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When serendipity knocks

August 15th, 2017

Rita Letendre. And There Was Light, 1999. Oil on canvas, 170.2 × 271.8 cm (67 × 107 in.). Courtesy of the Artist. © Rita Letendre.

A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into AGO exhibitions. Often organized many years in advance, full teams are involved in the planning, execution, maintenance (and the eventual packing up and shipping out) of a show. Despite our careful work, sometimes serendipity plays a hand. This the case with our current retrospective Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, co-curated by Wanda Nanibush, Assistant Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art, and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator of Canadian Art. Two days before the show opened, Wanda made a lucky discovery when visiting artist Rita Letendre that added the pièce de résistance to the exhibition. We asked Wanda to tell us the story of her fabulous find:

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Hot news: DMC to headline First Thursday

August 15th, 2017

DMC will headline the next First Thursday at the AGO. Image courtesy of the AGO.

After a short summer break in August, the AGO’s monthly art party series First Thursdays is back for September! And like all successful back-to-school seasons, it has a fresh new look… and an incredible artist to kick things off!

Legendary DJ DMC (Darryl McDaniels) will be headlining First Thursday on September 7 (tickets go on sale this Thursday, August 17 – max. four tickets per purchase). Co-founder of the groundbreaking group Run-DMC, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a legendary music icon who changed the course and the visibility of the hip hop genre.  Run-DMC was the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and the first to appear on MTV. They changed music, culture, fashion, language and made history DMC has always paved his own path, crossing genres between hip-hop and rock, rap and comics, and has been a life-long advocate for kids in foster care as well as many other social causes. In 2009, Run-DMC became only the second hip-hop act to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2016 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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And the winners are…

August 15th, 2017

We just announced the 2017 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize shortlist, and now we’re thrilled to congratulate the winners of this year’s Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship Program.

The scholarship, which was inaugurated in 2013, recognizes three full-time students—Canadian or international—who are entering their final year of study toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus or major in photography at one of 15 participating post-secondary institutions across Canada. From a list of more than 100 applicants this year, which was then whittled down to 15 finalists, the jury has awarded the scholarship to Seamus Gallagher of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD), Curtiss Randolph of Ryerson University, and Alessandro Seccareccia of Concordia UniversityThe winners each receive $7,000 toward tuition for their final year of undergraduate study.

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Absolute beginners

August 15th, 2017

Image courtesy of the AGO.

If you’re an adult who hasn’t touched clay or seen a canvas since middle school, or a teenager who wants to get into the studio outside of school, we have the course for you! It’s low commitment in every single way, and we promise – you won’t be judged!

It’s called Art for Extreme Beginners: Studio Sampler and it’s being offered for students aged 14+ in two sessions in September, as part of the AGO’s roster of art courses. This three-hour course is only $20 for AGO Members and $25 for the public. Read the rest of this entry »

Saying goodbye to O’Keeffe

August 15th, 2017

Image courtesy of @aidaninthewind on Instagram.

After making its only stop in North America here at the AGO, we said goodbye to the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the end of July.

O’Keeffe certainly made an impression in Toronto. Over its three-month run from April 22 to July 30, the exhibition drew a total of 187,673 visitors! As the largest showing of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work to ever take place in Canada (with over 80 works on display), this memorable exhibition has rightfully earned a spot among the top 10 most-visited exhibitions in AGO history. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet the guy you already know

August 15th, 2017

Gary Bercovitch is a familiar face for AGO Members. Image courtesy of the AGO.

Does this face look familiar to you? If you’re an AGO Member, you not only know this man, but you can pick him out of a crowd. Gary Bercovitch—our longtime Membership Assistant, and so much more—has become such a staple at the AGO that he gets recognized inside our walls and outside them, too.

If you know Gary best behind a desk, read our interview with him to get to know him a little better. And if you don’t know Gary yet, meet one of the friendly people you get to know when you become a Member. Read the rest of this entry »

Artist spotlight: Shary Boyle

August 4th, 2017

Studio portrait of Shary Boyle, 2017, by Marc DeGuerre . Courtesy of artist.

Scarborough-born artist and AGO Trustee Shary Boyle is well-known throughout Canada – and after representing the country at the 2013 Venice Biennale, internationally as well. But however common her name might be throughout the art world, the best way to get to know her is through her art itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Links we’re loving

August 4th, 2017


Want to know what’s happening in the art world at this very moment? We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting art news stories making the rounds here at the AGO. From the weird to the inspired, here’s what’s making water cooler talk.

Can’t get enough of Rita Letendre after visiting her retrospective at the AGO? Well, the TTC just announced Letendre’s artwork will return to Glencairn Station.

Salvador Dali’s famous moustache has reportedly remained intact for the last 28 years of burial!

The Southbank Centre in London is curating an exhibition of art created by prisoners and ex-offenders opening in September.

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A Free Black North mystery solved

August 4th, 2017

David Alexander and Julie Crooks examining photographs in Free Black North. Photo: AGO

As you’ve read in the AGOinsider, our current exhibition 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.

These portraits, drawn from collections at Brock University and the Archives of Ontario—many exhibited here for the first time—highlight how these mostly unknown individuals presented themselves with style, dignity and self-assurance. And now, with the help of several people, one of the subjects of these photographs is no longer unknown.

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Guillermo del Toro is coming to T.O.’s Tinseltown

August 4th, 2017

Film still from The Shape of Water.

Guillermo del Toro is a busy guy. Between his many film, TV and book projects, he found the time to collaborate with the AGO, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art on our upcoming fall exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. Of course, he’s also been busy with his latest film, The Shape of Water, in theatres December 8. But lucky news for Torontonians: the film will be screening at our very own Toronto International Film Festival in September.

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