Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Archive: October, 2015

Ai Weiwei: Toronto LEGO Collection Point

October 30th, 2015

Donate #legosforweiwei and support free speech.

NOVEMBER 20–JANUARY 3, 2015
Dropoff location: Southwest corner of Dundas St. W. and McCaul St., near Henry Moore’s Large Two Forms sculpture

On October 23, celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted on Instagram: “In September Lego refused Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos to create artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria as ‘they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.'”

Ai’s post triggered a flood of responses on social media criticizing Lego for “censorship and discrimination,” and thousands of anonymous supporters offered to donate their used Legos to the artist. In response to the overwhelming inquiries, Ai is using his global influence to invite each of us to consider the implications of corporate influence on an artists’ work. At his request, museums around the world are taking a stand in support of free expression, collecting donated Lego bricks to help Ai create a new work—and the Art Gallery of Ontario is the first #legosforweiwei collection point in Canada. In the fall of 2013 the AGO hosted Ai Weiwei: According to What?, an exhibition that asked our visitors to consider what it means to speak freely without penalty. The AGO is proud to support Ai again and will always vigorously defend artists’ rights to express themselves.

Want to pitch in? Donate your Lego bricks through the sunroof of the BMW car parked in front of the AGO, at the southwest corner of Dundas St. W. and McCaul St.; the sunroof will be open seven days a week from 7:30am–6pm (with extended hours on Wednesday and Friday: 7:30am–9pm). A donation bin is also available in the AGO lobby.

Or, send donations by mail to:
#legosforweiwei
c/o Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON
M5T 1G4

Share your thoughts on social by tagging @agotoronto @aiww #legosforweiwei.

What we picked up at Art Toronto 2015: Five new Canadian artworks

October 26th, 2015

This past weekend, we acquired five works by four Canadian artists, including Michael Dumontier, Luis Jacob, Seth and Jacob Whibley. The purchases were made possible by funds raised at Art Toronto‘s Opening Night Preview — which supports these acquisitions as well as our ongoing programs — with assistance from the Peggy Lownsbrough Fund, and dedicated funds for Canadian and contemporary art acquisitions.

Read the full press release here.

Call for Applications – Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard: Community Residencies Program

October 23rd, 2015

Song Dong Communal Courtyard 2013 Installation view, The Margulies Collection

Song Dong’s The Wisdom of the Poor: Communal Courtyard, 2011–2013, Gift of Martin Z. Margulies Foundation. As installed at the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse.

Call for Applications: An Opportunity for Toronto-based Artists, Collectives and Culture Groups

Are you or do you know a Toronto-based performance-based artist, collective and/or culture group? If yes, we have an opportunity to share.

The AGO is pleased to announce that Chinese sculptor and multimedia artist Song Dong will make his Toronto debut with the newly acquired installation Communal Courtyard. Made from over 100 reclaimed wardrobe doors, this immersive installation calls attention to the loss of architectural history as we modernize our cities and examines its impact across China and beyond. This major exhibition is coordinated by the AGO’s chief curator Stephanie Smith, and runs from Jan. 30, 2016 to July 17, 2016.

To extend the conversation beyond the Gallery’s walls, the AGO is launching an innovative community residency program in conjunction with the exhibition. We invite community partners, artists, collectives and local organizations to apply for one of five interactive residencies. The program, which will present projects that engage and respond to Song’s work, will support five residencies, with each residency running for three weeks. Successful applicants will be animating Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard through a range of artistic responses, which may include music, dance, spoken word, theatre and performance art.

Each resident artist or collective will be asked to program presentations in the exhibition space for three weeks: on Wednesday evenings; Thursday afternoons; Fridays evenings; and Saturday afternoons for a total of 12 activations or performances. The presentations should be geared for intimate audiences of approximately 30 people.

Selected artists will have the opportunity to meet with Song Dong the week of January 25, 2016 to workshop their proposals and gain valuable feedback from the artist and the AGO’s exhibition project team. An honorarium of $2,500 to support production and expenses will be provided for each successful proposal. Residencies will take place between March 30 and July 16, 2016.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

Who can apply?
Artists, artist groups and/or collectives, non-profit arts organizations based in the GTA.

What do I submit?
Applications must include:
• A proposal outlining your work and practice in general and how you would propose to engage the space (maximum one page)
• Your CV or the mission of your organization (maximum two pages)
• Up to 15 images and/or 10 minutes of video documentation with detailed credit information (title, date, medium, dimensions).
Applications to the program are due on Friday November 27, 2015.

How do I submit an application?
Please submit your application via e-mail to Linda Lee, Program Assistant, Adult Learning & Special Projects at linda_lee@ago.net and include:
• Your statement and CV in .pdf format
• A link to your video documentation (via Vimeo or YouTube) and/or your .jpeg support material (via DropBox). PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT ATTACHMENTS.
• Please note your top 3 preferred residency dates:
March 30 – April 23 (no performances April 13–16)
April 27 – May 14
May 18-June 4
June 8 – 25
June 29 – July 16
• Lead Contact name, address, and official name of recipient of funds

How many performances/activations will I be responsible to create?
• 12 performances over 3 weeks:
Wednesdays, 6–8pm
Thursdays, 2–4pm
Fridays, 6–8pm
Saturdays 2–4pm

What is the honorarium?
• $2,500 inclusive of any materials and artist fees.

What other support do I receive?
• On-site coordination and marketing through AGO’s promotional vehicles
• An opportunity to meet with artist Song Dong and members of the AGO’s exhibitions, curatorial and public programming departments to workshop proposal.

When do I find out if I am successful?
• On or before December 15, 2015

For more information:
• Contact Linda Lee, Program Assistant, Adult Learning & Special Projects at linda_lee@ago.net.

Art meets beer at FRANK

October 21st, 2015

Beer-Tasting-660

Turner-Inspired British Eats is the theme of a beer tasting at FRANK on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Using British terminology and inspiration, and timed to coincide with the opening of the AGO’s major fall exhibition J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free, the menu has been created to pair with beers from Collective Arts Brewing.

A fairly new addition to the local brewery scene, Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots beer company that is as deeply committed to producing craft beer as it is to supporting the arts. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded the company in 2013 based on two core beliefs: creativity fosters creativity and creativity yields delicious pints.

Each bottle of beer is considered to be a work of art — not just for the thirst-quenching brews found inside, but also for the limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians found on the outside. The AGO’s own Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art has been featured as a curator for the artist series on the labelling.

For the full menu and to reserve a seat, click here.

Check out the Collective Arts story below: