I found this outside of Massey Hall during my walk this morning. It’s nice.
Posts from the ‘Art’ Category
Toronto’s 2013 Fringe Festival kicked-off last night, and features 148 shows in 35 venues, from July 3 – 14. I went to the opening night of The Effects of Time Travel on Neurotic Homos at the George Ignatieff Theatre.
The play revolves around a 35-year-old gay man who wakes up in a room with his 15, and 25-year-old incarnates. Spooky. What happens to a man when he is forced to reflect on 20 years of his life?
Well, he realizes how jaded and bitter he has become. Neal Cameron has written an original, engaging, and clever life-affirming play, while also providing a tightly controlled performance as the 35-year-old that both intrigued and annoyed me. I found fragments of myself in the character, and related with how the burden of life’s challenges can remove all colour from our daily perspective.
Keith McCallum shines as the 15-year-old, who lives in a bubble of promise, and possibility. He’s simply adorable, and perfectly cast. When his older self tries to convince him to end a friendship before she does, you feel his internal conflict, and his inability to understand how relationships often grow sour, rich in resentment.
Nadine Schuster delivers the most laughs as the career-obsessed 25-year-old, who sacrifices a social life for a boring marketing job. Arguably she has the most dialogue, and flourishes in the role, bringing a much-needed feminine sensibility to the play.
I felt uncomfortable at times, for reasons I am not sure I can even articulate. Maybe it’s because I recognized that if I was forced to sit in a room with my past, I’d have to accept responsibility for my own unhappiness.
Though not as much a comedy as it is a drama, The Effects of Time Travel on Neurotic Homos is an insightful commentary on the importance of self-acceptance, and how, as a teenager, we’re full of hope for the future, only to learn that when we get there, we can’t help but feel disappointed.
George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place)
Saturday, July 6 at 5:15 p.m.
Monday, July 8 at 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 11 at 12:00 p.m.
Friday, July 12 at 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 13 at 4:00 p.m.
Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) and are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 EXT 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office at 581 Bloor St W (located in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s). Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.
Circle of Animals… Zodiac Heads is now on display, free of charge, at Nathan Phillips Square. The installation, which will be in place until Sept. 22, precedes the Art Gallery of Ontario’s presentation of the exhibition, Ai Weiwei: According to What? which opens Aug. 17 to October 27. It will be the only Canadian venue on the exhibition’s international tour.
According to the Zodiac Heads website:
“Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has reinterpreted the twelve bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing. Circle of Animals… Zodiac Heads is the artist’s first major public sculpture project.”
“Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuits serving in the court of the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong, the twelve zodiac animal heads originally functioned as a water clock-fountain, which was sited in the magnificent European-style gardens of the Yuanming Yuan. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. In re-interpreting these objects on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on questions of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the ‘fake’ and the copy in relation to the original.”
“Circle of Animals… Zodiac Heads is the centerpiece of a global, multi-year touring exhibition that will be presented in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The official world tour for Circle of Animals… Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei launched in New York City at the historic Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza in May 2011.”
The heads were unveiled at Nathan Phillips Square’s reflecting pool yesterday. They have been installed according to the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The heads have been previously exhibited in London, Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo, Taipei and Washington, D.C., among other cities, and they’re already making quite the splash in Toronto, with countless tourists and Torontonians posing alongside their favourite sculpture.
Ai, the aforementioned artist, first caught the ire of the ruling Communist regime in China when he criticized the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a mass exercise in propaganda for a regime committed on denying its citizens basic human rights. At the time, Ai was a collaborating architect on the famous Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing.
But he didn’t stop there. He further criticized the rigid Chinese government in the aftermath of the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008, when thousands of people, many of them schoolchildren, died. Ai launched a personal inquiry, challenging the governments public claim to the number of children who were buried after their poorly built school buildings collapsed.
On one trip to the region, he was attacked in his hotel room and savagely beaten by a group of plainclothes police officers. Later, when in Germany, for one of his exhibitions, he suffered a brain hemorrhage from the beating and he had to have life-saving emergency surgery.
