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Archive: October, 2013

Love photography? Join us for AGO First Thursdays on November 7

October 29th, 2013

AGO Director and CEO  Matthew Teitelbaum (left), with three of the four photographers shortlisted for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013: (l-r) Erin Shirreff, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Chino Otsuka, and President of Aimia Canada Inc., Vince Timpano.

AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum (left), with three of the four photographers shortlisted for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013: (l-r) Erin Shirreff, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Chino Otsuka, and President of Aimia Canada Inc., Vince Timpano.

On Nov. 7, join us at the Gallery to celebrate photography and congratulate the winner of the $50,000 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. The announcement will take place at a special edition of the AGO’s monthly First Thursdays party series, which will be followed by a performance by Polaris Prize nominee Zaki Ibrahim. Tickets to the event are available now from ago.net and more details about the night’s programming are here.

All four nominees will be present for the announcement, which will feature special presentations by local personalities about each of the artists. In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, the winner will also receive a fully funded six-week residency in Canada. The three other finalists will each receive cash honorariums of $5,000 and artist residencies.
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You’re also invited to unleash your inner photographer and share images of their favourite AGO spaces and features on Instagram. Photos hashtagged with #MyAGO will be displayed on screens all night long in Walker Court.

Visit the Prize’s website to watch videos featuring the artists in their studios, view their artwork and cast your vote. If you’re in Toronto, see the artists’ work up close in the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013 Exhibition, on view at the AGO until Jan. 5, 2013.

Acquired: Jacoposie Oopakak’s Family (2011)

October 23rd, 2013

By Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art

Jacoposie Oppaka, Family, 2001, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of skull and base.

Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of skull and base.

We are really pleased to announce that we recently acquired Family (2011), the first major work by contemporary Inuit artist Jacoposie Oopakak (born 1948, Qipisa, Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island) to come in to the AGO collection. Made of antler, bone and stone, this is a rare work: it is one of only three complete sets of antlers carved by Oopakak during his career. Antler is difficult to carve due to its fragility, and Family is also unique for having the antlers and skull intact.

Jacoposie Oppaka, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm

Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm

Jacoposie Oopakak began carving in the 1970s following initial formal training in jewellery workshops run by the government of the Northwest Territories. From the outset, his skill as a carver of intricately detailed and delicate work was widely recognized. His art is rooted in Inuit traditions of hunting, travelling and living off the land and involves complex, multi-figured compositions that suggest evolving narratives and the progression of time.

Like his contemporary Manasie Akpaliapik (who is well represented in the AGO collection), Oopakak is extremely skilled at developing his carvings in a highly sympathetic dialogue with his material, allowing forms to emerge from, and to be suggested by, the structure and material characteristics of bone, stone and ivory, with the natural shape — the extended curving growth of antler in this work, for example — suggesting a narrative trajectory.

In many of his works, one sees a significant transformation in material and in the end it can be difficult to identify the source (a jaw bone or antler for example). In such large, complex sculptures as Family (2011), Power (2011, private collection) and Nunali (c.1988-89, National Gallery of Canada), however, the source material (full antler racks) is explicit and integral to the work.

Jacoposie Oppakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of antler carving.

Jacoposie Oopakak, Family, 2011, antler, bone, stone, metal, 92.7 x 66 x 88.9 cm, detail of antler carving.

Oopakak’s career can be understood in two phases: a very productive period in the 1980s and then a re-emergence in the past decade. In the 1990s, he suffered a series of personal tragedies and illnesses (the death of his wife and son, depression and tuberculosis), during which his production ceased. There has been a marked resurgence in his production in recent years, creating a consistently high level of ambitious work. Much of it was exhibited in Toronto in the fall of 2011 with Family and Power being the two major pieces presented in Masterful Vision: Sculpture by Jacoposie Oopakak (Feheley Fine Arts, Nov. 5 to 30, 2011).

Carved into the antlers of Family is a mix of wildlife, human figures and pictorial scenes all reflective of the artist’s recollections of family life and community traditions. The skull is anchored to a green stone base featuring a self-portrait. Like a number of senior Inuit artists, Oopakak’s work is a bridge to the traditional life on the land into which he was born, articulated from the perspective of modern settlement life.

