Happy New Year! 2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year at the AGO – with amazing art, artists, talks, events and activities, there’s something for everyone. We have a lot to celebrate so we thought we’d pick some highlights (tough job, but someone has to do it) and create another list.
As 2016 draws to a close, it’s only natural to reflect on all that has happened at the AGO, pick some highlights and then write a top 10 list. Right? At the very least, it’s fun. We’ve had quite the year!
We’re proud to present the AGO’s Top 10 Highlights of 2016 (in no particular order):
Fireside or subway ride, curling up with a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Looking for a new adventure? shopAGO has you covered. Carrying Toronto’s best selection of art books, catalogues and Taschen publications, shopAGO’s got it all – and also carries AGO publications at a discount.
Since launching in early November, our Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures exhibition has astounded and amazed visitors with its tiny, mesmerizing carvings from the late Renaissance. Blending cutting-edge technology with groundbreaking art historical research, the exhibition has been praised by TheNew York Times and CNN for its insights. Not too shabby!
Our hosts – Ivana, Aylar and Ardi from La Boutique Noire, with AGO Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille
For the second year in a row, our culinary team led by AGO Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille recently participated in Bloor Street Entertains (BSE), an unparalleled night of dining and entertainment, all in support of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. Held annually on November 30—the eve of World AIDS Day—BSE brings together city’s finest culinary masters, luxury retailers and creative florists.
Big news for art and documentary-lovers alike! Alongside film distribution company Films We Like, we’ll be co-presenting the Canadian theatrical premiere of Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey’s documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe, whose controversial photographs of 1970s New York caused national debate. Debuting on January 18, four screenings run in Jackman Hall until January 21.
The Toronto-born “starchitect” dishes on his childhood, architecture and…Wayne Gretzky?
Frank Gehry in conversation in Baillie Court.
Only days after having received America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, Toronto’s own Frank Gehry once again stepped foot on our spiral staircase. His visit was timely: November marked the eight-year anniversary of the Gehry-led Transformation AGO project, the inspired revamp that added 97,000 square feet to our building and put it on the world’s architectural map.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 500 hundred art and architecture lovers, Gehry spoke for over an hour about his childhood in Toronto, his decision to pursue architecture, current affairs and ongoing projects. Accompanied onstage by his biographer Paul Goldberger and Lisa Rochon, the former architecture critic of The Globe and Mail, the conversation was lively and poignant. Recalling how he had once received a signed hockey stick from Wayne Gretzky and repaid the gift with a pair of signed signature chairs, Gehry had the crowd in stitches when he added that the chairs had been quickly re-gifted.
The AGO’s curator of Canadian art confronts the real-life inspiration for recent AGO acquisition Canadrill (at -25 degrees Celsius)
One of the AGO’s most exciting acquisitions this year was a large scale drawing by contemporary Inuit artist Tim Pitsiulak (born March 10, 1967, Kimmirut, Baffin Island), called Canadrill. It depicts – what else – the Canadrill, a huge machine used to dig secure foundations into Arctic rock. During the winter of 2015, Pitsiulak had observed the machine moving about the settlement of Cape Dorset, sometimes noisily active, sometimes at rest. The artist came to think of the machine as a living being that had come to inhabit the town, actively working to transform the settlement, and decided to capture it in ink and coloured pencil.
During a recent trip to the Canadian Arctic, our curator of Canadian Art, Andrew Hunter, had the opportunity to come face-to-face with the real-life Canadrill. The video below was shot by Andrew on his iPhone, at night, in minus 25-degree weather. We asked Andrew to tell us in his own words what that experience was like.