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AGO and TDSB Team Up To Fuel Passion for Art

November 28th, 2011

(TORONTO – Nov. 28, 2011) – Hundreds of Toronto District School Board (TDSB) students and educators will be able to visit the Weston Family Learning Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) each year for hands-on experience of  art thanks to a new five-year partnership between the TDSB and the AGO.

Students will experience:

  • Special full-day programs at the AGO: Up to 500 high-priority TDSB classes will visit the Gallery in the 2011-12 school year;
  • The AGO’s installation of 13 key paintings from the TDSB’s art collection in the Weston Family Learning Centre;
  • Specialized curriculum and resources for teachers and students online and at the AGO; and
    Free access to the Weston Family Learning Centre for students, teachers, parents and the community.

“This historic partnership is an incredible opportunity for our students, teachers and school communities,” said Chris Spence, TDSB Director of Education. “We truly believe the arts have an overwhelmingly positive impact on student achievement. Our fine art collection helps tell the story of who we are, as a school board, and as a city.”

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Jeanne Beker Curates Special Exhibition for AGO’s 2nd Annual Collector’s Series

November 15th, 2011

Canadian fashion icon shares personal collection of artworkCanadian fashion icon shares personal collection of artwork

(TORONTO – Nov. 15, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) launches the second annual Art Rental + Sales Gallery Collector’s Series exhibition in collaboration with one of Canada’s top fashion influencers, and host of CTV’s FashionTelevision, Jeanne Beker. Launched in 2010, this year’s exhibition in the series offers a rare glimpse into Beker’s private art collection including paintings, photography, and sculptures. Opening Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Collector’s Series runs until Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at the AGO’s Art Rental + Sales Gallery, located on the ground floor of 481 University Ave.

Opening night reception, hosted by AGO and featuring an appearance by Beker, takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Art Rental + Sales Gallery. The event offers performances by Juno Award-winning jazz artist Richard Underhill as well as Beker’s daughter, musician Joey O’Neil.

The Collector’s Series shines a spotlight on the personal art collections of notable Canadians, offering rare opportunities to share their own treasured pieces, as well as to select favourite pieces from the holdings of the Art Rental + Sales Gallery to be featured in the space. These selected works are available to the public for purchase or for rent.

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Visionary Canadian Jack Chambers Celebrated at the AGO

November 3rd, 2011

Jack Chambers, Self-Portrait No. 2, 1953(TORONTO – Nov. 3, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opens an exhibition of Canadian artist Jack Chambers’ work on Nov. 26, 2011. Entitled Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life, the collection surveys the varying styles and media used by the artist to create an incredible range of work. Curated by renowned Canadian art scholar Dennis Reid with art critic Sarah Milroy, the exhibition is based largely on holdings from the AGO’s permanent collection and remains on view until May 13, 2012.

Situated in the Signy Eaton gallery, the exhibition is presented within four central themes, each anchored by a representative keystone piece in rooms themed “Light,” “Spirit,” “Time,” and “Place”. More than 100 works in various media make up the exhibition, including 40 paintings, 58 drawings, five films, four prints, as well as archival photos, process materials,  notebooks and letters from the AGO’s Special Collection. Featured paintings include Meadow, 401 Towards London, McGilvary County, and Lunch. A room in the centre of the space will display a selection of Chambers’ influential films including Mosaic, R34, Hybrid, Hart of London and Circle.

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Indian artist Gauri Gill wins $50,000 Grange Prize

November 1st, 2011

Sunita, Nirmala and Sita, from the series Balika Mela Portraits, 2003

(TORONTO/MONTREAL – Nov. 1, 2011) After an eight-week public vote, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Aeroplan are proud to announce that Delhi-based artist Gauri Gill is the winner of The Grange Prize 2011. The $50,000 prize is Canada’s largest photography prize, also granting $5,000 and an international residency to each of the runners-up, and is the only major Canadian art prize to have its winner chosen by the public.

Gill is an Indian photographer born in 1970 and based in Delhi, India, whose body of work includes a decade-long study of people living in marginalized communities in Rajasthan, India. Her photographs “often address ordinary heroism within challenging environments,” says a statement on behalf of the nominating jury, “depicting the artist’s often-intimate relationships with her subjects with a documentary spirit and a human concern over issues of survival.”

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Gauri Gill (Indian), Sunita, Nirmala and Sita, from the series Balika Mela Portraits, 2003, archival pigment print, 76 x 102 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Nature Morte Gallery. © 2011 Gauri Gill.

