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20141216202843-ago Art, Alcohol, and Fundraising: Match Made in Heaven or a Doomed Relationship?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/16/14

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have taken on a novel approach to programming in the last year with two common purposes: to increase institutional relevance and popularity, and as a fundraising strategy. Both institutions organize frequently scheduled parties; AGO has First Thursdays and ROM hosts Friday Night Live. They are certainly not the first museums to develop programming that entices patrons and a larger audience with attractive parties featuring drinks a... [more]

20141214165818-small_basement_camera_shop Why There Aren’t More Important Canadian Artists: An Irrelevant Rivalry   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/14/14

I remember when I first moved to Vancouver, and told people I was from Toronto, the venom and animosity for my hometown astonished me. Many of the people who were so vehemently hateful of Toronto and had never been there before, I was told. I found this astonishing, because in the 28 years I lived in Toronto, I'd never heard a single person bash Vancouver. If anything, people from Toronto spoke highly of Vancouver—the phenomenal beauty of British Columbia, the number of great artists Vancouve... [more]

20141024114639-2 Allen Ginsberg’s Photographs: The Unforgivable Passage of Time   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Allen Ginsberg at University of Toronto Art Centre September 2nd - December 6th
Posted 10/24/14

An exhibition of Allen Ginsberg’s photographs, currently on view at the University of Toronto’s Art Centre, presents its audience with a large volume of stills taken by the poet between 1953 and 1996. Approximately 150 images hang on the walls of We are Continually Exposed to the Flashbulb of Death: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996), representing some of Ginsberg’s most intimate documented moments that capture and immortalize an instance in time. The viewer’s re... [more]

20140912041018-dr2_1 Effectively Ineffective: Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint at the Art Gallery of Ontario   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Matthew Barney at Art Gallery of Ontario May 31st - September 28th
Posted 9/12/14

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is currently holding an exhibition of video works by American artist, Matthew Barney. The works belong to Drawing Restraint—a long-term, ongoing project Barney started in 1987. Thus far, he has produced nineteen installments in the series, of which three—Drawing Restraint 2 (1988), 6 (1989) and 17 (2010)—are looped on display. The exhibition similarly unfolds in three parts. The Show The gallery’s visitors may harbor the expectation to imm... [more]

20140801135037-gph2014improvingyoursquashinstall What Is and What Is Not: Patrick Howlett at G Gallery   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Patrick Howlett at G Gallery July 10th - August 17th
Posted 8/1/14

The following is a review of paintings by Patrick Howlett, currently on view at G Gallery in Toronto, in which one third of the writing describes what is not on display in the gallery, which is worth valorizing through indicating its absences. The remaining text describes what is. The work in this show is not design oriented. The work in this show is not grey. The work in this show contains no new, modern, iridescent, or futuristic paint or materials. The work in this show is not fey, twee, o... [more]

20140710122955-1 Static Schtick: Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole June 19th - July 26th
Posted 7/10/14

Sifting through the biographical information sent to me by the gallery regarding the small (two works total) solo show by Canadian, Los Angeles-based artist Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole, I am unable to find a single page or press snippet that does not contain the information that Kydd studied under and worked for Jeff Wall. If one did not know Kydd's work, or the context in which the information was made available to me, it would be easy to mistake much of this written material as part of a project... [more]

20140523085638-aquarius Portrait Relief   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Katie Lyle at Erin Stump Projects (ESP) May 15th - June 14th
Posted 5/23/14

Katie Lyle's first solo show at Erin Stump Projects is both promising and relieving. They are paintings that will make your eyes and brain feel satisfied, as well as happy to see something, albeit traditional, that has been suspiciously absent from much contemporary painting: small-scale portraits. In a debut solo exhibition you typically are aware of which artists the artist likes. Of the seven paintings in this show, one nods fairly directly to Picasso (something a painter is almost required... [more]

20140426185316-259 From Deep and the Rise of the Dunkadelic Era   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Images Festival April 10th - April 19th
Posted 4/26/14

The first three weeks of April in Toronto are host to the 27th incarnation of the Images Festival, which bills itself as the largest festival in North America for "experimental and independent moving image culture." It offers a much needed and relieving, counter to the Toronto International Film Festival. The Images Festival focuses primarily on video art, far too often only seen in the rarefied spaces of contemporary art galleries, and smaller independent films that would perhaps not be showcased... [more]

20140301194557-jennifer Successfully Safe Sculptures: The Attraction of the Familiar   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Iris Häussler, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, An Te Liu at Daniel Faria Gallery February 13th - March 22nd
Posted 2/27/14

