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Archive: February, 2011

Meet Vikram Vij

February 28th, 2011

Vikram VijWednesday, March 9
5 – 7 pm

Next Wednesday, come by shopAGO to meet Vikram Vij and pick up a copy of his new book, Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey – The Warmth and Ease of Indian Cooking.

The lineups are legendary at Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, where genial proprietor Vikram Vij and his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, use local ingredients and original ideas to create exciting takes on the cuisines of India.

Meet the chef and owner of Vij’s, hailed by The New York Times as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” Vikram will be signing copies of the couple’s award-winning bestseller Vij’s: Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine and their recently published Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey — superlative Indian dishes, from stove to plate in less than 45 minutes.

This book is just one of many products inspired by Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts. Join us for a taste of India — at shopAGO!

Rethinking The Grange Kitchens

February 24th, 2011

The historic kitchens in The Grange were a dynamic part of the Iris Haussler installation “He Named Her Amber“. Here visitors experienced the mysterious world of a fictitious maid who hid waxen globules under floor bricks and in the walls. Once the installation was over, I needed to re-imagine another world, one that still involved The Grange servants, but in a different way.

Grange kitchen

With the house no longer restored as an historic house museum, I also had to find a way to make the period kitchens relevant to our visitor. Three themes became immediately apparent—the lives of the servants; the work that they did; and, how kitchen technology changes over time. With these themes in mind, I began to imagine how to illustrate them with the artifacts that I had.

One of the important bits of work was obviously cooking and I had lots of artifacts to illustrate that. I was able to set up several other work related “stations” including cleaning, the work involved in lighting a house and laundry. Obviously there was more work done than just these, but I had the artifacts to demonstrate these activities. The previous historic kitchen did not effectively show the presence of servants in the basement, so I turned one room into a servant’s hall, setting a table as if for a meal and putting in a day bed for them to sit on.

Changing technology was also straight forward as we could contrast the open hearth cooking of the early part of the 19th century to the cook stove technology of the mid-century. The servant’s bells and the rising cupboard are other examples. Changing technology, in our case, refers to the first half of the 19th century due to our collection. In the future, it might be possible to show further changes through archival material.

Grange dining room

Two things have not changed, however, just as The Grange cooks used seasonal and local ingredients, so to does Anne Yaramovitch and her team of chefs in the AGO kitchens. And, just as The Grange was a social centre of the city (parties held here were written up in the newspapers) so to is it a place for members to gather for food and conversation.

Jennifer Rieger, Historic Site Coordinator of The Grange, Art Gallery of Ontario

Blackwood Ancestors (Audio)

February 22nd, 2011

Blackwood talks about key aspects of his prints – his ancestors who were sea captains.

Duration: 00:02:28

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S.S. Imogene Leaving for the Icefields, 1973

S.S. Imogene Leaving for the Icefields, 1973
etching and aquatint on wove paper
58.1 x 87.4 cm
Gift of David and Anita Blackwood, Port Hope, Ontario, 1999

The SS Imogene
The SS Imogene has close personal associations for Blackwood – it was captained by his grandfather. Each spring the ship left St. John’s for the Labrador icefields. The sealers on board hoped to earn much-needed cash, yet dreaded the potential dangers ahead – bitter cold, fog, powerful waves, crushing ice and gale-force winds. Departures were particularly poignant, as many sealers never returned.

In 1933 the SS Imogene brought in a record number of seals. Twelve years later the ship hit a sandbank and sank. Its bell and flag were rescued and are on display in this exhibition.

Take the JUNO Tour of Canadian Art

February 17th, 2011

In partnership with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), we’ve launched The JUNO Tour of Canadian Art, bringing together great Canadian art and great Canadian music. Eight JUNO Award-winning musicians: Alpha Yaya Diallo, Buck 65, Dan Hill, Gord Downie, Hawksley Workman, Jane Bunnett, Measha Brueggergosman and Tanya Tagaq selected an artwork from the AGO’s collection and shared with us both a personal response and song that connected them to the work. Their recorded responses can be found, and heard, next to the art. In the Canadian collection and in the Henry Moore gallery until August 31.

Here’s a preview:

Blackwood’s Bonavista Bay

February 15th, 2011

Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay
No subject has inspired Blackwood more than the isolated outport of Wesleyville on Bonavista Bay, where he was born and raised. While he now makes his home in Ontario, Blackwood returns to northeastern Newfoundland every year to work in his Wesleyville studio. Through his prints he keeps alive the memory of his hardy ancestors, the places where they lived and worked, and a way of life that all but disappeared after Confederation (1949) and resettlement.

