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Google Art Project, the AGO and Jon Rafman’s
Brand New Aura

April 3rd, 2013

Jon Rafman, Brand New Paint Job (Emily Carr Master Bedroom), 2013, digital image.

In April 2012, we joined dozens of other galleries and museums worldwide who are sharing their collections through Google Art Project, which allows users to explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail and build their own collections to share. Our initial GAP collection shared 43 high-resolution images and represented the work of 38 artists.

This year, as other Canadian organizations are adding their collections to GAP, we’re excited to expand ours, bringing the total number of artworks to 97. Our new additions include pieces by 10 celebrated Canadian artists: Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmichael, Paul Peel, Morrice Cullen, James Wilson Morrice, Mary Hiester Reid, Cornelius Krieghoff and Helen Galloway McNicoll.

Another new addition to our GAP collection is the work of contemporary Canadian artist Jon Rafman. We’re excited to present his series of digital images alongside the works from our collection that inspired their creation. Below, read a summary of the project by its curator, Stefan Hancherow, and see more of Rafman’s work.

Jon Rafman, Brand New Paint Job (Richter Waiting Room), 2013, digital image.

Jon Rafman, Brand New Paint Job (Richter Waiting Room), 2013, digital image.

About Jon Rafman’s Brand New Aura

Launches Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Presented in partnership by the Art Gallery of Ontario and Google Art Project
Curated by Stefan Hancherow

Brand New Aura is an online project that activates the art database program Google Art Project (GAP), a collaboration between Google and more than 200 acclaimed art partners from across more than 40 countries. Users can explore over 40 000 works of art in ultra-high resolution. In April 2012, the Art Gallery of Ontario became the first Canadian museum to participate in GAP. For this exhibition entitled Brand New Aura, Montreal-based artist Jon Rafman produced a suite of new artworks that have been uploaded to the GAP website and are now presented alongside a selection of artworks from the AGO’s collection.

Rafman’s series Brand New Paint Job — the collection of artworks at the centre of the exhibition — straddles the line between artistic sacrilege and homage; it is an ironic mash-up of high and low culture, the past and present. Rafman appropriates artworks from the AGO’s collection by cropping, repeating, stretching, modifying and then grafting the image onto the surface of an intricate, virtual, three-dimensional setting. Multiple narratives emerge from Rafman’s compositions, which utilize a viewer’s knowledge of art history to produce something eerily familiar, a brand new artwork distinct from what it imitates. Viewers are invited to explore the AGO’s permanent collection and Jon Rafman’s new works here.

Jon Rafman, Brand New Paint Job (Cézanne Train Car), , 2013, digital image.

Jon Rafman, Brand New Paint Job (Cézanne Train Car), , 2013, digital image.

About Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman (born 1981, Montreal, QC) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist whose work explores the impact of technology on consciousness. He received a BA in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University (Montreal, QC) in 2004 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Illinois, U.S.) in 2008. His films and artwork have gained international attention and have been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Saatchi Gallery (London, U.K.), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France) and the New Museum (New York). Rafman’s Nine Eyes of Google Street View has been featured in Modern Painters, Frieze, Der Spiegel, Libération, the New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine. Rafman’s upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition Zach Feuer (New York) and Seventeen Gallery (London, U.K.).

More information on Rafman’s works is available at his website.

For further information or questions regarding the exhibition Brand New Aura, email Stefan Hancherow.


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