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Archive: August, 2017

The monsters are coming…

August 29th, 2017

Guillermo del Toro’s Bleak House. Photo © Josh White/

Imagine coming home after a long day’s work: you put your bag down at the front door, hang up your jacket in the closet and crash-land on your couch. Sounds familiar, right? Well, now imagine that above your closet is a five-foot bust of Frankenstein’s monster, and beside the couch are life-size sculptures of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.

This is the experience you’ll get in Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, opening at the AGO on September 30, an exhibition curated from the famous filmmaker’s personal collection of horror artifacts as well as pieces from the AGO’s own Collection. And good news: public tickets go on sale on September 15 online at, in person and by phone, starting at 10 am. And if you’re an AGO Member there’s even better news: you can buy your tickets now! Read the rest of this entry »

Looking through The Entangled Gaze

August 29th, 2017

L: Haida, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. Sea Captain Figure, c. 1840. Argillite, ivory, 46.8 x 13.5 x 8 cm. Purchased with Funds from the Estate of Mary Eileen Ash, 2008. Image © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario. R:  Paul Kane. Death of Omoxesisisany or Big Snake, 1858 c – 1859. Embossed chromo lithograph on paper, 17.2 x 46.1 cm. Gift of Robert Hunter, 2006. © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario.

According to Canadian Art, “everybody is talking about Every. Now. Then. In his review of the exhibition, which opened at the end of June as part of the AGO’s response to the Canada 150 celebrations, Vidal Wu writes that “the thematic density and clarity of ‘Every. Now. Then.’ foregrounds bodies and identities in ways that preserve their autonomy—and more importantly, it doesn’t preserve them for the consumption of others, a common criticism of non-Indigenous curation of Indigenous art. In nearly every instance here, artist and subject coolly meets the gaze of curator and viewer.”

It’s clear that Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, on now in the AGO’s Level 4 until December 10, has raised questions about the relationship between artist, curator and viewer, and between colonizer and the colonized. How have European and Indigenous artists represented each other throughout history? These ideas will be explored in a two-day seminar coming to the AGO in October (which you can sign up for now).

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Get ready for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize

August 29th, 2017

IMAGES (Top Left, clockwise ): (1) Hank Willis Thomas, The Law of the Land is Our Demand, 2017. Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl. 152.4 x 48 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. (2) Liz Johnson Artur, Untitled, 1986 to 2010, Black Balloon Archive, Courtesy of the artist. (3) Taisuke Koyama, Untitled (MELTING RAINBOWS 103), 2010 Archival Pigment Print, 111 x 74 cm / 60 x 40 cm, Courtesy of the artist. (4) Raymond Boisjoly, (What Comes After) What Came Before (detail), 2015. Solvent-based inkjet print on vinyl. 132 x 191 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize exhibition is opening on September 6, and we couldn’t be more excited about the incredible photographic works about to be displayed on Level 5 of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower.

Mark your calendars and join artists Liz Johnson Artur, Raymond Boisjoly, Taisuke Koyama and Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with exhibition curator Sophie Hackett on the evening of September 6. Following the talk, there will be a public reception in Walker Court to celebrate the exhibition’s opening.

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September in the scene

August 29th, 2017

Photo (c) Royal Ontario Museum.

Between park hangs in the sunshine and putting together our many summer exhibitions, we’ve been busy here at the AGO. But there’s so much going on outside of our orbit, reminding us that Toronto really is an amazing city of arts and culture. Check out some of our top picks of happenings in the scene this September. And don’t forget – the AGO is open on Labour Day!

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Farewell FRANK… Hello AGO Bistro!

August 22nd, 2017

The AGO Bistro burger, with pickled portobello mushroom, Upper Canada Cheese Co. maple smoked comfort cream, lettuce, house-made pickles, French fries, Blackbird Bakery bun, and Dijon aioli. Image courtesy of the AGO.

They say that art is food for the soul, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy a delicious meal when you visit the AGO!

