On his first day as the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, Stephan Jost answered our speedy Q&A to catch us up on some essentials — including: “iPhone or Android?” and “Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever done?” (Answer: “No! I once was interviewed on live television by a blind priest who fell asleep during the interview.”) Shot with Periscope!
It’s time for another edition of AGOxInstagram! We’re lucky: Our visitors are some of the best photographers in the city, and we are constantly marveling at your views of the AGO. Inspired by you, we’ve created a monthly round-up of favourite AGOxInstagram shots (See January 2016’s selection here). Want to take part? Keep sharing your Instagram and Twitter photos with us by tagging @agotoronto or #agotoronto.
Photos (by row, left to right): @zachbalbino, @cecilymy, @kandisebrown, @alyssayuhas, @bofajardo, @danielakonishi, @epiiffany, @mandclu, @_ktrinac
Study for « Canada » films, photo: Mark Lewis, courtesy of the artist
News! The AGO is pleased to announce its first collaboration with the recently re-launched Museum of Contemporary Art_Toronto_Canada (formerly the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art). From May to August, 2017, the AGO will host Mark Lewis: Canada, as part of Demo-Graphics, MOCA’s new, international art biennial.
Co-curated by MOCA’s CEO and Director Chantal Pontbriand and the AGO’s Chief Curator Stephanie Smith, Canada is an anthology of connected films by Mark Lewis. The installation of these films explore the name “Canada” and how that name has come to be associated, both within our country and throughout the world, with fantasies, stories and imaginary histories.
Mark Lewis, born in Canada and based in London, is among the most prominent artists of his generation working in photography and moving images. Throughout his career, he has gained wide-ranging success and internationally acclaim for his short, silent films. In 2009, Lewis represented Canada at the Venice Biennale, and in 2014, he was asked by the Louvre to produce new films that would consider, in some way, the museum’s history, physicality and historical collection. His mining of the museum’s art collection, its architectural passageways and its audience, formed the basis for a new series of films that were presented in the context of a solo exhibition at the museum that same year. In the same year, also in Paris, Le Bal offered him a much acclaimed solo exhibition. Lewis continuously shows internationally, recently exhibiting in Sao Paulo, Porto, Seoul, and London. Canada will be his largest project to date, with a series of installation films culminating into a feature-length film similar to the acclaimed Inventio shown at the Toronto International Film Festival and at the Berlinale in the last year. This year, he is winner of a Governor General Award in Visual Arts and Media.
Mark Lewis: Canada is one element of a full program of AGO exhibitions and events that will celebrate Canada 150 in 2017. More details will be available at a later date – stay tuned!
There’s a bright, public space in the gallery where you can get lost in works straight from the vault: the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Study Centre, on level 1. This world-class print room and vault offers a unique space for accessing the our collection of works on paper and photography. We took a behind-the-scenes look with Magdalyn Asimakis, the monitor of the P&D Centre, and the curatorial assistant for 2015’s Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s The Time.
Tell us about the Centre, by the numbers (which are pretty incredible).
In a nutshell: we have 20,000 works on paper that span from the 1400s to the present day, and over 50,000 photographs. Our department’s current exhibition, Drawing, Je t’aime, features nearly 100 of our finest drawings—and those are just the tip of the iceberg.
And these are works that aren’t currently on display, so what exactly are they stored in?
The works are stored unframed and matted in solander boxes (which sort of fold open like a clam shell) and map drawers. This is standard practice, and the benefit is it allows us to bring works out of the vault easily for viewing and study.
How can the public come see the works?
Since we opened in ’93, we now have a very active public program that is animated through staff and a dedicated group of volunteers. On Wednesdays, you can drop in the Study Centre between 1pm and 8pm for our Open Door program to see the space and a selection of works on display. And until 4pm that day, we take requests! You can actually ask to have specific works brought out from the vault. We also have free talks on the second Friday of each month at 11am, and a quarterly ticketed talk on Friday evenings called Close Encounters. And each month for First Thursday, we curate a pop-up exhibition in the Study Centre called Out of the Vaults which is very successful. Not to mention we are always hosting classes and taking private appointments.
