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Jeanne Beker in the hot seat for AGO’s fourth Twitter Interview.

November 18th, 2011

‘Nice To Tweet You’ is a regular series that connects our Twitter followers with artists, curators, speakers and experts. Tweet your questions to @AGOToronto using the #NTTY hashtag, or leave a comment on our Facebook page, and the best will be put forward to whoever’s in the hot seat. Answering your questions this week is Jeanne Beker, who is curating a special exhibition for the AGO’s 2nd Annual Collectors Series.

Canadian fashion icon shares personal collection of artwork

Jeanne Beker wants to answer your questions

Jeanne Beker is an internationally recognised fashion guru, but did you know she is also an avid art collector? It makes sense that a great eye for fashion translates into a great eye for art, but aren’t you curious to know more? This week we’re accepting your questions for Jeanne via Twitter and Facebook – find out how and why she fell in love with the art world, delve into her personal collection and discover which artist she’d pick as ‘one to watch’.

Beker herself is a huge fan of Twitter, you can follow her at @jeanne_beker.

She is currently curating a special exhibition for the AGO’s 2nd Annual Collectors Series. The exhibition in offers a rare glimpse into Beker’s private art collection including paintings, photography, and sculptures. Opening Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Collector’s Series runs until Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at the AGO’s Art Rental + Sales Gallery, located on the ground floor of 481 University Ave. The Collector’s Series shines a spotlight on the personal art collections of notable Canadians, offering rare opportunities to share their own treasured pieces, as well as to select favourite pieces from the holdings of the Art Rental + Sales Gallery to be featured in the space. These selected works are available to the public for purchase or for rent.

Those wishing to take part can tweet @AGOToronto with their questions using the hashtag #NTTY (nice to tweet you) from now until Sunday, November 27 at 9pm. The top questions will then be selected and put to Beker. Excerpts from the full interview will be shared via @AGOToronto and a complete version will be published on the AGO Art Matters Blog.

About Jeanne Beker:

Born in Toronto, Jeanne Beker began her career in show business at the age of 16 and since then has never looked back. A mother of two teenage girls and fashion guru extraordinaire, today, Jeanne Beker is one of the most iconic and influential women in the fashion industry both here at home and around the world.

Jeanne helped pioneer fashion on the Internet with American communications giant MCI, when she became editorial director of @fashion in 1995 – the web’s first fashion site. And with hitting the one million mark of podcasts downloaded per month, people around the world now have 24-hour access to Jeanne and episodes from Canada’s leading fashion series. For more information, visit

To find out more about the interview please contact Holly Knowlman via email, Twitter or call 416 979 6660 (ext 426)

Nice To Tweet You: An interview with Gary Taxali

September 21st, 2011

‘Nice To Tweet You’ is a regular series that connects our Twitter followers with artists, curators, speakers and experts. Tweet your questions to @agoToronto using the #NTTY hashtag and the best will be put forward to whoever’s in the hot seat. Answering your questions this week is iconic Toronto artist Gary Taxali, who joins us at the AGO on September 21 from 6pm to sign copies of his new books, Mono Taxali and I Love You, OK.

© I Love You, OK? by Gary Taxali, published by teNeues, Photo © 2011 Gary Taxali. All rights reserved.,,

Gary Taxali will be joining us later on this evening at ShopAGO to meet with fans and sign copies of his two new publications, Mono Taxali and I Love You, OK? Taxali is an award winning artist, illustrator and toy designer who has exhibited in North America and Europe and appeared in countless publications.

Random Taxali fact: He was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 for his work on Aimee Mann’s album, @#%&*! Smilers,

All last week you’ve been busy tweeting us your questions for Gary. We picked a couple (and snuck in one of our own) to put to him. Read on to find out what he had to say…

@AlanaArmstrong Gary, what are you doing when you’re procrastinating?

I don’t know what procrastinating means!  I only say that because I always have so many projects, shows, etc that I am working on so procrastination is a luxury I cannot afford.  I also think that the more one works on something, the more ideas are bound to surface.  Therefore, my issue is more a shortage of time and what ideas shall I pick from a bottomless well that are worthy of exploring.  I imagine that all working artists go through this.

@MiriamFitting Is there a show in the future?

I have a solo show slated for next spring. It opens on April 26th at The Outsiders Gallery in London, UK.  (It’s also known as Lazarides Greek St)

@AGOToronto You have been called both a fine artist and an illustrator. Do you have a preference for how you are described, or do you find labels like these to be prescriptive?   

I don’t like to get hung up on labels but in terms of being an accurate descriptor for my vocation, most of time is spent working on gallery shows so “fine artist” would be an accurate term.  That said, I am in love with illustration and if the project is something that I would enjoy doing, I’ll certainly take it.

