Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Archive: January, 2017

Don’t miss the wonder!

January 17th, 2017

South Netherlandish Rosary, 1509 – 1526. Boxwood. Overall (length, diameter): 472 × 57mm (47.2 × 5.7 cm) Overall (diameter of ave bead): 38mm (3.8 cm). Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees. Photo: Craig Boyko/Ian Lefebvre © Art Gallery of Ontario, 2017

It’s your last chance to discover the mysteries inside the miniatures…Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures closes on January 22!

Run, don’t walk, to check out the Chatsworth Rosary, King Henry VIII’s famed wedding gift. The elusive object (it’s here in North America for the first time) is featured in the current AGO exhibition, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, but it’s leaving Toronto on January 22! Don’t miss your last chance to marvel at the rosary, along with other magnificent objects in this extraordinary collection of medieval miniatures that retain so much of their magic and mystery, despite extensive modern research and study.

Read the rest of this entry »

“She kicked in doors for us all.”

January 17th, 2017

Celebrate the life and work of First Nations artist Daphne Odjig

I see my paintings as a celebration of life. My sub-conscious mind may well dictate some content and I’m content to leave it at that. I am uncomfortable with words – my paintings are perhaps my most honest and legitimate statement.” – Daphne Odjig

Daphne Odjig, Odjig Family; Father, Mother, Grandfather, Stanley, Daphne, Donald, Winnie, Xmas, Dec 25th, (1986) Acrylic on canvas, 121.9 × 101.6 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase with assistance from Greg Latremoille and the Estate of Mary Ash, 2016. © Estate of Daphne Odjig 2017.

Commonly known as the “grandmother of First Nations art”, Daphne Odjig (1919-2016) was one of Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous painters and printmakers. Odjig passed away in October, but on Jan. 18, the AGO will remember her by welcoming her colleagues, friends and family for a special evening of performances, speeches and a screening of the 2008 documentary The Life and Work of Daphne Odjig. The event will be hosted in Baillie Court from 7 to 10 p.m., and is free for the public.

Of Odawa, Potawatomi and English heritage, Odjig was born Sept. 11, 1919 on Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve, Manitoulin Island, Ontario where Lake Huron and Georgian Bay meet. She first learned about artmaking from her grandfather, Jonas Odjig, a tombstone carver who taught her to draw and paint. Her work is now in private and public collections across Canada. For her achievements, Odjig received the Order of Canada in 1986, the Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts in 2007 and seven honorary degrees.

“I consider Daphne to be the grandmother of contemporary Indigenous art especially for us Anishinaabe,” said Wanda Nanibush, the AGO’s Assistant Curator, Canadian and Indigenous Art. “She was instrumental in helping other artists blossom too, most famously through Professional Native Artists Inc. She kicked in doors for us all. She and Alex Janvier walked out of the museum object case into the contemporary art galleries forever changing the way Indigenous art was categorized. She used to sit at the AGO and study painting techniques from the artists on the walls…she is now on our walls. Her work Odjig Family; Father, Mother, Grandfather, Stanley, Daphne, Donald, Winnie, Xmas, Dec 25th, from 1986, is a painting that we just acquired for our collection and is on display in the Canadian galleries. We want to honour her immense talent and generous soul. It is a great loss but we can celebrate her long, happy, inspired life.”

For more information about the AGO’s collection of Canadian art, click here. AGO Members see it all for free. Click here for more information.

Are you an AGOinsider yet? If not, sign up to have stories like these delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Love science? Love art?

January 17th, 2017

One of the most interesting jobs at an art museum is one you may not have heard of before. Art conservators are the unsung heroes who ensure beloved works of art will be around for generations to come. It’s challenging but rewarding work, and requires a lot of patience and skill! We asked AGO conservator Joan Weir to tell us how she made her way into this uncommon profession, and what keeps her excited to come to work every day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Great news! Cinema is back at the AGO

January 17th, 2017

The world’s best film artists get the red carpet treatment with the debut of AGO Art + Cinema

Film buff? Art lover?  Love both? We’ve got just the thing! This winter marks the return of regular cinema programming to Jackman Hall, as the AGO presents a screening series dedicated to the best films and videos by and about artists. AGO Art + Cinema will feature insightful documentaries, biopics, artist films and videos, many accompanied by commentary from a variety of AGO curators and guest experts. A beloved space for AGO programming and the former home of TIFF’s popular Cinematheque program, Jackman Hall is the perfect theatre to discover new film favourites.

The series debuts with a selection of works co-presented with Toronto-based distribution company Films We Like. Launching the series on Jan. 18 is the Canadian theatrical premiere of Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s 2016 documentary on Robert Mapplethorpe, whose controversial photographs of the New York BDSM scene in the 1970s caused national debate.

Catch the trailer here:

AGO Art + Cinema screenings run from January to March, with premieres on Wednesday evenings and repeat performances happening Thursdays through Saturdays. For the full schedule, including screening times, special guests and tickets, visit AGO Art + Cinema. Did you know that AGO members get a discount? Find out how to join here.

