New York has The Met, Paris has The Louvre, and Toronto has the AGO. But this wouldn’t have been the case if it weren’t for the tenacity of a small group of individuals, the Ontario Artists’ Society, who believed that Toronto deserved a world-class art gallery. Since its founding in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario has expanded with the help of public and private support throughout the 20th century, culminating in Frank Gehry’s transformation of the building in 2004.
With a permanent collection that boasts 80,000 pieces spanning the first century through present day, taking a trip to the AGO always offers a chance to hang out among masterpieces. But if you think you’ve seen it all, worry not as whether it’s the Massive Party party or a brand new exhibit, there’s always something going on at Toronto’s art mecca…
Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art
This exhibit features an exquisite collection of rarely seen manuscripts that offer insights into the artists who birthed the Renaissance.
March 16th to June 16th, 2013
Patti Smith: Camera Solo
By taking a trip through the lens of Patti Smith’s camera, this exhibition examines the connections between the music legend’s photography and her passion for the written word.
February 8th to July 14th, 2013
Lost in the Memory Palace: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Like walking through a dream world, these installations create imaginary spaces where time slows down and fiction is able to blend with reality.
April 6th to August 18th, 2013
Kim Adams: Recent Works
Kim Adams takes everyday objects and gives them new life with his sculptural pieces that imagine new worlds and fantastical landscapes.
February 20th to August 11th, 2013
Stanley Spencer Drawings: Recent Gifts in Context
Although better known for his figurative paintings, the AGO has acquired a collection of Stanley Spencer’s drawings that evoke the eccentric and visionary ideas he portrayed in his work.
December 15, 2012 to September 2013
Richard Hamilton: Cut, Paste, Print
Richard Hamilton’s iconic 1960s mixed media collage prints explore the impact of mass media and popular culture on contemporary life.
January 26th to June 9th, 2013
Look Again: When European Masterpieces Visited Toronto in the 1950s
A celebration of two important exhibitions that played a significant role in the AGO’s coming of age.
February 23rd to March 2014
Ayala Zacks 1912-2011: A Tribute
A tribute to the late Ayala Zacks, whose gift to the AGO in 1971 transformed the gallery’s collection of modern art.
April 4th, 2012 to January 2014
Idea Lab: Research at the AGO
AGO curators offer a glimpse into their research pertaining to the mysteries of five 500-year-old artifacts.
July 19th, 2012 to April 20th, 2014
From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift
Join the AGO for a celebration of early modern European art and two AGO patrons who are committed to sharing its history.
October 1st, 2011 to January 2014
Watch This Space: Contemporary Art from the AGO Collection
Visitors of this multimedia exhibit are faced with questions of the spaces they encounter and how space impacts their lives.
Runs until Summer 2013
SHIFT: Highlights of Modernism from the AGO Collection
From world wars and global economic crises to social movements and the advent of new technology, the modern period encapsulates a time of change; and, the artists from this period were appropriately radical in their attempts to communicate their inner worlds and address social issues.
Runs until July 2014
Self-portrait: As I think of myself
In the age of ‘selfies,’ this examination of the history of self-portraiture has a lot to tell us about ourselves.
April 13th to December 6th, 2013
This retrospective of an artist that made Toronto his home demonstrates the breadth of Sorel Etrog’s work and reveals a man greatly concerned with the human condition.
Runs April 27th to September 29th, 2013
Nicole Collins: Giotto’s O
In this exhibit, artist Nicole Collins relentlessly tries to draw a perfect circle and sound a perfect pitch – revealing both the inevitability of failing and the perseverance of the human spirit.
April 27th to June 23rd, 2013
Light My Fire: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography, Part I
A glimpse at the history of the AGO’s extensive photography collection since it began with the purchase of a single image in the 1970s.
May 4th to October 20th, 2013
Jason Evans: A long, long time AGO
This exhibition tells the behind-the-scenes story of the AGO through portraits of its staff taken by British photographer Jason Evans.
May 1st to 31st, 2013
Spend a night roaming the AGO’s galleries and making art at this monthly celebration of art, artists, live music, and food.
Runs the first Thursday of every month throughout 2013
Lecture – Disbound and Dispersed: The History of Illuminated Manuscripts
Assistant curator of European art Sasha Suda offers an illuminating look at the history of these illustrated medieval texts.
May 1st, 2013 at 7pm
Lecture – What was contemporary art?
Twenty-first century art often seems unhinged from everything that came before it, but art historian Richard Meyer will provide the context to understand its place in the evolution of art and culture.
May 9th, 2013 at 7pm
Lecture – Navigating a Gracious Cosmos: Faith and Creativity in 14th Century Florence
Gilles Mongeau and Sasha Suda will discuss the challenges 14th century artists faced as they attempted to depict the radical new view of religious faith portrayed in Dante’s Divine Comedies.
May 22nd, 2013 at 7pm
Lecture – The International Art Auction Exposed
The Chairman of Sotheby’s for North and South America, Lisa Dennison, will offer an insider’s perspective on international art auctions.
June 7th, 2013 at 12pm
Photos courtesy of the AGO.