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Inspired by AbEx:NY? Here’s some more ways to learn about Abstract Expressionism…

September 13th, 2011

 Abstract Expressionist: New York took place at the AGO from May 28 – September 04 2011 and featured the works of Jackson, Pollock, Kline and more. The collection has now returned to its home at the MoMa in New York, but for those of you who are still craving a taste of Abstract Expressionism fix this blog post provides some suggestions.

Distraught that the AGO’s fantastic  AbEx:NY show has closed its doors? Why not explore these extra ways of learning more about the awesome Abstract Expressionists

1. At the theatre

Red, directed by Kim Collier, is a play about Abstract Expression artist Mark Rothko. Showing from November 19 to December 17 at the Bluma Appel Theatre, it’s the chance to see a Tony Award-winning interpretation of Rothko in the late 1950s.

From Toronto.com

“In his Bowery studio in New York City, Mark Rothko is working on a group of murals for an expensive restaurant. His assistant, Ken, bluntly questions the artist’s theories on painting and his giving in to such a commercial project instead of putting all of his focus on creating a masterpiece.     

2.  Online

Learn more about colour field painting, and which Abstract Expressionist Artists used this technique in their work. Click here

Create an image in the style of Jackson Pollock using this fun web tool. Click here

Read an interesting list of recommended books about Abstract Expressionism. Click here

3.  In the Gallery

Paintings on Paper: The Drawings of Robert Motherwell – At the AGO until December 11

Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell called paper the most “sympathetic of all painting surfaces,” remarking that “it’s a struggle to get a canvas to have the beautiful surface that paper, by nature, already has.” Motherwell drew incessantly, often “painting” on paper to explore new ideas and work through pictorial issues. His drawings reinforce his belief that ideas, emotions and the subconscious can be communicated through the gestural lines and bold forms of abstract art.

Painting on Paper: The Drawings of Robert Motherwell unveils for the first time one of the largest public collections of Motherwell drawings. The works on display were selected primarily from the 74 drawings and paintings acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1998 through a generous gift/purchase arrangement with the Dedalus Foundation, New York. The foundation was set up by Motherwell to place his works in museums and to support exhibitions, research and scholarly programs.

The exhibition covers the trajectory of Motherwell’s work over four decades and is organized around key themes to demonstrate how motifs took root in his imagination and, over time, were revisited, refined and reinterpreted.

4.  In your ears

Download this fascinating talk given by Robert Motherwell at OCAD in 1970.  This lecture is Robert Motherwell personified: charismatic, erudite and open – as he reveals insight after insight in regards to Abstract Expressionism, his artistic practice and his artworks.

This collection of interviews focuses on Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century and the role she played as patron to the New York Abstract Expressionists.

If you’re a fan of Abstract Expressionism maybe you can suggest some other great ways of learning more about the art and artists. Please feel free to leave a comment below with your suggestions.

 

Challenge AbEx Challenge Four: Show us your skills

August 30th, 2011

Challenge AbEx is a test of wit, skill and ingenuity. Four challenges will be set during the final three weeks of the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. At each stage of the contest there are great prizes to be won, and one lucky player will also be crowned the Ultimate AbEx Challenge Champion. Find out more about Challenge AbEx

 

Challenge ABEX

Challenge Four: 

Difficulty level MEDIUM

Oh no! It’s our final Challenge AbEx Challenge. We’re sad that it’s drawing to a close but it’s been loads of fun. The next challenge can be entered from the comfort of your own home – but it will test the limits of your artistic ability.

Ready? Here’s what you have to do…

  • Draw/paint/sculpt/create a piece of abstract art. Spend no more than 20 minutes on it (we can’t check so we’re trusting you not to cheat). You can use any materials you choose.

  • Take a photograph of your creation and send it to us by 12:00 on Friday September 02. You can tweet us, post it on our Facebook wall or email it to us.

  • Abstract art is subjective, so we’ll be picking the winner at random from all the entries. We can’t wait to see what you create – if your reactions to abstract art are anything to go by, they’re going to be fabulous!

Good luck everyone! Don’t forget that AbEx closes on Sunday September 04, so if you’re looking for inspiration you need to get down there quick. The winner will receive an awesome AbEx prize pack, a pair of tickets to visit the Gallery plus some extra goodies from Shop AGO. Amazing!

