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Archive: July, 2010

Food Day at FRANK

July 30th, 2010

Join us Sunday, July 31, 2010 at FRANK Restaurant to celebrate Food Day.

Food Day was founded in 2003, and has carried on as an annual mid-summer event, celebrating Canada’s rich culinary heritage, our delicious northern bounty and the best managed food system on the planet.  It is a great opportunity for Canadian’s to share our culinary experiences, as world leaders in cultural diversity, food ethics, magnificent flavours and fun!

For more information on Food Day at FRANK, or to make a reservation, please call: 416-979-6688

More about Food Day

Food Day was founded by renowned culinary activist, educator, and writer Anita Stewart.  Since 1983, she has been travelling Canada’s vast expanse, identifying and writing about our country as a regionally diverse food nation. Today, many of our top food leaders credit her with influencing their style and philosophy.

Click here for more information on Food Day.

Work in Progress: Audio Stations for At Work

July 30th, 2010

Audio visual station

The past couple of weeks have been exciting around here, at least for me, as I am starting to see everything I have been working on for our upcoming show, At Work: Hesse, Goodwin, Martin, be realized. One of those things has been the audio elements we’d like to include in the show. While we are not producing a traditional audio guide, we will have some audio stations in the galleries, to provide you, our visitors, with a different way to gain insight into the lives and work of the artists. The process of creating these audio elements has been very interesting. Scripts need to be written, interview questions thought of, extensive editing done by our media team…I didn’t even know that an art gallery would have a recording studio, and now I can say that I have sat in one!

Audio stations can be a great way to provide different perspectives on the artwork in an exhibit, particularly when they are varied in terms of content and style. When At Work opens, you will have the opportunity to listen to one of our archivists talk about visiting Betty Goodwin’s studio and why the AGO is so interested in her notebooks. For a completely different experience, you will also be able to sit back, relax and listen to a soothing recording that guides you through a new way of looking at Agnes Martin’s work, The Islands.

If you are interested in getting a sense of some of the work featured in the show in audio form, Matthew Teitelbaum, the Director of the AGO discusses Agnes Martin’s painting The Rose, featured in this exhibition, as part of the AGO’s pre-existing  Director’s Highlights podcast series.

Click here to play:

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What are your thoughts on audio stations or tours? Do you use them, and if so, do they enhance your experience in the gallery?

Kendra Ainsworth is a Masters student in Museum Studies at the University of Toronto, and an Interpretive Planning intern at the AGO.

Opera Atelier at the AGO: Degas and his Dancers (Video)

July 30th, 2010

Dancers from Toronto’s Opera Atelier demonstrate ballet technique in the time of French painter Edgar Degas as part of the exhibition Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre.

Drama & Desire features dramatic moments and live animations inside the exhibition. On select weekend afternoons throughout the summer, dancers from Opera Atelier’s Artists of the Atelier Ballet will perform Degas and his Dancers, and actors from the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park will perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet. For the full schedule click here.

This Weekend: Come visit us at the Irie Music Festival

July 29th, 2010

The AGO’s community ambassadors continue their schedule of summer festivals at the Irie Music Festival. Come visit us  this Saturday, July 31st and Sunday August 1st, from 10am to 8pm at Yonge Dundas Square, and check out our booth themed around our upcoming exhibition, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, opening November 20, 2010.

You can also learn more and share your stories and ideas by posting here on our blog, or by emailing us at

This show is organized in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Recommendations for those looking for more Drama & Desire

July 29th, 2010

Have you been to the AGO’s Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre? Did it leave you wanting more? Or maybe you are planning to go and want to do a little research or get into the atmosphere of the exhibition before you visit? Here are some recommendations to suit a range of ages and a variety of interests. Happy reading and/or viewing!

Historical Fiction, In the Period of the Exhibit:

For Children:


Historical Context:

Ellen Terry:

John Boydell:

Edward Gordon Craig:

Edouard Vuillard:

Maurice Maeterlinck:

John Singer Sargent:

Art General:

Theatre General:

Live Theatre:

Drama and Desire Scavenger Hunt

July 29th, 2010

A scavenger hunt in Drama and Desire is fun for all ages! Download your exhibition scavenger hunt here.

