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Archive: June, 2011

AGO Unveils One of the World’s Largest Public Collections of Motherwell Drawings

June 25th, 2011

“Nothing as drastic an innovation as abstract art could
have come into existence,

save as the consequence of a most profound, relentless, unquenchable need.

Abstract art is an effort to close the void that modern men feel.”

Robert Motherwell

(TORONTO – June 23, 2011)
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) continues to celebrate the Abstract Expressionist movement with an exhibition of drawings by Robert Motherwell. Painting on Paper: The Drawings of Robert Motherwell, on view June 25 through December 11, 2011, showcases 55 works from the AGO collection, which houses one of the largest public holdings of drawings by Motherwell.

“This exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to explore the mind and works of Motherwell, an eloquent and passionate Abstract Expressionist,” says Mathew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO. “Painting on Paper enriches the Abstract Expressionist New York experience at the AGO, giving visitors an in-depth look at the artistic process and evolution of one of the movement’s major figures.”

Curated by Brenda Rix, the AGO’s assistant curator of prints and drawings, Painting on Paper demonstrates how Motherwell’s motifs were imagined, refined and revisited over the span of his career by organizing the collection into several major chronological themes, ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s. The works on display were selected primarily from 74 drawings and paintings by Motherwell acquired by the AGO in 1998.

“Motherwell aims to express human feelings and the human spirit through gestural lines and bold forms,” says Rix. “His painterly drawings, executed on a wide variety of papers, reveal an admiration for the unique textures and tactile surfaces of paper.”

Read the rest of the press release by clicking here.

Glenn D. Lowry and Matthew Teitelbaum in Conversation (Audio)

June 22nd, 2011

Glenn D. Lowry


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Recorded: Wednesday, June 15, 7-8:30 pm @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 01:25:35

Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and AGO director Matthew Teitelbaum discussed art, ideas and the future of museums.

Glenn D. Lowry became the sixth director of The Museum of Modern Art in 1995. He leads a staff of 750 and directs an active program of exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications. His major initiatives over the past 14 years include guiding MoMA’s $900 million capital campaign for the renovation and expansion, of the Museum, and building its endowment, reinvigorating MoMA’s contemporary art program, and challenging conventional thinking about modern art. Born in 1954 in New York City and raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Mr. Lowry received a B.A. degree (1976) magna cum laude from Williams College, Williamstown, and M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees in history of art from Harvard University. He has received honorary degrees from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, and The College of William & Mary. Mr. Lowry is a member of the Williams College Board of the trustees, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a resident member of American Philosophical Society and serves on the advisory council of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. In 2004, the French government honored Mr. Lowry with the title of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. From 1990 to 1994, he was the director of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Matthew Teitelbaum, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, joined the AGO in 1993 as chief curator and was appointed director in 1998. Born in Toronto in 1956, he is the son of Ethel Teitelbaum and the late painter Mashel Teitelbaum, and holds an honours bachelor of arts in Canadian history from Carleton University, a master of philosophy in modern European painting and sculpture from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. He has taught at Harvard, York University and the University of Western Ontario, and has lectured across North America. Prior to joining the AGO, Mr. Teitelbaum held curatorial positions with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon and the London Regional Art Gallery. In 2006, Mr. Teitelbaum received the honour of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his ongoing commitment and contributions to the arts.

AGO Celebrates Iconic Canadian Artist Group General Idea with Major Retrospective

June 22nd, 2011

Haute Culture to occupy AGO’s contemporary tower through January 2012

“This is the story of General Idea and the story of what we wanted. We wanted to be famous, glamorous, and rich. That is to say, we wanted to be artists and we knew that if we were famous and glamorous we could say we were artists and we would be.”

General Idea, excerpt from “Glamour,” FILE Magazine, vol. 3, no. 1, fall 1975.

(TORONTO – June 22, 2011)
Next month, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will open an exhibition of unprecedented scale that celebrates the work of the Canadian artist group General Idea. Occupying more than 20,000 sq. ft. of Gallery space on the fourth and fifth floors of the AGO’s Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, Haute Culture: General Idea — A Retrospective, 1969 – 1994 will be on view July 30, 2011, through January 1, 2012. The exhibition features 336 works by the groundbreaking multidisciplinary group, including 107 works from the AGO collection, spanning their prolific and influential 25-year career. 

Curated by Paris-based independent curator Frédéric Bonnet, Haute Culture is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to General Idea, a collaboration between artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal that began Toronto in 1969. The group’s transgressive concepts and provocative imagery challenged social power structures and traditional modes of artistic creation in ever-shifting ways, until Partz and Zontal’s untimely deaths from AIDS-related causes in 1994.  

“General Idea is a truly seminal Canadian artist group whose diverse and increasingly influential production warrants deep and comprehensive consideration,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “We are so pleased to mount an exhibition of their work on this large a scale, as I know that our visitors will find their exuberant and exacting vision to be intensely rewarding.” 

Haute Culture is organized around five themes central to the trio’s production: “the artist, glamour and the creative process”; “mass culture”; “architects/archaeologists”; “sex and reality”; and “AIDS.” In addition to the works on view inside the exhibition, the AGO will install the artists’ two-metre-tall AIDS sculpture at the corner of Dundas West and Beverley streets.  The lacquered metal sculpture, created in 1989, is based on Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE sculpture and will be on view throughout the exhibition’s run. Other highlights of Haute Culture include: 

  • a selection of works that have not been exhibited in more than 25 years, including the installations Playing the Triangle, P is for Poodle and XXX (bleu).
  • documentation of The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant, a performance originally staged in the AGO’s Walker Court, including a recently rediscovered 12-minute video clip from the performance;
  • Mondo Cane Kama Sutra, a gallery of 10 2.5 x 3-metre paintings depicting three neon-coloured poodles engaged in a variety of sexual positions;
  • elements from The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion, including The Boutique, a dollar-shaped sales counter displaying various artist multiples, and Test Pattern: TV Dinner Plates from the Miss General Idea Pavillion, an installation of 432 wall-mounted porcelain plates with television-style colour bars printed on them;
  • numerous large-scale photographic works, including Nazi Milk, P is for Poodle and Baby Makes 3; and
  • elements of their AIDS project, including paintings and wallpaper, which will be installed throughout the exhibition, recalling the posters, paintings, stamps and other iterations of the image that were circulated worldwide in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

To read the rest of the press release, click here.