To book your tickets to visit Abstract Expressionist: New York please visit our website.

Don’t forget that whoever performs the best across all four challenges will be crowned the Ultimate Abex Challenge Champion. The Champion will get a bumper prize pack including a family/dual AGO Membership, a night for two at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, AbEx goodies and more.

For more information or to see the terms and conditions please get in touch.

Follow the AGO on Twitter
Join us on Facebook

Challenge AbEx Challenge Three: Time to come out and play

August 23rd, 2011

Challenge AbEx is a test of wit, skill and ingenuity. Four challenges, each one more difficult than the last, will be set during the final three weeks of the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. At each stage of the contest there are great prizes to be won, and one lucky player will also be crowned the Ultimate AbEx Challenge Champion. Find out more about Challenge AbEx

 

Challenge ABEX

CHALLENGE THREE IS NOW CLOSED: CONGRATULATIONS TO @FlorenceMcC  WHO WAS CROWNED CHALLENGE CHAMPION

Challenge Three: 

Difficulty level HARD

We’ve seen you show off your Facebook skills and witnessed some stunning Twitter work, but now it’s time to step out from behind your screens, put on your thinking caps and head out in to the Gallery. Follow the instructions below carefully – the winner will be the person who completes the most questions before the Gallery closes on Sunday August 28. In the event of a tie, the winner will be selected at random. Up for grabs is a $50 gift card to spend at Frank*, our fantastic Gallery restaurant.

Ready? Here’s what you have to do…

  • Tweet us the following message @AGOToronto “I’m taking part in #ChallengeAbEx Challenge Three”

  • Snap and upload a picture of yourself outside the big AGO sign in front of the Gallery.
  • Answer us many of the following questions as you can. Questions can either be sent via Twitter DM as you wander round the Gallery or emailed to us at the end.


    1. Enter the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. How many times does the word ‘Abstract’ appear in the first room?
    2. Arshile Gorky was known as the ‘Godfather’ of  Abstract Expressionism. He has two paintings in the first room. Who is the only artist to have just one?
    3. Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese American sculptor, furniture maker and landscape artist. His father was an acclaimed Japanese poet, his mother, an American editor. Go to the Noguchi listening station – what is the first sentence you hear him speak?
    4. This particular photographer focuses mainly on landscapes and has a single print in this show. What is his name?
    5. Among the photographic prints there is a poem. Who is the author and what is the 11th line of the poem?
    6. Find Lee Krasner’s painting, Gaea, named for the earth goddess. If you look at Krasner’s three paintings from left to right, where does Gaea fall? First, second or third?
    7. The pieces in the first room were all created between 1943 and 1952. Add up all the years each painting was completed. What number do you get?
    8. Mark Rothko rejected the idea of being labeled an Abstract Expressionist. Enter the Rothko Room and look toward the exit door. Name the two paintings directly to the right of it.
    9. Franz Kline is known for his technique of magnifying pictures and then painting the abstract images he sees. He is also famous for using house paint for his work.  Once his art dealer heard of this, he decided to break into his studio and replaced the house paint with high end oil paints. ‘Chief’is the name of one piece. What are the names of the other two?
    10. Robert Motherwell is one of the artists in the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. But how many of his works appear elsewhere in the gallery?
  • We’d also love to see pics of you taking part in the Challenge. This won’t count towards your final score but it will make us laugh. Photographs are permitted in the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. Please review our photo policy before taking shots in other parts of the Gallery.

To book your tickets to visit Abstract Expressionist: New York please visit our website.

Don’t forget that whoever performs the best across all four challenges will be crowned the Ultimate Abex Challenge Champion. The Champion will get a bumper prize pack including a family/dual AGO Membership, a night for two at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, AbEx goodies and more.

For more information or to see the terms and conditions please get in touch.
*Voucher must be used before the expiry date printed on the certificate. Voucher not redeemable during public holidays. Full Ts & Cs on certificate.