He remains under constant surveillance by Chinese authorities at his home and studio in Beijing. But! You can follow him on Twitter.
This afternoon, I took the opportunity to take some photographs of the sculptures. I highly recommend that if you’re downtown to make time to view these wonderful installations.
In addition I also took some snapshots of the buildings around the area. I hope you enjoy.
From 1911 to 1940, Arthur Goss served as Toronto’s official photographer. He captured thousands of images of the health and social problems presented by urban poverty in early 20th Century Toronto. His specialty in depicting slums highlighted the dark realities that destitute immigrants faced.
As many of you know, Canada was built by immigrants and many of us, including myself, are first generation Canadians.
Goss died in 1940 at a relatively young age, but his work is still widely celebrated.
Michael Ondaatje used many of Goss’ images for his novel In the Skin of a Lion, to obtain a more thorough understanding of the working class experience. He even included Goss as a character in the novel, which I read many years ago, after The English Patient, of course. I loved the character Hana so much that I wrote my own short story with her as the main protagonist for a creative writing course in OAC. I got 100 per cent!
That’s beside the point of this post though.
Goss’ work is currently on exhibit at the Ryerson Image Centre (May 1 – June 2 and June 19 – August 25) as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photo Festival. If you’re in Toronto during this time, I suggest you take it in. I promise you that it’ll provide a more comprehensive education on Toronto’s less than rosy history.
Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
The Gladstone Hotel hosted the 10th anniversary of Come Up To My Room. The exhibition celebrates art and design over the course of four days (it ended yesterday), showcasing the work of 40 artists with 25 installations. This was my first year attending the event, and though the $10 entry fee was a little steep for the amount of art on display, I had a good time. I didn’t have my camera with me so I’ve taken (or stolen, whichever you prefer!) some photographs of the exhibition from BlogTO and the Torontoist. Sue me.
Many of you will remember the story of Cecilia Giménez, the Spanish woman who took it upon herself to restore the 1930s fresco painting Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), by painter Elías García Martínez. Giménez is an 80-year-old amateur artist who found the deteriorated painting in her local church. Her restored version has been humorously named Ecce Mono (Behold the Monkey).
Above is an SNL sketch of Seth Meyers interviewing a greedy Giménez, who is portrayed by feature player Kate McKinnon, who holds the distinction of being the first openly lesbian cast member in the show’s 38 year history. Below you can see the before and after versions of the now infamous painting. Now gimme my money, I need to buy anchovies!!!
The rain has been endlessly falling in Toronto for the past week. There’s little to do but cozy up with a duvet and a good book and waste the day away. However last weekend I went to the ROM to view the Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibition. Overall it was a good experience if you ignored the screaming children running around crying out for their mothers in fear. Why do people bring their children to the museum when they’re too young to appreciate the displays?
Ranting aside, I felt the exhibit was worth the admission fee especially since it grants access to the rest of the museum. Paleontologist and curator David Evans spent four years working on the project. The largest skeleton called a Futalognkosaurus is so large that it can only fit in the museum’s lobby. It’s the largest dinosaur ever displayed in Canada.
Surprisingly many of the fossils are from Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and the Patagonia region of Argentina. To bring the dinosaurs to life the exhibit uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology that allows visitors to scan the creatures to illuminate what the dinosaurs would have looked like with skin.
Last weekend I took in the Frida Khalo exhibit at the AGO. I’m fascinated by Latin culture, especially after living in Argentina for close to a year. It was while travelling through Buenos Aires and Mendoza province that I fully understood the richness and colour of a people who many of us in North America take for granted. There are many lessons to heed from Latin Americans. While in Argentina I had never been witness to such warmth and compassion in my life before, and it was refreshing to see how their culture is one based on trust and generosity.
Of course Khalo was not Argentine, but Mexican. Different country than what I experienced but similar mind-set and revolutionary spirit is shared between the people from both regions.
