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Healing on the field and in the Gallery

September 5th, 2017

Image courtesy

In just under a month, the third international Invictus Games will take place in Toronto. From September 23 to 30, more than 550 ill, injured and wounded service people from 17 countries will compete in 12 adaptive sports in the only international event of its kind. The Invictus Games model uses sport to support rehabilitation, helping soldiers and veterans recover from mental or physical trauma. It’s also a way to show recognition and thanks to those who have served their countries.

Important healing happens inside the Gallery, too.  Did you know that creativity is proven to support emotional well-being, memory and social interactions that help combat depression and post-traumatic stress? The AGO has established programs that promote accessibility, tailoring Gallery experiences to specific groups. Read the rest of this entry »

An art enthusiast’s guide to TIFF 2017

September 5th, 2017

BOOM FOR REAL. Image Courtesy of TIFF.

It’s that time of year again: it seems like everyone in Toronto is gearing up for the annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We are thrilled once again to partner with TIFF and host some of the best filmmakers from around the world in our very own Jackman Hall.

To help you navigate an impressively large lineup of film choices, we’ve done some research and rounded up the films that explore themes of art, culture and creativity. From documentaries that explore the creative mind and the lives of great artists to films about finding inspiration and escaping reality through art, we have found something for every art-lover. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy a sculpture, buy a snowmobile

September 5th, 2017

Artist Lachaolasie Akesuk at the opening of Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood.

Have you ever wandered through an AGO exhibition and wondered what it would be like to have one of the artworks on display in your own home? A special opportunity exists right now for you to do just that, and with a very meaningful reason behind it.

As part of the AGO’s exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, the AGO is inviting visitors to help complete the artwork Future Snowmachines in Kinngait by purchasing one of a limited edition of aluminum snowmobile sculptures made in collaboration by Canadian artist collective PA System, Embassy of Imagination and Kinngait Youth (Cape Dorset, NU). Read the rest of this entry »

Meet the master of monsters

September 5th, 2017

The cover of the catalogue for Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. Illustrations by Guy Davis © 2016.

If there’s one thing filmmaker Guillermo del Toro knows, it’s what it’s like to be a fan. The exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, opening at the AGO on September 30, is born out of his own fandom for all things horror, sci-fi and Victorian gothic – and the amazingly detailed collection of objects he has amassed throughout his life.

We also know del Toro has his fair share of fans here in Toronto – that’s why we’re giving Torontonians the chance to meet this master of monsters face-to-face with a book signing of the exhibition catalogue or other del Toro-themed items on Wednesday, September 27 from 4 pm to 9 pm. You are going to love the catalogue, a gorgeous 144-page deep dive into the works showcased in the exhibition, del Toro’s artistic career, and the decades of work that inspire him, full of illustrations, images and essays. It was edited by Britt Salvesen, Matthew Welch and the AGO’s own Jim Shedden, with contributions by Guillermo del Toro, Keith McDonald, Roger Clark and Paul Koudounaris. Remember to keep your receipt! Read the rest of this entry »

The monsters are coming…

August 29th, 2017

Guillermo del Toro’s Bleak House. Photo © Josh White/

Imagine coming home after a long day’s work: you put your bag down at the front door, hang up your jacket in the closet and crash-land on your couch. Sounds familiar, right? Well, now imagine that above your closet is a five-foot bust of Frankenstein’s monster, and beside the couch are life-size sculptures of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.

This is the experience you’ll get in Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, opening at the AGO on September 30, an exhibition curated from the famous filmmaker’s personal collection of horror artifacts as well as pieces from the AGO’s own Collection. And good news: public tickets go on sale on September 15 online at, in person and by phone, starting at 10 am. And if you’re an AGO Member there’s even better news: you can buy your tickets now! Read the rest of this entry »

Looking through The Entangled Gaze

August 29th, 2017

L: Haida, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. Sea Captain Figure, c. 1840. Argillite, ivory, 46.8 x 13.5 x 8 cm. Purchased with Funds from the Estate of Mary Eileen Ash, 2008. Image © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario. R:  Paul Kane. Death of Omoxesisisany or Big Snake, 1858 c – 1859. Embossed chromo lithograph on paper, 17.2 x 46.1 cm. Gift of Robert Hunter, 2006. © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario.

