Beaverbrook Art Gallery Turns a Lens on Saint John’s History

Beaverbrook Art GalleryOctober 31, 20180 Comments


Beaverbrook Art Gallery Turns a Lens on Saint John’s History


Fredericton, New Brunswick, October 31, 2018 – The Beaverbrook Art Gallery will soon open a special touring exhibition in Saint John. In fact, visitors to the Saint John Arts Centre will have the opportunity to see this exhibition, months before the Gallery’s own visitors, as the Saint John Arts Centre will be the first venue for this exhibition.

The exhibition, The Lost City: Ian MacEachern’s Photographs of Saint John, presents 75 photographs by the artist that record life in the 1960s North End of the city. All are cordially invited to attend an exhibition opening and accompanying book launch at the Saint John Arts Centre on November 2nd, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

“These narrative photographs are visceral and poignant, portraying the poverty as well as the humanity of mid-century Saint John” says the Gallery’s Manager of Collections and Exhibitions, John Leroux, who has also authored the book about MacEachern’s photos. “They document a city on the cusp of monumental change, and are among the finest visual documents of social conditions and urban life ever taken in Canada.”

The city at the heart of the photos made premiering the exhibition in Saint John an obvious choice.

“Ordinarily, our touring exhibitions are sent on tour after being first featured in our building here in Fredericton,” says Leroux. “Given focus on Saint John’s history, however, it made sense to pay tribute to the city at the heart of these photographs by first presenting it there.”

The Saint John Arts Centre’s Director, Andrew Kierstead, looks forward to presenting the exhibition:

“The Saint John Arts Centre is honoured to be the opening venue for The Lost City.  I know this exhibition and the accompanying book will resonate with our local community. I want to thank the Beaverbrook Art Gallery for organizing this exhibition and for promoting Ian MacEachern’s unique body of work.”

The exhibition is supported by Commercial Properties Limited.

“We are pleased to support this exhibition of photographs featuring a critical period in Saint John’s past,” said CPL Vice-President Paul Moore. “As one of Eastern Canada’s top property developers, Commercial Properties understands the value of building on our collective heritage to strengthen and transform communities for today and the future.”

The exhibition will be on view at the Saint John Arts Centre from November 2nd through December 21st; after a winter holiday, it will be installed and on view in Fredericton from January 19 through April 14.

- 30 -

Media: High-res images available on request.

About the exhibition:
For the first time, a Beaverbrook Art Gallery touring exhibition opens in Saint John – and for good reason. Seventy-five black-and-white photographs drawn from the artist’s exceptional archive are presented, depicting 1960s life along Main Street in the city’s North End before ‘urban renewal.' Poignant and sublime, these narrative photographs are among the finest visual documents of social conditions and urban life ever taken in Canada. Following the Saint John presentation, the work will tour to Fredericton and beyond.

Curated by John Leroux and organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Presented with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and with the support of Commercial Properties Limited.

About the book:
A portrait of a lost Saint John.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, cities throughout North America engaged in disruptive periods of massive “urban renewal” of older, poorer areas. Neighbourhoods were razed to make way for freeways, housing projects, public amenities, sports arenas, and subdivisions. Planned communities replaced older urban neighbourhoods that had evolved over generations.

Ian MacEachern worked for CHSJ-TV in Saint John from 1962 to 1966, and he witnessed the profound transformation of Canada's oldest city as it was buffeted by the forces of reconstruction and modernization. He also recorded the life of the city, its neighbourhoods, its residents, and social life in more than a thousand photographs. Like the documentary photographic works of Walker Evans, Dorothy Lange, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, MacEachern's photographs show an extraordinary power in their honest depictions of fleeting moments and a raw humanity.

For The Lost City: Ian MacEachern's Photographs of Saint John, architectural and social historian John Leroux has selected seventy-five black-and-white photographs drawn from MacEachern's exceptional archive and written an accompanying essay that examines the recent history of Saint John and the effect of urban renewal on civic architecture, historic neighbourhoods, and community structure.

The Lost City will accompany a touring exhibition, curated by John Leroux and organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, that will open in Saint John in the fall of 2018. The Lost City is published by Goose Lane Editions.

About the Saint John Arts Centre:
Saint John Arts Centre is a non-profit organization and Regional Facility of Greater Saint John. SJAC fulfills a broad mandate supporting the visual, performing and literary arts accessible to all from our home in the historic Carnegie Building. Our programs include five public art galleries showcasing works by both professional and emerging artists; a busy schedule of visual arts workshops; professional printmaking and pottery studios; and we are a popular venue for performing and literary arts as well as cultural and social events.

About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery:
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and international works of art. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”

Stay connected:
Find the latest on the Gallery’s programs, events, and news on its social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Information about the Gallery, its activities, and its operations is also available at

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.

Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin

Manager of Communications
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039

Leave a Comment