There's a dubious trend in contemporary art in North America right now that seems to be flying under the radar, likely due to its pleasant appeal and harmlessly inoffensive nature. It's typically a combination of two seemingly nice things: nostalgia and sentiment. This three-person show at Daniel Faria gallery is an example of a sentimental rehashing of modernist sensibilities, and it succeeds on certain levels, in that it looks just like art we know and love. On those same levels it fails. An Te... [more]

20131220155149-gleizes-headinalandscape The Guggenheim’s Early Treasures at AGO   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Constantin Brancusi, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso at Art Gallery of Ontario November 30th, 2013 - March 2nd
Posted 12/20/13

Before even getting to a description of this exhibition I am advising you to see it. At the risk of exposing my tastes as those of an old white man, “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910–1918” curated by the Guggenheim’s Tracey Bashkoff and on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario until the 2nd of March, is among the best major museum shows I’ve seen in the past few years. Granted, I’m into the canon, and furthermore, the exhibiti... [more]

20131110182205-breitz Broken Mirror Narcissus   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Candice Breitz, James Coupe, Marcel Dzama, Jeremy Shaw, Jamie Shovlin, Laurel Woodcock at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) September 5th, 2013 - December 29th, 2013
Posted 11/10/13

Perhaps the best place to begin is with a simple metaphor. Imagine you are looking into a broken mirror, not in any dramatic or troubled way, but such that your reflection takes on multiple vantage points: the nape of your neck matched against your ear, a singular eye inset against the cheekbone, the edge of your mouth framed without either a smile or a frown – disembodied, disassociated with the idea of a “whole,” and ultimately transformed by the very nature of fragmentation. This pro... [more]

Special Edition: Art Toronto   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/24/13

CANADIAN CONTENT Is Art Toronto too regional? By Joel Kuennen In 1968, the idea of Canadian Content was set down as law in the Broadcasting Act of Canada. It ensures that “each broadcasting undertaking shall make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming.” As Ryan Edwardson aptly points out in his book Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood (2008), Canadian Content is a... [more]

20131023223025-2934 Canadian Content   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Art Toronto (Toronto International Art Fair) October 25th, 2013 - October 28th, 2013
Posted 10/23/13

In 1968, the idea of Canadian Content was set down as law in the Broadcasting Act of Canada. It ensures that “each broadcasting undertaking shall make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming.” As Ryan Edwardson aptly points out in his book Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood (2008), Canadian Content is a cultural response to a very determined approach to country-b... [more]

20131004081318-lexier_3 Heads and Tails   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Micah Lexier at The Power Plant September 21st, 2013 - January 5th
Posted 10/4/13

The overlap between artist and curator has a long history in Toronto – perhaps because of a lack of regional support, a need for more established art institutions, schools, and non-profits that hold curatorial positions, or the subsequent absence of a collector base for young artists – and this can sometimes sometimes prove problematic. A current exhibition by Micah Lexier, One, and Two, and More Than One, at The Power Plant comes the closest to what I have seen as striking a working balance between the two p... [more]

20130706161344-animals_sharpies_detail3 What Comes After the Royal Art Lodge?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Neil Farber & Michael Dumontier, Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, Jonathan Pylypchuk, Adrian Williams at Division Gallery June 27th, 2013 - August 31st, 2013
Posted 7/6/13

“After the Royal Art Lodge,” which opened last week at Division Gallery, is not for the myopic. It requires a lot of close looking. The group show of new work from Adrian Williams, Jonathan Pylypchuk, Neil Farber, and the duo of Farber and Michael Dumontier, and slightly older pieces from Marcel Dzama, features 23 works in diverse media — paint, ink, watercolour, wood, old sweater — of which the majority are either small or elaborated with pictures and words. The work is... [more]

20130412174031-08_iris_haussler A Portrait of Obsession   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Iris Häussler at Daniel Faria Gallery April 3rd, 2013 - May 11th, 2013
Posted 4/12/13

To encounter Iris Häussler’s sculptures in a white box gallery is a rarity, as the artist’s work is usually found in immersive site-specific installations involving fictive narratives and incredibly detailed staging. On view at Daniel Faria Gallery is something of a retrospective grouping of the artist’s concept drawings, along with the sculptures she created under the auspices of various fictional characters: Mary O’Shea, Joseph Wagenbach, and Ted Wilson. Now Iris Häussler “invites” us to view... [more]


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