All Night Art Show : Nuit Blanche 2012

university avenue at night

I, like many Toronto dwellers, spent a large part of today in bed. That's because we were up much of last night, exploring the fantastic art experience that was Nuit Blanche 2012.

Started in Paris in 2002, this all-night contemporary art show began being held in Toronto in 2006, making it the first North American city to participate in this event. These days it is held in 25 cities around the world, with a goal to bring art to the masses in public spaces, all for free.

Our event featured 159 exhibits, located all around the downtown area of the city. Way too many things for anyone to see in the 12 hours, (from 7pm on Saturday to 7am on Sunday), that it runs, but I did my best to see as many things as I could.

In previous years, Nick and I have gone out around midnight but found that the streets were very crowded and it was hard to have a good look at the more popular exhibits. So this year we decided to have a nap and then get up and go out in the middle of the night. Well, only one of us ended up actually getting up and going out at 4am in the morning, and since I am the one writing this, you can guess which of us that was! Of course, Nick made sure I was certain that I was ok about going out on my own before he decided to stay home, and I pulled on a warm sweater and out into the night I went.

And I am so glad that I did, because it was really good and so neat to be out on the streets at that time of night. I walked over to the Zone that was closest to our place and found it easy to see a lot of stuff because streets were closed to cars so you could cross anywhere and because the whole thing was very well organized. Also the large crowds of people had thrown in the towel by this time. That is not to say that there weren't enough people out to make it fun (and safe), because there were. I managed to cover most of two Zones, ending up at the square in front of our city hall, just in time to see one last exhibit before the sun came up and the whole thing was over.

(These first two pieces were made out of icing!)

throw up 1 nuit blanche

throw up 2 nuit blanche

dollar general drive by

lou nuit blanche

life cycles nuit blanche to

high water nuit blanche

green invaders nuit blanche

chase nuit blanche toronto

fun house 2

the way things are

city hall clock

nathan phillips square nuit

If I have any regrets it is that I didn't go out for a quick trip before taking my nap, to see some of the things that were right in my neighbourhood, but I shall live and learn and plan to do that next year. Now that Nick has heard all about what I saw, I think he regrets not coming, and has already suggested that next year we will go out on our bikes and therefore be able to cover more ground, which is a really good idea.

I'm not sure if the reason this show is held during the night, is because many of the shows involve light so only work well in the dark, or if so many involve light because the darkness allows them to showcases this type of work. Regardless, most of what I saw used light as an important element to the work.

And because it was very overcast, I didn't notice the moon until the very end. It was full and was the harvest moon! (named so because it is the full moon closest to the fall equinox, when farmers used its extra light to harvest their ripe crops.)

full moon

Have you ever been to a Nuit Blanche or something like it?

Thanks for dropping by,
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15 Responses to All Night Art Show : Nuit Blanche 2012

  1. Vix says:

    What a fantastic event, hope you had a great sleep to compensate! x

  2. Mariette says:

    Such great pictures Louise! I want to go next year! I now know that “Nuit Blanche” does have a better meaning than the colloquial connotation of “Passer une nuit blanche” which means spend a sleepless night, not always a good thing!

    • Loulou says:

      That’s interesting Mariette. Thanks for giving this insight into why this art show is named what it is! I always wondered about that. Now it makes sense. You pass a sleepless night because you’re out looking at all the art!

  3. Jenny Lee says:

    Wow. This looks so fantastic. And how fun to prowl around in the middle of the night and look at all of it. What a wonderful adventure. I am NOT an night owl, but I think I could get myself geeked up for this!

    • Loulou says:

      I think you’d love it Jenny. You’d just have to go to a good nap earlier on and then get up in the middle of the night like I did! Yes, I was tired on Sunday but also very happy that I went. It was really fun.

  4. Mandy says:

    Wow what an amazing event! All of the displays are so creative, especially the icing one! I haven’t been to something like this, but would really like to!


  5. Nicole says:

    Wow.. amazing!! I really love the icing! Really cool.

  6. Victoria says:

    A few years ago I did something similar with a friend only without art, it was in London and we walked around the city until we watched the sunrise it was beautiful and I really want to do it again. The art looks great! x

  7. lola says:

    i’ve heard mixed reviews from years passed. i guess it really depends what you see! my friend and her dance company performed a few years ago and she said it was a long, long night and COLD! but, fun!
    going on your bikes would be perfect. especially in toronto.
    love the pic of the moon.

    • Loulou says:

      Oh my, dancing for the whole 12 hours would be tiring! I expected to be cold, but actually took my sweater off for a bit. It was also supposed to be rainy, but in the end, it was a gorgeous night (well, morning, for me).

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