Artist Libby Hague’s AGO Installation Extends to Gallery Façade

June 10th, 2011

(TORONTO – June 10, 2011) Toronto-based artist Libby Hague’s new installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) extends beyond gallery walls and onto the AGO’s Dundas Street façade. Libby Hague: Sympathetic Connections, on view June 11 through September 11, is part of the AGO’s Toronto Now series of rotating contemporary projects by Toronto artists. The installation transforms woodblock prints into paper sculptures that connect across the walls, ceiling, and external windows of the AGO’s Young Gallery.

Sympathetic Connections combines representational and abstract forms in a room-spanning three-dimensional installation. Colourful sculptural forms crafted from Japanese paper fill the gallery, dangling from walls and cascading down from the ceiling, while a wall-mounted print of a nuclear power plant looms in the periphery, an image inspired in part by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year.

“Libby Hague’s playful, yet foreboding narratives give physical form to fictional worlds that simultaneously mirror and manipulate reality,” says Michelle Jacques, the AGO’s acting curator of Canadian art. “Sympathetic Connections provides a timely exploration of our problematic relationship with the natural environment, invoking universal themes of responsibility and dependency, vulnerability and rescue, and risk and luck.”

Click here to read the rest of the press release.

Michael Snow Receives 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO

June 6th, 2011

(TORONTO – June 6, 2011) Michael Snow, one of Canada’s most internationally celebrated artists, is the winner of the 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO for his remarkable contribution to the visual arts in Canada. The AGO and the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation will commemorate the award at a reception on June 10, and next year, the AGO will host an exhibition of Snow’s work. The cash prize has been increased by $15,000 for 2011, and Snow will be the first artist to receive a $40,000 award.

Born in 1928 in Toronto, Snow has led a prodigious career, spanning eight decades and including painting, drawing, sculpture, photo works, film, video, projection, sound installation, experimental jazz, and book works. Snow’s work continues to be shown in galleries and museums around the world, including recent solo exhibitions at Le Fresnoy in France, Angels in Barcelona, and the British Film Institute in London.

“Michael Snow’s contribution to art in Canada is unparalleled,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the MIchael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the AGO. “The breadth, innovation and creative vision of his work have been consistent throughout his career. The Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to collaborate with the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in presenting this prize to Michael, who’s specific genius permeates each medium he interacts with.”

Click here to read the rest of this press release.

Robert Frank: Both Sides Now (Audio)

June 6th, 2011

Photo of Luc Sante

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Recorded:Wednesday, May 18, 2011 @ Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 52:50

Jack Kerouac wrote in his introduction to The Americans that Frank “sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.”’ He was right, and that phrase could be adapted to describe his chronicles of Paris and London and South America as well. And yet the images, tragic as they are, nevertheless manage to be exhilarating. How can this be?

Luc Sante was born in Belgium and moved to New York in the early 1960s. He is a writer and cultural critic with a focus on art, film, photography, and the urban landscape. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College in the Hudson Valley, New York. Luc Sante’s books include Folk Photography (2009), Kill All Your Darlings (2007), Walker Evans (2001), The Factory of Facts (1988), Evidence (1992) and Low Life (1991). His essays have appeared in the New York Review of Books and the New York Times Magazine. Sante is the recipient of a Whiting Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Grammy (for album notes).

This talk is generously supported by Penny Rubinoff.

Canadian Artist Kathleen Munn Receives Homecoming Exhibition at AGO

June 1st, 2011

(TORONTO – June 1, 2011)
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will open a unique exhibition featuring Canadian artist Kathleen Munn on June 4, on view until August 28. The Passion of Kathleen Munn will feature nearly 40 works by Munn, including her highly regarded Passion Series drawings, as well as paintings and prints that introduced Post-Impressionism to Canada beginning in the 1910s. In addition, the exhibition will be supported by archival material from the AGO’s collection, including sketches, notebooks, diagrams, collages and a custom-made light box.

Born in 1887 in Toronto, Kathleen Munn was one of the first Canadian artists to embrace abstraction. Little known yet much admired by fellow artists, Munn studied in New York, and during the 1920s travelled to Europe and exhibited with the Group of Seven. Around 1939, she stopped making art due to family obligations and an unresponsive art public in Toronto. She spent the rest of her life here in relative obscurity, only to be rediscovered a decade after her death in 1974.

The Passion of Kathleen Munn is a collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW). Georgiana Uhlyarik, assistant curator, Canadian art at the AGO, has amassed important loans from private collections as well as archival material, with special focus on Munn’s work in the 1930s. Cassandra Getty of the AGW curated the travelling exhibition Kathleen Munn and Lowrie Warrener: The Logic of Nature, the Romance of Space, which surveys Munn’s career innovations. Together these form the AGO installation.

“In keeping with our dedication to collecting, exhibiting and researching work by Canadian artists, the AGO is pleased to launch The Passion of Kathleen Munn,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO of the AGO. “Munn’s work was groundbreaking in the history of Canadian art and merits the attention of a wider audience. This exhibition beautifully combines her innovative work with fascinating aspects of her life and process.”

Click here to read the rest of the press release.