The exhibit is not Khalo’s alone, her works share the same space as her husband, Diego Rivera. Though Rivera was more popular at the time, it’s been in death that Khalo’s talents have been properly acknowledged, arguably surpassing Rivera.
Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting features 75 works by the artists, drawn primarily from the collection of Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo. These works highlight Rivera and Kahlo’s lives together and apart, their politics and relationship to society and how their passionate views and activism influenced their work. The exhibition will be at the AGO from Oct. 20, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013.
While enjoying the paintings and impressive photographic collections on display I was struck with how in love Khalo was with her philandering husband, and how, like many wives, she fed her spouse’s enormous ego because his happiness was more important to her than her own. Khalo died at a young age, she was only 47, and it’s a shame that while alive she did not have the conviction to explore her own eccentricities sans Diego. It’s a revelation to how stifling love and relationships can be to personal enlightenment and emotional freedom.
If you get a chance take in the exhibit. It’s far more impressive than Picasso’s reign earlier this summer.
Note: Two months ago I was approached by Tim Shore, the editor at BlogTO, to write regular reviews on contemporary art galleries in Toronto. I submitted my first assignment, and after I was asked to make a few edits, I was told that my article would be posted. It never was. In fact, I never heard from Mr. Shore again. It was poor form on his part, but what could I do? I felt bad for the owners who were expecting to see their gallery featured on Toronto’s most popular blog. To make up for it, I’m posting it here. I hope you like it.
Milk Glass Co. Gallery is nestled between two unassuming buildings; if you’re not observant, you might walk right past it. When you do pause to take a peek, you’ll realize, like I did, that it’s a gem of a discovery at the forefront of a new artistic sensibility in the area.
Located in the always changing Dundas Street West and Ossington barrio, former office dwellers, Kelly Wray and Char Da Silva, have created an accessible space that caters to music, fashion, and visual art aficionados. In fact, one of their specialties is custom framing, offering quality selections for novice artists to showcase their artwork.
The interior space – once a law office — is open and inviting, with brightly painted walls that perfectly accentuate and compliment the artwork. If you’re thirsty, try the iced-coffee, or ask Kelly and Char what else is available, they don’t mind! Perhaps they’ll even whip up a concoction for you. What’s available is a casual, relaxing environment that everyone is welcome to explore. What could be better?
Milk Glass Co. Gallery officially opened this past June, and when I first stopped by one humid and sticky weekday afternoon I was immediately struck with its refreshing and eclectic flavour. There’s a lot to keep you focused, and entertained; Kelly and Char have a finite attention to detail, whether it be the artwork framing the walls, the intricate furniture choices, or the clothing that lines each rack, you cannot ignore this place.
Exhibitions change each month, with local and international artists showcasing their work, and the space can be booked for private events. The closing reception of Michael Toke’s “Sex, Physics and the Evolution of Man” series occurred last week and Silent Shout will present her first visual arts gallery titled “Space Diamonds Are Real”.
What I found most impressive during my conversation with Char and Kelly is how they are attempting to reinvent the way that the community views art. With a focus on accessibility they offer a safe haven for those who are distrusting and intimidated by the rigidity of traditional art galleries.
Recently, they’ve started partnering with local galleries in the neighbourhood, encouraging art enthusiasts to gallery hop. If a visit during a weeknight is any indication, it’s working, as more people are flocking to the street to learn what all the fuss is about.
With Dundas Street West under constant gentrification (condos and lofts are quickly rising) it’s only a matter of time before Mill Glass Co. Gallery is flooded with first-time home owners requesting custom framing and stunning art to add to their new décor.
Milk Glass Co. Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday between 1 pm And 7 pm but usually stays open later as locals stop by to peruse the selections and chat with fellow art lovers. They’re located at 1247 Dundas Street West.
On my trip to the ice cream parlour I noticed this beautiful woman staring back at me. Disappointingly the parlour was closed, but the painting made up for it.