Did you think Georgia O’Keeffe was only about flowers? Prepare to be pleasantly surprised (and thoroughly impressed.) The full breadth of O’Keeffe’s artistic talent and stylistic influences—from photography to charcoal sketches to abstract natural forms—is on display in Georgia O’Keeffe, which recently opened to rave reviews from Toronto’s critics. Now Torontonians themselves are raving about the exhibition for giving them a chance to get to know this pioneering artist in a whole new way – yes, beyond the flowers.
It’s almost June, and that means Toronto’s annual Pride Month is upon us! As with the past few years, the AGO is helping kick off the month’s festivities by hosting the Official Pride Launch Party at this week’s AGO First Thursday on June 1. History tell us that this is one you don’t want to miss.
A visionary program has been created for the event by Syrus Marcus Ware and Kyisha Williams on behalf of Blackness Yes! (who have programmed the legendary Blockorama stage for nearly 20 years). The night brings together DJs, artist projects, performances, talks, special installations and a performance by the New York-based hip hop artist Junglepussy to celebrate Black queer and trans lives, art and activism, and all things Pride. Tickets are going fast, so if you haven’t got yours yet, click here!
Recent visitors to the AGO may have noticed that one of our most heavily trafficked spaces, the E.R. Wood Gallery, is currently closed as part of Look:Forward, our exciting reinstallation project. While we’re busy installing a number of new artworks from our collection, here’s a look at how one of the largest works recently on display – Saint Benedict receiving Totila, King of the Ostrogoths by Gaspar de Crayer – came down from the wall. It measures a gigantic 9 feet tall by 18 feet wide (that’s close to 160 square feet – almost as big as some Toronto condos!) Watch the time-lapse video to see how the AGO team did it:
“I’ve got a note here that says, ‘David hates being the centre of attention; keep this short’,” said Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, at the recent retirement party for David Wistow, Senior Interpretive Planner. But as Stephan then pointed out, it’s impossible to sum up David’s career in only a few minutes.
David has held over 15 job titles throughout his 44 years at the AGO, in each role developing his own theories and practice around visitor experience at an art gallery. As an Interpretive Planner – the person responsible for understanding visitors and how they engage with art through text, videos, books, interactive elements, and other strategies – David made an immeasurable impact on the AGO, not to mention the museum community in general. He and his colleague Douglas Worts pioneered the field of interpretive planning in art museums, using learnings from a series of experimental exhibitions they curated during the 1980s, and now it’s a widespread profession among art galleries across North America. It was for this groundbreaking work that upon his retirement, David was named the AGO’s first-ever Educator Emeritus.
Although the AGO is a year-round wedding venue, summer is the most popular time of year to say “I do.” Flowers of every shade are in bloom, the days are long and the nights are warm. Shutterbugs both professional and amateur already know this, but the AGO is pretty photogenic. Plenty of tall windows means lots of natural light, and striking architecture makes every picture look like a mini-masterpiece. Mix that with the best event team in town (made up of experts who can bring inspired designs to life), and a wedding couldn’t get more picturesque. To prove it we’ve selected some highlights from our AGO Events team’s Instagram feed to inspire you:
South Netherlandish. Prayer Bead: St. James the Greater(closed), 1490 – 1530. Boxwood. Overall height x width: 5.7 × 4.8 cm (2 1/4 × 1 7/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Purchase from the J.H. Wade Fund, 1961.87. Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Did you catch our Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures exhibition last year? Blending cutting-edge technology with ground-breaking historical art research, the exhibition astounded and amazed visitors with its tiny, mesmerizing carvings from the early 1500s. It also made its mark with some of our peers, earning the exhibition three awards to date! Read the rest of this entry »
Finally, the weather is putting Toronto in the spring spirit!
It’s perfect timing for the next event in FRANK’s Curated Dinner Series, a monthly event that features a six-course meal with wine pairings. For this month’s instalment, happening on May 24 (make your reservation now!), the theme is “Springtime in Ontario.” Along with dishes featuring locally-sourced ingredients like lamb loin, maple, whitefish, dill and ramps (wild leeks), we will also feature Emma Garner from Thirty Bench Winery, who won Winemaker of the Year at the 2015 Ontario Wine Awards. Garner will speak to each wine – some of which are only available at the vineyard.
We spoke to AGO Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille, Restaurant Manager Eva Lam, and The Small Winemakers Collection’s Richard Godin to get a taste of what’s to come. The interviews have been compiled below.
A lot goes on behind the scenes at the AGO as we get ready for exhibitions, including giving a little TLC to the artworks that are going to be displayed. Our renowned conservation team makes sure all of our works are in great condition and ready for the viewing public.
Rita Letendre’s large-scale painting Victoire, painted in 1961, needed a bit of a touch-up in preparation for our upcoming retrospective Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, opening on June 29. Letendre created the work for a Toronto exhibition in the early 1960s, which completely sold out, and the AGO was lucky enough to snag Victoire for our collection afterwards. Find out more by watching the video below with curator Georgiana Uhlyarik and conservator Meaghan Monaghan. Read the rest of this entry »
At the end of April, National Volunteer Appreciation week showcased the tireless work of many Canadians who devote their spare time to helping charitable causes – free of charge. So many organizations we know and love, including the AGO, could not function without them.
Both the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario held award ceremonies recently to honour exceptional volunteers, including AGO volunteer Sybil Wilkinson, who has been working with the AGO for 37 (37!) years. Sybil, a prolific volunteer, was honoured with the Toronto Volunteer Legacy Award this year, specifically for her time spent with Hospice Toronto. We caught up with her to get her thoughts about volunteering. Read the rest of this entry »
Vancouver artist Geoffrey Farmer was tapped in late 2015 by the National Gallery of Canada to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale 2017 – one of the most high-profile annual events in the art world. Farmer asked the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Kitty Scott, to curate his installation. (The two last worked together on Farmer’s 2014 AGO exhibition, Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it.) The final result is making some waves in Venice. His installation, A way out of the mirror, has been earning high praise from both local and international press.