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Drawn to comics? Join the AGO at TCAF for a special panel this Saturday

May 9th, 2014

Comics Curation
Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. E., Toronto (map)

Comics are having a moment here at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Together with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, we invite you to join Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Frederik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, as he discusses the AGO’s inclusion of cartoonists and their work in programming and exhibitions. Joining him will be two lauded Canadian cartoonists who have recently collaborated with the Gallery: Chester Brown, currently featured in Chester Brown and Louis Riel, and David Collier, who has produced an eight-page comic that will accompany our upcoming exhibition Alex Colville. Finally, the panel will touch on our just-announced Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective.


Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.  Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.

Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, The Village Voice, cover, June 6, 1989. Ink and correction fluid on paper. Copyright © 1989 by Art Spiegelman. Used by permission of the artist and The Wylie Agency LLC.
Courtesy Drawn + Quarterly.


About Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective
Art Spiegelman’s comics have been redefining a genre for more than 50 years, and this December the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will pay homage to the Pulitzer Prize–winning artist with an exhibition highlighting the breadth of his career. Art Spiegelman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective opens on Dec. 20, 2014, and runs to March 14, 2015. A tireless innovator who is unafraid to tackle difficult subject matter, Spiegelman has drawn inspiration from a wide range of sources in his work including politics, the Holocaust, Cubism and hard-boiled detective fiction. Maus, a two-volume graphic novel that recounts his parents’ life in Nazi-occupied Poland and later at Auschwitz, was the first and only work of its genre to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1992. The exhibition also features 300 works on paper ranging from trading cards to magazine covers.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.


About Chester Brown and Louis Riel
For more than two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists. His innovative and influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, which expanded the audience for Canadian cartooning, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. A selection of original drawings from the publication is now on view at the AGO. The works feature the Manitoba politician and Métis leader Louis David Riel fleeing from Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), and his subsequent hanging for treason. Brown’s work combines bold imagery, stark compositions and simple texts to convey a complex Canadian tragedy that remains, for many, controversial and unresolved.

About Alex Colville
More than 100 works by Canadian icon Alex Colville (1920-2013) will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario starting in summer 2014, marking the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date. Curated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator of Canadian art, the exhibition will honour Colville’s legacy and explore the continuing impact of his work from the perspectives of several prominent popular culture figures from film, literature and music.

Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography installation

October 13th, 2013

By Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art

Original cover of Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003)

Original cover of Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography (2003)

For over two decades, Chester Brown has been one of Canada’s leading cartoonists, known nationally and internationally for such works as Yummy Fur, Ed the Happy Clown, I Never Liked You and Paying for It.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of his critically acclaimed, innovative and highly influential Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. As part of an ongoing series of interventions in the Canadian galleries, we have installed a selection of Brown’s original Riel drawings in the Georgia Ridley Salon, one of the AGO’s most memorable spaces to which, like the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, visitors regularly return. First designed as part of a 1990s reinstallation of the permanent collection, it was re-imagined as part of the Transformation program in 2008. The current installation is based on a chronological hanging of works from Confederation through to the First World War (1867-1917), with an additional emphasis on the work of women artists.

The Georgia Ridley Salon also highlights a period of nation building marked by civic growth and the accumulation of wealth in central Canada. With the establishment of art patronage and art institutions, Toronto emerged as a major centre of affluence and nationalism during this period. While this was a positive and powerful affirmation of the goals and visions of many Canadians — primarily those of British descent committed to an expanded Dominion of Canada — it was not a perspective shared by all. This idea of Canada was challenged by many, particularly in the Western regions that would become the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Chester Brown, Portrait of Louis Riel (2003), ink on paper, collection of the artist.

Louis David Riel (Métis, 1844-1885) led two rebellions challenging the new Canadian government’s plans for the West. Employing armed, diplomatic and democratic means, the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba (1869-70) was followed by the North-West Rebellion in Saskatchewan (1885). Although strongly supported by First Nations and French settlers, Riel was eventually arrested and hung for high treason.

Louis Riel remains a polarizing figure. Seen as a “founding father” to Manitobans, a spiritual leader to the Métis and a folk hero in Francophone and Catholic communities across Canada, he was considered a traitor in English Canada, particularly in Ontario and once–Protestant dominated Toronto. Through a creative collaboration with Toronto-based cartoonist Chester Brown, the goal of this project is to position Riel’s story within the salon’s story and to provoke reflection on a significant challenge to the nation building narrative.

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Chester Brown will present this year’s McCready Lecture on Canadian Art, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Book your free tickets here.