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Early Access to Art Toronto 2011

October 26th, 2011

Art Toronto 2011

It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, the weather’s turning chilly and once again Toronto is once again playing host to Canada’s only modern and contemporary international art fair.

Art Toronto, now in its 12th year, is a four-day art exhibition and sale. Featuring over 1000 artists from 109 leading and emerging galleries, it’s a chance to see some of the art world’s top talent and grab some new pieces for your collection. Representatives from the AGO will be there tomorrow night and we’ll be looking for some new pieces to add to our permanent collection.

If, like us, you want early access to the art and a chance to mingle with the artists, you should join us for the Opening Night Preview. It takes place tomorrow night from 6.30pm – 10pm and is a fundraising event to support our operations and educational programs. You’ll get to see the fair before everyone else as well as enjoying cocktails, nibbles and an electric atmosphere.

Toronto artist Derek Liddington will be presenting the installation Dandy Gangs: A Working Class Art Story.

“The Fluxus-gang-dance will engage Art Toronto guests, as two groups of dancers interact through choreography based on early Fluxus happenings, scenes from West Side Story and operatic interpretations of rock n’ roll and hip-hop ballads,” said Derek.

“Viewers will watch as opposing dandy-gangs entangle in scenarios of territorial misunderstanding, conflict, tension and resolution… Gang members will be presented as caricatures melding fashions and attitudes borrowed from the flâneur, Russian Constructivist’s, dandy and punk; likening the performers to the portrayal of gang culture and conflict in the futuristic film The Warriors, as well as the cultural phenomenon of flash-mobs.”

Our Artist-In-Residence Paul Butler will be hosting one of his infamous collage parties in The Collage Party Pavillion. Collage Party is a performative collage-making event that has taken place in cities around the world for over ten years. Over the 4-day period of the fair, the Collage Party will produce objects and situations in a wide-range of media, from complex, mixed-media performance art events to the most sublime, intimate form of cut-and-paste collages using nothing more than mass media publications, scissors and adhesives. And on Saturday afternoon he’ll be staging a takeover of the AGO Twitter account to bring you a first-hand artist’s eye view of Art Toronto.

For more information about Art Toronto 2011 please visit
To book tickets for the Opening Night Preview click here.

How to become a zombie Andy Warhol: Everyone gets their 15 minutes of BRAINS

October 19th, 2011

Did you catch zombie Andy Warhol lurching around outside the AGO yesterday?  With Halloween just around the corner and the fantastic Toronto Zombie Walk just days away, we thought we would teach you how to recreate the look using easy-to-find tools. Now you too can be the coolest zombie out there, and make amazing jokes about ’15 minutes of fame/brains.’

Andy Warhol 11

We think Warhol would have approved too – in 1984 he was turned into a zombie himself by famous make-up artist and scare-man Tom Savini!

We invited the amazing Cassandra Carter from Sculpture Supply Canada to demonstrate how to create the look. This is a basic tutorial, suitable for wannabe zombies of all abilities.

First, here’s your shopping list:

Costume – we got everything apart from the wig from a thrift store.
Black turtleneck sweater
Black pants/jeans
Black shoes
Blonde wig

Makeup – available from Sculpture Supply Canada or similar store.
Smooth-On Ultimate Wound Kit
PPI Illustrator – FX palette & Zombie palette
Fleet Street Drying Blood – Dark
Ben Nye Blood – Fresh Scab
Ben Nye Character cream foundations – Blue Spirit, Cadaver grey, Black
Neutral setting powder
Red lip liner
Black eye liner
Latex wedge sponge
Black stipple sponge
Small makeup brushes

Step One:

Start by attacking your blonde wig with a comb and scissors to recreate the iconic Warhol look. We found turning the wig backwards worked really well! One you’ve created the shape you want, put the wig to one side so you can start to do the make-up. Now is also a good time to make sure your model is clean shaven (men), exfoliated and moisturized.

Warhol Zombie 1

Step Two: Wounds

Time to crack open the Wound Kit. This kit isn’t too expensive and contains everything you need to recreate realistic gory wounds. There’s even detailed instructions in the box. It helps to draw out the kind of wounds you want beforehand or use pictures for reference. We went for some detail around the mouth and nose – the key with silicon is that less is more. It sticks to itself, so it’s better to start small and build up. Keep your wounds asymmetrical and they’ll look more realistic. Once you’ve used the silicon to create the shape of the wounds you can then start adding makeup.

Zombie warhol 2

Step Three: 

Apply the base colour you want to the face, not forgetting to work it into the hairline. We used  Ben Nye blue spirit for a grey, undead-ish tone. Apply contour shades and highlights, building up darker tones around the eyes, nose and mouth. Then use powder to set the makeup.

