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Archive: November, 2009

Matthew Teitelbaum Receives Award from Canadian Centre for Diversity

November 23rd, 2009

Matthew Teitelbaum with Aruind Sharma and family at a Citizenship Ceremony in 2007.
File Image: Matthew Teitelbaum with Aruind Sharma and family at a Citizenship Ceremony in 2007.

Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, stood before some 700 people at the 62nd annual awards gala of the Canadian Centre for Diversity on Thursday night, and cited the work of AGO staff and volunteers as he received the Centre’s Human Relations Awards.

“It hardly seems right to be standing here acknowledged for achievement for a project that was realized by so many. Indeed, simply put, I stand here in the name of ambition and realization of dreams on behalf of staff members in this room with us tonight and with many other staff and volunteers here in spirit,” he said. I want to thank them for working together to make dreams come true, for being part of a project of discipline, focus and creativity, a project with no compromise to vision. Together we built a building, a welcoming building which weaves journeys of discovery for all visitors.”

Matthew was cited for his leadership on the Transformation AGO project and the numerous initiatives the AGO has embraced to make the AGO more accessible. These include Citizen AGO – a program that enables new citizens to learn about their new home country through art, the AGO’s foundational role in the Toronto Public Library’s MAP program that enables library users to borrow an AGO family pass as they would a book; Free After 3 – the free-after-school access program for high school students, and the Community Membership and Neighbourhood Access programs, which bring challenged communities to the Gallery.

Matthew and his team created one of the world’s most accessible institutions,” said AGO President Tony Gagliano in introducing Matthew, “one that celebrates our diversity.” A video shown at the event also noted that Matthew’s vision is that an art experience is about having choice, that there should be no barriers, and that “within the walls of the new AGO, we are all the same.”

Sunday Concert: GGS Bassoons

November 20th, 2009

Talented RCM students present Sunday afternoon performances in the AGO’s Walker Court. The AGO has partnered with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) to host these concerts, which will continue through spring 2010.

This Sunday’s concert, November 22, features the The GGS Bassoons. This quartet of bassoonists is a collection of musicians from The Glenn Gould School (GGS) of The Royal Conservatory. Ranging in age from 20-27, they represent the full range of programs offered at the school.

  • Newfoundlander, Neil Bishop, is currently in his second year of study at GGS. He began playing bassoon four years ago, and can be heard in Toronto playing as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral bassoonist.
  • Susan Durnin is in her second year of her Artist Diploma at GGS. She moved to Toronto from Winnipeg two years ago, and has since played in numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles.
  • Ondrej Golias has performed locally in various chamber ensembles and as a member of the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra. Best known for his arrangements of chamber music, visually aesthetic manuscripts and his great Contrabassoon playing, Ondrej is in his final year at GGS.
  • Kevin Harris began playing bassoon at age 17 in his hometown of Edmonton. In his first year at GGS, he has played in his local youth orchestra and wind ensemble, as well as other ensembles and chamber groups.

Concerts at the AGO are held in Walker Court Sundays from 1:30 to 2:15 pm, and are free with admission. Watch for these upcoming Sunday concerts:

  • November 29: Members of the Murnival String Quartet
  • December 6: Grace Kim, pianist

Holiday Toys for Tuts!

November 13th, 2009

Tutty Bear

When you come to the AGO¹s King Tut exhibition, or just when you come to the AGO, visit shopAGO and meet Tutty Bear. Drop off a new, unwrapped gift for needy kids (or buy one at the shop to donate) and get 10% off your shopAGO purchase that day. In partnership with CTV¹s Toy Mountain, all toys will be distributed by the Salvation Army.

How To Tut

November 13th, 2009

The exhibition King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs (showing at the AGO November 24, 2009-April 18, 2010) makes us want to get up and dance. But not just any dance…we want to Tut! And we want you to join us!

Professional dance artist Mark Cabuena from the Toronto dance crews “Grand Illusion” and “For the Funk of It” has choreographed a special “Tutting” routine that is easy and fun to learn! Watch the video above and practice the moves. You can use your new Tutting skills to impress family and friends… and you can help us set a world record! The AGO will be hosting a special Tutting Day in the New Year, where we invite everyone to perform Mark’s Tut routine with us and help us set a world record.

Stay tuned to the website for more information of this amazing and fun event happening at the AGO! Confirmed information (including registration) regarding the “Tutting” event on Sunday Feb. 28, 2010 will be posted on this website the first week of Jan. In the meantime, keep practicing.