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Join us on Facebook

 

Challenge AbEx Challenge Two: Fastest Finger First

August 18th, 2011

Challenge AbEx is a test of wit, skill and ingenuity. Four challenges, each one more difficult than the last, will be set during the final three weeks of the Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition. At each stage of the contest there are great prizes to be won, and one lucky player will also be crowned the Ultimate AbEx Challenge Champion. Find out more about Challenge AbEx

 

Challenge ABEX

CHALLENGE TWO IS NOW CLOSED: CONGRATULATIONS TO @robotpilot @taushif @florenceMcC & @atlast_atweet  WHO WERE CROWNED CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS

Challenge Two: 

Difficulty level MODERATE

Challenge One was all about Facebook. For Challenge Two it’s all about Twitter, and your ability to solve tough questions about abstract expressionism in lightening-quick time.  Up for the challenge? Here’s how to take part:

  • Make sure you’re following us on Twitter or monitoring the #ChallengeAbEx hashtag.

  • Join us on Twitter on Monday August 22 at 11:00am

  • We’ll be answering a series of tricky questions about our Abstract Expressionist: New York exhibition (hint: you’ll be able to find most of the information on our website

  • The first person to correctly tweet us the answer to a question using the #ChallengeAbex hashtag will win a night for two at a Toronto hotel and tickets to the Gallery. Hotel prize packs donated courtesy of The Westin Harbour Castle and Intercontinental Toronto Centre. We’ve got four fiendish questions and four prize packs to give away.

  • The winner will be the sender of the first correct and correctly tagged tweet that shows up in our feed. No arguments. 


Don’t forget that whoever performs the best across all four challenges will be crowned the Ultimate Abex Challenge Champion. The Champion will get a bumper prize pack including a family/dual AGO Membership, a night for two at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, AbEx goodies and more.

For more information or to see the terms and conditions please get in touch.

Follow the AGO on Twitter
Join us on Facebook

 

Welcome To Challenge AbEx

August 15th, 2011


Calling all lovers of art and adventure! With just three weeks to go until AbEx makes its AbExit, we invite you to take part in a series of challenges that test your wit, ingenuity, creativity and stamina. Challenge AbEx is here.

To take part all you need to do is follow the #ChallengeAbex hashtag on Twitter or keep an eye on our Facebook page. That’s where we’ll be announcing the details of each challenge. You can take part in as many of the challenges as you want and we’ll be giving away great prizes to the winner of each individual challenge.

On Friday September 2 we will also announce the Challenge Champion – the person who has performed the best across the complete range of challenges. Not only will they receive a crown and the right to call themselves the Ultimate Abex Challenge Champion, they will also get a bumper prize pack. This pack will include a family/dual AGO Membership, a night for two at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, AbEx goodies and more!

Challenge One: COMPLETED
Difficulty level EASY
Win an AbEx prize pack and a pair of tickets to see the show 

Challenge Two: COMPLETED
Difficulty level MODERATE
4 chances to win a night for two in a Toronto hotel and tickets to the Gallery

Challenge Three: Launches Tuesday August 23
Difficulty Level HARD
Win a $50 voucher to redeem in Frank, the AGO’s restaurant.

Challenge Four: Launches Tuesday August 30
Difficulty level HARD
Prizes to be announced

 

Good luck and make sure you’re around at noon tomorrow to find out what Challenge One is all about! For more information or to see the terms and conditions please get in touch.

Follow the AGO on Twitter
Join us on Facebook

The Battle of the “Bergs” – The Struggle for the Meaning of Abstract Expressionism

August 8th, 2011

Greenberg and Rosenberg

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Guest Speaker: Norman L. Kleeblatt
Recorded: Wednesday, June 29, 7-8:30 pm @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 01:31:53

No two critics have been more closely associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement in America than Greenberg and Rosenberg. Their pitched battles over formal purity versus existential meaning were played out in art magazines, galleries, and museums nationwide. Their rivalry was so intense that satirist Tom Wolfe dubbed them the “Bergs.” Norman Kleeblatt, chief curator of the Jewish Museum in New York, offers an opportunity to reconsider Abstract Expressionism’s evolution through the contradictory explanations of these two major critics and tastemakers.

AbEx Video: How we hang a priceless work of art!

July 4th, 2011

Ever wondered how we hang a priceless masterpiece? If so, you’re in luck. Watch this time-lapse video of our expert installers de-crating, hanging, and inspecting Willem de Kooning’s seminal Woman, I,  a highlight of Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art.

You can catch a glimpse of Woman, I and 110 other Abstract Expressionist masterpieces through September 4, when the works head back to New York for good. Book your time and buy your tickets at www.ago.net/abex!