According to Canadian Art, “everybody is talking about Every. Now. Then. In his review of the exhibition, which opened at the end of June as part of the AGO’s response to the Canada 150 celebrations, Vidal Wu writes that “the thematic density and clarity of ‘Every. Now. Then.’ foregrounds bodies and identities in ways that preserve their autonomy—and more importantly, it doesn’t preserve them for the consumption of others, a common criticism of non-Indigenous curation of Indigenous art. In nearly every instance here, artist and subject coolly meets the gaze of curator and viewer.”

It’s clear that Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, on now in the AGO’s Level 4 until December 10, has raised questions about the relationship between artist, curator and viewer, and between colonizer and the colonized. How have European and Indigenous artists represented each other throughout history? These ideas will be explored in a two-day seminar coming to the AGO in October (which you can sign up for now).

Read the rest of this entry »

Get ready for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize

August 29th, 2017

IMAGES (Top Left, clockwise ): (1) Hank Willis Thomas, The Law of the Land is Our Demand, 2017. Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl. 152.4 x 48 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. (2) Liz Johnson Artur, Untitled, 1986 to 2010, Black Balloon Archive, Courtesy of the artist. (3) Taisuke Koyama, Untitled (MELTING RAINBOWS 103), 2010 Archival Pigment Print, 111 x 74 cm / 60 x 40 cm, Courtesy of the artist. (4) Raymond Boisjoly, (What Comes After) What Came Before (detail), 2015. Solvent-based inkjet print on vinyl. 132 x 191 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize exhibition is opening on September 6, and we couldn’t be more excited about the incredible photographic works about to be displayed on Level 5 of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower.

Mark your calendars and join artists Liz Johnson Artur, Raymond Boisjoly, Taisuke Koyama and Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with exhibition curator Sophie Hackett on the evening of September 6. Following the talk, there will be a public reception in Walker Court to celebrate the exhibition’s opening.

Read the rest of this entry »

September in the scene

August 29th, 2017

Photo (c) Royal Ontario Museum.

Between park hangs in the sunshine and putting together our many summer exhibitions, we’ve been busy here at the AGO. But there’s so much going on outside of our orbit, reminding us that Toronto really is an amazing city of arts and culture. Check out some of our top picks of happenings in the scene this September. And don’t forget – the AGO is open on Labour Day!

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Farewell FRANK… Hello AGO Bistro!

August 22nd, 2017

The AGO Bistro burger, with pickled portobello mushroom, Upper Canada Cheese Co. maple smoked comfort cream, lettuce, house-made pickles, French fries, Blackbird Bakery bun, and Dijon aioli. Image courtesy of the AGO.

They say that art is food for the soul, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy a delicious meal when you visit the AGO!

We’re excited to announce that today is the official launch of the AGO’s newly re-branded restaurant, AGO Bistro. Formerly known as FRANK, our new name reflects the global bistro menu philosophy that guides our Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille and her culinary team. Diners can expect a casual, relaxing place to rest the feet and chew over the ideas and thoughts inspired by a day of art-going—as well as some really amazing food, with a few new items on the menu.

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Our favourite summer reads

August 22nd, 2017

Cover of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr.

There is nothing quite like picking up a good book (or magazine) and getting lost in it. With the end of summer and the new school year fast approaching, a few AGO staff members decided to take a moment and look back on the reads we enjoyed this season.

Whether you are an avid reader or you’re working on a resolution to finish one book by the end of 2017, let us help you find your next favourite read. Scroll through our recommendations below.

Read the rest of this entry »