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Conservation Notes: 19th Century printing out processes

February 10th, 2017

2013/368. Julia Margaret Cameron. Beatrice, 1866, Albumen print

Photography as an art form has a rich history that has seen the invention of many photographic processes and prints. This is the second article in a series written to give AGO patrons a greater depth of understanding about the various photographic processes in the collection. You can read the previous article at here.

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Toronto, take two

February 7th, 2017

The AGO’s Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries exhibition has been infused with newly-installed art for a fresh glimpse into the ‘70s and ‘80s.

FASTWURMS. Wall of Fatigue [from the installation “Snow-She-Bones” at the Ydessa Gallery in 1983], 1983. Industrial galvanized metal panels, four pulleys, four burlap sacks full of potatoes, variable dimensions. FASTWURMS. © FASTWURMS 2017.

Praised by The Globe and Mail for unearthing “a vibrant, political and occasionally messy era of the city’s art history” since its debut last September, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971–1989 has intrigued visitors with its wide-ranging look at the generation of Toronto artists who came of age during those tumultuous two decades. Punctuated by references to the city we love and its urban landscape, the exhibition highlights the era’s preoccupation with ideas of performance, the body, the image, self portraiture, storytelling and representation. Intended as an evolving exhibition, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries is one of the longest-running and most diverse AGO shows in recent history, and this month visitors can see even more Toronto artists as our staff members put the finishing touches on the second half of the installation.

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Need the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

February 7th, 2017

The AGO has you covered with a week full of romantic ideas.

What better place than an art gallery to fall in love? Even our architecture is designed with romance in mind. Frank Gehry purposefully made the famous spiral staircase to be more narrow in certain points to draw people closer.

Do something different this Valentine’s Day and come to the AGO for a date they’ll never forget – whether it be on a first date or a 50th anniversary celebration. One day isn’t enough: we’re celebrating all week from February 10–17*.

Not feeling romantic? We’re here for you. How about an afternoon or evening out to bask in the company of your closest pal-entines?

Here are all the things Cupid has cooked up for you at the AGO:

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Spotlight on the darkroom

February 7th, 2017

A new student exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre highlights recent AGO photography acquisitions.

Pamela Harris, Selena Tucktoo in darkroom, Taloyoak, 1973, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Randall McLeod, 2012 © Pamela Harris

In 1972, American-Canadian photographer Pamela Harris visited ᑕᓗᕐᔪᐊᖅ (Taloyoak), Nunavut—then called Spence Bay, Northwest Territories—and noticed that while the people of Taloyoak took photographs, they had to send the negatives away to be developed. As Harris noted, “they should also have power over it, the power that comes from being able to do things oneself.” During her second visit to Taloyoak the following year, Harris secured the necessary materials and with the help of several members of the community, including photographers Selena Tucktoo, Theresa Quaqjuaq and Ootookee (Tookie) Takolik, she built a darkroom in the local women’s craft workshop.

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Smells like teen spirit

February 7th, 2017

The AGO Youth Council is one of our most important advisory groups. For over 10 years the council has initiated all sorts of programming by youth for youth, including exhibitions, public art projects, large-scale events, field trips and much more. We sat down with two of its newest members, Roy (17) and Zoe (16), to talk about why they <heart> the AGO – and more importantly, what some of their favourite memes are.

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Drawn to Print

February 7th, 2017

Volunteer Jane Smith perches beside one of the works featured in her upcoming talk, Marmaduke Matthews’ watercolour Wychwood Park, c. 1895. Collection of the AGO, purchased with assistance from Wintario, 1980. Photo by Craig Boyko, AGO.

We like to go big at the AGO, so when we say our Prints & Drawings collection is world class, we mean it! Covering the entire history of works on paper from the western world from the 1400s to the present, the collection is home to works by thousands of artists including Michelangelo, Schiele, Van Gogh, Greg Curnoe, Betty Goodwin and David Milne. The art is brought to life by an incredible group of hard-working volunteers, who in addition to hosting weekly events, give monthly free talks. Held on the second Friday of every month, these talks cover a range of topics highlighting works and artists from the collection, and are illustrated by a selection of works from the vaults.

This Friday, February 11 at 11 am, P&D volunteer Jane Smith will present a talk on The Grange – Toronto’s oldest existing brick structure (it’s celebrating its 200th anniversary!). We caught up with Jane to ask about why she volunteers and to find out more about her upcoming presentation.   Read the rest of this entry »

Look up from your phone!

January 31st, 2017

Art is (almost) everywhere.  A new AGO installation maps out where you can—and can’t—find Toronto’s public art.

Map Detail, Toronto Downtown Core. Cartography by Kai Salmela. Image courtesy the Artful City.

Did you know that the City of Toronto currently has over 700 public artworks on display, free of lineups and admission fees? And now, for the first time ever, a map has been created that marks where all public artwork can be found in the city. Created by Toronto-based public art research collective The Artful City in collaboration with the Martin Prosperity Institute and presented in partnership with the AGO, The Artful City: Mapping Toronto’s Public Art Landscape 1967–2015 is a new installation in our Weston Family Learning Centre Community Gallery.

This large-scale installation, featuring a detailed map and illustrated timeline, was a year in the making.  The map reveals patterns: the growth of public artwork has been concentrated in particular neighbourhoods and has prioritized certain forms of practice over others. As part of the experience, visitors are invited to identify areas in need of public artworks, and answer the questions “What does public art mean to you? What can it look like in the future?”

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Lido Pimienta headlines AGO First Thursdays this week

January 31st, 2017

Don’t miss the powerful presence of this Colombian-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter.

Lido Pimienta. Photo by Alejandro Santiago.

Lido Pimienta’s music defies categorization; it’s a swirl of electro beats, Afro-Colombian rhythms, dramatic vocals and politics. A truly independent artist, she recently released her second album La Papessa and is already working on crowdfunding her third. La Papessa refers to the High Priestess, a figure that appears in a traditional deck of tarot cards.

We caught up with Lido Pimienta ahead of her First Thursday performance this week (on February 2) to learn more about the music she’s making in honour of this month’s theme, Shapeshifters. What did we learn? This is not one to be missed. Read the rest of this entry »

Snap a selfie – or a backie!

January 31st, 2017

Share your AGO experience with your friends…yes, you can take photos here!

Last week, gallery-goers across the world snapped a selfie with their favourite collection or work of art for #MuseumSelfie Day, and the AGO was proud to take part. The one-day event was founded in 2014 by London museum blogger Mar Dixon to encourage people to visit their local museum. Here is what #MuseumSelfie Day looked like at the AGO:

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Art is political

January 31st, 2017

Art and art-making can be powerful tools for change. One of our newest courses for adults, Art-making Inspired by Feminist Ideas, looks at the creative process through a feminist lens, providing students the opportunity to discover artists whose works exemplify feminist strategies and to explore ideas that help inform and communicate a sense of identity. The class is open to participants of all genders.

Aleks Bartosik. Photo by Crystal Lee.

The AGO talked to instructor and artist Aleks Bartosik to learn more about the class and hear about her own feminist inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »