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Life drawing with AGO Instructor Bogdan Luca

February 10th, 2016

Drawing Workshop in the DRAWING JE T'AIME exhibition

This winter, you can take a series of instructor-led life drawing classes inside the exhibition Drawing, Je t’aime: Selections from the AGO Vaults. Course instructor and artist Bogdan Luca gave the AGO’s Online Media officer, Amanda Hadi, the low-down on why anyone can and should want to draw, and why the pencil always trumps the camera as a travelling tool.

Want to register for the next class? Click here.

What does the word “drawing” mean for most people?

I think it can be intimidating… Some people find it mystical and incomprehensible. It goes along with this idea of genius — that only certain special people can and know how to draw. “You’re born with a pencil in your hand.” When in fact, I believe anyone and everyone can draw. If you can write by hand, you also have the ability to draw. It’s just a matter of rearranging those scribbles in other configurations.

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Highlights from #AGO1st – February First Thursday

February 8th, 2016

What did you get up to last Thursday? On February 4, 2016, we were kicking off a new season of Toronto’s biggest art party with an evening of artful programming devoted to Beijing avant-garde artist Song Dong and the theme “There’s No Place Like Home.” Over 2,500 #AGO1st guests took in musical headliner Casey Mecija (formely of Toronto band Ohbijou), who performed against stunning GIF visuals by filmmaker Sammy Rawal; pop-up talks from the Syrian Film Festival and AGO Artist-in-Residence Jérôme Havre; artists Alvis Choi (a.k.a Alvis Parsley), Andil Gosine with Matthew Ryan Smith; and music by DJ Stunts (of Yes Yes Y’All) and Cam Lee (Feministry).

Tickets for our next #AGO1st (March 3, 2016) go on sale February 11 at 10am.

Photos after the jump!

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Art with ♥: Valentine’s Day at the AGO

February 4th, 2016

Henry Matisse, La Coeur, date unknown, stencil print on paper, 42.1 x 65 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Mr. Arthur Gelber, 1986

Henry Matisse, La Coeur, date unknown, stencil print on paper, 42.1 x 65 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Mr. Arthur Gelber, 1986

Toronto is loaded with options for Valentine’s Day — spas, restaurants, bars  — but if you’re looking for something unique (or some art to get you through the day), make it a day and night at the gallery, in the company of Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, Christi Belcourt and Henri Matisse.

Share your experiences by tagging #HeartAGO

1. Take the Valentine’s Tour (and the Not-so-Valentine’s Tour)

February 14, 2016, 11am–5:30pm
Artful discussion and themed tours of the AGO’s collection — what’s not to love? In the company of a knowledgeable and engaging AGO Gallery Guide, you’ll visit masterworks that explore themes of romantic love, love of celebrity, love of food, love of nature, break-ups/scorned love, and more. Highlights include works by Alex Colville, Rembrandt, Andy Warhol, and Emily Carr.

1-Hour Highlights Tours (every one is different!): 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. Meet in Walker Court, Level 1 (If you need directions, head to the Info Kiosk at the entrance.)

On the Dot Tours: Quick, 10-minute art chats. Meet in front of the work On the Dot. (Check back for listings!)


2. Give someone some AGO♥

(clockwise from top): Valentine’s Day cards ($4–$5). Umbra Pongo Table Tennis set ($40). Keith Haring box of chocolates ($26). Alessi AL13002 Red Leather Strap Watch ($200).

Finding a Valentine’s Day present may be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be bewildering. Here are few thoughtful and unconventional shopAGO gifts, from playful tokens of friendship for PAL-entine’s Day to over-the-moon romantic gestures for the more-than-just pals.

Where: shopAGO, online or in person


3. Commit… to a 1+1 Membership

Gift of Membership

Say “I want to spend more time with you (and great art)” with a one-year dual-membership ($145).

Where: Online or in person at The Membership Info Desk, Lobby


4. Tell them “I like you a latte”


(Photo: @daneshhanbury)

When the way to their heart is through their coffee, head to the Galleria Italia Espresso Bar for European cappuccinos, lattes, gelato and treats, and a stellar view of Dundas Street West. Perfect to enjoy ensemble or solo.

