This winter, you can take a series of instructor-led life drawing classes inside the exhibition Drawing, Je t’aime: Selections from the AGO Vaults. Course instructor and artist Bogdan Luca gave the AGO’s Online Media officer, Amanda Hadi, the low-down on why anyone can and should want to draw, and why the pencil always trumps the camera as a travelling tool.
What does the word “drawing” mean for most people?
I think it can be intimidating… Some people find it mystical and incomprehensible. It goes along with this idea of genius — that only certain special people can and know how to draw. “You’re born with a pencil in your hand.” When in fact, I believe anyone and everyone can draw. If you can write by hand, you also have the ability to draw. It’s just a matter of rearranging those scribbles in other configurations.
What did you get up to last Thursday? On February 4, 2016, we were kicking off a new season of Toronto’s biggest art party with an evening of artful programming devoted to Beijing avant-garde artist Song Dong and the theme “There’s No Place Like Home.” Over 2,500 #AGO1st guests took in musical headliner Casey Mecija (formely of Toronto band Ohbijou), who performed against stunning GIF visuals by filmmaker Sammy Rawal; pop-up talks from the Syrian Film Festival and AGO Artist-in-Residence Jérôme Havre; artists Alvis Choi (a.k.a Alvis Parsley), Andil Gosine with Matthew Ryan Smith; and music by DJ Stunts (of Yes Yes Y’All) and Cam Lee (Feministry).
Toronto is loaded with options for Valentine’s Day — spas, restaurants, bars — but if you’re looking for something unique (or some art to get you through the day), make it a day and night at the gallery, in the company of Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, Christi Belcourt and Henri Matisse.
1. Take the Valentine’s Tour (and the Not-so-Valentine’s Tour)
February 14, 2016, 11am–5:30pm
Artful discussion and themed tours of the AGO’s collection — what’s not to love? In the company of a knowledgeable and engaging AGO Gallery Guide, you’ll visit masterworks that explore themes of romantic love, love of celebrity, love of food, love of nature, break-ups/scorned love, and more. Highlights include works by Alex Colville, Rembrandt, Andy Warhol, and Emily Carr.
1-Hour Highlights Tours (every one is different!): 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. Meet in Walker Court, Level 1 (If you need directions, head to the Info Kiosk at the entrance.)
On the Dot Tours: Quick, 10-minute art chats. Meet in front of the work On the Dot:
11:30am “Soldier and Girl at Station” by Alex Colville, Room 206
11:30am “The Death of Elaine” by Homer Watson, Room 125
1:30 PM “The Idea Lab,” Room 114
2:30 PM “The Marchesa Casati” by Augustus Edward John, Room 125
2. Give someone some AGO♥
(clockwise from top): Valentine’s Day cards ($4–$5). Umbra Pongo Table Tennis set ($40). Keith Haring box of chocolates ($26). Alessi AL13002 Red Leather Strap Watch ($200).
Finding a Valentine’s Day present may be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be bewildering. Here are few thoughtful and unconventional shopAGO gifts, from playful tokens of friendship for PAL-entine’s Day to over-the-moon romantic gestures for the more-than-just pals.
Where: Online or in person at The Membership Info Desk, Lobby
4. Tell them “I like you a latte”
When the way to their heart is through their coffee, head to the Galleria Italia Espresso Bar for European cappuccinos, lattes, gelato and treats, and a stellar view of Dundas Street West. Perfect to enjoy ensemble or solo.
Where: Level 2, Galleria Italia
5. Visit Drawing, Je t’aime
(Robert Motherwell, Je t’aime, 1955, Ink on paper, Overall: 38.1 x 27.3 cm (15 x 10 3/4 in.). Purchased with funds from an Anonymous Donor, with support from the Dedalus Foundation, 1998)
“Robert Motherwell, a self-admitted Francophile, used this romantic phrase to express his deeply felt passion for artmaking. The calligraphic elements and interplay of text and image produce, in the artist’s words, ‘a desperate cry for love.’”
–Brenda Rix, Manager, Print and Drawing Study Centre
Take in over 100 rarely seen drawings by Jacopo Tintoretto, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Joyce Wieland and Annie Pootoogook, and draw your sweetheart’s self-portrait at our portraiture stations. Free with general admission. Share your #DrawingAGO photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.
Where: Level 1, Eaton/Gelber/Elliot Galleries
6. Spiral up the stairway
According to some, architect Frank Gehry designed the Baroque spiral staircase narrower at some points so that “two people, one going up and the other going down, would pass each other closely and fall in love.” Share your #GehryStaircase photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.
Curator’s Talk: After Abstract Expressionism: Making Sense of Painting in the 1960s
Everyone was at a loss after Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912–56) famously flung and dripped paint onto the unstretched canvases he placed on the floor of his studio in 1948. To quote the American artist Allan Kaprow: “he destroyed painting.” If Pollock destroyed all the assumptions everyone had about painting in the late 1940s, he also created a generation of artists who were forced to contend with his innovation in the 1950s and 1960s. we will explore how artists made sense of painting in the wake of Jackson Pollock’s radical gesture.
We’re lucky: Our visitors are some of the best photographers in the city, and we are constantly marveling at your views of the AGO. Inspired by you, and our friends at the Hammer Museum, we’re creating a monthly round-up of favourite AGOxInstagram shots (starting right now!). Want to take part? Keep sharing your Instagram and Twitter photos with us by tagging @agotoronto or #agotoronto.
Calling all #YYZ foodies in search of the perfect (and Instagrammable) Winterlicious meal: Our Frank Gehry-designed kitchen and restaurant is serving up a series of fresh, inventive and mouthwatering prix-fixe courses ($25 lunch and $35 dinner). And the food isn’t the only feast for the eyes. FRANK features Douglas fir wood-panelled walls, modern Danish furniture, changing artwork by contemporary artists, and an installation by another noteworthy Frank — Frank Stella.
Below: Toronto’s own @amazerall chowed down at FRANK this Winterlicious and shared shots of his delectable eats.
Beijing-based artist Song Dong is transforming the AGO’s Signy Eaton Gallery into a series of snaking walkways and small rooms that recall the communal courtyards of his childhood — courtyards that have all but disappeared from the city. Take a one-minute tour of the changing landscape that inspired Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard, opening January 30.
(John Scott, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, 1998–2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm (50 13/16 x 72 7/16 x 198 7/16 in.)3300 lb. (1496.9 kg). Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007.)
You may not see it on the Gallery floor all the time, but we’re the proud keepers of John Scott’s 3,300lb. doomsday vehicle: the Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3. The artwork will be on loan to the Art Gallery of Hamilton for the exhibition Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott, February 6 to May 15, 2016, marking the third venue for the touring exhibition of Scott’s work (after stops at the McMaster Museum of Art and Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell, Iowa). AGO Conservator Sherry Phillips shares her thoughts on getting the Trans Am ready for its latest reveal.
Selfie lovers, come one, come all. On January 20, 2016, we’re inviting you — museum fans, curators, artists and more — to share your best shots for #MuseumSelfieday, a global social media celebration founded by CultureThemes’ Mar Dixon to showcase some of the world’s greatest collections, and to encourage people to visit and interact with art in person. (Things we like very much.)
How you can join
Snap a photo of yourself in front of your favourite artwork or collection in the Gallery.