Family was a Chalmers Inuit Fund purchase and allowed us to acquire a rare and major work by a senior artist who is under-represented in the AGO collection. (The small carving Sea Goddess from the 1980s, donated by Samuel and Esther Sarick, was the only Oopakak work in the AGO collection). Family will be an anchor work within the AGO’s permanent collection having great potential for exhibition and education purposes and, like the National Gallery of Canada’s Nunali, a signature sculpture in the Canadian and contemporary Inuit collection.

What’s On: Art Toronto 2013′s Opening Night Preview & AGO curator talk

October 22nd, 2013

Tom Sokoloski, All the Artists Are Here (rendering), 2013.

Tom Sokoloski, All the Artists Are Here (rendering), 2013.

Art Toronto is Canada’s only international art fair, bringing together artists, collectors, curators and galleries from far and wide. As in previous years, Art Toronto’s Opening Night Preview, taking place Oct. 24, will raise funds for the Art Gallery of Ontario that help support our exhibition and education programs, with a portion of the proceeds going to purchase works of art at the fair. For example, the Gallery acquired three pieces at Art Toronto in 2007, 10 new works in 2010, and last year we picked up these three works, by artists Julia Dault, Stephen Andrews and Itee Pootoogook.

In addition to supporting the AGO, Opening Night Preview attendees also get to experience a special night that celebrates art with live performances and installations. This year’s event will feature:

  • Relating to Geography #2 (Toronto Art Fair) by Victoria Stanton and Johannes Zits, a video-projection performance presented in a series 15-minute “chapters” over a period of two hours. The piece — consisting of images projected upon various moving screens — draws from the pair’s performance this summer on Toronto Island entitled Embodying Nature: Relating to Geography (Island Version #1) and speaks to notions of connectedness, attentive presence, personal and collective memory and sense of place;
  • All the Artists Are Here by Thom Sokoloski, a suspended wall installation of black and white photo portraits of the artists that the public will see upon entering the fair. Passing through the installation, visitors can scan QR codes with their smartphones to learn more about the artists, their work, which gallery represents them and their booths’ locations at the fair; and
  • Disorganizers by Kurt Bigenho — presented by p|m Gallery — a Disorganized Fashion Collection worn by models wandering the fair. Pieces in the collection include a dress that can be inflated in seconds to provide more personal space, a series of masks that can be worn to “jam” facial recognition software, clothing that falls apart and a shirt that can be worn by multiple people at once, among others.

What can I do at the Opening Night Preview?
Guests get exclusive access to view and purchase works at the fair before it opens to the public. (Visit Art Toronto’s Artsy page to browse 2013 exhibitors.) Of course, it’s a party! So you will also have the opportunity to socialize with artists, collectors and art enthusiasts and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.


The Art Toronto 2013 Opening Night Preview takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Special Collectors’ Preview is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.). To book tickets click here.


TALK

The Art Gallery of Ontario not only houses fascinating collections, it is also the home to leading experts who love to share their passion for art. This year, the theme of the AGO booth is “curator picks” and so we tapped AGO curators about their favorite contemporary Canadian artists – the names they’re excited about and the artworks on their own personal wish lists. Join us for an intimate talk with three AGO curators and participating artists to learn what these tastemakers have to say about the contemporary Canadian art scene.

Date: Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm
Art Gallery of Ontario Art Toronto booth (#1408)
Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Presenting:
Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art
Greg Humeniuk, Curatorial Assistant, Canadian
Sasha Suda, Associate Curator, European Art
Nick Ostoff, artist
Adam Markovic, artist

In Photos: David Bowie’s late-’70s Pop stop in Toronto

October 21st, 2013

David Bowie, March 14, 1977, at the Seneca College Field House. Photo by Vince Carlucci.© Vince Carlucci

David Bowie, March 14, 1977, at the Seneca College Field House. Photo by Vince Carlucci.© Vince Carlucci

What does David Bowie look like in Toronto? The exhibition David Bowie is contains many images of the cultural icon in his many guises — including iconic portraits by Brian Duffy and Masayoshi Sukita — but getting to see him on stage in our hometown is a rare opportunity.

While living with Iggy Pop in Berlin, Bowie collaborated on two of Pop’s solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, and also toured with him. In this guest post, photographer Vince Carlucci recalls a 1977 Pop concert at the Seneca College Field House in Toronto, when Bowie performed a rare supporting role. (Carlucci captured many stars around that time. In a post earlier this year, he shared photos from a late-’70s Patti Smith performance in the same venue.)

