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Coming soon to the Contemporary Tower

November 2nd, 2018

Image of room with four tv monitors, chairs and cushions

Mickalene Thomas. Los Angelitos Negros, 2016. 4 HD video monitors : four (4) two-channel HD video, sound; each: 121.9 x 137.2 cm; duration: 23 minutes, 18 seconds; 121.9 x 137.2 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Mickalene Thomas / SOCAN (2018).

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of anticipation building. After the success of recent AGO exhibitions with Suzy Lake, Anne Collier and, most recently, Rebecca Belmore, we’re buzzing with excitement about the upcoming solo exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists Mickalene Thomas, Vija Celmins and Hito Steyerl.

We’re so excited. We can’t keep it to ourselves any longer. Here’s what’s coming in the months ahead to Level 5 of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower.

Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires

image of abstract painting of a woman on wood

Mickalene Thomas. Portrait of Kalena, 2017. Acrylic and oil on wood panel, 121.9 x 152.4 cm. Collection of Ms. Ursula M. Burns. © Mickalene Thomas / SOCAN (2018). Courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

On November 29, we present Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas and her bold portraits of Black women. Sparking urgent questions about race and the representation of the black female body, Thomas’s work features large-scale portraits of celebrities including Diana Ross and Diahann Carroll, as well as friends, former lovers, figures from art history and the artist herself. The exhibition, Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, includes collage paintings, a video installation, photography and several living room tableaux. Mark your calendars for the free talk with the artist and the opening party on Wednesday, November 28. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.

Vija Celmins

Image of clouds. black and white

Vija Celmins, Clouds, 1968. Graphite on paper. 34.9 x 47 cm. Private collection. © Vija Celmins. Photo courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Making her Canadian debut next spring is Latvian-born, American-based artist Vija Celmins. Celmins is renowned for her meticulous portrayals of natural imagery, including ocean waves, desert floors and night skies. Opening on May 4, this large-scale retrospective – her first in North America in over 25 years – features over 120 works and spans over five decades, from the 1960s to the present. Through paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, Celmins’s work encourages us to look closely and to contemplate the space between reality and reproduction. The exhibition is co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Hito Steyerl

Installation image of a large single channel projection set in front of a wave sculpture, back lit in blue

Hito Steyerl, Liquidity Inc., 2014, HD video file, single channel in architectural environment. 30 minutes. Installation view from Artists Space, New York, 2015. Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Photography by Matthew Se.

And there’s more news – next fall, the AGO welcomes back heralded German artist Hito Steyerl for her first retrospective exhibition in Canada. Steyerl, who was a finalist in The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2015, is known for her artworks and writings that engage with the ethics and politics of digital culture and globalization.  The exhibition will include several large-scale video installations including Liquidity Inc. (2014), and Extra Space Craft (2015), as well as Hell Yeah We Fuck Die (2016), an acclaimed artwork that comments on our continuing search for speed and efficiency in daily life.

Stay tuned for more details about all these exciting exhibitions. All three shows will be included with General Admission.

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Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.

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