What surprised you when you started working here?
A solander box containing Albrecht Dürer’s The Virgin with the Swaddled Child, 1520, Print, 14.5 x 9.9 cm (5 11/16 x 3 7/8 in.), Gift of Sir Edmund Walker Estate, 1926.
I was really pleased to learn that the Study Centre’s collection was so central to the everyday work we do. It’s really a hands-on environment. Most days involve going into the vault to see an object or to go through a solander box. The reasons we look at works in the Study Centre vary, whether we are bringing them out for visitors to study during Open Door on Wednesdays; for drawing classes, lectures and exhibition planning; or for examination with colleagues (scholars, curators, and conservators). The collection is really alive and nurtured daily. Opening a solander box or looking at a work up close without protective glass never gets old.
What does a normal day look like for a P&D staffer?
Most of our work takes place behind the scenes. We work closely with colleagues from other departments including collections care specialists, registrars, conservators, library staff as well as curators from other areas. At the moment, we also have a mobile photography unit stationed in our vault to expedite the digitization process of the collection. There is a lot of interest in our works on paper collection, so on any given day you can find artists, curators, scholars and, on occasion, celebrities in here looking at works.
Is there a “Prints and Drawings” moment that stands out for you?
The most interesting moments are when the space is being shared because it creates unexpected connections. One day we had a class of Fine Arts undergraduate students in the Study Centre viewing some relief prints and at the next table was artist Stephen Andrews looking at his own works with Kitty Scott, the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, in preparation for his exhibition at the AGO. As the students were finishing their class, Stephen invited them over and he talked to them them a bit about his work, much to their amazement. The study centre offers a space for curators, artists, and students to have exchanges like these.
From March 28–April 3, we’re inviting you to join us and more than 2,000 other cultural organizations on Twitter for #MuseumWeek, a global social media campaign that encourages discussion on why museums matter, how they inspire us and what we can all do to keep them vital.
Each day of #MuseumWeek 2016 focuses on a different theme: secrets, people, architecture, heritage, the future, zoom, and love. Using each day’s corresponding hashtag, museum staff members and visitors all from over the world will fill Twitter with their ideas, memories, photos and questions.
Art+Feminism’s Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon is a campaign to improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia, and to encourage female editorship.
To kick off International Women’s Month, we hosted a free Edit-A-Thon on March 5 at the AGO — one of over 100 satellite venues (worldwide!) of the Art+Feminism event, which is headquartered at MoMA in New York. Numbers are still being compiled, but it looks like we were one of the largest events worldwide.
17 improved existing articles
7 finished articles
4 new drafts
Quite apart from the numbers, what was great about the event was the energy of collaborating on this project. You’d think that editing Wikipedia would be a pretty dry activity, but as a combined effort it can be surprisingly social and empowering.
—Amy Furness, Edit-A-Thon organizer and the AGO’s Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist, Library & Archives
Take a moment, and think of five artists off the top of your head. If the list was entirely (or mostly) male, there’s a Women’s History Month social media campaign hoping to change that.
All throughout March, the National Women’s Museum of Art is calling on other arts institutions to help push women artists, both living and past, to the fore with the hashtag #5WomenArtists. The hashtag was inspired by the fact that, as easy as it sounds, many people have trouble naming just five women artists.
Through #5WomenArtists, the Women’s Museum hopes to help the public answer the question — without hesitation — ‘Can you name five women artists?’ by calling attention to the inequity women artists face today, as well as in the past, we hope to inspire conversation and awareness. We are excited to invite other art museums to join us in this initiative.
—NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling
In addition to LACMA, the Guggenheim, MFA Boston, and Museum of Modern Art, New York, we’ll be joining the digital call to arms and celebrating the gifted women artists—past and present—in our collection and on display.
