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New contemporary acquisitions

September 17th, 2018

Bronze body on the floor

Danh Vo, Gustav’s Wing, 2013. Bronze; Head: 20 x 27 x 16 cm, Torso: 57 x 42 x 23 cm, Right arm: 40 x 23 x 18 cm, Left arm: 42 x 51 x 13 cm, Right leg/lower body: 64 x 51 x 27 cm, Left leg: 70 x 18 x 13 cm. Long-term loan of Eleanor and Francis Shen. © Danh Vo

Turn off social media is a new display of highlights from the AGO Collection and recent acquisitions, such as Gustav’s Wing by Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vō. (Vō’s work was recently discussed in our chat with Eleanor Shen.)

Currently being installed on Level 4 of the Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, the exhibition will include over 20 works by artists from Canada and around the world. We chatted with Adelina Vlas, the AGO’s Associate Curator for Contemporary Art, about three exciting new acquisitions making their AGO debut as part of Turn off social media: Contemporary Art from the AGO Collection.

Raymond Boisjoly. As It Comes (Was Beautiful), 2013. inkjet prints on paper, Overall: 228.6 × 177.8 cm. Gift of Megan Long, 2018 © Raymond Boisjoly AGO.141992

Vancouver-based artist Raymond Boisjoly’s 2013 installation As It Comes (Was Beautiful) features words printed across several sheets of 8 x 10 coloured paper, making the neon-hued installation a work of technical precision. The words come from the pages of three Indigenous autobiographies, including one attributed to Boisjoly’s great-grandmother. This is the first Boisjoly work to enter the AGO Collection. “Challenging the very western idea that literature is the product of a single author, Boisjoly finds in these autobiographies a multitude of voices and many complex histories,” Vlas says. His work was previously exhibited at the AGO as part of the 2017 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize.

Christina Mackie, Chalk no. 4, 2014. Birch, gesso, watercolour; Overall: 198.1 x 61 cm. Purchased with the assistance of the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the Art Toronto 2017 Opening Night Preview, 2017. © Christina Mackie

British artist Christina Mackie’s unique work blends painting, installation and sculpture. Her work, Chalk no. 4, from 2014 reflects her ongoing investigation into colour. “Christina Mackie’s work is of a particular beauty, inspired by her interest in materials like paint and their relationship to natural formations,” says Vlas. “Chalk no. 4 is an exquisite example of how these ideas get embodied in a painterly sculpture that seems to be in a state of continuous transformation.” This is the first work by Mackie in the AGO Collection.

Frances Stark, Don’t Save Her, 2013. Porous-point pen, acrylic paint, graphite, digital prints, collage on paper; Sheet: 232 x 181.3 cm. Anonymous. Courtesy Frances Stark and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York/Rome © Frances Stark

For more than two decades, American artist Frances Stark has made work that brings together high and low culture. One of two works by Stark in the AGO Collection, Don’t Save Her, from 2013, is a large-scale collage on paper. A reflection of Stark’s interest in urban subcultures and hip hop music, the work is a kind of self-portrait, presenting the artist at work adhering words to the page. The words are from the song “Don’t Save Her,” by American rapper Project Pat, and describe an angry conversation between two men. Misogynistic and violent, Stark appropriates these lyrics in an effort to understand their meaning and the culture that produced them. “Frances Stark is a unique voice in contemporary art with a practice that weaves together writing and image-making. By bringing these lyrics into the realm of the art world, she carefully balances playfulness with violence, and street culture with highbrow art,” Vlas says.

Each of these works is now on view on Level 4 as part of Turn off social media. This exciting exhibition features artworks – including videos, paintings, sculptures and installations – that engage with a wide range of issues, from motherhood to the AIDS crisis, and from historical events to imagined futures, offering visitors new ways to think about the world. We’ll spotlight more of the works in the months to come. Stay tuned!

Turn off social media is included in General Admission.

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