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November’s First Thursday gets magikal

October 25th, 2016


Photo courtesy of the artist

Most of what we’ve heard about Toronto’s hip-hop and R&B scene has centered on someone who may or may not be dating Rihanna. Meanwhile, the experiential and genre-defying 88 Days Of Fortune collective has been building its own scene in the 6ix from the underground up since 2009. The AGO caught up with 88 Days of Fortune founder and collective member Ayo Leilana—AKA Witch Prophet—ahead of the group’s First Thursday performance on November 3 (Be Magik), to learn more about the music they are currently making and what keeps her inspired in Toronto.

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Solving the mystery of Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures

October 25th, 2016

Netherlandish, Prayer Bead, 1500–1530. Boxwood with metal fittings, overall closed: 58.8 × 61.1 mm (5.9 × 6.1 cm) overall open: 56.5 × 56.5 × 116.3 mm (5.6 × 5.6 × 11.6 cm). The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario.

Netherlandish, Prayer Bead, 1500–1530. Boxwood with metal fittings, overall closed: 58.8 × 61.1 mm (5.9 × 6.1 cm) overall open: 56.5 × 56.5 × 116.3 mm (5.6 × 5.6 × 11.6 cm). The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario.

In the early 1500s, carvers in Northern Europe created exquisite boxwood prayer beads, rosaries and miniature altarpieces that have inspired and confounded people for generations.     Anyone who has looked at one of these beautiful objects wonders: how were these tiny masterpieces created?

A team of experts decided to find out. The AGO’s Sasha Suda, Curator of European Art & R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print & Drawing Council, and Lisa Ellis, Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, were joined by colleagues from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rijksmuseum, and scientists at the Canadian Conservation Institute, University of Western Ontario’s Department of Sustainable Archaeology, London’s Museum of Natural History (UK) and NASA (yes, that NASA!).

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Uniting Gauguin’s paintings for the first time

October 25th, 2016


Guest co-curator Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov with Gauguin’s triptych. L-R: Paul Gauguin, Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888. oil on canvas, 73 × 92 cm. Scottish National Gallery. © National Galleries of Scotland. Paul Gauguin. Le Christ Jaune, 1889. oil on canvas, 92.1 × 73.3 cm. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, General Purchase Funds, 1946 (1946:4). © Albright-Knox Art Gallery/Art Resource, NY./Tom Loonan Paul Gauguin. Christ in the Garden of Olives, 1889. oil on canvas, 72.4 × 91.4 cm. Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, Gift of Elizabeth C. Norton, 46.5. Courtesy, Norton Museum of Art.

Over the decades the AGO has taken pride in bringing great works of art to our city and province. But Mystical Landscapes offers a special twist on this tradition. We’ve installed three masterpieces by Paul Gauguin as he originally conceived them, side-by-side like a medieval altarpiece, in a design that he imagined but never lived to realize. It’s the first time ever the three paintings have been hung according to his novel plan, brought to Toronto from Edinburgh, Buffalo and West Palm Beach. Displayed at the very beginning of the show, together they create an unforgettable moment of not just intense colour, but equally intense spirituality.

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A man and his monsters

October 25th, 2016



A selection from Guillermo del Toro’s At Home with Monsters, courtesy the AGO and Ensight Editions. Photo: Josh White

For centuries, we have been fascinated with monsters, witchcraft and the occult. Do otherworldly creatures really exist?

For famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the answer is an emphatic yes. Del Toro not only believes in these creatures, he shares a special affinity for them. As he writes in the exhibition catalogue Guillermo del Toro, At Home with Monsters, “monsters are, to this day, true family to me.”

This Halloween, pick up a copy of del Toro’s fully illustrated catalogue online or at shopAGO. The book was created to accompany the highly anticipated exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, coming to the AGO in September 2017.

