Update : The AGO reopened on July 21, 2021! I saw myself how careful they are about keeping everyone safe, so go ahead and book your visit without worry. Their site is linked below. The Warhol show that was previously scheduled and then forced to be postponed is now on!
Follow Up, from their site : “The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, visitors and our extended AGO community is always our top priority. It is for this reason, and on the direction of the Government of Ontario, that the AGO closed temporarily, effective Sunday, November 22 at 5 p.m. We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to welcoming visitors to the AGO again.”
There are an impressive six new panels up on the AGO’s website, under the tab “Current Exhibitions”. I went to have a look at each one and, as always, came away from the gallery feeling uplifted and happy, in spite of all that’s going on these days.
This interesting article gave insight into why I felt so good — to quote, “recent studies and research have proven that a trip to the art gallery or a museum can positively impact your health and well-being in several essential ways, like lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills.”
Here’s a look at the six newly installed exhibitions. The notes are excerpts from the AGO’s (aka the Art Gallery of Ontario) site.
The first two involve significant elements of sound and motion, so I made a short video to better share the experience …
↑ Video : On At the AGO Toronto : Haegue Yang and Ragnar Kjartansson – Fall/Winter 2020 ↑
“A leading artist of her generation, Haegue Yang (b. 1971 Seoul) is celebrated for her prolific and diverse work that evokes historical and contemporary narratives of migration, displacement and cross-cultural translation. Featuring 82 sculptures, installations and performances from the past twenty-five years, Haegue Yang: Emergence includes a selection of early works, as well as the installations: Anthology of Haegue Archives (1998), Afterimage (2006), Sallim (2009), and Boxing Ballet (2013-15). This is the first North American retrospective survey of Yang’s work to date.”
↑ Performing the “Boxing Ballet”. The sculptures are on display as part of the exhibit, but you can see them in motion on Saturdays. (There’s some footage of the “dance” in the video.)
↑ This installation was commissioned by the gallery. It’s called Woven Currents – Confluence of Parallels (2020) and “is a large-scale installation composed of venetian blinds and LED tubes, inspired by the layered architectural history of the space.”
“Ragnar Kjartansson is an internationally known performance and video artist living and working in Reykjavík. Panoramic in scope, the installation is comprised of a circle of seven screens. The video features two sets of twins, both frequent collaborators with the artist: Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir, both founding members of the seminal, atmospheric Icelandic band múm, and Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the renowned American alt-rock band The National.“
Passing through a corridor lined with stunning photographs by Peter Pitseolak, on the way to the installation.
Warning, the song is an earworm! (Hear a snippet of the piece, which is 77 minutes long in total, in the video).
“Painters Mary Hiester Reid (1854–1921) and Helen McNicoll (1879–1915) were two of the first women to achieve success as professional artists in Canada. Although opportunities for women were limited in the late 1800s and early 1900s, both Hiester Reid and McNicoll travelled abroad to study art, eventually returning to Canada with their own distinct styles.”
“Anishinaabe artist Michael Belmore works primarily in sculpture. He employs a variety of materials, including wood, stone, and metals, and draws inspiration from his surroundings, exploring the dramatic effects of human activity on the landscape. The two works on display exemplify key themes in Belmore’s practice: Anishinaabe identity, and the impact of North American settlers on the earth and its non-human inhabitants.”
The next two are photography exhibitions. Due to copyrights on the photographic art in both, I won’t include my own photos, however, there are some on the gallery’s website.
“Documents, 1960s–1970s presents a broad and international field of documentary practice during a time of profound change. It includes work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ernest Cole, Lutz Dille, Charles Gagnon, David Goldblatt, Bhupendra Karia, Paul Kodjo, Martha Rosler, Stephen Shore, Malick Sidibé, Ming Smith, Ian Wallace, and Garry Winogrand, as well as a selection of press photographs by Eve Arnold, Robert Cohen and others.”
“Dawoud Bey (born 1953), John Edmonds (born 1989), and Wardell Milan (born 1977) — contemporary African-American artists from three generations — all consider how photographs continue to shape Black American experiences. In these works, from series made between 2017 and 2019, the artists grapple with African-American visual representations over time.”
Of course, in addition to the special exhibitions on at the gallery, there is so much more to see, as well. They have close to 95,000 artworks, some of which have hung in “their spots” for years and others which are regularly changed up and rotated around the gallery. (I concentrated on these pieces, many of which I’ve been visiting since I was a child, in my previous post about the gallery. I always get a kick out of spotting a painting I’ve known and loved nearly my whole life, situated in a new place in the gallery. This time is was finding this treasure, painted in 1667 by Gabriel Metsu, in the big room beside where the commissioned Haegue Yang installment is hanging.)
And, no trip to the gallery is complete without a visit to the very cool staircase, designed by Frank Gehry. (I dedicated a post to it here, including a number of photos, if you’d like to see.)
↑ Grange Park seen through the window in the staircase. This “gift to the city” was previously discussed in detail in this post. ↑
Personally, I’ve taken pandemic precautions very seriously. That being so, I feel that the gallery has done a very good job at keeping everyone safe. There are well marked limits on how many people can be in each of the many rooms and corridors. They also are requiring that all visitors pre-book a ticket in advance, so that they may monitor how many people are in the gallery at any given time. As it is in all indoor places, masks are mandatory.
All of these exhibitions are included with regular admission, which is generously free to anyone 25 and under. Others can purchase an annual pass or a one-time ticket.
Also, if you’re shopping for gifts, their shop is open!
Thanks for checking out my post. xo loulou