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Burger-to-go

March 13th, 2017

Photo Courtesy of @agotoronto.

Claes Oldenburg’s iconic sculpture Floor Burger, one of the highlights of the AGO Collection of modern art and a visitor selfie hotspot, has gone back into storage for our major reinstallation project Look:Forward. But this isn’t “Goodbye,” it’s “See you later!” Floor Burger will make its return next year. For more updates on what is open and closed in the Gallery, visit Look:Forward.

The Floor Burger wasn’t always the visitor favourite it is now; in fact when it first arrived at the AGO, the Gallery found itself in a “pickle.”

The AGO purchased the Floor Burger from the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York on Jan. 27, 1967, for $2,000. The work, created in 1962 by pop art pioneer Claes Oldenburg, was initially titled Giant Hamburger. Read the rest of this entry »

Massive Party: a Space Odyssey

March 13th, 2017

Image courtesy of the artist.

On April 27, Machine Age Massive – the year’s hottest art party that supports the AGO’s ongoing conservation, public programming and learning projects – will turn the Art Gallery of Ontario into three artistic zones: Industrial, Digital, and Space, where attendees can snack on hors d’oeuvres, dance to tunes from the DJ, and surround themselves with contemporary installations and performances (all included in the ticket price, a portion of which is tax-deductible).

We’ve already introduced you to one artist, Jon Sasaki, who’s taking over the AGO for Massive Party with an inflatable 90-metre smokestack and an interactive dance floor under the theme of “Industrial Age.” This next artist is prepared to take partygoers into the next stratosphere.

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The views are different here

March 13th, 2017

Still courtesy of Tourism Toronto.

Toronto is on fire these days, and the AGO is a vital part of the hot arts and culture scene that makes this city great. Our friends at Tourism Toronto recently launched a video campaign aimed at international travellers that illustrates both the excitement and diversity that have made Toronto Canada’s most-visited destination. The title of the video, The Views are Different Here, speaks to both the iconic physical views and the open-mindedness that define our city.

The video may have been aimed at travellers, but Torontonians love its swagger as well. Since it launched this week the video has gone viral. Check it out here, and catch some beautiful glimpses of the AGO:

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ICYMI: Can’t wait for spring?

March 13th, 2017

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Le concert, 1918 1919. Oil on canvas, 75.6 x 92.7 cm . Gift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1954. © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario

Don’t let the late winter greys get you down! Instead get ready to turn over a new leaf and let your passion for florals shine. Inspired by our upcoming Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition, we’ve decided to devote our introductory courses to flowers, greenery, and plant life. Not sure where to start? Try Introduction to Everything: Flowers as it covers the gamut in art-making. There are also specific classes for Watercolours, Printmaking, and Drawing if you want to hone your skills in a particular form.

Need a quick hit of spring? Flowers and plants have a long history of fascinating artists and inspiring art, so we thought we’d share some of our favourites from the AGO Collection. Get inspired as we delve into all things botanical.

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#RetroAGO

March 7th, 2017

Hop in the DeLorean for a glimpse into the Gallery’s past through some vintage photos, and share your own memories with us.

We’ve had a few facelifts over the years, but did you know that the AGO is over a hundred years old?  The Grange, a historic Georgian manor attached to the AGO’s south side, was the first home of the Art Museum of Toronto (later to become the AGO). It was built 200 years ago for D’Arcy Boulton Jr., a member of the powerful Boulton family, and is now Toronto’s oldest existing brick structure.

We may not have a DeLorean, but we do have a time machine in the form of our extensive AGO archives, which hold thousands of vintage photographs. #RetroAGO is a new, ongoing series that will take you back to various eras in the Gallery’s history.

But we’re starting off in the not-so-distant past! This week we’re sharing photos from our Gallery school in the 1980s. Read the rest of this entry »

Because it’s 2017

March 7th, 2017

At 88 years old, groundbreaking Toronto-based artist Rita Letendre has never had a full retrospective of her work in the city. That’s about to change.

