Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Archive: October, 2010

Grange Prize 2010 Panel Discussion (Audio)

October 7th, 2010

The nominees for this year’s Grange Prize engage in a lively conversation about the current state of contemporary photography.

Moderated by Dr. Kenneth Montague, Independent Curator and Collector. Featuring artists Josh Brand, Moyra Davey, Leslie Hewitt and Kristan Horton.

Recorded: September 22, 2010 @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 1:10:29

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 96 MB MP3

When Curators Speak… A Nuit Blanche panel (Audio)

October 7th, 2010

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of Nuit Blanche, Nuit Talks explored different aspects of Nuit Blanche through dialogues that probe the boundaries of contemporary art. The AGO hosted Nuit Talk #4: an in-depth look at curating and past curators as creative agents of Nuit Blanche.

David Liss, Artistic Director and Curator, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Fern Bayer (2006)
Camilla Singh, Michelle Jacques (2007)
Haema Sivanesan, Dave Dyment (2008)
Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher , Thom Sokoloski, (2009)

Recorded: October 2, 2010 @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 1:30:20

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 121 MB MP3

Q&A: Karen Irvine, Curator and Nominating Jury Member

October 7th, 2010

Today, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago (MoCP) introduces Chicagoans to the work of the artists nominated for The Grange Prize 2010 with an exhibition celebrating this year’s shortlist. To acknowledge the opening, we spoke with MoCP curator Karen Irvine, also a member of this year’s nominating jury for The Grange Prize, about what to expect from the exhibition and the process of selecting the shortlist.

The Grange Prize: What was your criteria when you were thinking about who you wanted to be part of the shortlist?

Karen Irvine: I was really trying to find artists who are working in interesting conceptual ways and could use the sort of support that the prize can provide, and who would also potentially challenge the general public’s perception of what photography is, to push people out of their comfort zones, in a way, and ask them to consider what contemporary photography can be.

How important was it to you that all of the artists’ work play off each other’s in some way? Was the shortlist chosen as a group?

It was. The shortlist is a very deliberately curated group. Because we really needed to make sure that the artists could compete fairly. There’s so much diversity in photography, and a documentary photographer is so radically different from somebody who’s working in an abstract or conceptual way, like our photographers are. We really felt that we wanted people to be compelled to learn about each photographer. Its important that all of the artists work similarly enough that people can’t simply vote for the type of photography they prefer, rather they have to become familiar with and then vote for the artist they prefer based on the content and ideas behind the artwork.

Do you think that people’s expectations, when they seek out a photography show or consider viewing a photography gallery in a museum, are typically for work that engages artful documentation?

I think, to a large extent, yes. We confront that a lot at the MoCP because our collection spans back to the 1930s, and people come in and really do want to come see a Walker Evans or a Garry Winogrand image, for example. Photography is so ubiquitous, and we see it every day, and that is primarily what it is used for, to report on the world. But it also does more than that, and for some artists, and for all of the artists on the shortlist, photography is used as a tool after or in tandem with experimentation with different mediums, approaches and strategies.

Can you talk a bit about what you’re planning for the exhibition at the MoCP? What it’ll look like, and what you’re planning for the space?

We have all four artists in the same gallery space, and each artist is represented by one body of work. They’ll be a couple of Kristan Horton’s large Orbit pieces, and three of Leslie Hewitt’s Riffs on Real Time, a small cluster of Josh Brand’s abstract works, and then a selection of Moyra Davey’s Copperheads.

What do you think is in store for the viewer?

Well, in some ways the artists’ practices are really diverse and it’s hard to draw parallels, but I would say that generally what each artist is up to isn’t totally obvious at first glance. For the average viewer, their work will likely raise more questions than provide answers. If you look at Moyra Davey’s Copperheads you might be surprised by her choice of subject matter – why would somebody shoot pennies in this style, and what does this mean? I think that all of the artists are very interested in the photograph-as-object, and are raising questions that complicate our reading of their work. Even though each artist is working with two-dimensional imagery, I think that they’re all very interested in creating a tension between photographic space and real space, and by abstracting and layering visual information, they make us aware of our own act of looking, as well as our process of perception.

So are you going to vote?

Yes, of course!

Have you decided who you’re going to vote for?


