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Archive: September, 2009

Are you an AGO member aged 20-35? If so, we need your help!

September 29th, 2009

Photo by Tom Flemming

Photo by Tom Flemming

We’re conducting a focus group and if you’re an AGO member somewhere between ages 20 and 35, with opinions and ideas to share, and about an hour and a half to spare, we’d love to hear from you. We’re currently planning the 2010 programme for The Grange, the original home of the AGO. It’s the historic building the south side of the AGO, overlooking Grange Park. We would like next year’s programme to be connected, vibrant and relevant, and we need your input! The focus group will be held on Tuesday, October 20th, from 6pm-7.30pm. If you’re interested and available that evening, please email us, and we’ll send you more info.

The Reality Effect: Questions of Photography and Truth (Audio)

September 29th, 2009

Mark Haworth-Booth

Mark Haworth-Booth discusses the issue of photography and truth, ranging from the mid nineteenth century era of Roger Fenton and Camille Silvy to 9/11 and the recent G20 demonstrations in London.

Mark Haworth-Booth has had a major curatorial and scholarly influence on the development of photographic culture in Britain. After studying English at Cambridge and art history at Edinburgh, he worked at Manchester City Art Gallery, before moving to the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), London, in 1970, retiring as senior curator of photographs in 2004. He has curated numerous exhibitions and published widely, including Photography: An Independent Art (1997), a study of the V&A’s collection, Things: A Spectrum of Photography, 1850-2001 (2004), and The Art of Lee Miller (2007). He is Visiting Professor of Photography, University of the Arts London. Presented in association with Ryerson University and the Toronto Photography Seminar.

Recorded: Wednesday, September 23 2009
Duration: 58:14

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Memories of King Tut: “I saw this when…”

September 14th, 2009

AGO in 1979

Preparations continue to welcome King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs to the AGO for its exclusive Canadian appearance starting Nov. 24, 2009 (starting Nov. 21 if you’re an AGO member). We’ve been thrilled by the positive response here on the blog and on Facebook to our call to share your memories of the 1979 King Tut exhibition. Here’s a few more that have been submitted:

I saw this when I was 6 years old and it made such an impression on me that I can clearly remember the exhibit, especially the golden death mask. I’ve waited 30 years for it to come back! I urge anyone with an interest in history to go see this.


I remember going with my family to the AGO exhibit in Toronto in 1979 when I was 9. A great experience and it coincided with a class project we did at the same time on Egypt that helped us all to learn more about its history.


I had a chance to see former King this past winter in Egypt and was amazed by the complexity of the ancient work. If you can make it to the gallery, it’s absolutely worth the trip. Welcome back to Canada King Tut!


I remember seeing the exhibit as part of a school trip in ’79 as an 11 year old – I always had hoped it would return to Toronto but gee I didn’t think it would take 30 years! Anyway better late than never – I can’t wait to see this.


If you have stories of the 1979 exhibition, please share them in the comments! Here’s some nostalgia from our archives to jog your memory:

Are we past the age of an aboriginal art show? (Audio)

September 9th, 2009

Exhibition curators Gerald McMaster and Joe Baker, Globe and Mail art critic Sarah Milroy, and professor of African and African Diaspora art history and visual culture Salah Hassan discuss the exhibition Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World.

The provocative question – "Are we past the age of an aboriginal art show" – was posed by the Globe and Mail’s art critic, Sarah Milroy, as a lead in to her review of Remix. While this question caused quite a commotion within the Aboriginal art community, it remains a key issue for present and future practice.

Indeed, are we past the age of an aboriginal art show, or any exhibition organized around identity? Are the issues and problematics that gave rise to a host of identity-based exhibition in the 1990s now completely resolved? Can an exhibition that considers hydridized identity formation be something other than an essentialist trap?

Joe Baker is formerly curator at the Heard Museum and now the Director for Community Engagement, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. He is also the co-curator of Remix.

Sarah Milroy is former editor of Canadian Art magazine who has written widely on Canadian art and is currently the art critic for the Globe and Mail.

Salah Hassan is the editor of NHK: Journal of Contemporary African Art; Professor and Director of the Africana Studies and Research Center;professor of African and African Diaspora art history and visual culture,Department of History of Art and Visual Culture, Cornell University.

Gerald McMaster will be the moderator. He is curator of Canadian art, Art Gallery of Ontario, and co-curator of Remix.

Presented in collaboration with Planet IndigenUs, an international, multi-disciplinary contemporary art festival celebrating innovation, adaptability and evolution of indigenous identity.

Recorded: Sunday, August 23 2009
Duration: 1:04:19

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Download 29.4 MB MP3

Celebrating Creativity: Art by AGO Visitors

September 8th, 2009

By Teresa Catalano, Public Affairs Intern

You may have noticed the drawing stations throughout the Gallery – lured by the colorful pencil crayons and drawings on display. Celebrating Creativity, an interactive project, was already in place before the AGO’s transformation, and as the gallery expanded, so did the response to these activity stations. Celebrating Creativity allows visitors of all ages to respond to art work, by making art.

“We want people to be involved, its just one of the ways we encourage visitors to engage with art,” explains Shiralee Hudson, AGO’s interpretive planner.

Nine drawing and talk back stations are currently set up in various locations in the gallery, fully equipped with pencil crayons and double sided drawing cards so visitors can get creative. The activities change as the exhibitions change. For example, the question “How can artworks inspire and provoke social and political change?” was used for the Angelika Hoerle and Cologne Progressives exhibition, allowing visitors the opportunity to respond.

Celebrating Creativity has received such a great response from visitors that the AGO publishes up to 80 drawings a month on Flickr.

The National Docent Symposium is coming to Canada for the first time!

September 3rd, 2009


This conference is designed as a professional development and networking opportunity for volunteer educators and staff working in the cultural sector. Hosted by the AGO, the theme, “Crossing Borders: Bridging Cultures” allows docents and educators to explore and expand the boundaries of their work with visitors and collections. From Wednesday, October 14 to Saturday, October 17 the symposium’s thought-provoking program has been created to stimulate and challenge.

The symposium is made up of keynote speakers, panel discussions, presentations and workshops; as well as site visits and receptions. Presenters represent Canadian and U.S. cultural institutions both large and small, from Honolulu to Halifax. Speakers range from story-teller Dan Yashinsky to the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada. In addition to the AGO, delegates will participate in programs at seven other institutions who are generously opening their doors: the Bata Shoe Museum; the Gardiner Museum; the McMichael Canadian Art Collection; the Royal Ontario Museum; the Textile Museum of Canada; the Toronto Zoo; the University of Toronto Art Centre.

Receptions at the AGO, the Bata, the Gardiner and the Ontario Science Centre add to the opportunities to network and to visit collections. Delegates will have a unique opportunity to share experiences, suggestions and techniques with colleagues and return home energized and eager to incorporate new ideas into their work with visitors.

For more information, please see the National Docent Symposium homepage.

Morphing of Visitor Art: “Stretch #1” by Evan Penny

September 1st, 2009

Evan Penny’s Stretch #1 from 2003 is one of the most popular works at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Visitors love to stare at Stretch’s huge stretched silicone face (almost 3 meters long!) and peer into his big watery eyes. They also love to draw it. Check out these visitor sketches of this popular sculpture. Visit the AGO’s 5th floor to see it for yourself.