An art museum’s collection is constantly evolving. New acquisitions keep a collection responsive, current and engaging, while also making significant statements about the direction of today’s art scene, celebrating established artists and fostering emerging talent. For the past 18 years, the Opening Night Preview of Art Toronto has been a landmark evening for contemporary collection-building at the AGO.
This year, our curatorial team purchased new works from four exciting artists; all made possible by funds raised at the Preview along with AGO acquisition funds. This year’s selection committee was led by Kitty Scott, Carol & Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and included: Kenneth Brummel, Assistant Curator, Modern Art; Julie Crooks, Assistant Curator, Photography; Sophie Hackett, Curator, Photography; Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art; Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art.
Chalk No. 4, a painting by the internationally renowned artist Christina Mackie, is the first work by the London-based artist to enter the AGO collection. It is exemplary of her experimentation with painting and sculpture. Brightly coloured pigments are used to draw the viewer in for a closer look at the surface of this beautifully crafted object.
At the Art Toronto Opening Night Preview, the AGO purchased a photograph by Canadian artist Meryl McMaster, Bring me to this place, its second in the Collection. Her work is featured in the exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood, currently on view at the AGO.
Inuk artist Tim Pitsiulak, known for his drawings of Inuit animals and imagery, was born in Kimmirut, Nunavut, in 1967 and lived in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). His death at the end of 2016 marked a major loss for Canadian art. With the purchase of Swimming Bear (pictured at the top of this post), the AGO gains its fourth Pitsiulak piece and reasserts the importance of the artist’s legacy. (AGOinsider tip: stay tuned for an announcement coming soon about Inuit art!)
The AGO also purchased photographs by emerging African-American artist John Edmonds for the first time, acquiring three works from his “Du-Rag” series printed on Japanese silk. Edmonds uses photography to examine black masculinity in the United States, especially how hoods and du-rags signify identity in contemporary society.
Stay tuned to hear when you’ll be able to see these works on display!
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