Art

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Mingle with high rollers at Toronto’s burgeoning art festival

Primer: Fair Play

(Images: courtesy of their galleries)

Over the past decade, the art world’s biggest business has shifted from auction houses and galleries to the glamorous fair circuit, with the jet set traipsing from London to Hong Kong to Miami to Madrid for a parade of glittering parties and high-roller deals. Art Toronto, the city’s own buzzy festival, is quickly rising in the ranks. Last year, it attracted big-name gallerists and collectors from New York, Brussels and Tokyo, moved blue-chip pieces by artists like Jack Bush and Tom Thomson, and brought in $17 million worth of sales. As the fair gears up for its 15th year, here’s a look at the hottest artists, savviest collectors and biggest deals.

Fri. Oct. 24. General admission $18 advance, $20 door. Metro Toronto Convention Centre North, 255 Front St. W., 604-730-2065, arttoronto.ca.

The Informer

Streeters

Comments

“It reminds me of a winery”: people try to explain the meanings of Nuit Blanche installations

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

On Saturday, almost a million people flooded downtown Toronto for the all-night art crawl known as Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. In between navigating the crowds and filling up on food-truck snacks, some attendees were actually able to take in a few of the more than 120 contemporary-art installations on display. We asked onlookers—some in awe, others fighting off liquor-induced confusion—to try, in their own words, to explain the stuff they were looking at. Here’s what they had to say.

The Informer

Step by Step

Comments

How do you make a three-storey-tall sculpture out of clothes, for Nuit Blanche?

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

There were more than 120 art projects on display at this year’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the ninth edition of the all-night art festival. One of those was Maria Ezcurra’s Made in China, an installation at 330 Spadina Avenue in Chinatown. The Mexico-raised, Montreal-based artist uses textiles, mostly clothing, to explore social and personal stereotypes as well as cultural codes. “Most of the things we buy now are made in China. They’re made everywhere but the place where we are living,” she said. Through this project, her hope was to create awareness of how, as she put it, “the decisions we make in our personal life end up affecting others on many levels.” Made in China is one of Nuit Blanche 2014’s extended projects, meaning it will be on display until October 13. Click through the image gallery to see how it came together, step by step.

The Informer

Events

2 Comments

Four must-see spectacles at Nuit Blanche 2014

A 2011 installation of Máximo Gonzáles's Walk Among Worlds in Madrid, Spain. (Image: Ivan Beunader)

A 2011 installation of Máximo Gonzáles’s Walk Among Worlds in Madrid, Spain. (Image: Ivan Beunader)

Wondering which of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche’s 130 installations to cram into your art-themed all-nighter on Saturday, October 4? Here are four unmissable picks—one from each of the night’s exhibition zones. (Still overwhelmed? Just head to a Screaming Booth.)

Walk Among Worlds (pictured above)
Location: Ogden Junior Public School, 33 Phoebe St.
Zone: The possibility of everything

The world will be at Ogden Junior Public School on Nuit Blanche—quite literally. For Walk Among Worlds, by Mexico City–based Argentine artist Máximo Gonzáles, the school will be outfitted with 7,000 inflatable globes, one for every million people on the planet. The globes will be in three different sizes, as a way of representing the distinction between the first and third worlds.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Material Girl: the psychedelic, day-glo designs of art star Julia Dault

Material Girl

(Images: Laing by Jenna Marie Wakani and Anthea Simms; Art Works courtesy Julia Dault/Jessica Bradley Gallery)

The Toronto-born mixed-media marvel Julia Dault is New York’s latest avant-garde phenomenon. Dault had her big break in 2012, when her work was shown as part of the New Museum’s Triennial. The art world was so bewitched by her dizzying designs that gallerists jockeyed to represent her and the Guggenheim held a dinner in her honour. Among the collectors who now own her work are the fashion mogul Joe Mimran, Wall Street bigwig J. ­Tomilson Hill and the British millionaire Charles Saatchi.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Events

1 Comment

Check out North America’s first museum of Islamic art

(Image: Gary Otte)

(Image: Gary Otte)

It’s rare that Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau meet in a place where they aren’t the most important people in the room. But on September 12, at the opening ceremony for North America’s first museum of Islamic art, the spotlight was on the Aga Khan, the museum’s namesake and the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims. A Swiss-born multimillionaire philanthropist, Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV funded the new $300-million, 6.8-hectare complex that houses the museum and neighbouring Ismaili Centre. Surrounded by an expansive garden, the building—an ultra-modern structure infused with designs from traditional Islamic architecture—houses a permanent collection of more than 1,000 portraits, textiles, miniatures, texts, instruments and other Islamic artifacts representing a wide range of styles, eras and regions. “In Search of the Artist,” a collection of signed paintings and drawings, and “The Garden of Ideas,” an exhibition of contemporary art from Pakistan, will also be on display when the museum opens its doors to the public on Sept. 18. How did all of this end up in Toronto? An honorary Canadian citizen, the Aga Khan thinks the city is a hub of tolerance and mutual understanding. Prove him right by making the trip to Eglinton East and Don Mills. (For those who swear they never go north of Bloor, the museum won’t be the only new thing to see.)