Many times, there are crossover projects like the time I did a Converse ad and they essentially asked me to do whatever I wanted and would print it no matter what.  Since my name and short bio was on the ad, it was more of a fine art application under the guise of illustration.  A very ideal situation, really!

To find out more about the interview please contact Holly Knowlman via email, Twitter or call 416 979 6660 (ext 426)

Saturday ArtSpeak Series: Merge (Audio)

April 27th, 2011

ArtSpeak Series: Merge 2011

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Recorded: Saturday, April 16, 2011 @ AGO Art Rental + Sales Gallery
Duration: 56:24

In conjunction with Merge, an annual exhibition showcasing emerging artists, Pamela Chang recently spoke with three Toronto based arts professionals about what you need to know to stay on top of the rising stars in the art market. This year’s exhibition featured works by Tristram Lansdowne, Jenn Law, Bogdan Luca, Amanda Nedham, Meryl McMaster and Alex McLeod.

ArtSpeak Participants:
Wil Kucey, owner/director, Le Gallery
Bill Clarke, Executive Editor of Magenta and art collector
Trish Boon, artist, arts educator, and arts writer

About the ArtSpeak Series

AR+SG host a series of FREE intimate discussions on the 3rd Saturday of the month, at 1:00 pm. Jennifer Bhogal, Coordinator of AR+SG, sits down with 3-4 prominent figures in the arts community to discuss an issue related to the exhibition on view. Everyone is welcome.

About the Art Rental + Sales Gallery

Since 1965, The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Art Rental + Sales Gallery (AR+SG) has consigned artwork from Toronto’s top galleries and independent artists, including Olga Korper Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Bau-Xi Gallery, Georgia Scherman Projects, Feheley Fine Arts, Diaz Contemporary, and many more, totaling over 40 galleries, and more than 50 independent artists. Our entire rotating inventory of over 500 works is available for rent to AGO members (memberships available at AR+SG) and for purchase to everyone.

Clementine Art – Natural Art Products for Kids

March 8th, 2011

Visit shopAGO for a selection of Clementine Art natural art supplies – crayons, glue, markers, paints and modeling dough – with no chemicals or additives.

The Clementine Story (courtesy

Once upon a time there was a teacher who loved art. She was wild about colours, from paint to pom-poms; she was thrilled about children, with so many good ideas; and she was especially ecstatic when children and art frolicked together at Clementine Studio, an art space for children in Boulder, CO.

Those creative children at Clementine Studio often got just a wee bit messy. They got paint in their hair, on their hands and feet, and even in their mouths! This made the teacher (named Diana) wonder what was in those art materials. The label only said the materials were non-toxic.

Is non-toxic good enough for these marvelous and magical children?” she wondered. She fretted about what chemicals, dyes and additives were in the art supplies that she didn’t know about.

So she rolled up her sleeves and began to make play dough and paint from natural ingredients in her kitchen. She used simple items like flour, earth colourings and water to make recipes. Today, Diana and Clementine Art are proud to introduce a full line of natural paint, glue, modeling dough, crayons and markers that are simple, natural and real.

AGO Book Club: The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr

March 2nd, 2011

The next book club selection is The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. The meeting will be held at the Art Rental + Sales Gallery, 481 University Avenue on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 7pm. For more information, to register for the session or to receive the Book Club e-Newsletter call 416-979-6660 ext 5948.

An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea,

and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries.

The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn’t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.

Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.

Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.

Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggio’s strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr’s account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.

description courtesy of

The Lost Painting is available to purchase at shopAGO,  $17 or online here

Meet Laurel Croza & Matt James at shopAGO

March 2nd, 2011

Tuesday, March 15th   1:30-2:30 pm

Meet Childrens’ Author Laurel Croza and Illustrator Matt James at shopAGO on Tuesday, March 15th between 1:30 and 2:30 pm and have your copy of I Know Here signed personally!

Winner of the 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Picture Book) and shortlisted for the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award: Children’s Literature — Illustration, I Know Here is the story of a little girl from northeastern Saskatchewan who knows everything about the place she lives — her road, her school, the forest where she plays hide-and-seek and where the wolf howls at night, the hill where she goes tobogganing in winter . . . but her family is moving to Toronto when summer comes.

“Have people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?” the little girl asks. And with her teacher’s help she finds a way to keep everything she loves about home.

This simple, beautifully written story, complemented by Matt James’s vibrant, imaginative illustrations, will resonate deeply with anyone who has had to leave their home for a new place.

Free temporary tattoos for kids! shopAGO

March 2nd, 2011

Visit shopAGO during March Break (March 12-20) for a free ‘henna’ design temporary tattoo!

Choose from heart, paisley, floral or butterfly inspired designs.

While supplies last, one application per child.

Temporary tattoos courtesy of Dover Publications.