The MoCP’s exhibition of works by the four photographic artists nominated for The Grange Prize 2010 will be on view through December 22. For more information, visit

Volunteers needed: help bring the splendour of India’s royal courts to life

October 6th, 2010

As you may have noticed, we here at the AGO are thrilled to be hosting Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, opening November 20, 210.  We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about sharing their personal experiences and/or intimate knowledge of Indian art and culture, to help us bring the exhibition and its content to life!   Here’s the posting that outlines what being a volunteer is all about:

As a Maharaja exhibition volunteer you will:

  • Welcome visitors to the exhibition
  • Share your knowledge of Indian culture, art, traditions and experience
  • Respond to visitor inquires related to the exhibition and its content

*Full exhibition content training is provided

You’re our ideal candidate if you:

  • Have personal experience with India; enthusiasm or knowledge for its arts and culture
  • Share a sincere interest in meeting new people

(if you like talking to people, this is the role for you!)

  • Ability to speak Punjabi, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil or Telugu are assets (not required)
  • Are available to volunteer 4 hours a week, November 2010 – April, 2011

(Daytime, evening and weekends shifts available)

  • Can attend one of our information / recruitment sessions: 

Thursday, October 14, 6:30pm – 8:00pm OR

Thursday, October 21, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

All volunteers receive complimentary AGO admission, as well as two free tickets to the exhibition. To participate, please email  with your name, contact information (daytime and evening phone, and email), and attach a current copy of your CV/resume (if available). 

Important:make sure to tell us which information session you’d like to attend, and a member of our volunteer recruitment team will contact you with further details about this unique volunteer opportunity. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls

October 6th, 2010

Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls will be screened this Friday, October 8 as part of the exhibition Julian Schnabel: Art and Film.

Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls

Julian Schnabel’s second film portrays Cuban writer and poet Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990), and his struggle for sexual, political and artistic freedom. Viewers are transported to Castro’s Cuba of the 1960s and 1970s, when individual liberties were first celebrated and then violently suppressed. Arenas’s life as a gay writer who refuses to conform leads to his imprisonment and torture. Schnabel depicts Arenas as both victim and survivor, tracing his eventual escape to New York and his battle with AIDS. Through it all, Arenas is always writing, his typewriter a faithful companion and powerful weapon.

Based on Arenas’s autobiography, Before Night Falls won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Venice Film Festival, while Javier Bardem took the Coppa Volpi for best actor. Bardem also earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his moving performance as Arenas. Schnabel also cast Hector Babenco, the renowned director of Pixote (1980), and friends such as Sean Penn (who played Arenas’s peasant father) and Johnny Depp (in dual roles as a drag queen and a vicious army interrogator).

Sunday Concerts Return

October 5th, 2010

Emily Rho

Emily Rho

The AGO and the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) continue to host Sunday afternoon concerts by talented students from the RCM’s Glenn Gould School,  an internationally recognized centre for professional training in music performance at the postsecondary and postbachelor levels. 

Concerts are held in the AGO’s Atrium from 1:30 to 2:15 pm, and are free with admission.

This Sunday’s concert, October 10, features pianist EmilyRho. 

Praised as “daringly imaginative,” pianist Emily Rho is a young artist whose career spans many genres:  recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist.  She made her orchestral debut at age ten with Korean Broadcasting System Orchestra, and since then she has worked with World Youth Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Emily has performed in Europe, North America and Asia, and many of her performances have been broadcast in the USA, Canada and Korea.

Recently, Ms. Rho won both the first and second prize at The Glenn Gould School’s 2010 Chamber Music Competition, which resulted in a performance in Koerner Hall in May 2010. In June 2010, she was invited to compete in Adilia Alieva International Piano Competition in France, and her 2010/2011 season highlights include participation in competitions in US and Germany and other concert engagements around city.

She has participated in summer festivals around the world such as Aspen Music Festival, Gijon International Piano Festival, Banff Centre and the National Arts Centre’s Summer Music Institute. They gave her opportunities to work with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Guarneri Quartet, among others. Emily is an Artist Diploma candidate at The Glenn Gould School, where she studies with David Louie and John Perry.

Lucy Lippard on Eva Hesse (Audio)

October 5th, 2010

"even if you didn’t know Eva, you’d know more about her than you realized from looking at her work. Because you’ve been connected somehow. That’s one of the beautiful things about her work is that it does really reach out and make a connection." – Lucy Lippard

Lucy R. Lippard is a writer, activist, and curator, and early champion of feminist art. A friend to Eva Hesse, Lippard wrote a monograph on the artist in 1976 that remains an essential text.

Lippard is the author of more than twenty books on contemporary art and culture, including The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicultural Society (1997) and On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place (1999). Her anthology of texts documenting the early years of Conceptual Art, Six Years: The Dematerialisation of the Art Object, was published in 1973 and is required reading for any student of contemporary art.

Recorded: Tuesday, September 28, Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 1:06:17

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 38 MB MP3

Generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Terra Logo