Ready to take another run at the #5WomenArtists challenge? If you are, make sure to share (and tag us) on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @agotoronto.
by Amy Furness, Edit-A-Thon organizer and the AGO’s Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist, Library & Archives
Art+Feminism’s Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon is a campaign to improve coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia, and to encourage female editorship.
Since last year’s Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, there’s been great energy and momentum in Toronto for keeping this project going. We’ve been holding Wikipedia Wednesday evenings every few months in the AGO’s Library & Archives, teaching editing skills and building Wikipedia content on women artists. So it’s exciting now to be planning for the next big international event. To kick off International Women’s Month, we’re hosting a free Edit-A-Thon on March 5 at the AGO — one of over 100 satellite venues (worldwide!) of the Art+Feminism event, which is headquartered at MoMA in New York.
The reason for this edition of the Edit-A-Thon is just as compelling as when we started: only an estimated 10% of Wikipedia editors identify as female, an imbalance which skews the content of this prevalent information resource. Add to this situation the gender politics of the visual arts, and the result is there are all too many women artists on whom very little information can easily be found. The Art+Feminism project is helping to change that by encouraging female editors and supporting the creation of new Wikipedia content to fill the gaps.
In the social setting of an Edit-A-Thon, editing Wikipedia can be surprisingly empowering, and even fun. It’s a great way to celebrate International Women’s Month, and International Women’s Day (March 8). Consider joining us, or just come to show your support!
To celebrate Drawing, Je t’aime, renowned academic and artist Margaret Priest will be giving an intimate lecture in the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre on the artists whose work has informed and inspired her own practice — and we want you to tweet your questions for Margaret for the Q&A.
Egon Schiele, Portrait of a Girl, 1917, black crayon on wove paper, 33.5 x 16.5 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Herbert Alpert in memory of Patricia Joy Alpert, Beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Artist, Educator, 2002
HOW TO TAKE PART
Watch the livestream (link below) on Friday, February 19, 6pm – 7:30pm EST.
Tweet your questions at any time to @agotoronto (adding the hashtag #DrawingAGO) and we’ll share as many as we can with Margaret.
Post your questions in the Livestream chat feed.
Christiane Pflug, On McDermott’s Farm: The Forest, date unknown, graphite on paper, 32 x 24.5 cm . Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Dr. Michael Pflug, 1975, Donated by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1988
Drawing is a fundamentally philosophical act, an act of faith and a belief in magic. The moment the artist’s first mark literally and metaphorically punctures the surface of a blank sheet of paper – it both affirms and denies that surface – and in so doing, it positions itself at the centre of our consciousness. —Margaret Priest
Through pencil dots, conté dashes, charcoal stumpings, wash scumbles, ink glyphs, hatchings, scratchings and erasures, Margaret Priest invites you to examine the rich materiality and the implied metaphysics found in a group of AGO drawings by artists whose work has informed and inspired her own artistic practice.
Margaret Priest (b.1944 – Tyringham, England) was raised and educated in London, where she received her MFA from the Royal College of Art. She moved to Toronto, Canada in 1976. Known for her drawings and three-dimensional critiques of modernism and the built world, Priest works at the intersections of architecture, design, urban histories and personal memory. Since 1970, she has exhibited in museums and public and private galleries in England, Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the USA. Though retired from teaching, she is Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph and a visiting lecturer at universities and schools of art and architecture in Canada and the USA.
Calling all #YYZ foodies in search of the perfect (and Instagrammable) Winterlicious meal: Our Frank Gehry-designed kitchen and restaurant is serving up a series of fresh, inventive and mouthwatering prix-fixe courses ($25 lunch and $35 dinner). And the food isn’t the only feast for the eyes. FRANK features Douglas fir wood-panelled walls, modern Danish furniture, changing artwork by contemporary artists, and an installation by another noteworthy Frank — Frank Stella.
Below: Toronto’s own @amazerall chowed down at FRANK this Winterlicious and shared shots of his delectable eats.