AGO Unveils One of the World’s Largest Public Collections of Motherwell Drawings

June 25th, 2011

“Nothing as drastic an innovation as abstract art could
have come into existence,

save as the consequence of a most profound, relentless, unquenchable need.

Abstract art is an effort to close the void that modern men feel.”

Robert Motherwell

(TORONTO – June 23, 2011)
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) continues to celebrate the Abstract Expressionist movement with an exhibition of drawings by Robert Motherwell. Painting on Paper: The Drawings of Robert Motherwell, on view June 25 through December 11, 2011, showcases 55 works from the AGO collection, which houses one of the largest public holdings of drawings by Motherwell.

“This exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to explore the mind and works of Motherwell, an eloquent and passionate Abstract Expressionist,” says Mathew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO. “Painting on Paper enriches the Abstract Expressionist New York experience at the AGO, giving visitors an in-depth look at the artistic process and evolution of one of the movement’s major figures.”

Curated by Brenda Rix, the AGO’s assistant curator of prints and drawings, Painting on Paper demonstrates how Motherwell’s motifs were imagined, refined and revisited over the span of his career by organizing the collection into several major chronological themes, ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s. The works on display were selected primarily from 74 drawings and paintings by Motherwell acquired by the AGO in 1998.

“Motherwell aims to express human feelings and the human spirit through gestural lines and bold forms,” says Rix. “His painterly drawings, executed on a wide variety of papers, reveal an admiration for the unique textures and tactile surfaces of paper.”

Read the rest of the press release by clicking here.

Glenn D. Lowry and Matthew Teitelbaum in Conversation (Audio)

June 22nd, 2011

Glenn D. Lowry

 

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Recorded: Wednesday, June 15, 7-8:30 pm @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 01:25:35

Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and AGO director Matthew Teitelbaum discussed art, ideas and the future of museums.

Glenn D. Lowry became the sixth director of The Museum of Modern Art in 1995. He leads a staff of 750 and directs an active program of exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications. His major initiatives over the past 14 years include guiding MoMA’s $900 million capital campaign for the renovation and expansion, of the Museum, and building its endowment, reinvigorating MoMA’s contemporary art program, and challenging conventional thinking about modern art. Born in 1954 in New York City and raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Mr. Lowry received a B.A. degree (1976) magna cum laude from Williams College, Williamstown, and M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees in history of art from Harvard University. He has received honorary degrees from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, and The College of William & Mary. Mr. Lowry is a member of the Williams College Board of the trustees, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a resident member of American Philosophical Society and serves on the advisory council of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. In 2004, the French government honored Mr. Lowry with the title of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. From 1990 to 1994, he was the director of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Matthew Teitelbaum, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, joined the AGO in 1993 as chief curator and was appointed director in 1998. Born in Toronto in 1956, he is the son of Ethel Teitelbaum and the late painter Mashel Teitelbaum, and holds an honours bachelor of arts in Canadian history from Carleton University, a master of philosophy in modern European painting and sculpture from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. He has taught at Harvard, York University and the University of Western Ontario, and has lectured across North America. Prior to joining the AGO, Mr. Teitelbaum held curatorial positions with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon and the London Regional Art Gallery. In 2006, Mr. Teitelbaum received the honour of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his ongoing commitment and contributions to the arts.

Robert Frank: Both Sides Now (Audio)

June 6th, 2011

Photo of Luc Sante

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Recorded:Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 52:50

Jack Kerouac wrote in his introduction to The Americans that Frank “sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.”’ He was right, and that phrase could be adapted to describe his chronicles of Paris and London and South America as well. And yet the images, tragic as they are, nevertheless manage to be exhilarating. How can this be?

Luc Sante was born in Belgium and moved to New York in the early 1960s. He is a writer and cultural critic with a focus on art, film, photography, and the urban landscape. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, New York. Luc Sante’s books include Folk Photography (2009), Kill All Your Darlings (2007), Walker Evans (2001), The Factory of Facts (1988), Evidence (1992) and Low Life (1991). His essays have appeared in the New York Review of Books and the New York Times Magazine. Sante is the recipient of a Whiting Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Grammy (for album notes).

This talk is generously supported by Penny Rubinoff.