Thurs. Sept. 18. $15–$20. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., agakhanmuseum.org.

The Informer

Events

Comments

Pay homage—er, Homerage—to a cartoon classic at a Simpsons-themed art show

(Image: Joren Cull)

(Image: Joren Cull)

Ever wanted to taste Tomacco, marvel at a stone etching of the Stonecutters logo or get a good ol’ Glove Slap to the face? Here’s your chance. Later this week, Kensington Market gallery Videofag will host Homer’s Odyssey, a four-day Simpsons-themed art show curated by local editor, artist and poet Lindsay Cahill. Ever since she started watching the show as a kid in the early ’90s, Cahill has had the idea in her back pocket. “I’ve always known the creative potential The Simpsons offered artists and fans, and I felt like there was a growing need for an official Toronto homage to this edgy animated masterpiece,” she told us. It took her about two decades, but she’s finally making good on her vision. The show will feature 22 artists’ works. We’re not sure if any of the brilliant ideas we mentioned above will make the cut, but expect to see a Simpson-ized version of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, a knitted recreation of a scene from the first-ever Itchy and Scratchy Show, an exact replica of the gummy Venus de Milo, and a performance from a rapper named Lil Zimpson. Just think of all the things that rhyme with “D’oh!”

Sept. 4–7. Videofag, 187 Augusta Ave., 647-238-3047, facebook.com.

The Informer

Culture

2 Comments

The Nuit Blanche 2014 program is out 
(Image: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche)

(Image: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche)

For weeks, we’ve been watching supermarkets slowly sneak Halloween candy onto shelves, and now here comes another nail in summer’s coffin: the city has just released the full program for the 2014 edition of Nuit Blanche, which is scheduled to take place on October 4. Among the highlights at this year’s all-night art fest will be Global Rainbow (pictured to the left), a massive, up-to-60-kilometre-long rainbow made of lasers, created by artist Yvette Mattern. Information on that and more than 120 other planned art projects is available on the Nuit Blanche website.

The Informer

Events

Comments

The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things that are worth sticking around for

The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things worth sticking around for

Click to view gallery (Image: Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty)

What’s one of the best things to do in Toronto this summer? If you can, get out of Toronto. See the world. Find another city’s heat and construction and transit problems to keep you occupied—preferably a city that’s got a globally recognized art gallery or museum or horse race or something. Of course, if you find yourself stuck in the city all season, that’s okay: there’s a lot going on here that, if you squint your eyes and hold your nose (and sometimes, even if you don’t do either) could actually be comparable to all the world-class things you’d find elsewhere. You want art? We’ve got some! Ancient Chinese artifacts? You know it. Exotic fish? Sure, that too. We’re not suggesting you tear up your plane tickets or anything. But we do think that this summer, Toronto might just be able to compete with the big boys. Here, a brief guide to just some of what’s exceptional in this city—and how it stacks up against other big-ticket events around the world.

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Show and Tell

Compulsive art collector Salah Bachir flaunts his glitteriest, gayest pieces in
a new WorldPride exhibit. Here, a look at the iconic works on display

Scrapbook: Show and Tell

(Image: Tom Sandler)

Every surface inch of Salah Bachir’s two-storey lakeside condo is plastered with iconic art: a pair of Warhol’s Marilyns hang in the office, Herb Ritts’s glamour shots of Elizabeth ­Taylor in the upstairs corridor, colourful pieces by Canadian painters Attila Richard Lukacs and Stephen Andrews in the ­dining room, and a portrait of an American Gigolo–era Richard Gere in all his nude, lion-haired glory near the bathroom. Bachir, the 58-year-old Cineplex president, is known for his flamboyant style (he often dresses like a genie in billowy satin robes and hoop earrings) and lavish philanthropy (his nickname on the society circuit is Gala Salah). He’s also one of the city’s pre-­eminent art patrons, rotating his 3,000-piece collection between the condo he shares with his partner, the artist Jacob Yerex—they recently bought the unit upstairs for more wall space—and a country house in Paris, Ontario, decorated to look like a rococo French salon. Bachir began amassing art in the early ’80s after befriending Keith Haring and ­Robert Mapplethorpe on trips to New York City. In fact, it was Haring who persuaded Bachir to buy his first Warhol, a 1957 “Happy Butterfly Day” drawing. Now, with 75 pieces, Bachir ranks among the top 50 Warhol collectors in the world. He buys works that stoke his obsession with queer identity, whether in the form of cheeky camp or sultry homoeroticism. In honour of WorldPride, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is showcasing a selection of Bachir’s most famous pieces. Here, the stories behind a few of our favourites.