Step four:

Once the base is done you can start adding the finer details. The FX palette can be used to create veins, capillaries, rotted skin, fungus, bruises or anything else you can think of. Add distress marks around the eyes, nose and mouth to give a sense of decay. Use the red lip-liner in the water lines of the eye to make them look bloodshot. You can also use the black stipple sponge and a darker cream foundation in various areas to make the face look even more rotten. The trick here is not to get too carried away with too many colours or things going on – keep it simple! Use the black eyeliner to recreate Andy Warhol’s dark, bushy eyebrows. If you make a mistake, use Q-tips to fix it.


zombie_andy_warhol1Step Five

Blood time! Grab your fake blood. We kept our blood subtle (we didn’t want to drip on the artwork) but if you wanted to go wild here, you could. It’s really up to you! Once you’ve added the fake blood all you need to do it add in the wig and glasses. One zombie Andy Warhol!




Some top tips to remember:

  • Keeping your makeup A-symmetrical is key
  • Use reference pictures while applying your makeup
  • Take your time
  • Draw it out beforehand
  • Give yourself time to practice
  • Don’t get too carried away with too many colors or too many things going on.
  • Keep it simple and effective
  • Have fun!

Happy Halloween everyone!


A Heart To Art Chat with the AGO: Co-creating ideas for the Gallery

August 22nd, 2011

On Saturday August 13 2011 over 60 people took part in ‘A Heart to Art Chat at the AGO’. It was a special event for people to listen, learn and co-create ideas for the Gallery.

The event took place in our new Weston Family Learning Centre –a first chance for most of the attendees to spend time in the space. Taking part were members, casual visitors and even people who had never visited the Gallery before, people from a wide range of ages and from a diverse mix of backgrounds. Those who wanted to join in the conversation online were able to take part on Twitter using the #AGOChat hashtag.

The day was structured like an Unconference – an event that lets the people taking part decide what should be talked about. We asked people what community groups they identified themselves with and what they would like to see at the gallery. They shared their answers on brightly coloured sticky notes which were then sorted to identify common themes.

The following sessions covered a wide range of themes including:

  • Community Outreach & Accessibility
  • Artist & Gallery Talks
  • Web, Social Media and Online Events
  • Evening Events

People talked passionately about their ideas for their AGO. From date nights and reality TV shows to longer opening hours and more events for adults the ideas flowed thick and fast all day. We also managed to get #AGOChat trending in Canada, so a big thank you to everyone that tweeted throughout the day.

What happens next?

  • We’re in the process of gathering all the information generated from the day. Once it’s ready we’ll be publishing it online so that everyone can see what we talked about and we can report back.
  • We think (and from reading your tweets we know you do too) that the Unconference was a fantastic way to share ideas and generate excitement for the Gallery and its programs.  The success of the Unconference has us looking at new ways to communicate and gather input and we’ll keep you posted on future opportunities.
  • Loads of great ideas came out of the social media session, like the adult sleepovers and the desire for a more conversational approach.  We’ll definitely be planning a tweet-up soon and we’re also going to be building a loyal army of Twitter followers who want to volunteer to help spread the word about what’s going on in the Gallery.

  • We want you to continue using the #AGOChat hashtag on Twitter to share your ideas as well as commenting on this blog post. We’re on Twitter @AGOToronto and you can also chat with our Social Media and Internet Content Coordinator Holly on Twitter or via email.

We are grateful to everyone who came out and shared their ideas with us. Thanks also needs to go to Celina Agaton who organized the event and all of the facilitators who ran the sessions: Marisa Gelfusa;  Marco Campana ; Aerin Guy; Darcy Higgins and Ramy Nassar.

The Weston Family Learning Centre Gallery School Hall of Fame: Who would you nominate?

August 8th, 2011

A Saturday Morning Class in the Laidlaw Gallery,  Art Gallery of Toronto during the 1930

The AGO’s Gallery School was started by Group of Seven painter Arthur Lismer in the 1920s. It has been a hub of art learning for millions of adults and children ever since.

We know from our blog post ‘Were you a gallery student‘ that you have lots of fond memories of visiting the Gallery School in the past. Do you know of any prominent Canadians, celebrities or artists who taught or took courses at the Gallery School? Perhaps they attended camp as a child? Perhaps they took an evening printmaking class as an adult?

We’re developing a Gallery Hall of Fame as an exciting way of sharing our history with our visitors. If you can think of anyone who should be on the list please get in touch or leave a comment below.

The launch of our brand new Weston Family Learning Centre is now just weeks away and our Fall Program Guide is out. Find out more about adult classes at the AGO.


No Ordinary Day at the Office

April 21st, 2011

9 to 5 opening soon at the Art Gallery of Ontario!

Anitra Hamilton  Graeme Patterson  Ed Pien

Exhibition Dates | April 27 to 29
Art/Work Symposium | April 30
Closing Reception | April 30, 6-9pm

Art is work. Hard work.