The AGO Opens Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters From Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940

October 5th, 2011

Two rare collections on display in conjunction with Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde

(TORONTO – Oct. 5, 2011) Artworks from two special collections at the Art Gallery of Ontario – Prints and Drawings, and the Edward P. Taylor Reference Library and Archives – are showcased in Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters from Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940. Opening Oct. 8, 2011, the exhibition runs until Jan. 15, 2012.

Using the major AGO exhibition Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris as a departure point, Constructing Utopia examines the era of revolution in the Russian empire as the tsarist autocracy was deposed and replaced by a Communist government that enlisted the people in the construction of a utopian Soviet society. This all-encompassing political and social project is reflected in the striking art and design of the times.

Curated by Medeine Tribinevicius, AGO Gelber Intern, Prints and Drawings, and Donald Rance, AGO Reference Librarian, the exhibition brings into dialogue two exciting branches of graphic design: futurist and constructivist books, which speak to the formative artistic years of the avant-garde; and large-scale, dramatic posters, which demonstrate the impact of this ground-breaking art movement on the everyday visual culture of Soviet Russia.

The AGO’s collection of Russian posters is the finest public compilation of revolutionary posters in North America. The rare books are a recent Gallery acquisition (donated anonymously in 2009), and this marks the collection’s first public showing. Comprising over 100 works, the books and posters focus on portrayals of political figures and momentous events, as well as propaganda supporting the changes to mass education and literacy campaigns in the early years of the Soviet Union.

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From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift

October 4th, 2011

A lifetime of collecting and generosity honoured at the AGO

(TORONTO – Oct. 4, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) celebrates the long-standing patronage of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum with an exhibition comprising highlights from the masterworks the couple has donated to the Gallery over almost four decades. Featuring 28 Old Master paintings and five sculptures, From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift is currently on view in the Walter C. Laidlaw and E.R Wood Galleries and Walker Court.

“The AGO is fortunate to have been the beneficiary of the Tanenbaums’ generosity over the years, and to be entrusted as the custodian of such an extraordinary collection of works,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “Joey and Toby’s ongoing support of their hometown art museum and the spirit that drives their love of art have had a considerable effect in guiding the shape and scope of the Gallery.”

The Tanenbaums’ love of rich imagery and visual depth, high drama and narrative tone is evident in the works of the exhibition. Spanning from the 15th to the 20th century, paintings by artists including Jan Victors, Artus Wolfort, Luca Giordano, Antoine Coypel, Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet and Thomas Lawrence capture mainly Classical and biblical themes.

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Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde Opens October 18 at the AGO

September 21st, 2011

Masterworks from the Centre Pompidou make their only North American appearance in Toronto

(TORONTO – Sept. 21, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario brings the magic and wonder of modern painter Marc Chagall to Toronto next month with a major exhibition organized by the world-renowned contemporary art museum, Centre Pompidou. Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris is on view from Oct. 18, 2011 to Jan. 15, 2012, and includes 32 vivid and imaginative works by Marc Chagall and eight pieces by Wassily Kandinsky, alongside pieces from other visionaries of Russian modernism such as Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay, and Vladimir Tatlin. A total of 118 works belonging to the collection of the Centre Pompidou comprises a broad array of media including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography and film.

Early-bird tickets for the exhibition are on sale now and include a 20 per cent discount if purchased online before Oct. 18. Regularly priced tickets range from $16.50 for youth and student visitors to $25 for adult admission. Admission is free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets can be booked online.

AGO members enjoy FREE admission to Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde, and are invited to attend a special members’ preview of the exhibition on Sunday, Oct. 16, 10 am – 8:30 pm, and on Monday, Oct. 17, 10 am – 5:30 pm. Members of the Curators’ Circle can enjoy an exclusive talk and preview on Monday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 pm.

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AGO Launches Artist-in-Residence Program with Winnipeg-born Artist Paul Butler

September 14th, 2011

Butler to host an all-night painting competition for Nuit Blanche and exhibit new work in the AGO’s Toronto Now series.

(TORONTO – Sept. 14, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) launches a new artist-in-residence program this month, including a dedicated studio in the newly built Weston Family Learning Centre. The program, the first of its kind at a major Canadian art museum, will host up to six artists each year for eight-week terms. Paul Butler is the AGO’s first artist-in-residence, and kicks off the program with an all-night event at the Learning Centre during Nuit Blanche on Oct. 1.

Butler is also the latest artist to be featured in the AGO’s Toronto Now series
with his installation The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project, which pays homage to influential Canadian artist Greg Curnoe. Opening Sept. 17 and guest curated by Tatiana Mellema, the installation features photographic and video elements documenting Butler’s rides around London, Ont. with the late artist’s friends and family and members of the arts and cycling communities in London. The installation also includes a custom-built replica of Curnoe’s bicycle, which Butler built with Mike Barry, a friend of Curnoe’s and the owner of Mariposa Cycle in Toronto.