For more than a century, the settlers of this town (immigrants from the West of England) battled the Atlantic Ocean, struggling to make a living in the seal hunt and cod fishery. The violent storms, looming icebergs, bone-chilling cold and isolation that they encountered permeate Blackwood’s imagery.

David Blackwood, Hauling Job Sturges House

Hauling Job Sturges House, 1979
etching and aquatint on wove paper
43.9 x 88 cm
Gift of David and Anita Blackwood, Port Hope, Ontario, 1999

Bragg’s Island, Bonavista Bay
“The Newfoundland that we knew is no longer there,” Blackwood once said. This comment is particularly relevant to the fishing outport of Bragg’s Island, where as a child he spent most of his summers with his maternal grandparents. He remembers Bragg’s Island fondly – the sense of community and the inhabitants’ self-reliance, confidence and industry. In the early 1950s, however, his world was shattered by the provincial government’s resettlement policies. The entire town was forcibly uprooted to join a community on the mainland, in part to provide them with better social services. In his prints Blackwood draws on memories, letters, photographs and even personal belongings to express this loss and to reclaim the Newfoundland of his youth.

David Blackwood, Vigil on Bragg’s Island

Vigil on Bragg’s Island, 1973
etching and aquatint on wove paper
61.8 x 92.1 cm
Gift of David and Anita Blackwood, Port Hope, Ontario, 1999

David Blackwood on Storytelling (Audio)

February 10th, 2011

David Blackwood’s prints are a metaphor for the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Set before our time, his images depict Newfoundland as a place of struggle, danger and tragedy. They tell stories of a barren land, a hostile climate and a threatening sea. Drawing on childhood memories, dreams, legends and oral histories, Blackwood captures the hardships of the cod fishery and the seal hunt in the land of his ancestors. Life is fragile, and death by drowning or exposure ever-present. Yet the earnest, hard-working, God-fearing people of Bonavista Bay persevere in a menacing world.

Blackwood talks about a key aspect of his prints – the role of storytelling.

Duration: 00:01:20

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David Blackwood, Great Lost Party Adrift

Great Lost Party Adrift, 1971
etching and aquatint on wove paper
62 x 92.3 cm
Gift of David and Anita Blackwood, Port Hope, Ontario, 2008

Annie Cohen-Solal on Leo Castelli (Audio)

February 9th, 2011

Cover of Annie Cohen-Solal's book "Leo & His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli"Click to Play:

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Recorded: Saturday, February 5, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 01:24:05

Annie Cohen-Solal speaks about her new, best-selling biography of renowned gallery owner Leo Castelli.

Annie Cohen-Solal was born in Algeria. She is currently Professeur des Universités at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)-Paris and Research Fellow at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She first came to New York in 1989 as the Cultural Counselor to the French Embassy in the United States, after her Sartre biography, Sartre: A Life, had become an international best seller. Her encounter with Leo Castelli prompted her to shift her interest to the art world. After winning the Prix Bernier of the Académie des Beaux-Arts for Painting American (Alfred A. Knopf) in 2001, she was awarded the ArtCurial Prize for the best contemporary art book for Leo Castelli & les siens; (Gallimard, Paris). The American version Leo & His Circle was published by Alfred A. Knopf in May 2010. The Italian version Leo & Cie: Life of Leo Castelli will appear in November 2010 (Johan & Levi, Milano). In 2009 she was awarded the Legion of Honor of the French. She lives in New York, Paris and Cortona.

Presented in partnership with the Canadian Art Foundation and the Consulate General of France in Toronto.

CAF Speaker Series
Consulate General of France in Toronto

Kitty Scott on Betty Goodwin (Audio)

February 8th, 2011

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Recorded: Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 1:06:45

Betty Goodwin (1923-2008) explored collage, sculpture, printmaking, painting, assemblage and etching, but continually returned to drawing, and gained widespread recognition with her celebrated Swimmers series. Truly an ambassador for art, she represented Canada at the leading international events—Tokyo International Print Biennial, 1974; Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, 1975; São Paulo Biennial, 1989; and Venice Biennale, 1995. Goodwin’s works may be found in major public and private collections across the country.

Kitty Scott is director of Visual Arts and the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre. Scott was curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada from 2000 to 2006. In August 2006 she was appointed chief curator of the Serpentine Gallery.  She has curated exhibitions across Canada in Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto, and internationally in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, and York University, and as visiting faculty at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
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