By now, you’re probably more than familiar with comedian, actor, musician, author, art collector, curator, and inexhaustible multi-hyphenate Steve Martin, who helped bring to life The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris(on now til September 18). But you may be less familiar with why and how this charismatic fellow became involved with the Group of Seven painter. Martin tells all (and some jokes) in the videos below.
Tune in at 7pm tonight to watch Stephan Jost, the AGO’s new Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, in conversation with Sean O’Neill, AGO Associate Director, Adult Programming & Partnerships. You’ll hear about the experiences that led Stephan to the AGO, his perspectives on Toronto, and how he envisions the future of art museums in the 21st century.
As we open our newest exhibition Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi, we have something huge to celebrate. In 2015, the AGO acquired the first painting by the Danish master to enter a Canadian museum. Interior with Four Etchings, a characteristic work created at the height of the artist’s career, was for many decades in a private Toronto collection and has been seen publicly only once before, during an exhibition in Japan.
Painted in the Hammershøi apartment at Strandgade 30 in old Copenhagen, the work features some of the artist’s favourite motifs: a closed, square piano with chair, cherished antique Royal Copenhagen porcelain, four heavily framed, indistinct etchings and, most important of all, his wife Ida, who would model for him more than seventy times.
So how did this masterpiece come to reside at the AGO? We chatted with our outgoing curator of European Art Lloyd DeWitt to ask about the history of this painting and the role the Department of Canadian Heritage played in helping to keep it in Canada.
Curator’s Talk: After Abstract Expressionism: Making Sense of Painting in the 1960s
Everyone was at a loss after Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912–56) famously flung and dripped paint onto the unstretched canvases he placed on the floor of his studio in 1948. To quote the American artist Allan Kaprow: “he destroyed painting.” If Pollock destroyed all the assumptions everyone had about painting in the late 1940s, he also created a generation of artists who were forced to contend with his innovation in the 1950s and 1960s. we will explore how artists made sense of painting in the wake of Jackson Pollock’s radical gesture.
Beijing-based artist Song Dong is transforming the AGO’s Signy Eaton Gallery into a series of snaking walkways and small rooms that recall the communal courtyards of his childhood — courtyards that have all but disappeared from the city. Take a one-minute tour of the changing landscape that inspired Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard, opening January 30.