More about the History of Tutting.

A year after the transformation … our visitors speak

November 13th, 2009

Art Gallery of Ontario on opening day

Not long ago, I was walking through the Art Gallery of Ontario when a visitor stopped to talk with me. “I have never seen Canada like I have seen it today,” he said. He talked about Frank Gehry’s architecture and the use of Douglas fir. He described the “powerful statements” the gallery is making on Inuit and First Nations contributions to Canadian art. He spoke of the “absolutely glorious and simple directness” of the Lawren Harris galleries and the emotional experiences of the Tom Thomson works. He said he was at times overwhelmed by these powerful depictions of the Canadian experience.

One year and some 700,000 visitors since the AGO completed its transformation in November 2008, there have been many exchanges between the museum and its ultimate arbiters. They speak about their experience at the AGO and what it means to be Canadian, about Toronto and its place in the world, about what makes them proud.

“The Thomson collection is stunning and vitally important to all Canadians, and is a big portion of what makes us Canadian.”

Art Gallery of Ontario on opening day

The late Ken Thomson, whose extraordinary collection of Canadian and European art was the catalyst for our transformation, always wanted Canadians to be proud. Amassed over more than 50 years, his collection ranks among the finest private collections in the world, but his ambition was that it be widely shared and that it become part of a narrative about Canadian art, about art of the world through the centuries.

Architect Frank Gehry envisioned a seamless journey through the 110 gallery spaces of the transformed AGO. His design intended that visitors move forward without ever retracing their steps, encouraged onward always by options. So too, the art works were installed to encourage a continuous journey through the building, making connections between life and art throughout.

“There is a gentle flow to the space, and it invites you in, to see and feel the essence of the best of the art works.”

Frank ‘s AGO is unlike any other of his projects — his most distinctive because it’s his first in Canada, in his childhood home of Toronto, where he made his first connections between art and architecture. He shared many of our ambitions for this project – among them that Canadians and non-Canadians alike would be surprised by Canadian art. In our installations, we made the commitment that we would celebrate Canadian art, both contemporary historical, in different ways — the juxtaposition of a Lawren Harris painting next to a Pierre Bonnard; a sculpture by rising Toronto artist Shary Boyle next to Italian bronzes from the 17th century. We made no apologies for telling the stories of art from many points of view, across cultures and continents.

“By placing paintings in new contexts, you’ve made us look at them in new ways. It’s exciting. I heard two women behind me saying that they’d look at a particular painting and think it new…and then realize they’d seen it before but never really paid that much attention. They said the re-discovery was thrilling.”

Art Gallery of Ontario on opening day

Visitors to the AGO over the past year tell us they feel they are a part of a dialogue with the world, that this is a place that is not only of its community, but one that is looking out beyond regional or national borders. It’s quite intentional, and as in doing so we’re creating relationships and collaborations, projecting our Canadian artists out beyond our borders and in dialogue with our sister institutions around the world.

The flurry of construction and expansion at nearly a dozen major Toronto institutions over the last several years is city-building on the powerful shoulders of culture. The AGO, the Royal Conservatory, the ROM, the COC, the Gardiner – these and many others unite cultures and encourage dialogue through the catalyst of creativity. They send a reverberating message that culture can drive the economic and social growth of our communities. And as our visitors attest, they have put “the centre of the universe” on the world stage.

“Toronto has finally earned its colours as a player on the big scene. The city has gained some backbone. Indeed, as my own back straightened, I felt proud of Toronto. After all these years of wanting to be taken seriously, Toronto (and Ontario) can now relax.”

The brisk, consistent and admittedly gratifying dialogue about the AGO over the course of its first year post-transformation, suggests the gallery is communicating itself as part of the fabric of everyday life, more so today than at any time in its history. If we, together with Toronto’s other cultural institutions, can sustain that dialogue, we will become civic gathering places built on creativity and imagination.

Over the past year we have focused on removing the barriers to art and the AGO. Through its very design, the gallery clearly states that it’s possible to be here, that one can imagine oneself here. Foremost in our minds is ensuring that the AGO has as many free-access points as possible for communities that historically have not felt the AGO was a place where they could be, where they belonged.

“Thank you so much for facilitating our trip to the AGO. Our people loved it so much. They were really inspired by beauty and power of the art. One of our ladies said that she has been an Impressionist fan for almost 50 years but has only seen such works on postcards. Our people do not get very many opportunities to experience beauty due to the circumstances in their lives but this week they did.”