We’re excited to announce that today is the official launch of the AGO’s newly re-branded restaurant, AGO Bistro. Formerly known as FRANK, our new name reflects the global bistro menu philosophy that guides our Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille and her culinary team. Diners can expect a casual, relaxing place to rest the feet and chew over the ideas and thoughts inspired by a day of art-going—as well as some really amazing food, with a few new items on the menu.

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Art links we’re loving

August 22nd, 2017

Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo 2016. Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Tomoaki Makino.

Want to know what’s happening in the art world at this very moment? Once again, we’ve gathered some of the most interesting art news stories making the rounds here at the AGO. From the weird to the inspired, here’s what’s fueling our water cooler talk.

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Get ready to rock

August 22nd, 2017

Eric von Schmidt, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan – East Coast Tour, 1965. Screenprint on paper, 54.6 x 33.1 cm. Gift of the Donald R. Muller/Ross R. Scott Collection, 2010. (2010/128) © Estate of Eric von Schmidt.

Step into this temporary exhibit of classic 1960s music posters and you’ll instantly travel back to groovier times.

Titled Rise of the Rock Poster: San Francisco in the 1960s, this exhibition of 35 rock posters features some very recognizable names: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Doors and more. And almost all the posters are from 1967, a.k.a. the Summer of Love, and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. These posters, which promoted music events and artists (there were often three to five concerts happening every night in the Bay Area in the ’60s – that’s a lot of posters!), act as snapshots of the era’s style, interests, politics, fashion and youth culture.

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Art for all the senses

August 22nd, 2017

Image courtesy of the AGO.

There should be no barriers to experiencing great art. At the AGO, our Access to Art Multisensory art visits provide an opportunity for visitors who are blind or have low vision to experience the AGO by stimulating all the senses. Participants explore the AGO Collection with detailed verbal description and conversation, while experiencing some objects through touch, smell or sound.

We are excited to be partnering with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which will allow us to offer even more Access to Art Multisensory Group Visits. Tours like these provide blind and partially sighted Torontonians a deepened experience with the artworks. After a recent Multisensory Group Visit, some of the participants who are also advocates for the non-sighted community—David Best, David Burnett, James Sanders, and Rob Nevin—shared their thoughts and impressions of the tour. Read the rest of this entry »

When serendipity knocks

August 15th, 2017

Rita Letendre. And There Was Light, 1999. Oil on canvas, 170.2 × 271.8 cm (67 × 107 in.). Courtesy of the Artist. © Rita Letendre.

A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into AGO exhibitions. Often organized many years in advance, full teams are involved in the planning, execution, maintenance (and the eventual packing up and shipping out) of a show. Despite our careful work, sometimes serendipity plays a hand. This the case with our current retrospective Rita Letendre: Fire & Light, co-curated by Wanda Nanibush, Assistant Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art, and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Associate Curator of Canadian Art. Two days before the show opened, Wanda made a lucky discovery when visiting artist Rita Letendre that added the pièce de résistance to the exhibition. We asked Wanda to tell us the story of her fabulous find:

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Hot news: DMC to headline First Thursday

August 15th, 2017

DMC will headline the next First Thursday at the AGO. Image courtesy of the AGO.

After a short summer break in August, the AGO’s monthly art party series First Thursdays is back for September! And like all successful back-to-school seasons, it has a fresh new look… and an incredible artist to kick things off!

Legendary DJ DMC (Darryl McDaniels) will be headlining First Thursday on September 7 (tickets go on sale this Thursday, August 17 – max. four tickets per purchase). Co-founder of the groundbreaking group Run-DMC, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a legendary music icon who changed the course and the visibility of the hip hop genre.  Run-DMC was the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and the first to appear on MTV. They changed music, culture, fashion, language and made history DMC has always paved his own path, crossing genres between hip-hop and rock, rap and comics, and has been a life-long advocate for kids in foster care as well as many other social causes. In 2009, Run-DMC became only the second hip-hop act to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2016 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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