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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 FashionTelevision.com 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 www.FashionTelevision.com.

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, www.teneues.com. Photo © 2011 Gary Taxali. All rights reserved. www.garytaxali.com, www.taxali.com, www.taxalionline.com/blog/

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!

Find out more about Gary Taxali’s appearance at the AGO.

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, Gary Taxali

September 8th, 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. Taking 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, www.teneues.com. Photo © 2011 Gary Taxali. All rights reserved. www.garytaxali.com, www.taxali.com, www.taxalionline.com/blog/
“Gary Taxali visually blends now with then. His style, inspired by vintage comics and advertising art, is repurposed with the goal of communicating the ironies and comical essence of popular culture. His work is at once alluring and endearing. Despite the vintage look, he is neither maudlin nor nostalgic. His imagery is rich in satiric verve.”
– Steven Heller

What would you like to ask Gary Taxali? Maybe you have a question about his striking images, which explore the space between illustration and fine art and have been shown in galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe. Or perhaps you’d like to find out about his vinyl toy company, Chump Toys. You might have some burning questions about his friendship with Lady Gaga, his recent collaboration with Polaroid or his two new books, Mono Taxali and I Love You, Ok?

You might also like to ask him about badminton. (We hear he really likes badminton.)

Those wishing to take part can tweet @AGOToronto with their questions using the hashtag #NTTY (nice to tweet you) from now until Wednesday, September 14 at 9pm. The top questions will then be selected and put to Taxali. Excerpts from the full interview will be shared via @AGOToronto and a complete version will be published on the AGO Art Matters Blog.

From garytaxali.com: 

Gary Taxali is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in many major magazines. He has exhibited in many galleries and museums throughout North America and Europe including The Jonathan LeVine Gallery. In 2005, he launched his first vinyl toy, The Toy Monkey, which included a special edition along with a silkscreen print commissioned by The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. This led Gary to create his own toy company, Chump Toys, which recently saw the release of his OH NO and OH OH vinyl figures. Aside from his gallery shows and illustration work, Gary also devotes a portion of his time teaching and lecturing at various arts organizations and schools such as OCAD University (Toronto, Canada), The Art Director’s Club of Houston (Houston, USA), Dankmarks Designskole (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Istituto Europeo Di Design (Rome, Italy) . He is a Founding Member of IPA (The Illustrators’ Partnership of America) and sits on the Advisory Board of 3×3: The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. Gary has also juried many student and professional competitions including The Society of Illustrators, The National Magazine Awards, The Dallas Society of Visual Communications and 3×3: The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. Gary created the cover art and inside illustrations for Aimee Mann’s latest album @#%&*! Smilers, which won a 2009 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Package Design.He just released his first children’s book entitled This Is Silly, published by Scholastic Press. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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: Cory Doctorow

August 15th, 2011

Cory Doctorow by Paula Mariel Salischiker

Internet Legend Answers Your Twitter Questions

Our ‘Nice To Tweet You’ series 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.

Our interviewee this week is Boing Boing co-founder Cory Doctorow. As well as founding one of the web’s most insightful and entertaining sites, Cory is also a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger.

On September 14 from 7 – 8.30pm he will be joining us at the AGO to give a free talk that poses the question, ‘Can creativity and freedom peacefully co-exist in the Internet age?’ He’ll be discussing Internet copyright and the creative industries – the challenges we face when creating and distributing content online. We recommend getting there early if you’d like to see the talk – we expect it to be very busy.

Find out more about Cory’s talk

Those wishing to interview Cory can tweet us their questions from now until Monday, August 22 at 4.30pm. The top questions will then be selected and put to Doctorow. Excerpts from the full interview will be shared via @AGOToronto , and a complete version will be published on the AGO Art Matters Blog.

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

Twitter Interview: General Idea’s AA Bronson

August 2nd, 2011

General Idea File Magazine

Last week we invited you to submit your questions via Twitter for artist AA Bronson,  founding member of Canadian artist collective General Idea, to celebrate the launch of Haute Culture: General Idea at the AGO

Founded in Toronto in 1969 by Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, General Idea interrogated media image culture through now legendary projects like File magazine, as well as paintings, installations, sculptures, mail art, photographs, videos, ephemera, TV programs and even a beauty pageant. Curated by Paris-based independent curator Frédéric Bonnet, Haute Culture: General Idea is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to the collective, providing an incredible insight into ‘the most significant, famous and influential art beast, single or otherwise, to emerge from Toronto, if not Canada, in the last half of the 20th century.’
From hipster beards to the politics of censorship, the questions you tweeted us were insightful, revealing and articulate. This interview is the first of a new series that gives visitors the opportunity to connect with artists, curators and other experts to find out more about the AGO. If you have any suggestions for people you would like to interview please get in touch.

Twitter Interview: General Idea’s AA Bronson

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 1: Do TO/CDN artists have trouble finding recognition locally unless they've been recognized elsewhere first? Why/why not? (From @eurekascastle)

AA Bronson: “That’s the standard wisdom in Canada, and it’s absolutely true. General Idea’s first solo museum show was in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1979. We had an immediate response to our work from Europe and only then did Canada start to take notice.

The first group museum show we were in was in Paris in 1973, our first solo museum show was at the Stedelijk in 1979, and our first residency was with De Appel in Amsterdam in 1979. There we were given a whole professional TV studio to produce Test Tube, which was made for television. All these amazing opportunities opened up for us in Europe and then, in response, Canada began to pay some attention, but not until the 80s.

Our first Canadian solo museum show was in 1984 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, closely followed by the AGO and the Musée d’art contemporain in 1985.”