9 to 5 is an exhibition that lets visitors experience art in an unexpected way: by interacting with the artists while they make it! Running from April 27th to the 29th, 9 to 5 will transform one gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario(AGO) into a live office space. For three days, contemporary Canadian artists Anitra Hamilton, Graeme Patterson and Ed Pien welcome AGO visitors to meet with them and enjoy a conversation about their artistic practice. Using the familiar setting of the office, 9 to 5 will create a space for collaboration, inspiration and a forum for new knowledge and understanding about the artistic process. In addition, the artists have been invited to select a work of their choice from the permanent collection to “decorate” their cubicle. Accessible and interactive, 9 to 5 is an experience not to be missed!

Want to know more about whats happening at the 9 to 5 office or ask the artists a question about their research process?  Visit the blog here.

Following the exhibition, on April 30th, will be a free, one-day symposium entitled Art/Work. The first half of the symposium will feature 9 to 5 artists and curators reflecting on the project, followed by a special presentation by curator, artist and educator Rebecca Duclos. Duclos will expand on the burgeoning topic of artists’ research.

Event Schedule:
9 to 5 exhibition, 2nd floor, Gallery 248:
Wednesday April 27, 1:00pm – 8:30pm
Thursday April 28, 10:00am – 5:30pm
Friday April 29, 10:00am – 5:30pm

Art/Work Symposium, Jackman Hall, AGO
Saturday April 30
1pm – 2:30pm — Artists & Curators reflect on the 9 to 5 project
3pm – 4:30pm — Rebecca Duclos keynote presentation

Facebook event:

Community Arts & the Museum eBook

December 14th, 2010


This handbook is the legacy of the ArtsAccess project, a four year partnership between the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, the Thunder Bay art Gallery, and the Woodland Cultural Center. Consultations with local community leaders, educators and artists throughout the province led to the creation of this community arts initiative to explore new ways of connecting with communities, sustaining local programming initiatives and supporting artists and art across the province.

The premise of the project was to have museum sponsored artists placed in the community for a period of four years to work with community groups, schools and social agencies to identify issues that might be explored, understood or given new profile or expression through art. This network was grounded in an annual symposium that brought the group together to analyze, document and evaluate this new way of working. We distilled the many stories and lessons learned over four years, 100 projects and more than 100,00 participants into thoughts about how to begin and sustain this practice.

This handbook is for anyone, artist museum or community organization – interested in creating a community art project.

This Weekend: Come visit us at Manifesto

September 23rd, 2010

The AGO’s community ambassadors continue their schedule of summer festivals at Manifesto. Come visit us this Sunday, September 26th, at Yonge and Dundas Square from 12 to 10pm, and check out our booth themed around our upcoming exhibition, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, opening November 20, 2010.

You can also learn more and share your stories and ideas by posting here on our blog, or by emailing us at

This show is organized in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Culture Days at the AGO

September 10th, 2010

Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii

Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, 1786, oil on canvas, Toledo Museum of Art.

September 24-26, 2010

The AGO will be participating in the first-ever Culture Days celebration in Ontario, with free street theatre performances. See sculptures come to life in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario!

Inspired by the painting Oath of the Horatii created by Jacques-Louis David in 1786, Single Thread Theatre Company will perform a triumphal (and sometimes humorous!) march along Dundas Street as sculptures of Roman legionnaires returning from a successful battle. The pomp and ceremony is sometimes disrupted by a few playful satyrs who can’t resist interfering with the procession… and the age-old struggle between order and chaos continues!

Performances will take place between 12 noon and 2:00 pm each day September 24-26.

Performance directed by Liam Karry and Jonathan Langley. Produced by Alex Dault. Oath of the Horatii is on display in the AGO’s ticketed exhibition Drama & Desire: Artists and the Theatre, which runs until September 26.

Toronto Mayoral Arts Debate at the AGO

September 10th, 2010

Update, September 29th: The recording of the entire debate can be found here.

Update, September 28th: John Tory can no longer moderate the debate because of the time change.

Update, September 27th: Change of Start Time. The Debate is now scheduled from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm on Wednesday September 29; doors open at the Art Gallery of Ontario at 5:00 pm. Attendance is general admission. The change in time is to accommodate another debate in the city. ArtsVote can now confirm that ALL leading candidates are planning to attend: Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman and Sarah Thomson.

The event will be STREAMED LIVE on the Art Gallery of Ontario homepage (via Ustream).

Toronto Mayoral Arts Debate at the AGO

Hear what Toronto’s mayoral candidates have to say about the arts in this city. Questions will probe the candidates’ position on funding for the arts, the role that the arts should play in establishing Toronto as a truly creative city and the impact of the arts on economic development, tourism and civic growth.

The debate is free for everyone to attend. Presented by Business for the Arts, in partnership with ArtsVote Toronto 2010, Toronto Arts Council, Manifesto and the Art Gallery of Ontario.