We have learned that our commitment to accessibility contributes profoundly to making art and the AGO more a part of the community. It is a clear message of welcome when you can come to the AGO for free on a Wednesday night, or borrow a family pass to the AGO as you would borrow a book at all 99 Toronto public libraries. We always have line ups on Wednesday nights, and more than 26,000 people have visited the AGO through the library pass program.

As we approach our first-year anniversary, it’s clear that that transformation from what we were to what we are today is more than physical. Architecture alone does not make a great art museum. It is also the art, and the associations that are conjured in the act of experiencing it, that bring the art museum alive. I hear it over and over again.

“I’m 82 years old and I want to spend the rest of my life here.”

Matthew Teitelbaum
Director and CEO
Art Gallery of Ontario
416-979-6660 x613

King Tut puts on a show for Halloween

November 13th, 2009

 King Tut puts on a show for Halloween

An AGO member is having some fun with Tut – he sent these photos and note to our membership department last week.

Hello membership desk – I'm looking forward to seeing King Tut but wanted to share with you our efforts to promote the event this Halloween. Despite raging winds, we were able to erect a 20-plus-foot pyramid complete with gilded top (silk gold sheet). The skeleton pharaoh had been up for a few weeks announcing the event–the rest was "camp" theatre–including dissections. "Anubis" was not only painted by my 70-year-old mother but enacted the whole night much to the dismay and wonderment of Parkdale residents.

We had much fun despite the effects of cold and H1 and were still beset by kids who came from blocks around. We did our best to always name the AGO as our source of inspiration and would love to have gotten my hands on the large Anubis that graces your entrance–but thought that might be pushing it.

Mario, Toronto (AGO Member)

This Sunday: Sam Darhma on piano

November 12th, 2009

Sam Darhma

Talented RCM students continue to present Sunday afternoon performances in the AGO’s Walker Court. The AGO has partnered with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) to host these concerts, which will continue through spring 2010.

This Sunday’s concert, November 15, features .

Samuel Dharma was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and migrated to Australia in 1999. He earned his Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts degree as a scholarship student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Samuel has won numerous prizes in many Australian piano competitions, most recently including first prize at the 2009 Laurence Godfrey-Smith/Rex Hobcroft Piano Competition. He was named finalist in the 2007 and 2009 City of Sydney John Allison Piano Scholarship, as well as state finalist in the 2007 Symphony Australia Young Performer Award. Aside from competitions, Samuel has performed throughout Sydney as a soloist and chamber musician, and is currently furthering his musical studies in Toronto at the Glenn Gould School, RCM.

Concerts at the AGO are held in Walker Court Sundays from 1:30 to 2:15 pm, and are free with admission. Watch for these upcoming Sunday concerts:

  • November 22: Woodwind Quintet
  • November 29: Members of the Murnival String Quartet
  • December 6: Grace Kim, pianist

 

This Sunday: Emilie Lom on harp, Casey Granofsky on flute

November 6th, 2009

Emilie Lom on harp

Emilie Lom on harp

Talented RCM students continue to present Sunday afternoon performances in the AGO’s Walker Court. The AGO has partnered with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) to host these concerts, which will continue through spring 2010.

This Sunday’s concert, November 8, features Emilie Lom on harp, and Casey Granofsky on flute.

Emilie Lom began harp lessons at age 13 in her hometown of Barrie, Ontario. She has recently competed in the final round of the American Harp Society National Competition.  In addition, she has been invited to participate in the Banff Summer Arts Festival 2009, and was selected member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada the previous summer. She is currently in her fourth year of the undergraduate program at the Glenn Gould School of the RCM where she studies with world-renowned harpist Judy Loman.

Casey Granofsky started playing the flute at age nine, studying in her hometown of Ottawa, where she played with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra. She competed in many competitions in her teens, winning dozens of first place prizes in the Kiwanis Music Festival and a first place prize in the 2006 Ottawa Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. She has just completed her third year at the Glenn Gould School of the RCM, studying with Kathleen Rudolph, playing flute, piccolo, and alto flute in numerous ensembles.

Concerts at the AGO are held in Walker Court Sundays from 1:30 to 2:15 pm, and are free with admission.

Watch for these upcoming Sunday concerts:

  • November 15: Sam Darhma, piano
  • November 22: Woodwind Quintet
  • November 29: Members of the Murnival String Quartet
  • December 6: Grace Kim, pianist