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Archive: June, 2017

Vivek Shraya is the artist we need right now

June 30th, 2017

If you haven’t heard of Vivek Shraya, it’s about time you did.

She recently appeared on the AGO’s popular panel discussion, I Thought There’d Be More Vaginas: Artists on Gender, with poet Eileen Myles, artist Lori Blondeau and moderated by Georgia O’Keeffe curator Georgiana Uhlyarik. She talked to NOW Magazine last week about issues of identity, transphobia and who gets to call themselves a woman in 2017. And now she returns to the AGO to take the spotlight this Friday in the Skylight Concert Series—a program of three performances that use music to explore questions of identity, expression and community, all live in Walker Court.

Read the rest of this entry »

Revealing Tintoretto

June 30th, 2017

AGO Director and CEO Stephan Jost with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in front of Tintoretto’s Christ Washing His Disciples’ Feet. Screen capture courtesy of the President of the Italian Republic, YouTube.

Exciting moments are unfolding on a regular basis around here, as galleries continue to re-open as part of Look:Forward, our massive reinstallation of the AGO Collection. Works that haven’t been on view in years are making their reappearance, and new favourites are taking root in visitors’ minds.

The Reuben Wells Leonard Memorial Gallery, located on the east side of Level 1, is now home to works from the European Collection that span the 1300s to 1500s. They reflect the immense shift experienced in Europe throughout those years: the emergence of the middle class and the modern city, the invention and innovation of countless new technologies, and the emergence of science. The majority of people in Europe identified as Catholics, and the church patronized the arts as a way of communicating its values and teachings widely. Towards the end of the 1400s, and across Europe, people began to resist the church’s unchecked authority and to protest its seductive use of images.  The works in this gallery reflect their makers’ and owners’ relationship to the church and to other societal institutions.  The earlier sumptuous devotional images contrast starkly with the later and more earthly depictions of everyday life.

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Notice anything different about these fashion ads?

June 30th, 2017

Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner. Jack (Wanted Series), 2016. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artists. © Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner

The next time you’re walking downtown and see glamorous fashion advertisements on streetcar stops or on a tall billboard, stop and take another look. It could be one of the photographs by artists Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai in their Wanted series – part of the AGO’s recently opened exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood.

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Turn up the volume!

June 26th, 2017

Bear Witness. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This summer, the AGO is marking the Canada 150 moment with Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood, an exhibition that questions the official narrative of Canadian history and imagines new futures through the eyes of artists. July’s First Thursday offers an early look at that exhibition, bringing together artists whose work invites us into a future that is complex, critical and celebratory. Bear Witness, founding member of the Indigenous DJ collective A Tribe Called Red, whose sounds and activism reverberate across nations and around the world, will headline with a DJ set at 10 pm.

The night will also feature performances by dance artist Esie Mensah and a showcase by the Indigenous comedy troupe Manifest Destiny’s Child.  Stemming from Afro-fusion roots, Esie Mensah’s original choreography for Shades of Blackness tackles shadism at its roots. The work is an expression of difference, cultural visibility and representation. Manifest Destiny’s Child, a collective of Indigenous women comedians, express their lived experiences through provocative and hilarious comedy.  And don’t miss Esmaa Mohamoud and Qendrim Hoti‘s performative extension of the installation One of the Boys that is part of the exhibition itself.

The AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art Andrew Hunter and curatorial assistant Anique Jordan will offer their insights in pop-up talks. DJ Steph Honey will add sounds to Galleria Italia, and DJ Steph Honey will welcome you with beats to Walker Court. A special selection work from the AGO’s collection will be on view in our monthly Out of the Vaultsinstallation. And don’t miss ReBlink, a digital intervention by artist Alex Mayhew that remixes historical paintings with contemporary life, in addition to other surprises.

To get you in the mood for what’s sure to be a great night, Bear Witness has compiled a list of 14 of his favourite jams. Read the rest of this entry »

Behind the scenes at Every. Now. Then.

June 26th, 2017

Xiong Gu. Illuminated Niagara Falls, 2017. Digital photographs, fruit baskets, and souvenir water, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of Andrew Hunter/Facebook.

This Wednesday night, AGO visitors are invited to take a first look at two of our three Canadian summer exhibitions—Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light; and a fresh look at Mark Lewis: Canada; Every. Now. Then. is the AGO’s response to the Canada 150 moment, featuring projects from artists across Canada that comment on Canada’s past, present and imagined future. At this moment of reflection in Canadian history, the exhibition attempts to fill in voices and stories that have traditionally been silenced or forgotten in mainstream society.

There’s every kind of art you can imagine in Every. Now. Then.—from photography to paintings and illustrations to large-scale installations to video and textiles. There’s even a mini-replica of a fictional Canadian town called Dominion (created by the cartoonist, Seth). For Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, the challenge is finding a layout for all of these different pieces that makes sense thematically, artistically and conceptually for the visitor.

We asked Andrew a few questions about the installation process of Every. Now. Then. Read the rest of this entry »

Rita Letendre, in her own words

June 26th, 2017

I wanted to create a new world, and if you have a world, it has to have poetry.” – Rita Letendre

Born in Drummondville, Quebec to Abenaki and Québécois parents in 1928, Rita Letendre began painting in 1950s Montreal. Renowned for her bold and visceral style, she pushed the boundaries of colour, light and space to new heights. Letendre used the paintbrush, airbrush, palette knife and her hands to express the spirit of life. Her work embodies her ongoing quest for connection and understanding.

We celebrate Letendre’s vibrant career with a retrospective titled Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, opening this week and running through September 17. The exhibition is included in General Admission. For a special sneak preview, all are welcome to our Summer Public Opening party taking place June 28 from 6–9 pm. in Walker Court.

Read on to learn more about Letendre’s life’s work in her own words. Read the rest of this entry »

Need plans for the Canada Day long weekend? We’re open!

June 26th, 2017

Curator Andrew Hunter with (left) Paul Emile Borduas, Beating of Wings at Bonaventure, 1954, oil on canvas, 96.5 x 118.9 cm, The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario. (right) Alex Colville, Soldier and Girl at Station, 1953, glazed tempera on board, 40.6 x 61 cm, The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario.

Happy Canada Day! There’s no shortage of activities in Toronto this long weekend. This happens to be a particularly special year for Canada’s birthday (not sure if you’ve heard…)

But if you’re tired of the same old fireworks, think outdoor concerts are too much trouble, or if you’re looking for some Canadian artistic inspiration this holiday weekend, look to the AGO as your go-to destination. We’re open the following hours over Canada Day weekend:

Friday, June 30 – 10:30 am – 9 pm

Saturday, July 1 – 10:30 am – 4 pm

Sunday, July 2 – 10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Monday, July 3 – 10:30 am – 4 pm Read the rest of this entry »

Diane Arbus works join the AGO Collection

June 26th, 2017

Diane Arbus, American, 1923–1971. Jack Dracula lying by a tree, N.Y.C., 1961., 1961; printed 1961. Gelatin silver print. Sheet: 27.9 × 35.6 cm (11 × 14 in.). Image: 16.8 × 23.5 cm (6 5/8 × 9 1/4 in.). Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Phil Lind, 2016. Copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC.

Flashback to our hit 2016 exhibition Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s. A stand-out of that show was photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971), one of the most widely recognized names in 20th century art. Remember these? Read the rest of this entry »