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Taking art to the street

October 25th, 2016


Photo: AGO

Do you love finding art in unexpected places? Take a walk along Croft Lane just north of College Street and you can explore a new immersive art project created by local youth. StreetARToronto and the AGO collaborated on an initiative this summer which saw nine young people create murals in this vibrant Annex neighbourhood.

To kick-start the project, the young artists took part in a street art tour and gained valuable training at the AGO. The youth were mentored by artists Pascal Paquette and Sean Martindale, AGO and StreetARToronto staff, and members of Toronto Police Service’s 14 Division.

By the end, AGO Youth Council members and Parkdale Collegiate and Central Technical School students had painted 23 garage doors, which now feature a vivid mix of abstract shapes and colours.

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Mystical Landscapes gets the gala treatment

October 24th, 2016

Mystical Landscapes Gala

Mystical Landscapes Gala. Photo: AGO

On October 15, the AGO presented a dazzling opening gala in celebration of our latest ground-breaking exhibition Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more.

Guests got an exclusive sneak peek of the exhibition and experienced a custom menu, magical entertainment and unforgettable art all inspired by three key artists in the show Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Emily Carr. The star of the night was a custom projection by Derooted creative technologies and FireDog Creative, which brought Walker Court alive with the magic of van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone at Arles.

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Choir! Choir! Choir! hits Art Toronto

October 17th, 2016



Photo by Joseph Fuda

Choir! Choir! Choir! has come a long way since its inception as a weekly drop-in, a no-commitment singing event, back in February, 2011. Founded by Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, the group caught international attention last winter when it performed Space Oddity at the AGO in tribute to David Bowie – skyrocketing to the top of various social media trending lists and winning it a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall alongside Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Stipe, and The Flaming Lips.. C!C!C! brings its inimitable style to Art Toronto’s Opening Night Preview on October 27, so we caught up with Nobu for a quick chat.
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Meet Walter Scott, AGO Artist in Residence

October 17th, 2016



Walter Scott, courtesy the artist

Walter Scott, an interdisciplinary artist working with writing, illustration, performance and sculpture, is the AGO’s Artist in Residence until November 30.

Comics are a key element of his practice. In 2011 while living in Montreal, he began a comic book series, Wendy, exploring the story of a fictional young woman living in the city, who aspires to global success and art stardom but whose dreams are perpetually derailed.

Original drawings from Wendy are on display on Level 1 in the Walter Trier Gallery until December 12 (free with admission). Walter has also invited visitors to create their own comics in the AGO’s Community Gallery in the Concourse (Lower Level).

Based on research in the AGO’s archives, Walter is writing fictions around the works in the collection to create new performances and installations.

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Want to channel your inner Emily Carr? Join an AGO art class!

October 17th, 2016



Always wanted to learn how to take better photos? How about chilling out in shavasana in a beautiful and serene setting with your baby by your side? Secretly wonder if your child is the next van Gogh?

We have the answer: sign yourself or your kids up for an AGO art class or yoga workshop. You’ll be inspired and relaxed, and they’ll have beautiful new artwork to put on the fridge (or give to grandparents on their next visit).

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The unknown genius of Mystical Landscapes

October 17th, 2016


Charles-Marie Dulac, Auxilium Christianorum Jesu Refucium Nostrum, plate VIII from Le Cantique des Créatures, 1894, lithograph on wove paper, 50 x 64.8 cm, ©2016 Art Gallery of Ontario, Purchased as a Gift of the Marvin Gelber Fund, 1997 97/179.10.

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more features iconic works by famous painters, from van Gogh to Munch. But how often do we get to encounter the work of completely unknown artists, interspersed amongst the stars? Frenchman Charles-Marie Dulac (1866-98), largely forgotten till recently, is one of those gifted artists about to experience a much-deserved revival, with more than 30 of his works about to go on display. Described in his own day as the most mystical artist of his generation, Dulac warrants a key place in an exhibition that explores the search for spiritual fulfillment in nature.

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