If you forget to bring it when you visit, there are copies available at the AGO’s membership desk and at the desk outside of Drama and Desire.

For parents with children 6 and under, please take responsibility for marking things off the scavenger hunt paper to prevent any mishaps – thank you.


Making Faces in Drama and Desire

July 28th, 2010

Walking through the AGO’s Drama and Desire exhibition, you are certain to encounter visitors looking into a mirror at their own faces. Isn’t it amazing the range of human emotions, some so subtle that they are barely perceptible and others so intense that no one could fail to notice them.  Emotions are at the core of all arts. Painters, directors, actors, composers and writers all rely on emotions to fuel their works, and they attempt to express them in a concrete form.  Audiences draw on their emotions and experiences to connect with the work.  It is no easy feat to convey a particular emotion in art or theatre. How do you show thoughtfulness, concern, jealousy, and acceptance for example?

When you visit Drama and Desire, be sure to spend some time at the drawing station. Sit in front of the mirror and think about how you’d express a specific emotion. Is it in the eyes, a furled brow, a shy smile or a clenched fist? Study your face just as actors and painters have done throughout time. The expressions to choose from are limitless.

Here are a few of the many amazing sketches that have been created at the Drama and Desire drawing station:

Drama and Desire: “Antigonus in the Storm” by Joseph Wright of Derby (Audio)

July 27th, 2010

Joseph Wright of Derby’s Antigonus in the Storm is on display for a limited time at the AGO as part of the exhibition Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre.

Joseph Wright of Derby

Antigonus in the Storm (Act III, scene iii) from Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” 1790-92. Joseph Wright of Derby, British, 1734-1797. Oil on canvas 153.9x 221.3cm. Gift from Joey and Toby Tanenbaum 1990.

Grab a life preserver! The AGO has recreated the sound and light effects of a real storm at sea.
Click to play:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download 4.1 MB MP3

This painting illustrates a violent storm in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.” Check out the shipwreck at the right and bouncing bear in the foreground!

To bring the experience to life at the AGO, the sounds of crashing waves, thunder, and sea gulls are accompanied by flashes of lighting. Visitors can turn the handle on two sound machines traditionally used in 18th century theatre productions. One imitates the wind (from canvas passing over wood) and the other rain (from beads rotating in a drum.)

Visit the Gallery and take advantage of this rare opportunity to make noise at the AGO!

The Maharaja Advisory Board, Part 2

July 26th, 2010

In my last post about the AGO’s desi ‘aunties and uncles’, I gave you a big picture view of the community advisory board’s mandate.

Now it’s time for the particulars. We get asked all sorts of questions about all sorts of topics: what kind of arts programming do we want to see; who are the media players in the South Asian community; what colours would work best on the walls of the exhibit; and even ideas for a more interactive gallery experience.

In the very first meeting in May, Stephen Inglis, the adjunct curator of the AGO show, presented the actual Victoria & Albert Museum version of the Maharaja exhibit via powerpoint.  Although the objects were incredibly beautiful, one person thought the layout looked “really dry and boring.” 

So, the committee discussed ideas about how to animate Maharaja. One hope was to have a performance space within the exhibit, especially one that could highlight the range of classical Indian music, much of which was nurtured through the royal courts over the centuries.

In another meeting, the marketing department asked us how to entice folks who don’t normally come to the Gallery.  Here it was suggested that the AGO organize bus trips from, for example, Mississauga, to make the visit more like a special event and cancel out the great suburban fear of having to find parking downtown.

Others pointed out many in the South Asian community do cultural events en famille, which means a trip to the gallery is a multi-generational event. And they’ll be expecting good food as part of their ‘day trip’!

Oh dear, family and food – sounds like one big fat South Asian cliché.  Of course, that’s how I do it too. The special family excursion to the AGO usually includes 3 generations – my mother, my brother, my husband and our daughter – and, uh, brunch as well.

Sure, not every suggestion will be implemented, but it’s good to see the conversation at the AGO is becoming more inclusive.

What would you like to see as part of your AGO and Maharaja experience?

Piali Roy is a Toronto freelance writer with a long-held interest in South Asian culture and history. You can contact her at