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Archive: May, 2014

In memoriam: A tribute to the memory of Lynne Cohen

May 15th, 2014

The Art Gallery of Ontario shares in the loss of Lynne Cohen, one of Canada’s finest visual artists. Lynne’s remarkable body of work took us to extraordinary, often-foreboding places — places we would be unlikely to encounter in our daily lives, except through her compelling photographs. Her enigmatic, real-world photographs of interior environments, uninhabited by humans, alluded to her sense of wit and irony.

Lynne Cohen, Untitled (Column), 2009. © Lynne Cohen, 2010.

Lynne Cohen, Untitled (Column), 2009. © Lynne Cohen, 2010.

An internationally collected artist, Lynne was nominated for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize (then called the Grange Prize) in 2009, and the AGO is proud to have exhibited her work alongside the nominees from Canada and Mexico. Lynne spent her Prize-sponsored residency in Mexico, inspired by interior spaces that became new installations of extraordinary photographs.

Lynne’s legacy will be remembered by all who admired her vision, dedication to students, loyalty to those who knew her and her incredible strength the past three years. Our deepest condolences to Andrews Lugg, her partner of 50 years, who was closest to Lynne in every way.

— Maia Sutnik, Curator, Special Photography Projects at the AGO

“Inspiring, fearsome, transcendent”: Visitors respond to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty

May 12th, 2014

By Gillian McIntyre, Interpretive Planner, AGO

“If I go to the National Gallery and I look at one of the great paintings that excite me there, it’s not so much the painting that excites me as that the painting unlocks all kinds of valves of sensation in me which return me to life more violently”
—Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore both used the human form to express violence and trauma in their art as well as the resilience of the human spirit. When we were planning Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty we knew visitors would probably have a strong reaction to the work, one way or another, and we wanted to gather and share these responses. Bacon particularly wanted people to feel something when they saw his art.

In the last room of the exhibition we set up iPads with digital pens and invited people to express their thoughts by drawing and writing, the results of which we are projecting on the wall of the room. The questions were intentionally quite general: “What is your response?” and “What role do the arts play in your life?”

The results have been staggering. So far we have received more than 3,500 responses, many of them, as predicted, very strong (see a selection below). It is obvious from them that people have understood what is hard to put into words. Quoting Bacon again: “If you can say it, why paint it?” Writing about art — essentially a visual communication — can be reductive, so it is interesting to see that visitors are able to read the art so well. One of the surprises is how closely people have looked at the Bacon paintings — his compositional space construct appears often in their drawings. Read the rest of this entry »

Drawn to comics? Join the AGO at TCAF for a special panel this Saturday

May 9th, 2014

Comics Curation
Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. E., Toronto (map)

Comics are having a moment here at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Together with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, we invite you to join Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Frederik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, as he discusses the AGO’s inclusion of cartoonists and their work in programming and exhibitions. Joining him will be two lauded Canadian cartoonists who have recently collaborated with the Gallery: Chester Brown, currently featured in Chester Brown and Louis Riel, and David Collier, who has produced an eight-page comic that will accompany our upcoming exhibition Alex Colville. Finally, the panel will touch on our just-announced Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective.


Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.  Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.

Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.
Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.


About Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective
Art Spiegelman’s comics have been redefining a genre for more than 50 years, and this December the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will pay homage to the Pulitzer Prize–winning artist with an exhibition highlighting the breadth of his career. Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective opens on Dec. 20, 2014, and runs to March 14, 2015. A tireless innovator who is unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter, Spiegelman has drawn inspiration from a wide range of sources in his work including politics, the Holocaust, Cubism and hard-boiled detective fiction. Maus, a two-volume graphic novel that recounts his parents’ life in Nazi-occupied Poland and later at Auschwitz, was the first and only work of its genre to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1992. The exhibition also features 300 works on paper ranging from trading cards to magazine covers.

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.


About Chester Brown and Louis Riel
For more than two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists. His innovative and influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, which expanded the audience for Canadian cartooning, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. A selection of original drawings from the publication is now on view at the AGO. The works feature the Manitoba politician and Métis leader Louis David Riel fleeing from Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), and his subsequent hanging for treason. Brown’s work combines bold imagery, stark compositions and simple texts to convey a complex Canadian tragedy that remains, for many, controversial and unresolved.

About Alex Colville
More than 100 works by Canadian icon Alex Colville (1920-2013) will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario starting in summer 2014, marking the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date. Curated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator of Canadian art, the exhibition will honour Colville’s legacy and explore the continuing impact of his work from the perspectives of several prominent popular culture figures from film, literature and music.

Friday with Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and friends

May 6th, 2014

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UPDATED May 23, 2014: Responding to visitor feedback, extended Friday night hours at the AGO on June 6 and July 11 will not go ahead as planned. Visitors continue to take advantage of the AGO’s Wednesday evenings, when the AGO is open till 8:30 p.m., and weekends hours. Tickets for Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty can be booked online now for both Wednesday evenings and weekend hours.


This Friday, May 9, after work, we’re extending Gallery hours until 8:30 p.m. The full Gallery plus special exhibitionFrancis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty will be open, and visitors are invited to relax in Galleria Italia and start the weekend off right with friends, food and tunes. We’re offering the same extended hours on two additional Fridays, June 6 and July 11. Read the rest of this entry »