SOMETHING OLD AND SOMETHING BRAND NEW IN THE ST. CLAIR/YONGE NEIGHBOURHOOD

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Something old – the wonderful Hollywood Cinema on Yonge Street north of St. Clair. Photo was taken in June, 1974. Sadly it’s been demolished.  Black and white photo, lining up for “Mary Poppins” – 1964

PHLEGM1Something new – it’s the first sign of redevelopment in the St. Clair/Yonge Street neighbourhood.  PHLEGM, a well-known artist in the United Kingdom has just finished a massive 8-storey mural on the side of the Padula Building.

PHLEGM2From a distance it’s a human figure, but up close “it’s a metaphor for the city itself, a living, breathing organism,” says organizer Alexis Kane-Speer. The mural is made up of hundreds of TORONTO landmarks, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market and the ravine system.

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A UNIQUE HOLIDAY GREETING CARD FROM CLAES OLDENBURG TO SAMUEL WAGSTAFF, 1965

OLDENBURG1A pig has its day in this greeting card sent by Stockholm-born, American sculptor CLAES OLDENBURG to curator and collector SAMUEL WAGSTAFF. Mr. Wagstaff was an early promoter of photography, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art and Earthworks.  <“To Samuel Wagstaff” (c. 1965), Photomechanical reproduction of a drawing, © Claes Oldenburg>

OLDENBURG2<PHOTO of Claes Oldenburg by Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons CLAES OLDENBURG is best known for public art installations featuring large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects.  TORONTO’s Art Gallery of Ontario has Mr. Oldenburg’s FLOOR BURGER in its collection.  You couldn’t get more everyday than this.

OLDENBURG5FLOOR BURGER (originally called ‘Giant Hamburger’) was purchased for $2,000 from the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York in 1967.  Needless to say, it was very controversial at the time.

OLDENBURG3 The sculpture has spawned lookalikes, including the Hamburger Bed shown below – http://www.mooshkatoo.blogspot.ca

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TORONTO ART GALLERIES ARE COLONIZING A WEST END POST-INDUSTRIAL NEIGHBOURHOOD

First there was ARSENAL/DIVISION GALLERY (45 Ernest Avenue, photo above artoronto.ca), then came JESSICA BRADLEY’S ANNEX (74 Miller Street), followed by the CLINT ROENISCH GALLERY (190 St. Helen’s Avenue), DANIEL FARIA GALLERY (188 St. Helen’s), the SCRAP METAL GALLERY (11 Dublin Street, unit E), KATZMAN CONTEMPORARY (86 Miller Street), and this month TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHER’S WORKSHOP (170 St. Helen’s Avenue) opened its doors.<PHOTOS ABOVE – 1 & 2 Arsenal/Division; 3 Clint Roenisch; 4,5 Scrap Metal; 6 Toronto Photographer’s Workshop>These vast spaces were once lumber warehouses, scrap metal yards, garages, and a couple of fish storage plants. Gallery owners saw great potential here. Spaces this size are not readily available in TORONTO’s booming real estate market.  The galleries are scattered around a neighbourhood on the fringe of the up-and-coming JUNCTION between Davenport Road and College Street, Lansdowne Avenue and Miller Street.