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Presenting the AGO’s Top 10 Highlights of 2016

December 22nd, 2016

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):

1. Monet! Van Gogh! O’Keeffe!

Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles, 1888. Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm F: 94.5 x 114 cm. Musée d’Orsay

After five years of preparation, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more opened in October to rave reviews. No need to travel, some of the world’s best and most famous paintings are here – including works that have never before left their home museum. Haven’t seen Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles in person? Now’s your chance, but only until January 29.

2. When Steve met Lawren

Photo: Craig Boyko, AGO

Comedian, musician, actor and writer Steve Martin brought international attention to one of Canada’s greatest artists when The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris made stops in Los Angeles and Boston before heading to Toronto. At the AGO, we revealed another side of Harris, and our city, when we added works by contemporary artists to respond to Harris’s Toronto paintings.

3. We hired a new Director and CEO

Photo by Amanda Hadi

After an international search, Stephan Jost joined us in April, immediately infusing the Gallery with a new energy and focus. Adding eight of Michael Snow’s Walking Woman sculptures to our front lobby is just the start (seeing art when you first walk into an art museum? Great idea!). Stay tuned to hear our plans for 2017.

4. YouTube this

Choir! Choir! Choir! and friends bookended 2016 with two fabulous performances in our Walker Court: a stunning tribute to David Bowie in January, and an inspirational performance of Supertramp’s Give a Little Bit as part of their 25 Days of Charity initiative earlier this December. Thanks to choirmasters Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, 500+ voices have never sounded so good.

5. We acquired great art

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior with Four Etchings, 1905. Oil on canvas, 62.0 x 51.2 cm, Art Gallery of Ontario.  Purchased with the assistance of a Moveable Cultural Property grant accorded by the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, 2015. Photo by Craig Boyko

We were so excited to add these works to our collection, we had to show them off: Interior with Four Etchings, was a highlight in Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi; Song Dong’s Wisdom of the Poor: Communal Courtyard transformed a gallery space into the traditional walkways of Beijing, and Robert Houle’s Seven Grandfathers offers meditative moments in Walker Court.

6. Kids got creative

Art Camp. Photo: AGO

There was lots for kids of all ages to see and do at the AGO, whether it was on a school trip, at our summer camp or on a visit with their families. Checking out amazing art, discovering the ship models, taking a selfie with the ever-popular Floor Burger or creating art in the Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre (don’t forget gelato in Galleria Italia!) just may inspire your little ones to become the next Picasso or Emily Carr.

7. We got artful with food and drink

Monet’s Garden cocktail, only at FRANK. Photo by Craig Boyko, AGO

Our culinary team drew constant inspiration from our exhibitions and our history. Want to extend your Mystical Landscapes experience? Head to FRANK and indulge in the Mystical menu and toast 2017 with the Mystical drink Monet’s Garden. Feeling peckish? If you are an AGO Member, experience Afternoon Tea in The Grange, available on weekends.

8. We made new connections

Photo: the Institute for Canadian Citizenship/Andrew Williamson

Sharing great art is made more special when we help make people feel at home in the process. Our partnership with the Institute of Canadian Citizenship brought 100 Syrian newcomers through our doors so they could discover Canadian art and learn more about their new country. It was just one of many unforgettable moments made possible by our partnerships with community organizations across the city.

9. We spent time with our friends

Rui Huang in The Dreamers Ever Leave You. Image by Ryan Enn Hughes and Dylan Tedaldi.

Toronto’s arts scene is filled with creative talent, and something special always happens when we work together. This year we showcased Pierre Huyghe’s Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) [Reclining Female Nude] with Luminato; co-presented The Dreamers Ever Leave You with the National Ballet of Canada in our galleries, and talked about important social issues at the launch of AGO Creative Minds with Massey Hall, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the CBC.

10. You like us, you really like us!

Mystical Landscapes Gala, Oct. 2016, Photo: AGO

We couldn’t bring great art and people together without your generosity. Your support helps us to bring internationally renowned artists through our door, gives audiences the opportunity to discover new artists, provides visitors engaging experiences and allows us to share art with our community. Thank you to our members, Massive Party-goers, Mystical Landscapes gala patrons and all of our visitors!

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