, 2023.

Curated by: Pamela Edmonds and Betty Julian

May 18, 2023 – January 26, 2024

Link to Exhibitions Archive for a complete list of past exhibitions


Faded title

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Detail of Rajni Perera, Storm, 2020.

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A collaged and layered photograph of the Grand River floats in the centre of a black background, along with the words: Arenhátyen tsi ní:tsi teyottenyonhátye’ kwató:ken tsi nī:tsi yonkwa’nikonhrayén:ta’s Image courtesy of Courtney Skye. The list of artists is displayed along the bottom: Dakota Brant, Denny Doolittle, Elizabeth Doxtater, Kaya Hill, Rick Hill, Arnold Jacobs, Ken Maracle, Shelley Niro, Protect The Tract Artist Collective, Steve Smith, Greg Staats, Kristen E. Summers, Jeff Thomas

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Arenhátyen tsi ní:tsi teyottenyonhátye’ kwató:ken tsi nī:tsi yonkwa’nikonhrayén:ta’s

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Two artworks suspended in a grey background; Nicholas Baier's Octobre, and Shelley Niro's Nature's Wild Children.


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To promote and stimulate learning, interest and continued enjoyment about the visual arts, the Museum will organize an annual programme of temporary exhibitions for presentation year round.

Exhibition proposals/submissions are accepted on an on-going basis.

The Director/Curator will select and establish the annual exhibition programme in collaboration with the curatorial team. An exhibition schedule will be presented by the Director/Curator to the Advisory Board of the Museum once each year


Proposals are accepted from artists and curators.


10-20 digital images, project description, and CV.

View digital image requirements


Betty Julian, Adjunct Senior Curator
McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6


The McMaster Museum of Art is a third party recommender for Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Exhibition Assistance Grants.

The 2024-2025 Exhibition Assistance Program is now open until January 2025. Our deadlines for the programming year are:

  • September 16th, 1 p.m. ET
  • December 16th, 1 p.m. ET

Artists who demonstrate an interest and consideration of art as a medium for social change and action.

Please follow the guidelines established by the Ontario Arts Council, apply directly through their website, and submit the following with your applications:

Brief artist statement
Confirmation letter from the gallery/museum/venue
Digital images of work