Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Archive: November, 2012

Brown Bag Lunch & Talk: Camille Paglia (Audio)

November 27th, 2012

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.

Recorded: Thursday, November 8, 2012, at 12 pm in Baillie Court
Duration: 00:55:23

Camille Paglia is university professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the author of many books. In her latest book, Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars, Paglia leads us chronologically through the paintings, sculptures, architectural styles, performance pieces and digital art that have defined and transformed our visual world. Passionately argued and with Paglia’s trademark audacity, Glittering Images is destined to change the way we think about our visual environment in this high-tech age. A book signing with the author followed the talk.

The Brown Bag Lunch & Talk series is generously supported by

Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin

In association with

and Random House Canada

Vishakha Desai: Asian Art in Global Context (Audio)

November 23rd, 2012

The Role of Contemporary Art in Rapidly Changing Economies and Cultures

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 122 MB MP3

Recorded: Wednesday, November 14, 7 pm in Jackman Hall
Duration: 01:29:04

The rise of Asia on the international scene is one of the most compelling stories in contemporary art. Provocative artworks command ever-higher prices as markets expand, and impressive new museums, schools and biennials continue to proliferate. Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Tokyo and Beijing have established themselves as major art-world hubs, competing directly with London and New York. In order to understand this phenomenon and its connection to global movements of economic and political power, the Asia Contemporary Speaker Series presented a talk by Vishakha Desai. Desai is an art historian and senior advisor of Global Policy and Programs at the Guggenheim Foundation and past president and CEO of the Asia Society. Desai’s lecture launched the Asia Contemporary Speaker Series, presented in cities across Canada by the Canadian Art Foundation International Speaker Series, in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s National Conversation on Asia.

Vishakha Desai’s curatorial work on such groundbreaking exhibitions as Contemporary Art in Asia: Traditions/Tensions; Inside Out and New Chinese Art established her as an influential and respected voice. These exhibitions were landmarks in bringing contemporary Asian art into a global dialogue.

The talk was presented in partnership with the Canadian Art Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Honouring Frida & Diego

November 21st, 2012

An ofrenda created by Carlomagno Pedro Martínez in honour of Frida and Diego.

How do you remember friends and family who have died? In Mexico, the deceased are honoured on the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which occurs on Nov. 1 and 2 every year. One of the traditions associated with this holiday is the construction of an altar called an ofrenda. Friends and relatives build ofrendas in homes, offices and cemeteries to honour the departed with personal offerings, such as favourite foods, drinks and yellow marigolds known by their Aztec name of zempoaxochitl (meaning “flowers of death”).

We invited Mexican artist Carlomagno Pedro Martínez to construct this ofrenda in the Honey & Barry Sherman Gallery (Gallery 246, on the second level) to honour Frida and Diego, and for you to make your own offerings to honour the memories of these two great artists.

Detailed views of Carlomagno Pedro Martínez’s ofrenda in the AGO


Two ways you can contribute to the ofrenda:

Letters to Frida and Diego
In her diary, Frida Kahlo expressed both her happiness and sadness. She filled her pages with words and images about thoughts and feelings. We encourage visitors to use the paper and pencils provided in the space to write their own thoughts and feelings about Frida, Diego or the exhibition, or bring pre-written notes, and place them on the ofrenda to honour the artists’ memories.



Colourful Rememberances
Flowers, especially zempoaxochitl (marigolds), adorn the ofrenda. The bright orange flowers are used to make paths so that spirits of loved ones will see their way home. Making colourful paper zempoaxochitl is a tradition in Mexico for Día de los Muertos. We provide the materials and detailed instructions you need to create tissue-paper flowers on-site!


About Carlomagno Pedro Martínez
Carlomagno Pedro Martínez, born Oaxaca, Mexico in 1965, is a Mexican artist who creates ceramic sculptures based on his interpretation of Mexican legends and local Oaxacan traditions. The ceramics are made in the tradition of Barro Negro, a firing technique that produces a black surface. His work is held by several North American museums including the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Martínez is currently the director of the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca, a museum dedicated to exhibiting handcrafts of the state of Oaxaca.

The shopAGO Gift Guide is here!

November 21st, 2012

For the second year in a row, shopAGO has put together a gift guide featuring fun, chic and artful products available in store and online. The aim of the guide is provide a wide variety of ideas for holiday shoppers. The guide is available in printed form in shopAGO and online starting today. Below, browse some highlights from the guide, including recommended gifts for gastronomes, design lovers, co-workers and kids of all ages, plus one gift that will fit anyone on your list.

