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Archive: July, 2018

The Devil is in the details

July 30th, 2018

Giovanni del Biondo, St. Benedict Restores Life to a Young Monk, late 14th century. Tempera and gold leaf on panel, Overall: 33.7 x 37.5 cm. Gift of A.L. Koppel, 1953. Image © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario

A Closer Look is a new blog series examining artworks in the AGO Collection.

When looking at Giovanni del Biondo’s painting St. Benedict Restores Life to a Young Monk, many things may catch your eye. Perhaps it’s the figures, the colours or the gold leaf that depicts the halo around St. Benedict’s head, emphasizing holiness.

These are fantastic details, but if you look a little closer at this 14th century painting from our Collection, you might notice something else – a story coming to life.

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An art-filled long weekend

July 27th, 2018

Joyce Wieland's Boat Tragedy, a film strip-like painting of a boat sinking

Joyce Wieland, Boat Tragedy, 1964. Oil on canvas, 50.2 x 121.9 cm. Gift from the Toronto Dominion Bank, 1965. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario

Wondering what to do this August long weekend? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re visiting from out of town or having a staycation, pop by the AGO to see fantastic art. We’re open all weekend long. Below are highlights of what’s on for you to enjoy:

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Last chance to see Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3

July 27th, 2018

A sculpture of a car with text engraved on the exterior

John Scott, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, 1998–2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm, 3300 lb. Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007. © John Scott

What weighs 3,300 pounds and is covered in Biblical scripture?

If you guessed Canadian artist John Scott’s celebrated Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, you’re correct. Not familiar with this fantastic sculpture? Now’s your last chance to check it out before it drives off.

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Behind the mask

July 27th, 2018

Co-Curator Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory inside Tunirrusiangit

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory inside Tunirrusiangit, Image by the AGO.

Walk into our current major exhibition Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, and one of the first things you’ll see and hear is Silaup Putunga. This captivating video installation features Laakkuluk Wiliamson Bathory, an artist and one of four Inuit co-curators of the exhibition that explores Ashevak and Pitsiulak’s legacy through a contemporary lens.

Last week we chatted with Williamson Bathory about what she’s learned from Ashevak and Pitsiulak, two artists who pushed the boundaries of Inuit art. Today we find out what inspired the two artworks she contributed to the show.

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What does art feel like?

July 27th, 2018

Two women touching a stone sculpture

AGO visitors feeling sculpture during multisensory tour (Artwork: Abraham Anghik Ruben, The Hunter and the Seamstress, 2001. Stone, 105.4 × 62.2 cm. Private collection. © Abraham Anghik Ruben)

When it comes to visual art, the sense most people think of is sight. But if you can’t see art, did you know you can hold or smell art?

For people with low or impaired vision, the AGO offers multisensory tours where all visitors are invited to explore, touch, hear and smell their way through the art museum. To find out more, we recently joined one of these fascinating tours.

Led by AGO Education Officer Doris Purchase, our multisensory tour begins in Walker Court. Accompanying Doris is a large wheelie bag full of 3-D models, boards, gloves, bone fragments, stones, bottles and stereo speakers. These tools – many of which were created by OCADU graduate students in the Inclusive Design program – help Doris bring art to senses other than sight.

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Links we’re loving

July 20th, 2018

Three people viewing a phone

Image by the AGO. Garry Neill Kennedy, Three Panel Canvas Drawing, 1975. Graphite canvas mounted on Masonite, (each of three panels): 122 x 121.8 cm. Purchase with assistance from Wintario, 1976. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario

Curious about what’s happening in the world of art and culture? We’ve gathered some of the most interesting art news stories making the rounds at the AGO. From the strange to the inspired, here’s what’s fuelling our watercooler chatter.

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Get a bird’s-eye view

July 20th, 2018

Drawing of a large bird with bright gold patterned wings

Kenojuak Ashevak, Large Bird from the Sun, 1979. Stonecut and stencil on paper, Sheet: 62.5 × 83.1 cm. Gift of Samuel and Esther Sarick, Toronto, 2002. © Estate of Kenojuak Ashevak.

Wondering if the AGO has gone to the birds? Visitors to the current hit exhibition Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak might just think so. Featuring over 100 works on paper by two of the most celebrated Inuit artists, the exhibition is teeming with striking depictions of polar bears, musk ox, caribou, seals and over 90 birds, among many other real and imagined creatures.

Born in 1927 on Baffin Island, Kenojuak Ashevak drew inspiration from her surroundings, and in her bold, graphic depictions, bestowed on the birds she knew intimately a flirtatious, often surreal, quality. Although Kenojuak means hawk in Inuktitut, it is owls that appear most frequently in her art. “I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl,” she said famously, adding that when she sat down to draw, it was the image of an owl that often came to her.

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Whispering with June Clark

July 20th, 2018

A black and white photo of a young girl accompanied with text

June Clark, Formative Triptych [detail – triptych 2 of 3 shown], 1989. Lightboxes (each): 111.5 × 152.2 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Purchase with assistance from the Estate of P.J. Glasser, 2016. © June Clark. Photo of Bessie Smith © Carl Van Vechten Trust

Have you seen the incredible work by Toronto artist June Clark? If not, now is your chance!

Inside the newly renovated, reinstalled and renamed J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art is an exhibition of Clark’s powerful work. Clark’s Formative Triptych (1989), featured in our 2016 exhibition Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971–1989, is now back on the walls, along with other exciting works from her prolific career.

We recently chatted with June to learn more about her series Whispering City and to find out what she’s working on now.

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The sounds of Belmore

July 20th, 2018

Two children dance in exhibition

Photo by Vicky Moufawad-Paul. Family outing at the AGO. Cousins enjoy Rebecca Belmore’s playlist on Level 5.

Step off the elevator into Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental and the first things you may notice are the sounds. The sounds of rushing water, emanating from a dark room housing the video projection on water, Fountain (2005). The sounds of a gunshot echoing out from the two-screen film projection, March 5, 1819 (2008). The sounds of a hammer, as Belmore nails herself to a tree in the video projection, The Named and the Unnamed (2002).

And if you look to your right, beside the black benches arranged along the south wall, you’ll see several sets of headphones, connected to iPads. They all have a playlist of tunes curated by the artist. These 10 songs, by artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Cher and Sonny Bono and the Whitefish Bay Singers, take listeners on a trip through rock ‘n’ roll, country music and songs of protest. And the songs are ones that are either featured in Belmore’s art or inspired her to make art.

For your listening pleasure, we’ve assembled a selection of those songs here:

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A “sign” of the times

July 20th, 2018

A street sign reading, "Harriet Boulton Smith Way - John Street"

Image by the AGO.

On July 12th, Grange community members, AGO staff, City Councillor Joe Cressy and members of the Boulton family gathered at the south end of Grange Park for the official unveiling of Harriet Boulton Smith Way. The honourary street name stretches along John Street between Stephanie Street and Queen Street West, ending right at the base of Grange Park.

At the turn of the 20th century, civic leaders decided that Toronto needed an art museum to become a truly great city. They just needed a space. Thanks to Harriet Boulton Smith, who bequeathed The Grange (her family home), the art collection it contained, and surrounding park to the cause, the Art Museum of Toronto found a home. In 1966, the Art Museum of Toronto became the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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