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Behind the scenes at Every. Now. Then.

June 26th, 2017

Xiong Gu. Illuminated Niagara Falls, 2017. Digital photographs, fruit baskets, and souvenir water, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of Andrew Hunter/Facebook.

This Wednesday night, AGO visitors are invited to take a first look at two of our three Canadian summer exhibitions—Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light; and a fresh look at Mark Lewis: Canada; Every. Now. Then. is the AGO’s response to the Canada 150 moment, featuring projects from artists across Canada that comment on Canada’s past, present and imagined future. At this moment of reflection in Canadian history, the exhibition attempts to fill in voices and stories that have traditionally been silenced or forgotten in mainstream society.

There’s every kind of art you can imagine in Every. Now. Then.—from photography to paintings and illustrations to large-scale installations to video and textiles. There’s even a mini-replica of a fictional Canadian town called Dominion (created by the cartoonist, Seth). For Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, the challenge is finding a layout for all of these different pieces that makes sense thematically, artistically and conceptually for the visitor.

We asked Andrew a few questions about the installation process of Every. Now. Then. Read the rest of this entry »

Rita Letendre, in her own words

June 26th, 2017

I wanted to create a new world, and if you have a world, it has to have poetry.” – Rita Letendre

Born in Drummondville, Quebec to Abenaki and Québécois parents in 1928, Rita Letendre began painting in 1950s Montreal. Renowned for her bold and visceral style, she pushed the boundaries of colour, light and space to new heights. Letendre used the paintbrush, airbrush, palette knife and her hands to express the spirit of life. Her work embodies her ongoing quest for connection and understanding.

We celebrate Letendre’s vibrant career with a retrospective titled Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, opening this week and running through September 17. The exhibition is included in General Admission. For a special sneak preview, all are welcome to our Summer Public Opening party taking place June 28 from 6–9 pm. in Walker Court.

Read on to learn more about Letendre’s life’s work in her own words. Read the rest of this entry »

Need plans for the Canada Day long weekend? We’re open!

June 26th, 2017

Curator Andrew Hunter with (left) Paul Emile Borduas, Beating of Wings at Bonaventure, 1954, oil on canvas, 96.5 x 118.9 cm, The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario. (right) Alex Colville, Soldier and Girl at Station, 1953, glazed tempera on board, 40.6 x 61 cm, The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario.

Happy Canada Day! There’s no shortage of activities in Toronto this long weekend. This happens to be a particularly special year for Canada’s birthday (not sure if you’ve heard…)

But if you’re tired of the same old fireworks, think outdoor concerts are too much trouble, or if you’re looking for some Canadian artistic inspiration this holiday weekend, look to the AGO as your go-to destination. We’re open the following hours over Canada Day weekend:

Friday, June 30 – 10:30 am – 9 pm

Saturday, July 1 – 10:30 am – 4 pm

Sunday, July 2 – 10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Monday, July 3 – 10:30 am – 4 pm Read the rest of this entry »

Diane Arbus works join the AGO Collection

June 26th, 2017

Diane Arbus, American, 1923–1971. Jack Dracula lying by a tree, N.Y.C., 1961., 1961; printed 1961. Gelatin silver print. Sheet: 27.9 × 35.6 cm (11 × 14 in.). Image: 16.8 × 23.5 cm (6 5/8 × 9 1/4 in.). Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Phil Lind, 2016. Copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC.

Flashback to our hit 2016 exhibition Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s. A stand-out of that show was photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971), one of the most widely recognized names in 20th century art. Remember these? Read the rest of this entry »

Imagine you have never seen a photograph before…

June 20th, 2017

2007/1940.3.1 – Claude-Marie Ferrier, View of the Eastern Nave, salted paper print.