***Please note the following order cutoff dates to ensure your gift is delivered on or before Dec. 24, 2012:

Dec. 17 for Ontario residents
Dec. 12 for residents of Canada (outside Ontario) and the U.S.

For Gift Memberships
Dec. 18 for Ontario residents
Dec. 19 for those living outside the province

Read the rest of this entry »

Men’s Holiday Shopping Day in shopAGO

November 20th, 2012


On Dec. 19, 2012, shopAGO is hosting a Men’s Holiday Shopping Day to provide men with easy gift-giving solutions. From 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. retail experts will be on site to offer advice and free gift wrapping to all shoppers. Guests are invited to celebrate the festive season with artisanal beer and tequila shots on offer at the shop’s pop-up bar. A DJ will spin festive tunes from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

AGO members save 10 per cent on all purchases from shopAGO and shopAGOkids.

shopAGO’s extended holiday operating hours are in effect from Dec. 17 to 24, 2012:
MON/TUES/SAT/SUN: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
WED: 10 a.m. — 9 p.m.
THURS/FRI: 10 a.m. — 8 p.m.
DEC. 24: 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

Our director of marketing weighs in on the Frida unibrow debate

November 20th, 2012

This morning CBC’s Q hosted a debate that centred on a three-day marketing promotion for our exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. Guest host Jim Brown read part of the statement below on the air, but we wanted to share the full text here. We thank everyone who has participated in this lively discussion about Frida Kahlo and her work. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservation Notes: Restoring Floor Burger, inside and out

November 12th, 2012

AGO conservator Sherry Phillips works painstakingly to consolidate the flaking paint layers on one part of Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger.

We’ve told you in recent Art Matters posts why we are undertaking conservation work on Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger (1962), as well as the intriguing story of what happened when the sculpture arrived at the Gallery in 1967.

Now that the conservation work is well underway, we wanted to let you know what steps are being taken to restore the work before it heads to the MoMA in spring 2013. AGO conservator Sherry Phillips is leading the project, and she gave us a glimpse into what discoveries and challenges she’s encountered since the conservation work began. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Toronto 2012 Opening Night Preview: acquisition news and photos

November 7th, 2012

A view of Art Toronto 2012 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Art Toronto 2012 launched on Oct. 25, 2012, with an opening night preview gala to benefit the AGO. The Gallery’s selection committee chose three works by Canadian artists for the AGO collection: two paintings, by Julia Dault and Stephen Andrews, and a drawing by Itee Pootoogook. The purchases were made possible by funds raised at the preview, with assistance from the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the assistance of the Joan Chalmers Inuit Art Fund. Below, find out more about these works and see what else happened at the Opening Night Preview. Read the rest of this entry »

U.K. artist Jo Longhurst wins The Grange Prize 2012!

November 2nd, 2012

After 10 weeks of voting, we are excited to announce that the winner of The Grange Prize 2012 is British photographer Jo Longhurst! Born in Essex, U.K., Jo has gained international recognition for her work and exhibited in London, Paris and Berlin and at this year’s Documenta (13). A PhD graduate from the Royal College of Art, Jo’s work investigates ideas of physical perfection and self-creation, capturing the striking portraits of elite gymnasts and whippet show dogs in her two primary bodies of work, Other Spaces and The Refusal.

The Grange Prize is Canada’s largest photography prize and the only major Canadian art prize determined by public vote. A unique partnership between the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Aeroplan, the prize aims to engage the public in a vital discourse about the power and prevalence of photography in our world today through public exhibitions, voting and online dialogue.

Longhurst receives the $50,000 cash prize, while the other three finalists each receive a cash honorarium of $5,000 dedicated to the creation of new work. All four finalists will receive artist residencies: Longhurst begins her residency at the AGO on Nov. 4, 2012, and will occupy the Weston Family Learning Centre’s Artist-in-Residence Studio until Dec. 15, 2012; Jason Evans will be in residence at the AGO in spring 2013; and Emmanuelle Léonard and Annie MacDonell will travel to the U.K. for their residencies early next year.

Exhibitions of the finalists’ work are on display until Jan. 6, 2013, at the AGO and at Canada House in London, U.K. Previous winners of The Grange Prize include Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canadian photographer Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009) and Canadian photographer Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

A selection of work by Jo Longhurst: