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Archive: May, 2017

Mabel’s Bubbles

May 16th, 2017

Courtesy of the AGO

FRANK restaurant’s popular bartender, Stephen Gaessler, is responsible for creating the most unique art-inspired cocktails in the city, including one of our current bestsellers: Mabel’s Bubbles.

Stephen pairs his love of mixology with his passion for extending the art experience into the AGO’s restaurant. For each major exhibition, he plans FRANK’s cocktail menu by reflecting on the themes of the show, often exploring facts about artists and their surroundings.

Each cocktail has been meticulously researched, carefully crafted, and is above all else, absolutely delicious! For the AGO’s current exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe, Stephen has developed six extraordinary drinks, each with its own distinct flavour.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hurvin Anderson is nominated for the 2017 Turner Prize!

May 16th, 2017

Hurvin Anderson at the public opening of Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop. Photo courtesy of the AGO.

British artist Hurvin Anderson is internationally renowned for his vibrant paintings of urban barbershops and lush Caribbean landscapes, drawing on his own Jamaican ancestry and his upbringing in England. This dual identity forms the basis of many of his works – which is something that obviously isn’t lost in a city like Toronto, where duality and complex notions of home and memory are so common in the population.

That’s why the AGO was so proud to show the first major solo exhibition of his work in Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop, which ran from May 19 to August 21 in 2016. It’s also why we are THRILLED to hear that Anderson was nominated for this year’s Turner Prize for his exhibition at the AGO, as well as his exhibition Dub Versions at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, England. The esteemed prize honours a Britain-based artist for an outstanding showing of their work anywhere in the world in the preceding year. The award winner, who receives a cheque for £25,000, will be announced on December 5, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Get arty outside

May 16th, 2017

Courtesy of the AGO

We’re halfway through May, so let’s get cracking on those summer plans before the siren call of the patio takes over! The AGO has a huge lineup of summer courses on its roster. Along with perennial favourites, we have a selection of new offerings designed to take advantage of the warm weather.

City Explorations: Street Photography Intensive, a four-day course, gives participants hands-on experience shooting Toronto street life images. City Explorations: Traveller’s Sketchbook offers quick drawing and painting techniques that are perfect to capture scenes during your travels.

If you’re keen to learn more about the amazing public art that populates Toronto’s urban landscape, we have two tours along the waterfront, exploring bold and beautiful public art installations with Public Art: Touring the East Side Lakeshore and Public Art: Touring the West Side Lakeshore.

Want a break from the heat (we have air conditioning!) and want to learn something new? As always, there is an impressive range of intensive workshops that take place over a weekend. From drawing to painting, and workshops with a Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired twist with a focus on flowers, make your summer an artful one. And for the kids, don’t forget our lineup of summer art camps that are open for registration now!

Sign up today! Click here for more information.

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#AGOinspo: Machine Age Massive

May 8th, 2017

Photo courtesy of the AGO.

The AGO was transformed for the 13th annual Massive Party on April 27, and this time it entered the Machine Age. Robots were front and centre with the massive T1 Bot that welcomed revellers with high-fives as they entered the Gallery. Guests were then treated to futuristic installations from our featured artists, including mesmerizing video installations in Walker Court from Trudy Elmore, a people-powered light-up disco floor from Jon Sasaki in the Weston Family Learning Centre, not to mention the incredible mix of ballet and sculptural works created by Harley Valentine in Baillie Court. Delicious themed cocktails and canapés were passed around as guests admired the art and each other’s creative ensembles. Guests were dressed in LED and glow-in-the-dark accessories, as well as machine-themed metallic and structural shapes – in terms of fashion, we think we saw the future!

Check out the highlights below: Read the rest of this entry »

#RetroAGO: Picasso-mania

May 8th, 2017

The recent reopening of the Level 1 suite of Margaret Eaton, Marvin Gelber, and Betty Ann & Fraser Elliott Galleries has caused quite a stir with its amazing installation of Modern works from the AGO Collection. Visitors, AGO staffers and volunteers are buzzing about the exciting works on display (especially the Picassos!) in the first gallery spaces to be unveiled as part of our Look:Forward reinstallation project.

Now take a look back to 1964, when the Art Gallery of Toronto (as the AGO was then called) thrilled Toronto audiences with the first-ever Canadian retrospective of Pablo Picasso’s work. The month-long visual extravaganza showcased 270 artworks on loan from all over the world. By 1960s standards, the numbers are astounding: 107,214 visitors came through our doors and 23,736 copies of the catalogue were sold. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun for all ages

May 8th, 2017

The Cardboard City that took over the WFLC during March Break. Photo courtesy of the AGO.

The Weston Family Learning Centre (WFLC), located on the AGO’s Concourse Level, is best known as the space where teens can breakdance after school, kids can enjoy hands-on art-making, families can play and create together every weekend, and where adults can hone their craft or learn a new skill in the AGO’s line-up of art courses and workshops. But the WFLC is also home to amazing special projects and events. Check out this highlight reel to see what we’ve been up to this winter. You never know – you might spot yourself! Read the rest of this entry »

Calling all film lovers

May 8th, 2017

Still courtesy of Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

Presenting art up-close and in-person is the name of the game for an art museum, but often there’s so much more to learn about an artist or art movement than what an exhibition can reveal. That’s where AGO Art + Cinema comes into play.

