This will take up serious storage space. It’s an “immersive” labyrinth of 100 Chinese doors assembled by Beijing avant-garde artist Song Dong (b.1966) – originally for the Venice Biennale – and now in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The armoire doors were rescued from within the Beijing hutongs, a vast network of laneway housing either being demolished or gentrified, in a capital city that’s been expanding and rebuilding at breakneck speed. ‘The Wisdom of the Poor’ addresses the role of traditional architecture in today’s changing urban environment. <PHOTO – Song Dong, Pace Gallery>. <Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West>
<J.W. Cleary, Coconut Palms, Kingston Harbour, c. 1895> NEW YORK’s Patrick Montgomery assembled over ten years a huge collection of historical photos from the Caribbean.<Valentine & Sons, A Boat on Kingston Harbour (variation), 1891> Montgomery says “I was surprised how few (local historical societies) had photo collections…. So I started poking around and talking to dealers, and it turns out they did exist, but not in the Caribbean. The climate and economy [largely] didn’t support that kind of archive.”<Unknown photographer, Glendairy Prison Officials, Barbados, 1909> Thanks to $300,000 in support mainly from TORONTO’s Caribbean and Black community donors, the unique collection is now in the archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario.<Felix Morin, Coolie Woman, Trinidad, c. 1890><Felix Morin, Bananas, Trinidad, c. 1890> The collection is distinctive in its reach, covering no fewer than 34 countries from 1840 through to 1940. (Canadian Art Magazine, June/2019)
The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) has the first million in the bank, and is looking to crowdfund the second between now and December 1st.Why spend so much on one art installation? This past spring YAYOI KUSAMA’s touring exhibition was a hit, attracting 165,000 patrons, long lineups and unprecedented demand for tickets. Each visitor was allowed only 20 seconds to take in the mirrored rooms, then was moved on allowing others to have a peek.“KUSAMA transcends nationality. She’s more than just a Japanese artist, she’s a global one,” said STEPHAN JOST, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario. “My thought is, if this is successful, we should do (crowdfunding for) a Canadian artist as well.” There are currently 18 museums around the world with Kusama rooms.The Toronto Star wonders if “TORONTO won’t be stuck with the artistic pop art equivalent of a Cabbage Patch Doll”.
In 1966 LUCAS SAMARAS unveiled ‘Room #2’, one of the earliest art installations that viewers could enter and experience mirrored infinity <PHOTO BELOW>. The original can be found about 85 miles from TORONTO in BUFFALO, New York. It’s in the permanent collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and has always been on display whenever I visited.Everything old is new again.
Working with polyester and stainless steel, South Korean sculptor DO HU SUH recreated the bathroom in his Chelsea, NYC apartment. “My work starts from reflection on space, especially personal space,” he says. This installation is in the contemporary collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West.
The Tate Modern in LONDON has exhibited another Do Hu Suh creation – a staircase, also inspired by his Chelsea NYC apartment building.
<MATTHEW TEITELBAUM photographed by Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe> The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Director and CEO, MATTHEW TEITELBAUM is heading southeast in August to become Director of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. After joining the AGO in 1993 as chief curator, the TORONTO native was appointed Director and CEO of the Gallery in 1998. Teitelbaum’s predecessor, American-born GLENN LOWRY, was Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. Since 1995 he’s been the Director of MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City.
“Massacre of the Innocents” in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, is the first version painted by Peter Paul Rubens around 1611-12. From the end of the 17th century until the 19th century it was part of the Liechtenstein Collection in Vienna’s Garden Palace. The painting was attributed to one of Rubens’ assistants, and remained under that attribution until it was sold to an Austrian family in 1920. In 1923 it was lent to a monastery in northern Austria.
In 2001, the painting was seen by an expert in Flemish and Dutch painting at Sotheby’s in London. He believed it was indeed a Rubens, and at auction in London on July 10, 2002, the picture sold for $117-million CAD to collector and multi-millionaire KENNETH THOMSON, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet. Mr. Thomson donated the painting to the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, where it hangs to this day in its own special room.
Art Gallery of Ontario, http://www.ago.net
For the second time in three years, TORONTO’s Art Gallery of Ontario is bringing a major Canadian artist to LONDON’s Dulwich Picture Gallery. The AGO’s blockbuster exhibition ‘Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven’ was greeted enthusiastically in the British capital with long lineups in 2011.
<INDIAN WAR CANOE, Emily Carr, Dulwich Picture Gallery> Curated by Canadian art critic Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin, Sackler Director of the Dulwich, ‘From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia’ is a joint project and will be on view from November 1 to March 8 in LONDON, returning to TORONTO from April 11 to July 12.
For EMILY CARR, the Victoria BC-born artist, this will be her first major retrospective in Europe. The exhibition features about 100 paintings, watercolours and drawings, including rarely seen sketches, works drawn from private collections, and the recently discovered illustrated journal ‘Sister and I in Alaska’.
<STEVE MARTIN, photographed by Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times> The Art Gallery of Ontario has announced that actor-musician-comedian-banjo player-contemporary art collector, STEVE MARTIN, will co-curate a major exhibition of work by Canada’s LAWREN HARRIS for the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2015. Plans are to tour the exhibit after its California debut, to other American cities, ending up back at the AGO.
<LAWREN HARRIS, photographed by M. O. Hammond, April 25, 1926> Mr. Harris, founder of the Group of Seven, is a Canadian iconic painter. There are large collections of his work on exhibit at the AGO in TORONTO and the McMichael Collection in KLEINBERG, Ontario. <IMAGES BELOW – Lawren Harris paints Toronto streets in the snow, 1920-1930; “North Shore, Lake Superior”, 1926; and “Mount Lefroy”, 1930>
The Malcolmson Collection, a grouping of 268 vintage photographic works by 110 significant 19th and 20th century artists, will soon be part of the AGO’s photography archive. The Collection, created by Ann and Harry Malcolmson, is regarded as one of the most important historical photography assemblages in private hands in Canada. <PHOTOS BELOW – the Malcolmsons by Christopher Wahl for Toronto Life magazine>
“Ann and I are thrilled,” said Harry Malcolmson. “Thanks to the AGO’s intervention, the Collection will not be dispersed and will be publicly available for generations to come.” Home to more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, is among the most distinguished art museums in North America.
“Floor Burger”, originally called “The Giant Hamburger” was created by pioneer pop artist CLAES OLDENBURG in 1962. Purchased by the Art Gallery of Ontario for $2,000 in 1967, the controversial work definitely attracts the public’s eye – so much so, that it was recently included in an Oldenburg exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Before heading to New York, the 50-year-old icon was restored by AGO conservationists.