Where: Level 2, Galleria Italia


5. Visit Drawing, Je t’aime


(Robert Motherwell, Je t’aime, 1955, Ink on paper, Overall: 38.1 x 27.3 cm (15 x 10 3/4 in.). Purchased with funds from an Anonymous Donor, with support from the Dedalus Foundation, 1998)

“Robert Motherwell, a self-admitted Francophile, used this romantic phrase to express his deeply felt passion for artmaking. The calligraphic elements and interplay of text and image produce, in the artist’s words, ‘a desperate cry for love.’”

–Brenda Rix, Manager, Print and Drawing Study Centre

Take in over 100 rarely seen drawings by Jacopo Tintoretto, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Joyce Wieland and Annie Pootoogook, and draw your sweetheart’s self-portrait at our portraiture stations. Free with general admission. Share your #DrawingAGO photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.

Where: Level 1, Eaton/Gelber/Elliot Galleries


6. Spiral up the stairway


According to some, architect Frank Gehry designed the Baroque spiral staircase narrower at some points so that “two people, one going up and the other going down, would pass each other closely and fall in love.” Share your #GehryStaircase photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.

Where: Walker Court, Level 2


7. Have dinner at FRANK

We call this piece, “The AGO’s FRANK restaurant Valentine’s Day Menu”: Seared scallops with honeycrisp apple in butter froth. Yuk Hwe beef tartare with kimchi and grilled ciabatta. Smoked sabayon and king oyster mushroom ravioli. Duck with roasted butternut squash and port plums. Dark chocolate ganache cake and poached pear tarte. ($85 per guest; or $100 per guest including recommended wine pairings, taxes and gratuity)

When: February 12 & 13, 2016

Where: FRANK Restaurant, Level 1


8. Sip on Afternoon Tea at the Grange


If nothing but the finest recreation of a Downton Abbey high tea will satisfy, then treat yourself (and maybe them too) at the Grange. February 13 & 14, by reservation only; Members’ exclusive only. 

When: February 13 & 14, 2016

Where: Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge, Grange House, Level 1


9. Get crafty with the kids at AGO Family Sundays

Little ones can get in the spirit by creating heart-shaped suncatchers during our special Family Sunday artmaking workshop. Included with general admission.

Where: Weston Family Learning Centre, Concourse Level

#NewLookAGO Twitter Q&A with curator Kenneth Brummel

February 2nd, 2016

Watch the livestream of the talk at 7pm:

We want to hear from you! Join us on Wednesday, February 3 at 7pm for our livestream and livetweet about Jackson Pollock and the generation of artists who came after him.

Kenneth Brummel, Assistant Curator of Modern Art and curator of A New Look: 1960s and ’70s Abstract Painting at the AGOwill be giving a talk on “After Abstract Expressionism: Making Sense of Painting in the 1960s.” We’ll be livestreaming and livetweeting his talk, and we want you to tweet your questions for Kenneth for the Q&A!

Morris Louis, Delta Tau, 1960, aAcrylic resin on canvas, 274.3 x 457.2 cm (108 x 180 in.). Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of the Estate of Marcella Brenner Louis, 2010.

Morris Louis, Delta Tau, 1960, acrylic resin on canvas, 274.3 x 457.2 cm (108 x 180 in.). Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of the Estate of Marcella Brenner Louis, 2010.


Watch the livestream (link below) on Wednesday, February 3, 7pm – 8:30pm EST.

Follow @agotoronto and the hashtag #NewLookAGO on Twitter for our livetweet of key remarks.

Tweet your questions to @agotoronto (adding the hashtag #NewLookAGO) and we’ll share as many as we can with Kenneth.


Post your questions in the Livestream chat feed.


Jackson Pollock painting in his studio on Long Island, New York, 1950. Photo: © Hans Namuth

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.