See more shots and Carlucci’s memories of the concert below.


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“The photos depicted here were shot on March 14, 1977, at Seneca Field House, Toronto. This was Iggy Pop’s The Idiot tour, supporting his first album without the Stooges and the first of two albums to which David Bowie contributed songs and/or production. The following record, Lust For Life, was released in 1978.

“This is a rare moment in rock-and-roll history, where Mr. Bowie can be seen as a supporting or background musician, in a relatively small venue, compared to his own larger extravaganzas.

“There was a wild round of applause, shouting and general hooting as Bowie smiled and took his place behind the keyboards. Bowie sat with his back partially to the audience, hence snapping a good photo took some patience and manoeuvring. Two rock icons on the same stage in a small venue: a very special moment.”

All photos were taken on a Pentax SP1000 35 mm camera.
Film: Kodak Tri-X

Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography installation

October 13th, 2013

By Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art

Original cover of Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003)

Original cover of Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003)

For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known nationally and internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You and Paying for It.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of his critically acclaimed, innovative and highly influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. As part of an ongoing series of interventions in the Canadian galleries, we have installed a selection of Brown’s original Riel drawings in the Georgia Ridley Salon, one of the AGO’s most memorable spaces to which, like the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, visitors regularly return. First designed as part of a 1990s reinstallation of the permanent collection, it was re-imagined as part of the Transformation program in 2008. The current installation is based on a chronological hanging of works from Confederation through to the First World War (1867-1917), with an additional emphasis on the work of women artists.

The Georgia Ridley Salon also highlights a period of nation building marked by civic growth and the accumulation of wealth in central Canada. With the establishment of art patronage and art institutions, Toronto emerged as a major centre of affluence and nationalism during this period. While this was a positive and powerful affirmation of the goals and visions of many Canadians — primarily those of British descent committed to an expanded Dominion of Canada — it was not a perspective shared by all. This idea of Canada was challenged by many, particularly in the Western regions that would become the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Louis David Riel (Métis, 1844-1885) led two rebellions challenging the new Canadian government’s plans for the West. Employing armed, diplomatic and democratic means, the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba (1869-70) was followed by the North-West Rebellion in Saskatchewan (1885). Although strongly supported by First Nations and French settlers, Riel was eventually arrested and hung for high treason.

Louis Riel remains a polarizing figure. Seen as a “founding father” to Manitobans, a spiritual leader to the Métis and a folk hero in Francophone and Catholic communities across Canada, he was considered a traitor in English Canada, particularly in Ontario and once–Protestant dominated Toronto. Through a creative collaboration with Toronto-based cartoonist Chester Brown, the goal of this project is to position Riel’s story within the salon’s story and to provoke reflection on a significant challenge to the nation building narrative.

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Chester Brown will present this year’s McCready Lecture on Canadian Art, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Book your free tickets here.

Event: 2013 Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair at the AGO

October 10th, 2013

Interesting Story, 1898. Laura Muntz Lyall (Canadian). Painting, oil on canvas. Gift of the Government of the Province of Ontario, 1972.

Interesting Story, 1898. Laura Muntz Lyall (Canadian). Painting, oil on canvas. Gift of the Government of the Province of Ontario, 1972.

Nov. 8 to 10, 2013
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario
Included with admission (free for AGO members)

Attention, bibliophiles! We’re inviting experienced and novice book collectors, librarians, archivists, scholars, academics and all other lovers of books and the book arts to the 2013 Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair, an annual event that’s taking place for the first time at the AGO.

Presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Canada, in partnership with Gadsden Promotions Ltd, TIABF is the finest and most comprehensive antiquarian book fair in Canada, featuring nearly 50 distinguished booksellers from across Europe and North America who are offering books, maps, prints and manuscripts on a wide variety of subjects – travel and exploration, natural history, science and technology – plus books for children, fine press and limited editions, modern first editions and signed volumes.

TIABF is a rare opportunity to browse some of the world’s best antiquarian books in our city. Visit, explore and take home some the treasures on display!

Hours:

  • Friday, Nov. 8, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 9, 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 10, noon – 5:00 p.m.