Words by Laura Phillips
As the fifth largest city in North America with a population of just over six million people, Toronto’s urban landscape is one of the most textured, diverse spaces for experiencing and celebrating the arts. Theatre, filmmaking, fine arts – a week does not go by without a a festival, a pop-up shop or multiple art openings to glean a little creative inspiration from. With autumn being the peak season for cultural affairs, we decided to do a quick round-up of a few of our most memorable.
Wrapping up its 17th year, Art Toronto is Canada’s largest international contemporary and modern art fair of its kind. The four-day event held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in October featured more than 100 galleries from cities all over the world, including New York, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, as well as a specific focus on Central and South America.
Stepping into the massive space is a bit dizzying in the initial walk-through, as endless rows of little white pods combine paintings, sculptures, photography, and video works. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and looking for some added context, guided tours are available each day at 3pm, lead by a well-versed notable. Curators from the galleries are also extremely approachable and will provide a wealth of extra information if you ask.
The fair is art from all sides of the spectrum – pieces like Matt Donovan’s Bubblegum let you revel in your inner child, as you take a closer look and notice the large, bubbled sculpture is made completely out of lego. Lois Andison’s 11-minute Threading Water video projection provides onlookers a meditative escape, as slow motions and the sounds of water slowly gush the world away.
The convention centre is transformed as much as one could hope – an artful backdrop that complements a proper gallery experience. Orchestrated chill-zones with plush couches and cafe tables are peppered throughout, although the hammocks immersed in a garden of lemon and tangerine trees certainly appeared to be the fan favourite.
Whether you are a top-dog collector or just looking to mozy around, Art Toronto provides a fantastic way to see a range of art from all over the world in a single sweep.
Photos by Ryan Emberley
With more than 60 art exhibitions and 40 music performances over an 11-day span, first-time festival In/Future was one of September’s most anticipated cultural events.
The festival marked the reawakening of Ontario Place on the park’s west island – a mainspring for nostalgia and cultural progression dating back to the 1970s – which closed its doors back in 2011 due to low attendance.
Rui Pimenta and Layne Hinton are the duo behind the dream, imagining a transformation of this seemingly forgotten waterfront vista while leading a group through the venue via their arts tour organization, Art Spin. Grounds indicative of a real-life sci-fi set with concrete silos and pavilions airing as both utopian and sinister, Pimenta and Hinton were inclined to move in on plans for a large-scale, site-specific arts and culture experience.
Main attractions included installation Still, by multi-disciplinary artist and winner of the Governor General’s Award, Max Dean, who repurposed the now defunct Wilderness Ride with a display of mannequins of moose, bears, miners, and loggers, creating an eerie narrative of some classically Canadian figures.
Montreal’s MUTEK piloted a heavy course of local and international experimental musical fare to offset the Cinephere’s contemporary visual works. From psychedelic Turkish rock to Punjabi bongo drums, the wide range of performers provided a multi-textural experience.
Moving from lofty dream to tangible passion project, In/Future was able to meld a diverse range of arts on a large scale to create a cohesive, collaborative experience, reimagining Ontario Place’s iconic space through the celebration of art and culture.
Photos provided by In/Future
Toronto’s 11th annual evening of art brought an estimated one million wanderers to the streets for the dusk-til-dawn production. With a total of 90 projects stretching as far as the Don Valley (although largely sticking to the downtown core), the event was notably slimmer this year since Scotiabank decided to pull its long-running title sponsorship.
Smaller budget aside, the city was not short of visuals to satisfy both the art lover and average Joe. One of the most eye-catching displays was the 45-foot globe, Death Of The Sun, that lit up Nathan Phillips Square, as part of the grand Oblivion exhibit. Designed by Director X, a veteran Toronto music-video director who’s worked with the likes of Drake and Rihanna, the giant illuminated orb served as the anchor for the exhibit, signifying the birth, life and death of the sun. Those wanting more were also able to enjoy a 12-minute video showing the sun’s 12-billion-year progression.
From trendy Queen West nooks like The Drake presenting New York artist Jason Peters’ swirling sculpture - White Line - made of buckets (yes, buckets), to the to the prestige Bata Shoe Museum’s Salute To The 6ix, Nuit Blanche offered large and small-scale experiences to quench every kind of curious.
Photos by Andrew Williamson