It’s that time of year again! For one night only you can be an art-goer from dusk to dawn with Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017, experiencing installations and performances by some of Toronto’s most inspired artists – and all for free.
When Katy Chey applied for the role of exhibition designer at the AGO, she knew she wanted to work on one exhibition in particular: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. And once you experience the show after it opens on September 30, you’ll understand why. This installation goes far beyond what we’re used to. Chey and the project team behind At Home with Monsters have turned the entire Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion gallery space into the otherworldly, gothic home called Bleak House – a re-creation of del Toro’s famed residence in Los Angeles.
Guillermo del Toro famously had to buy a second house to store his collection of art, comics and massive libraries of books – and frankly, we get it. When the temperatures begin to cool in late September, there’s an undeniable urge to put on a sweater, grab a warm drink, and surround yourself with the printed word (or just an e-reader, if that’s your thing).
That’s why we’re hitting up Word on the Street, the annual mega-sized book fair, taking place this Sunday, September 24 at the Harbourfront Centre. Over 200 Canadian authors will be doing readings throughout the day (some even taking place on a tall ship). There’s a slam poetry performance and a line-up of panel discussions, and families have their own literary and storytelling-themed activities. But the big draw is Canada’s biggest literary marketplace, with over 250 book, comics and magazine vendors, including independent authors and bigger Canadian publishers.
The AGO is getting into the Halloween spirit early with the opening of our fall exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. Inspired by all things macabre, supernatural and obsessive, we’ve put together a series of talks and a very special First Thursday – headlined by electro-pop provocateur, Peaches!
Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood is the AGO’s much-acclaimed response to Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations of 2017. Instead of joining in the celebration, the exhibition engages in a more critical conversation about whose history is told where and when, whose voices have been marginalized or left out completely, and what myths about Canadian identity continue to reverberate in our culture.
Co-curated by Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, and artist Anique Jordan, the exhibition was born out of conversations with Canadian artists, over 50 of whom are represented in Every. Now. Then. Naturally, those conversations are now bursting out of the AGO walls. They’re landing in two Toronto communities in a project called The Public, organized by Jordan.
Florine Stettheimer. A Model (Nude Self-Portrait), 1915. Oil on canvas, 48 1/4 x 68 1/4 in. (122.5 x 173.4 cm.), Framed: 49 5/8 x 68 1/4 in. (126 x 177 cm). Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer, 1967.
When Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetryopened at the Jewish Museum in New York earlier this year, it was the first major retrospective of her work seen in that city in over 20 years. Apparently the art world couldn’t have been more ready for it! Effusive praise for the rarely shown artist and the show poured in from the New York papers. The exhibition is on view there until September 24, but shortly after that it will hop the border to come directly to the AGO for what will be the first-ever Stettheimer retrospective in Canada, opening on October 21.
With her large canvases bursting with colour, Rita Letendre: Fire & Light has inspired many of our visitors – and after spending only a few minutes inside the exhibition, it’s easy to see why. Her work seeks to express the full energy of life, which explodes out of this career survey of the inimitable artist. Curated by Wanda Nanibush, Assistant Curator, Canadian and Indigenous Art, and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Curator of Canadian Art, the exhibition contains 30 large-scale paintings that were chosen with great care for Letendre’s first full retrospective in Toronto, which closes on September 17.
Al Green was an inspiring philanthropist, city builder and a longstanding friend and advocate of the AGO. A Trustee of the AGO Board of Directors for over 14 years, Al’s contributions to the Gallery were extraordinary, from his support of several major exhibitions to his leadership gifts to major initiatives such as Transformation AGO. An accomplished sculptor, collector and lover of art, Al integrated public sculpture into his many building projects throughout the city. He established the Al Green Sculpture Studio and School in Toronto, creating an open, accessible, not-for-profit space for artists to create sculpture. In 2002, Al was honoured with the Order of Canada for his devotion to community service.
Flash back to this time four years ago, when the AGO was in full swing with Ai Weiwei: According to What? The exhibition, which showcased the photographs, sculpture, installation art and audio/video pieces of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, had captured the imagination of our visitors, making it one of the hottest tickets in town. Ai Weiwei’s exploration of issues surrounding freedom of expression, individual and human rights and the power of digital communications was timely and compelling, and the exhibition welcomed over 145,000 visitors.
At the time, Ai Weiwei was under domestic arrest and heavy surveillance in Beijing as a result of his activism and provocative artwork that openly raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the Chinese government. His passport had been seized, making international travel impossible.