In 1851, the world was experiencing unprecedented technological and cultural developments. Excited to show off the world’s marvels and celebrate the advancements of the Industrial Revolution, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, commissioned the first World’s Fair: The Great Exhibition of Works of Industry of All Nations (also referred to as the “Crystal Palace Exhibition”), held from May to October in Hyde Park, London. Among the wonders in the exhibition: a very early version of a fax machine, electric telegraphs, a revolving lighthouse light, and best of all, the Palace had the first ever public toilets (costing users one penny for the privilege). Read the rest of this entry »

O’Keeffe, the trailblazer

June 20th, 2017

Georgia O’Keeffe Oriental Poppies, 1927 Oil paint on canvas 76.2 x 101.9 cm The Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Museum Purchase, 1937.1 © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The men liked to put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.”– Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe spent much of her career railing against the persistent gender divide in the art world, and she chafed at being defined as a woman artist as early as the 1930s. Although exhibitions, such as Georgia O’Keeffe,  and publications repeatedly reveal the breadth and depth of O’Keeffe’s artistic accomplishments as being “about more than just erotic flowers,” her work and life continue to be framed by the paintings and photographs that first made her notorious, while details of her private life are often sensationalized in the headlines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Artist Spotlight: Brian Jungen

June 20th, 2017

Photo courtesy of the AGO/Dean Tomlinson.

Brian Jungen’s artwork is recognizable for several reasons – the forms, the materials, and now the sculptures themselves are all cultural touchstones in Canada. From his Northwest Coast Aboriginal masks made from Nike Air Jordans to his massive whale skeletons made from plastic patio chairs, the materials he uses and the sculptures themselves are visible and in conversation with each other. His work is renowned in the international art world: Brian has held solo exhibitions in New York, London and beyond, and he was the first living artist to be shown at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. in 2009.

Brian recently visited the AGO and we caught up with him to hear more about his unusual life as a visual artist (hint – it includes cattle). Read the rest of this entry »

Thank you, Maxine

June 20th, 2017

Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, who has completed a 4-year term as President of the AGO Board of Trustees. Photo courtesy of the AGO/Craig Boyko.

Behind the scenes at the AGO is a dedicated group of volunteers who serve on the Board of Trustees. They oversee and guide us as we work to fulfill our mission to keep art, access and learning at the heart of all the decisions we make. For the past four years, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin has led the Board as its President, and her term concludes tomorrow (but good news for us: she’ll continue to serve as a Trustee).

A passionate and dedicated advocate, Maxine believes in the power of art to change the world. She has demonstrated truly exemplary leadership, both in her governance of the Board and in her philanthropic giving. According to our Director and CEO, Stephan Jost, “Maxine has a clear sense of purpose and deep belief in the Gallery’s mission to bring art and people together. When I was hired as Director and CEO [Maxine led the Board search committee], she welcomed me with grace and support.”

Read the rest of this entry »

We’re celebrating, and you’re invited!

June 20th, 2017

Consider yourself, dear reader, cordially invited to public opening of three of the AGO’s most captivating exhibitions of the year. On Wednesday, June 28, from 6 to 9 pm, members of the public are invited to the AGO for a sneak peek at Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light during the AGO’s Summer Public Opening event which includes a celebration in Walker Court. The party also celebrates Mark Lewis: Canada, which has been open since April.

Timed to take place just before Canada Day on July 1, the public opening of these three summer shows offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on the state of art in Canada—and the state of Canada represented in art—amid the many discussions taking place around the country’s sesquicentennial.

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet our newest curator

June 13th, 2017

Caroline Shields. Photo courtesy of the AGO/Craig Boyko.

The AGO recently welcomed a new curator to its ranks: Caroline Shields, Assistant Curator of European Art.

A specialist in 19th century European art, Caroline comes to the AGO after working in international curatorial roles at the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At the National Gallery, she worked on the 2015 exhibition Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye, while in her role at the Museum of Fine Arts, she investigated paintings with disputed or uncertain artist attributions. Caroline received her PhD in art history from the University of Maryland this spring with a dissertation on Paul Gauguin.

We recently sat down with Caroline to get to know her. Read the rest of this entry »