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Archive: November, 2013

Two more days of Bowie for AGO visitors

November 25th, 2013

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

Toronto can’t get enough of David Bowie. In response to overwhelming public demand, we’re extending the exhibition David Bowie is yet again, by two days, marking an unprecedented third round of extensions. Originally set to close this Wednesday, the exhibition will now run until Friday, Nov. 29, at 8:30 p.m.

Praised as “essential viewing for superfans” by blogTO, the smash hit exhibition from London’s acclaimed Victoria and Albert Museum was previously expanded twice to include evening hours on several weekdays and special Monday openings. Remaining hours for Bowie fans and pop-culture lovers to take in the experience include:

  • TODAY: Monday, Nov. 25 – special opening from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 26 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 27 – 10 a.m. to midnight
  • Thursday, Nov. 28 – 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and
  • Friday, Nov. 29 – 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale and can be booked in person, by phone at 416-979-6655 and online by visiting

Regular-priced timed-entry tickets for David Bowie is are $21.50 for youth ages 17 and under, $26.50 for seniors and $30 for adults. Admission is FREE for AGO members and for children five and under.

Conservation Notes: Tea with Diane Borsato

November 18th, 2013

By Sherry Phillips, Conservator of Contemporary and Inuit Art

One of the six bone porcelain tea cups, English, dated approx. 1822-30.

One of the six bone porcelain tea cups, English, dated approx. 1822-30.

Tea Service (Conservators will wash the dishes)

Early 19th-century tea cups were temporarily removed from the AGO’s collection in order to be used for tea tastings by museum staff. Together, a group of conservators, a registrar, an interpretive planner, a curator, an artist and an art critic drank out of the re-animated cups, experiencing them through all of their senses and through shared conversation.

Three types of tea were served: Bai Hao Yin Zhen white tea (China), Tung Ting oolong (Taiwan) and a dark, 2001 Lahu Wild Trees 1,000-year-old Pu-erh (China). Before and after the action, a museum conservator washed the dishes. The action was documented by photography.

—Diane Borsato

Read the rest of this entry »

New late-night hours and special ticket discounts welcome visitors during final weeks of David Bowie is

November 11th, 2013

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

As the days tick down until we have to say goodbye to David Bowie is, visitors continue to show their enthusiasm for the exhibition and some time slots, particularly on weekends, are selling out. To make it easier for visitors with busy schedules who are still trying to fit in a visit, we’ve added the following extended hours:

  • Friday, Nov. 15: open to 8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 22: open to 8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 25: special opening from 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 27: open until midnight (closing day)

In addition to these hours, we’re happy to offer additional discounted tickets for weekday time slots* and exhibition’s final day, Nov. 27, when $15 Wednesday-evening admission will extend to midnight.

Don’t miss out! Click here for tickets and here for more David Bowie is visitor tips.

*$5 off weekday time slots, Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; online orders only, ends at 4:05 p.m. on Nov. 22. Use code “WEEKDAY” to access the discount when purchasing tickets.

Huge art, big success: Nearly 150,000 visitors experienced Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the AGO

November 8th, 2013

Visitors to AGO First Thursdays on Sept. 5, 2013, check out the exhibition.

Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed exhibition of large-scale artworks that stopped at the AGO from Aug. 17 to Oct. 27, 2013, drew in 145,407 visitors during its 10-week run and fuelled an undeniable “Ai Weiwei moment” in Toronto. Almost a quarter of the exhibition’s audience was composed of first-time visitors at the AGO, responding to media commentary that According to What? “shouldn’t be missed” (Torontoist) and such praise as “This is what art is supposed to do” (NOW).

Everyone at the Gallery worked to make this exhibition interactive and engaging. We encouraged visitors to take photos and share their thoughts; at the September AGO First Thursdays event, we organized a live video chat between Ai Weiwei and AGO director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum (watch); and, on Aug. 18, 2013, artistic director Gein Wong gathered close to 300 Chinese-speaking community members at the AGO to participate in Say Their Names, Remember, a performance commemorating thousands of children who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that inspired a number of Ai’s works. Ai’s work Snake Ceiling (2009), also a tribute to young victims of the Sichuan earthquake, was installed on the Gallery’s second level in April 2013 and remained in place until this month.

Toronto celebrated Ai Weiwei before and during the exhibition, too. Prior to the opening of Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the Gallery, Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was installed in front of City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square, with the cooperation of the City of Toronto, and remained on display for almost three months, before Ai’s enormous installation Forever Bicycles (2011) took over the square for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013. Toronto artist Sean Martindale‘s Love the Future: Free Ai Weiwei — an eight-foot-tall statue of the artist made from salvaged cardboard — greeted visitors at the entrance of the AGO through the run of the exhibition (learn more about the work here); at First Thursdays on Sept. 5, Martindale had his head shaved and invited others to do the same in solidarity with Ai.

Bringing exhibitions of this calibre to the AGO requires a lot of support, and we’re grateful to Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight; the Hal Jackman Foundation; the Delaney Family Foundation; the Donner Canadian Foundation; Partners in Art; Francis and Eleanor Shen; the Globe and Mail; the Canada Council for the Arts; and AW Asia, New York for making it all possible.

Co-organized by the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and curated by head curator Mami Kataoka, the exhibition’s stop at the AGO was its third on a tour of five North American museums. It will soon be on display at the Miami Perez Art Museum and then the Brooklyn Museum.

Additional thanks go out to PEN Canada for their involvement in this exhibition and for creating this wonderful roundup of #aiwwAGO social media posts by visitors.