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#BasquiatAGO: Now’s the Time to party!

April 30th, 2015

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All good things must end, but we’re not saying goodbye to Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time without one last hurrah. To celebrate the exhibition and say thank you to everyone who supported its run at the AGO, we’re throwing a special party during its closing weekend. On May 9, 2015, we’re staying open from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and making specially priced tickets available for those hours so everyone in Toronto can experience this rare chance to see Basquiat’s work in Canada.

An all-ages event, the evening will feature DJs spinning music from Basquiat’s era, pop-up spoken word and beat-boxing performances, plus cash bars and food service (for guests 19+) in Walker Court. At 7 and 8:30 p.m., check out Counterpoint, a special performance organized by the AGO Youth Council featuring break dancers and ballet dancers that explores the relationship between high culture and pop culture through an unforgettable mashup. All programming is presented in partnership with Unity Charity.

Want to join us? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Tickets for timed-entry to Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time between 5:30 and 10 p.m. — which include admission to the party — are $12.50 for all ages. Admission is FREE for AGO members and for children five and under.
  • Tickets are available for purchase online at ago.net, in person and over the phone. The last timed-entry to the exhibition is 9 p.m.
  • The AGO’s other exhibitions and gallery spaces will be closed during the party.
  • The exhibition remains on view for one final day on Sunday, May 10, 2015, during normal visiting hours of 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, and regular prices remain in effect.

About Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time
Praised as “impressively broad and surprisingly nuanced” by the Globe and Mail, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time marks the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in Canada. Featuring over 80 artworks, primarily large-scale paintings and works on paper from museums and private collections across North America and Europe, the exhibition has been on view at the AGO since Feb. 7, 2015. An overnight celebrity and art world superstar by age 20, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) became famous for his powerful paintings that referenced the world around him — art history, music, the urban environment and popular culture — to explore issues of race, identity and social injustice. See the art and learn more at BasquiatNow.com.

Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the AGO

March 27th, 2015

By Amy Furness, Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist

On March 8, 2015, the AGO’s E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives played host to a satellite event of the international Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. The goal of these events is to address the gender imbalance on Wikipedia, where only about 10 per cent of editors identify as female, and the coverage of topics related to women is disproportionately low.

The event was a perfect match for the collections of the AGO’s library, which include thousands of clipping files on Canadian artists, plus books and rare exhibition pamphlets – the kinds of resources that help someone write a strong Wikipedia article.

Following a tutorial on basic editing skills, participants settled down with their laptops to write, working individually or collaborating on articles.There was a quiet buzz in the library’s reading room – and in the nearby seminar room, which the group took over when the library reached capacity. Many people expressed an interest in meeting up more frequently, so we’re now planning a series of quarterly Wikipedia editing events, the first to be held the evening of May 13, 2015.

Here’s a summary of our results:

We were proud to join the Art+Feminism effort, with more than 1,500 participants at 75 events around the world. RSVP for our next event here!

Watch “It Could Have Been Me”: Perspectives on the Fight for Racial Justice and the Legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat

February 9th, 2015


Recorded Feb. 5, 2015, from 7:30 to 9 pm in Baillie Court at the AGO

Jean-Michel Basquiat boldly and directly confronted issues of race, class, police brutality and social justice in his work. These issues are at the forefront of today’s cultural discourse and they were the focus of a panel discussion of Toronto-based young black artists, artists, thinkers and cultural figures at AGO First Thursdays on Feb. 5, 2015. The panelists shared their insights on the realities of anti-black racism, state-sanctioned violence and other issues, using Basquiat’s work and legacy as a jumping-off point. Presented in partnership with the Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition, “It Could Have Been Me”: Perspectives on the Fight for Racial Justice and the Legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat was moderated by Kim Katrin Milan and featured artist and educator Randell Adjei, social justice educator janaya (j) khan, Mustafa Ahmed (a.k.a. Mustafa the Poet) and artist/activist Syrus Marcus Ware. The panel was introduced by Alexandria Williams of the Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition and Stephanie Smith, the AGO’s chief curator.


Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Timeruns from Feb. 7 to May 10, 2015, at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Howard and Cindy Rachofsky: Collecting art, building a community, leaving a legacy

October 29th, 2014

How do you build community through art collecting? Ask Howard and Cindy Rachofsky. Together they have helped make Dallas a major centre for contemporary art, architecture and philanthropy. As the powerful agents behind the revitalization of the Dallas Museum of Art in 2012, the Rachofskys co-founded The Warehouse, turning what had been an abandoned industrial building into a world class art centre, complete with classrooms, a library and over 18,000 square feet of exhibition space. Over the years, their Richard Meier–designed home has become a community hub and a venue that embraces and promotes contemporary art throughout the city. It is also where the Rachofskys annually host TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, an event that has raised more than $45 million for AIDS research and for contemporary art acquisitions at the Dallas Museum of Art. In the video above, they discuss their approach to collecting and their contributions to the DMA. Says Howard: “In making the gift, along with our friends, to the museum, gave us the additional responsibility of being curatorially smart and trying, while developing our own collection and responsibilities, recognizing that there are works of art that will ultimately be in a wonderful public institution and that will be in the company of other works in the museum. And therefore it’s the goal to make the museum’s collection as good as it can possibly be and as informative as it can be.”

On Nov. 6, the Rachofksys will share their passion for art and discuss the intersections between collecting, philanthropy and civic change in a Brown Bag Lunch & Talk at the AGO. Tickets are on sale now.

This month in Prints and Drawings: a Date with Italian master drawings

September 8th, 2014

Francesco Salviati, Lamentation over the dead Christ, c. 1540, brown ink and wash, over traces of black chalk, heightened with white gouache on laid paper, 24.1 x 16.1 cm. Purchase, 1981. Art Gallery of Ontario.

Francesco Salviati, Lamentation over the dead Christ, c. 1540, brown ink and wash, over traces of black chalk, heightened with white gouache on laid paper, 24.1 x 16.1 cm. Purchase, 1981. Art Gallery of Ontario.

For the month of September, as part of its monthly Date with [Art] series, Prints and Drawings is offering visitors a closer look at Italian master drawings, in anticipation of the exhibition Michelangelo: Quest for Genius, opening Oct. 18, 2014.

Each Wednesday throughout the month, stop by the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre for the Open Door program, running from 1 to 8 p.m. Enjoy tours of the Study Centre and see original works by Italian masters. Before 4:30 p.m., you can even ask staff members to bring specific works out from storage for viewing. Read the rest of this entry »

This month in Prints and Drawings: Date with James Tissot

June 9th, 2014

James Tissot, October, 1878. Etching on laid paper, 55 x 28 cm. Purchased as a Gift of The Marvin Gelber Fund from the Collection of Allan and Sondra Gotlieb, 1994.

James Tissot, October, 1878. Etching on laid paper, 55 x 28 cm. Purchased as a Gift of The Marvin Gelber Fund from the Collection of Allan and Sondra Gotlieb, 1994.


For the month of June, Prints and Drawings is taking AGO visitors on a Date with James Tissot, the newest edition of its monthly Date with [Art] series.

Each Wednesday throughout the month, stop by the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre for the Open Door program, running from 1 to 8 p.m. Enjoy tours of the Study Centre and see original works by Tissot. Before 4:30 p.m., you can even ask staff members to bring specific works out from storage for viewing. Read the rest of this entry »

Drawn to comics? Join the AGO at TCAF for a special panel this Saturday

May 9th, 2014

Comics Curation
Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. E., Toronto (map)

Comics are having a moment here at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Together with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, we invite you to join Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Frederik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, as he discusses the AGO’s inclusion of cartoonists and their work in programming and exhibitions. Joining him will be two lauded Canadian cartoonists who have recently collaborated with the Gallery: Chester Brown, currently featured in Chester Brown and Louis Riel, and David Collier, who has produced an eight-page comic that will accompany our upcoming exhibition Alex Colville. Finally, the panel will touch on our just-announced Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective.


Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.  Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.

Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.
Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.


About Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective
Art Spiegelman’s comics have been redefining a genre for more than 50 years, and this December the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will pay homage to the Pulitzer Prize–winning artist with an exhibition highlighting the breadth of his career. Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective opens on Dec. 20, 2014, and runs to March 14, 2015. A tireless innovator who is unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter, Spiegelman has drawn inspiration from a wide range of sources in his work including politics, the Holocaust, Cubism and hard-boiled detective fiction. Maus, a two-volume graphic novel that recounts his parents’ life in Nazi-occupied Poland and later at Auschwitz, was the first and only work of its genre to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1992. The exhibition also features 300 works on paper ranging from trading cards to magazine covers.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.