Are you an AGOinsider yet? If not, sign up to have stories like these delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Mark your calendar!

January 17th, 2017

Tickets now on sale for the art party of the year: Machine Age Massive

On April 27, experience a night of inspired sparkle at Massive Party, Toronto’s ultimate annual contemporary art bash. Exploring the relationship between man and machine, Machine Age Massive features artists who will create three distinct spaces within the party – Industrial, Digital and Space – transporting party-goers through a spectacular night of mechanical wonder. This year’s artists are Trudy Elmore, Jon Sasaki and Harley Valentine.

Now in its 13th year, Massive Party raises important funds in support of the AGO’s public programming and learning activities and the care and conservation of our collection. It also provides opportunities for local and regional contemporary artists to animate the Gallery through exhibitions, installations and interventions.
Read the rest of this entry »

Find your Zen with mindful movement classes

January 9th, 2017

It’s easy to think of the winter as a miserable slog, especially after the holidays have passed. But it can also be the perfect time to focus on what’s truly important in life, including taking care of yourself! To help you slow down and take a breath, the AGO is adapting the highly successful mindfulness programs based on our hit exhibition Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more and engaging with other works of art in the Gallery.

Mindful Movement instructors seen with Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger, Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Purchase 1967. © 1962 Claes Oldenburg

Mindful Movement – Slow Looking in the Galleries will engage with specific works in the AGO collection to slow down the body and mind with yoga movements and meditative techniques, allowing visitors to experience a new way of looking at art and being in an art space. This is a four-week course that runs every Tuesday from Feb. 14 to Mar. 7 from 2 – 3 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

Musical ensemble The Boston Camerata brings its mesmerizing sound to the AGO

January 9th, 2017

Do your New Year’s resolutions include a promise to slow down and open your mind? We’re here to help. America’s renowned early music ensemble The Boston Camerata lands at the AGO this weekend with a unique performance of devotional music from the 16th century, inspired by our very own exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures. The group, under the direction of Anne Azéma, will perform in Walker Court on Jan. 14 at 8 pm and Jan. 15 at 7 pm. Tickets for the performances, which include access to the exhibition, are on sale now.

Photo courtesy The Boston Camerata

Performing a range of 16th century prayers, songs, and chants of devotion from across Northern Europe, the ensemble features four singers, accompanied by period-specific instruments including lutes, violas da gamba, vielle, harp and a hurdy-gurdy. We caught up with artistic director Anne Azéma (herself a celebrated French-born vocalist) to find out what wonder sounds like.

Read the rest of this entry »

More ”Mystical”? Yes please!

January 9th, 2017

Paris can wait!

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles (1888). Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm. Collection of Musée d’Orsay. Image courtesy the Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France/Bridgeman Images

Due to popular demand, Toronto will have an additional two weeks to see the wildly successful exhibition praised as “a feast for the senses and the soul” by The Globe and Mail. Five years in the making and presented in partnership with the renowned Musée d’Orsay, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces by Van Gogh, Monet and more has been extended until February 12.

After its only North American stop here at the AGO, the exhibition packs up and heads to the Musée d’Orsay for a three-month run starting in March, where it will close forever.

Read the rest of this entry »

Help us write history (down)

January 9th, 2017

Collaborators wanted! A Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focusing on Black Canadian art history takes over the AGO

2016 Art + Feminism Wikipedia-a-thon at the AGO. Photo: AGO

Jan Wade. Wayne Solomon. Charles Campbell. These are a just a few of the many Black Canadian artists currently missing from Wikipedia. But you can help us change that!

Following last year’s hugely successful Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, the AGO’s Library & Archives is partnering with Toronto’s Black Arts/History Reading Group to host a Wikipedia editing session focusing on Black Canadian Art & Art History. Co-organized by the AGO’s Amy Furness, Rosamond Ivey Special Archivist & Head, Library & Archives, and Toronto artist and Black Arts/History Reading Group moderator Deanna Bowen, this Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon takes over the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 6 to 9 pm. Editors of all skill and experience levels are welcome; a special one-hour tutorial will be offered beginning at 5:30 pm for anyone new to the platform. Read the rest of this entry »

A night to remember…

January 9th, 2017

Did you get engaged over the holiday? Are you looking for the perfect artful space? See how the AGO Events Team gave J.J. and Jessie the wedding of their dreams.

Photos courtesy Julius Ding Photography

New York-based couple J.J. and Jessie first visited the AGO in 2012 to see the hit exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. According to Jessie, “The stunning Frank Gehry spiral staircase and the museum’s sleek and modern aesthetic left a lasting impression.” When he decided to propose, J.J. commissioned a work by the couple’s favourite artist that included a special, customized detail – a tiny painting of J.J. proposing to Jessie.

Clearly these two were destined to have an artful wedding, and they returned to the AGO to make that dream a reality. The couple met with AGO wedding specialist Jennifer Prince, who helped them pull all the pieces together from afar for the September 2016 celebration.

Read the rest of this entry »