This spring, an exciting season of films is coming to the AGO. For example, on May 10 and 11, we’re presenting Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, directed by Thomas Allen Harris, which explores how photography was embraced by Black families and communities as far back as the Civil War era (think of Frederick Douglass) to combat dominant stereotypes and establish a deliberate expression of true identity. This film is presented in conjunction with the AGO’s photography exhibition, Free Black North, which features photographs of unknown Black Ontarians from the 1800s, highlighting an area of history that often goes overlooked or simplified in mainstream stories. Read the rest of this entry »

A treasure trove in a steamer trunk

May 2nd, 2017

Unknown. [Unidentified women, Niagara Falls backdrop], 1880-1900. Tintype, 6.4 × 5.1 cm. Richard Bell Family Fonds, Brock University Archives. Courtesy Brock University Archives, Image © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario.

Think about your own closets, basements or attics – and how they tend to become storage space for possessions that are no longer useful or relevant to our daily lives.

Now imagine the surprise, joy and wonder that Rick Bell felt when he ventured into his mother’s attic and found an old steamer trunk that just so happened to hold a “treasure trove” of photographs on old tintypes, cabinet cards and cartes-des-visites (a popular, small and relatively cheap form of photograph printed on thick paper cards) from the 1800s. Though they’re far from the kind of photos we’re used to capturing today, their relevance could not be more crucial to Canada at this moment in history, as we contemplate who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Read the rest of this entry »

Out with the old, in with the new!

May 2nd, 2017

Joanna Johnston, 4 Story walk up. Pigment print on aluminum dibond, 48″ x 72“. Ed. of 3, 1 available. Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and the artist.

Congratulations! You dug deep and found a burst of energy to power through your spring cleaning. But what do you do about those big blank walls now that you’ve finally ditched your collection of New Wave posters?

We’ve got the answer: it’s time to check in with the AGO’s Art Rental & Sales team. Perhaps you’ve considered purchasing artwork in the past, but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re scared to invest in a piece that you won’t adore in six months. Renting an artwork from our team is the perfect solution. With our curated selection of contemporary Canadian works, there is something to suit every taste and price range – with some of the best access to established and emerging artists in the country. Check out some of the newest selections in our Art Rental & Sales collection.

This series of paintings, a continuation of Sarah Letovsky’s first solo exhibition GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, explores ideas of subjectivity, tension, and hidden thought and feeling. Letovsky (b. 1987, Toronto, ON) finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting at OCAD University in 2014. She was the recipient of the 2014 Mrs. W.O. Forsyth Award for Excellence in Painting. In addition to AGO Art Rental & Sales Gallery, Letovsky’s work has been exhibited at Art Toronto, Project Gallery, Only One Gallery, Hashtag Gallery, and featured in FASHION Magazine.

Sarah Letovsky, Virgo. Oil on canvas, 60″ x 48“. Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and Art Works Consulting

Sarah Letovsky, Panama Breeze. Oil on canvas, 36″ x 30“. Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and Art Works Consulting.

These next works are by Joanna Johnston. Johnston (b. Calgary, AB) is a fine art photographer with a background in architecture. After graduating with a degree in architecture, she moved to Toronto. Her home for 10 years, she then made a move to Arles, France.

Her Suspended Garden series was taken at High Line Park in New York, using multiple exposures in-camera. By layering the organic life of the park over the hard cityscape, it pushes the viewer to see how architectural space is not two-dimensional; it is also what we hear, smell, feel and experience.

Johnston’s South x South West series has never before been exhibited. AGO Art Rental & Sales has been given exclusive access to this series, one the artists holds very dear. Truly a love letter to her native land and to a father who brought out her inner explorer, South x South West beautifully showcases the Albertan landscape in a gestural and almost painterly fashion.

According to Johnston, she was inspired by “The gentle shape of the land; the volume of the sky; the vast swathes of crop; the sheer bigness of it. It is the Prairie. What started out as a desire to map out connections between my ancestors and my childhood memories of southwestern Alberta turned into a realization that perhaps I would only be able see the prairie for the first time, every time.”


Joanna Johnston, Jersey Shore. Pigment print on aluminum dibond, Ed. of 3, 1 available, Can be printed to size, Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and the artist

Joanna Johnston, …is where the heart beats. Pigment print on aluminum dibond. Ed. of 3, 1 available. Can be printed to size. Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and the artist.

Joanna Johnston, Side road. Pigment print on aluminum dibond, Ed. of 3, 3 available, 40” x 80”, Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and the artist,

Joanna Johnston, Sea. Pigment print on aluminum dibond. Ed. of 3, 2 available, 40” x 80”. Courtesy of AGO Art Rental and Sales and the artist

To book an appointment, email: AGO members receive a discount at Art Rental & Sales. Click here for more information.

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