 

HCGI Twitter Interview question 2: Will there be poodles? (From @flomac485)

 

“Absolutely! There are tons of poodles, mostly from the early 80s…. 2 sets of fake stuffed poodles, for example. There’s many paintings of poodles, there’s castings of poodles, drawings of poodles and some photographs of poodles too. The poodle was our attempt to provoke a discussion of sexuality and especially queer sexuality in the art world.”

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 3: My question for AA Bronson. Who are some of the current painters of photographers whose work you find more intriguing or enjoyable (from @inciteout)

 

“For the most part, young people. I find myself most interested in artists in their 20s or 30s. Two photographers who interest me are Ryan Pfluger and Paul Mpagi Sepuya. Both do fairly conventional portrait photography but with their own inimitable and somewhat homoerotic stamp. Toronto artists are engaging me these days: Derek Sullivan and Gareth Long, both from Toronto, are favorite artists of mine. Paul P.’s latest paintings seem to channel William Turner. And Terence Koh—who is from Mississauga, not Beijing—continues to blow me away with his performative sculpture, his use of ritual, and the ways in which his art and life are one.”

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 4: Would General Idea ever use Youtube, if it existed in the past of if they continue working? How does GI feel about Youtubers? (from @NatashaGouvela5)

 

“Not just Youtube but the whole Internet. When we started File magazine in 1972 it was a kind of simulacrum of the Internet before the Internet existed. It was a networking tool before electronic networking was invented.

If we had come along a little later I suspect we would be working almost exclusively with the media of the Internet, including YouTube.

YouTube is so ubiquitous at this point, we rely on it for everything – if it were gone it would be a total shock. It’s great how people who have no personal access to mainstream media can come up out of nowhere and suddenly attain an incredible YouTube popularity. It’s a very democratic medium.”

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 5: Have the politics of censorship eclipsed the message of your work, or have they contributed to the ideological impact (from @juiliawants)

“Canada and the US and Europe are all very different situations when it comes to censorship. In the US, institutions tend to censor things just in case anybody makes a complaint, so censorship is far more severe in the US than it is here. That has been a problem. It’s funny because the US makes such a big fuss over freedom of the press when in fact the censorship is much worse there.

For example, when we made the video Shut The Fuck Up (1984) it was premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, but they couldn’t print the title on the invitation card. The Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo put the same video in a General Idea touring exhibition but refused to show it in their own museum. That’s kind of typical for an American Institution, so when they censor something openly it’s quite a surprise because usually they’ve done it in advance behind the scenes. In Canada I haven’t had any problems, not with arts institutions, although the AGO did remove one work from the current exhibition under the guise of a liability issue.

The Ontario censorship board for television and video was a big problem for the art community in the 70s and 80s. There were big run-ins between the cultural community and the government, but that’s all been sorted out, decades ago now.

Maybe @juliawants is thinking of the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, where a David Wojnarowicz video was removed from the show. There were many demonstrations across the continent. I asked to have my work removed in response and was actually unable to have it removed. There was a lot of talk about censorship and culture wars around that exhibition. It’s true that with all the fuss about censorship, the political and social content of my work in that exhibition was eclipsed.”

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 7: Do you feel at least partially responsible for the hipster beard trend? (From @juiliawants)

“Yes! I don’t know… I think it’s more like I saw it coming, and got in on the ground floor.”

 

 

 

HCGI Twitter Interview Question 7: Who was your greatest influence when you began art-making, and who/what would you cite as a current, ongoing influence? (From @juliawants)
“Our biggest art influence when we started was Andy Warhol and his Factory and that’s probably pretty visible. But there were other influences from the literary world, writers like William Burroughs and Gertrude Stein. And then from another world completely, Marshall McLuhan. There were many different kinds of influences.

As for ongoing influences, I’m going to say Joseph Beuys because of his shamanistic stance, his use of his own identity as an integral part of his artwork, and his ongoing project of the Free University. AA Bronson’s School For Young Shamans (2008) can be seen as a response to Joseph Beuys.”

 

Haute Culture: General Idea is now open at the AGO. For details of how to visit the gallery please visit the main website or call us on 416-979-6648.

General Idea’s AA Bronson participates in mass interview via Twitter at the AGO

July 21st, 2011

General Idea, 'Body Binding' (1970)

With preparations well under way for the opening of Haute Culture: General Idea, A Retrospective – 1969 – 1994, the AGO is giving people the opportunity to find out more about the exhibition from artist AA Bronson. Beginning today, the gallery will be accepting question submissions via Twitter for an interview taking place on July 26.

Founded in Toronto in 1969 by Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, the General Idea collective interrogated media image culture through now legendary projects like File magazine. The group’s transgressive concepts and provocative imagery challenged social power structures and traditional modes of artistic creation in ever-shifting ways, until Partz and Zontal’s untimely deaths from AIDS-related causes in 1994. Find out more

This is the first time the AGO has used social media in this way. By using Twitter to provide a direct link between artist and visitor the Gallery is exploring new ways for you to engage with our exhibitions.

Those wishing to take part can tweet @AGOToronto with their questions about the exhibition using the hashtag #HCGI from now until Monday, July 25 at 9pm. The top questions will then be selected and put to Bronson. Excerpts from the full interview will be shared via @AGOToronto and Bronson’s own Twitter accounts, @AA_Bronson, and a complete version will be published on the AGO Art Matters Blog.
About the exhibition: Haute Culture: General Idea celebrates the work of the Canadian artists group General Idea. Curated by Paris-based independent curator Frédéric Bonnet, Haute Culture is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to General Idea, a collaboration between artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal that began Toronto in 1969.

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