AGOxInstagram: January 2016

February 1st, 2016

We’re lucky: Our visitors are some of the best photographers in the city, and we are constantly marveling at your views of the AGO. Inspired by you, and our friends at the Hammer Museum, we’re creating a monthly round-up of favourite AGOxInstagram shots (starting right now!). Want to take part? Keep sharing your Instagram and Twitter photos with us by tagging @agotoronto or #agotoronto.

AGOxInstagram January 2016

Photos by: @joel_c_gregorio, @torontosaur, @andru386, @minijennifah, @abbiera, @2013kit, @punkodelish, @louise_reimer, @chelsiegrant94

Where to eat during Winterlicious 2016: FRANK Restaurant

January 31st, 2016

Calling all #YYZ foodies in search of the perfect (and Instagrammable) Winterlicious meal: Our Frank Gehry-designed kitchen and restaurant is serving up a series of fresh, inventive and mouthwatering prix-fixe courses ($25 lunch and $35 dinner). And the food isn’t the only feast for the eyes. FRANK features Douglas fir wood-panelled walls, modern Danish furniture, changing artwork by contemporary artists, and an installation by another noteworthy Frank — Frank Stella.

Below: Toronto’s own @amazerall chowed down at FRANK this Winterlicious and shared shots of his delectable eats.

#LiciousTO is on now til February 11, 2016. Make your FRANK reservation online or by phone at 416.979.6688, and share your meals with @agotoronto @frank_AGO. (Also on the table for one night only: A Winterlicious Evening inspired by Beijing avant-garde artist Song Dong.) 


Beet carpaccio salad in a coriander emulsion, with blackened clementine and dehydrated yogurt

Beet carpaccio salad in a coriander emulsion, with blackened clementine and dehydrated yogurt


Maple duck ham with crackling, celeriac, pickled blueberries, and sunchoke

Maple duck ham with crackling, celeriac, pickled blueberries, and sunchoke


Sea bream with Creole shrimp, grits, and tomato verjus

Sea bream with Creole shrimp, grits, and tomato verjus



Open lasagna with smoked Sicilian eggplant, mushroom Pugliese, and grana padano

Open lasagna with smoked Sicilian eggplant, mushroom Pugliese, and grana padano



Stout-braised short-ribs, with pierogi, mustard, cider kraut

Stout-braised short-ribs, with pierogi, mustard, and cider kraut



Pear & Le Rassembleu in a walnut sable

Pear & Le Rassembleu with crumbled walnut sable cookie


Take me to FRANK’s online reservation

One minute in Song Dong’s Beijing

January 29th, 2016

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.

Highway to Hell: Conservator Sherry Phillips revisits the Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3

January 22nd, 2016


(John Scott, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, 1998–2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm (50 13/16 x 72 7/16 x 198 7/16 in.)3300 lb. (1496.9 kg). Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007.)

You may not see it on the Gallery floor all the time, but we’re the proud keepers of John Scott’s 3,300lb. doomsday vehicle: the Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3. The artwork will be on loan to the Art Gallery of Hamilton for the exhibition Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott, February 6 to May 15, 2016, marking the third venue for the touring exhibition of Scott’s work (after stops at the McMaster Museum of Art and Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell, Iowa). AGO Conservator Sherry Phillips shares her thoughts on getting the Trans Am ready for its latest reveal.

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Get ready for #MuseumSelfie Day – January 20, 2016

January 19th, 2016


Selfie lovers, come one, come all. On January 20, 2016, we’re inviting you — museum fans, curators, artists and more — to share your best shots for #MuseumSelfie day, a global social media celebration founded by CultureThemes’ Mar Dixon to showcase some of the world’s greatest collections, and to encourage people to visit and interact with art in person. (Things we like very much.)

How you can join
Snap a photo of yourself in front of your favourite artwork or collection in the Gallery.

Share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using two hashtags: #MuseumSelfie #AGOToronto

Visit the Atrium (past Walker Court) to see your selfie art on display—we’ll be broadcasting a livefeed of your photos on TV screens!

Selfie Spots
AGO landmarks and works where inspiration might strike:

Live Feed of your #MuseumSelfies!

Please note: The Gallery does not allow the use of selfie sticks. Backpacks and oversized bags are not permitted in the Gallery; coat check is complimentary for these items.