“Paul Butler is an artist whose keen interest in community and institution building makes him well suited to be the first artist-in-residence at the AGO,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “The Artist-in-Residence Program is designed to spark connections between our visitors and the artist community, and the events and programs Paul has planned are an ideal fulfillment of the program’s terrific potential.”

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Two Canadian and Two Indian Photographers Shortlisted for $50,000 Grange Prize

August 30th, 2011

Online public vote and AGO exhibition open today; FREE public launch party on September 7

(TORONTO/MONTREAL – August 30, 2011) Four photographers — two each from Canada and India — have been shortlisted for The Grange Prize 2011, Canada’s largest cash prize for photography. The winner of the $50,000 prize is chosen by public vote, which opens today and continues through October 23 at The winner will be announced at a gala reception hosted by presenting partners Aeroplan and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on November 1.

The finalists for The Grange Prize 2011 are:

  • Gauri Gill, an Indian photographer born in 1970 and based in Delhi, India, whose work documents narratives of ordinary heroism within challenging environments and includes a decade-long study of people living in marginalized communities in Rajasthan. Gill’s photographs address the twinned Indian identity markers of class and community and document the artist’s often-intimate relationships with her subjects.
  • Elaine Stocki, a Canadian photographer born in 1979 in Winnipeg, who works with subjects from a range of social conditions to create compositions that explore issues of race, class and gender. Her images challenge the limits of documentary photography by utilizing its techniques and conventions to express constructed, fictive narratives.
  • Althea Thauberger, a Canadian photographer born in 1970 and based in Vancouver, who has garnered attention over the past decade for photographs, films and video that explore her engagements and collaborations with groups of people, most often distinct social enclaves, resulting in performances of identity and self-definition that are strikingly and powerfully documented by the artist.
  • Nandini Valli, an Indian photographer born in 1976 and based in Chennai, India, whose carefully constructed, cinematic images of her subjects, often costumed as mythologized heroes and gods and photographed in contemporary settings, have placed her at the forefront of the emerging performance-based photography movement in India.

The four finalists were selected by a nominating jury comprising AGO acting curator of Canadian art Michelle Jacques; Wayne Baerwaldt, the acting vice president of research and academic affairs at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary; Gayatri Sinha, a Delhi-based art critic and curator; and Sunil Gupta, a photographer, writer and curator born in India and living in New Delhi and London, UK.

Read the whole press release

Top Left: Gauri Gill (Indian), Balika Mela Portraits 12. Balika Mela Portrait series2003. Archival pigment print, 30 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist. © 2011 Gauri Gill

Top Right: Elaine Stocki (Canadian), William, 2008, chromogenic print, 15 x 15 in. Courtesy of the artist. © 2011 Elaine Stocki

Bottom Left: Althea Thauberger (Canadian), Kandahar International Airport (detail), 2009. Digital c-print, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. © 2011 Althea Thauberger

Bottom Right: Nandini Valli Muthiah (Indian), Seated 1, 2006, Definitive Reincarnate series. Inkjet print on archival paper. 31 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai. © 2011 Nandini Valli Muthiah

New AGO Exhibition Explores the History of Industrial Photography in Canada

August 17th, 2011

“Oh the song of the future has been sung / All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand / All the world at our command
We have opened up her soil / With our teardrops and our toil”

— Gordon Lightfoot, “Canadian Railroad Trilogy”

(TORONTO – August 17, 2011) A new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario traces the history of Canada’s changing industrial landscape through the lens of some of the country’s most extraordinary photographers from the past 150 years. Songs of the Future: Canadian Industrial Photographs, 1858 to Today opens August 20 and includes more than 100 photographs by such artists as Alexander Henderson, William Notman, John Vanderpant, E. Haanel Cassidy, Ralph Greenhill, George Hunter and Edward Burtynsky.

Depicting railway and bridge building, quarries and mines, and the lumber, pulp and paper, and concrete industries in Canada, Songs of the Future traces the shifting perspectives on industry and the Canadian landscape from the Industrial Revolution to today. The exhibition highlights the ways in which the photographers’ perspectives on industry have shifted along with those of society at large, as celebratory images of human domination over nature give way to more critical views of industrial impact.

The exhibition is curated by Sophie Hackett, the AGO’s assistant curator of photography, who integrates works from various periods into thematic concentrations, including images featuring: the construction of the Victoria Bridge over the St. Lawrence River in the late 1850s; the building of the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company, a pulp-and-paper mill located in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, in 1912; and the development of the railroad in Canada.

Read the whole press release