About Chester Brown and Louis Riel
For more than two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists. His innovative and influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, which expanded the audience for Canadian cartooning, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. A selection of original drawings from the publication is now on view at the AGO. The works feature the Manitoba politician and Métis leader Louis David Riel fleeing from Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), and his subsequent hanging for treason. Brown’s work combines bold imagery, stark compositions and simple texts to convey a complex Canadian tragedy that remains, for many, controversial and unresolved.

About Alex Colville
More than 100 works by Canadian icon Alex Colville (1920-2013) will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario starting in summer 2014, marking the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date. Curated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator of Canadian art, the exhibition will honour Colville’s legacy and explore the continuing impact of his work from the perspectives of several prominent popular culture figures from film, literature and music.

Friday with Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and friends

May 6th, 2014

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UPDATED May 23, 2014: Responding to visitor feedback, extended Friday night hours at the AGO on June 6 and July 11 will not go ahead as planned. Visitors continue to take advantage of the AGO’s Wednesday evenings, when the AGO is open till 8:30 p.m., and weekends hours. Tickets for Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty can be booked online now for both Wednesday evenings and weekend hours.


This Friday, May 9, after work, we’re extending Gallery hours until 8:30 p.m. The full Gallery plus special exhibitionFrancis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty will be open, and visitors are invited to relax in Galleria Italia and start the weekend off right with friends, food and tunes. We’re offering the same extended hours on two additional Fridays, June 6 and July 11. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate moms with us this May

April 24th, 2014

This year the AGO celebrates moms with special programming all over the Gallery. Here’s what’s on:

Maternité au lit jaune, or Madame Fontaine et le petit Noël, 1896. Denis, Maurice. Oil and graphite on canvas. 44.6 x 50.9 cm. Framed: 64.8 x 70 cm. Gift of Mrs. Judy Simmonds, 2008. © 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario.

Maternité au lit jaune, or Madame Fontaine et le petit Noël, 1896. Denis, Maurice. Oil and graphite on canvas. 44.6 x 50.9 cm. Framed: 64.8 x 70 cm. Gift of Mrs. Judy Simmonds, 2008. © 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario.

Mother’s Day brunch
Edit, May 9, 4 p.m. SOLD OUT
On Sunday, May 11, FRANK restaurant celebrates moms with a special Mother’s Day brunch buffet. The menu features an enormous selection of offerings including traditional breakfast fare, a seafood station, a carving station featuring roasted AAA tenderloin, a la carte [check accents] menus, kid-friendly options and more. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m to 3:30 p.m. at a cost of $75 per adult. Children ages 6-10 can dine for $20 and children under 5 eat for $12. Reservations are encouraged as space is limited. Please call 416-979-6688 or visit FRANK online for more information.

Mother’s Day tea at The Grange (members only)
Enjoy Mother’s Day with a deliciously modern version of a Victorian tea on May 11 (seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 and 3:15 p.m.). Members are invited to enjoy a wide variety of tea along with delicious scones, croissants, sandwiches, assorted desserts and a few surprises. Book tickets for this exclusive Mother’s Day event and spend the rest of the day exploring the Collection at the Gallery.

Mother’s Day card-making at AGO Family Sundays
Part of our Family Sunday programming on Sunday, May 4, includes card-making! Get ready to cut, paste and draw something special for Mom.

Mother’s Day gift ideas

Our shopAGO team has selected a range of items perfect for Mom. See some of them below and visit the shop’s special Mother’s Day display for more options.

Mark your calendar: Five AGO public openings in 2014

April 23rd, 2014

We’re pleased to announce a series of public openings to celebrate the exhibitions of Canadian and international contemporary artists taking place at the Gallery this year.

Please join us for the following public openings:

The events will take place in Walker Court from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, when general admission to the Gallery is free; a cash bar will be open from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Remarks start at 7:30 pm, and the artists will be in attendance. Feel free share this invitation with your friends and networks — everyone is welcome!