Rita Letendre. Aforim, 1975. Acrylic on canvas, 137.2 x 198.1 cm. Anonymous Gift, 1975. © 2017 Rita Letendre.

True story: when AGO staff members were briefed on the upcoming exhibition Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, co-curator Wanda Nanibush, AGO Assistant Curator, Canadian and Indigenous Art, asked the group, “Are you in love yet?” There was a unified, gentle hum of agreement from everyone.

So get ready to fall in love, Toronto, with this solo retrospective on one of the most eminent living abstract artists. Rita Letendre: Fire & Light takes over the AGO’s Signy Eaton Gallery (where Anthony Caro’s Sculpture Laid Bare is currently on display until March 22) June 29 – September 17, filling the space with nearly 40 large-scale paintings spanning Letendre’s career. This exhibition, co-curated by Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik, AGO Associate Curator of Canadian Art, will offer an overwhelming sensation for AGO-goers, both by the artworks and by Letendre’s undeniably fiery personality. Read the rest of this entry »

Step up, Toronto

March 7th, 2017

Get the scoop on the AGO’s iconic, Frank Gehry-designed spiral staircase.

One of the most iconic—and instantly recognizable—architectural features of Transformation AGO, a redesign by Frank Gehry completed in 2008, is the Allan Slaight and Emmanuelle Gattuso staircase. The Baroque-inspired staircase starts from the Level 2 walkway in the heart of the Gallery, and extends through the glass ceiling linking to Level 4 and 5 of the Contemporary Tower. The central location of the staircase helps visitors navigate the Gallery, often using it as a meeting point or a guide to the entrance and exit of the Gallery.

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Confronting art and nationhood

March 7th, 2017

Sir David Adjaye, Christi Belcourt, Junot Díaz, and Paul Gross unite on April 21 for AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall, our provocative speaker series.

Photos courtesy of the artists.

After a sold-out launch last fall, AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall returns to address Art and Nationhood through the eyes of four acclaimed artists. Architect Sir David Adjaye, visual artist Christi Belcourt, author Junot Díaz, and filmmaker Paul Gross join moderator Matt Galloway, host of CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, for an evening of inspired conversation addressing current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress.

The event, taking place on April 21 at 8 pm, kicks off with a performance by JUNO Award-winning Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq and will be live-streamed at cbc.ca/arts and broadcast nationally on CBC Radio One. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Black North

March 6th, 2017

New AGO assistant curator Julie Crooks is hoping visitors can help unravel the mysteries surrounding a series of 19th century photographs depicting Black Ontarians.

Unknown. [Unidentified women, Niagara Falls backdrop], 1880-1900. Tintype, 6.4 × 5.1 cm. Richard Bell Family Fonds, Brock University Archives.  Courtesy Brock University Archives, Image © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario

To celebrate International Women’s Month, we’re highlighting some amazing women of the AGO and the projects that are keeping them busy. First up is a new addition to the team, Assistant Curator of Photography Julie Crooks, and her intriguing first exhibition.

An upcoming AGO exhibition may be small in size, but offers big intrigue. Free Black North is an installation of close to 30 rarely seen photographs of men, women and children living in Ontario in the mid-to-late 1800s, many of whom were descendants of Black refugees who escaped enslavement in the southern United States. The exhibition tells the story of how historically Black Canadian communities used photography as a tool to visualize and lay claim to their complex histories.

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I am Nasty, hear me roar

February 28th, 2017

This week’s First Thursday celebrates International Women’s Month with a line-up of phenomenal women artists, under the theme “Still Nasty.

d’bi.young anatafrika. Photo by Anthony Gebrehiwot.

To celebrate International Women’s Month, let our March First Thursday introduce you to some fierce female artists who are ready to share their Nastiness with everyone attending. This Thursday, March 2, “Still Nasty” features a performance installation by Mariam Magsi, photography by Zahra Saleki, an intervention in the board game Settlers of Catan by Golboo Amani and Coco Guzman, activations by Hazel Meyer and a headlining performance by d’bi.young anatafrika and her band The 333. On top of all this, you can count on the usual Night Market snacks and cash bars to fuel the late-night art-going.

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