ART
Over the Rainbow

From the collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex
MOCCA
June 21 to Aug. 17

The Informer

Culture

2 Comments

A painting of the Don Valley Parkway’s rainbow tunnel could sell for more than $16 million

Country Rock (Wing Mirror), by Peter Doig. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Country Rock (Wing Mirror), by Peter Doig. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Anyone who has driven past the Don Valley Parkway’s rainbow tunnel over the past 40 some-odd years and not somehow cashed in on the experience will be feeling pretty dumb on June 30th, when Sotheby’s London auctions off a painting of that very tunnel for a sum that, according to the Globe, is considered likely to land well north of $16 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

This new online shop aims to make Canadian art accessible to all

(Image: Artzila/Facebook)

(Image: Artzila/Facebook)

Artzila.com, a new Toronto-based online art shop, hopes to do for fledgling Canadian fine artists what YouTube did for Justin Bieber. The website, which launched a couple months ago, serves as a middleman between talented Canadian artists—some of whom may not have the money or connections to monetize their efforts—and the art-consuming public. Professional and amateur creators can submit their original photographs, paintings and other two-dimensional media to the site’s curators, who evaluate each piece for pure artistic merit. If a piece makes the cut, it’s listed on the site and shoppers are able to order from a limited batch of museum-quality prints, which are produced, packaged and shipped at no cost to the artist. Prices range from $40 (for a basic eight-by-ten) to $1000 (for a wall-spanning 40 by 50), making the site a genuine money-earning vehicle for talented up-and-comers, who retain 50 per cent of the proceeds. It’s also a potential investment tool for discerning collectors.

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Slideshow: a preview of “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” the AGO’s new fleshy, figurative exhibition

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty at the AGO

With its latest exhibition, “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” the Art Gallery of Ontario is offering visitors two shows in one. The first Canadian exhibition of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon’s work will be merged with the AGO’s own collection of works by English sculptor Henry Moore.

Born in Dublin in 1909, Bacon’s work was defined by its bleak, figurative approach to the human body. A kind of proto-David Cronenberg, Bacon seemed to regard human flesh as infinitely malleable—fit to be twisted and warped into all manner of abnormal configurations. His work prods the corporeality of human nature, like a lonely bachelor poking at freezer-burned hot dogs thawing in the sink. Bacon treats humanity as though it consists of little more than sacks of misshapen meat. (It’s fitting that some of his paintings share screen space with Michael Keaton’s rapacious, cyborg-building CEO in the new Robocop remake.)

Though the two never worked together, Henry Moore’s figurative sculptures provide a nice counterpoint to Bacon’s work, exploring similar themes in marble and bronze. The AGO’s exhibit calls attention to the aesthetic continuities tying the two artists together. Finally, a chance for anyone sick of beauty to take in a little horror and repugnance!

Here are some photos of the exhibition. It opens on April 5 and runs until July 20.

See all 5 images »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Slideshow: a preview of “The Forbidden City,” the ROM’s new exhibition of artifacts from China’s imperial palace

Slideshow: a preview of The Forbidden City, the ROM's new exhibit of China's closed-off imperial palace

As part of the ROM’s centenary, the museum is renewing its Far East focus by bringing in an extensive collection of over 200 artifacts from Beijing’s Palace Museum—some of which have never left China before. Dubbed “The Forbidden City: Inside the court of China’s emperors,” the exhibition documents a strange 500-year period for China, during which only the emperor’s family and servants were allowed inside the walls of the world’s largest imperial palace.

Visitors can expect to be led through representations of various layers of the imperial complex, where they’ll be able to ogle increasingly rare objects, ending with items from the emperor’s personal chamber. There will be an imperial throne from the Qing dynasty, a porcelain cup from the Ming dynasty, and even a golden-fringed robe worn by Puyi, the palace’s final inhabitant and the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 film The Last Emperor. Here, a look at some of the artifacts that will be on display as part of the exhibition, which opens on Saturday, March 8.

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Slideshow: A preview of This Is Not A Toy, The Design Exchange’s exhibition of conceptual toys

The Design Exchange has hosted exhibitions dealing with everything from urban factories, to French lingerie, to the pursuit of happiness. It’s not surprising, then, that its upcoming show delves into yet another niche: the peculiar world of the conceptual toys—objects that are made not as playthings, but purely as examples of art and design.

Opening on Friday, February 7, This Is Not A Toy will feature gigantic contemporary sculptures, miniscule figurines, and a range of artwork and film by artists like Kaws, Friendswithyou, Coarse, and Huck Gee. Curators John Wee Tom and The Design Exchange’s Sara Nickelson had the help of recent Grammy winner Pharrell Williams, who is a big fan of conceptual toys.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the works that will be on display, from the intriguing to the downright bizarre. The exhibition runs until May 19, and tickets are $18.90 each.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement