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Hot Art: Modernist Trio on Morrow Avenue

Olga Korper Gallery

A high-ceilinged former mattress factory on Morrow Avenue is just the place to visit three of the city’s finest contemporary art galleries. Amidst the concrete and exposed iron girders you’ll find venerable Olga Korper Gallery, which boasts a vast space for the display of installations, photography, paintings and sculpture. Smaller but no less innovative is Christopher Cutts Gallery—generally focusing on paintings, it presents new and historical works of modern importance by artists from Canada and abroad. And at Peak Gallery, owner-director Zack Pospieszynski strives to exhibit conceptual pieces with refined aesthetics from both emerging and established artists.

Hot Art: Stan Douglas Shoots Period Pieces

Stan Douglas's Dancer II, 1950

DECEMBER 10 TO MARCH 4 We’re often told to examine the past in order to understand the present. Vancouver artist Stan Douglas takes this notion one step further. For his exhibition Entertainment: Selections from Midcentury Studio, he re-created a workspace using period equipment and hired actors to produce staged photographs representing a 1950s-era “every city.” On display at The Power Plant, these images—including a series depicting a fictional, historic nightclub—borrow from portraiture, photojournalism and even advertising to depict a culture of diversion and frivolity, buoyed by postwar optimism yet tempered by our own knowledge of what came next.


Hot Dates: Art highlights

"Belmont Park" at the MSVU Art Gallery.

Continuing through November 20 at Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery: Works by photographer Lisette Model (1901–1983), famed for her shoot-and-run portraits of strangers.

Continuing through November 27 at Dalhousie Art Gallery: Stealing the Gaze features symbolic portrait photographs and video installations by Canada’s most celebrated Native artists.

Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

For travellers planning their summer trips in Canada this year, the regional editors of Where magazine have released their top picks for summer travel. The winners of Where Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011 represent the most exciting attractions – new, significantly improved, or celebrating major milestones this year. A diverse group of attractions from coast to coast, this year’s winners offer a wide range of activities and events suitable for any family, art lover, sports fanatic, nature lover or adventurer. Together, these attractions serve as the top must-see and must-dos for anyone travelling in Canada this summer. (more…)

Hot Art: The ROM Gets Wet

Cichlid Fish are among the live creatures displayed at the ROM's Water exhibition

MARCH 5 TO SEPTEMBER 5 Water is vital to the existence of all life on earth; it makes sense that we humans, as its primary beneficiaries, should endeavour to understand its myriad properties and uses. The Royal Ontario Museum embraces our blue planet with an exhibition dedicated to this life-sustaining substance. Ambitious in scope, the show offers visitors numerous ways to think about H2O—as nature’s unifying essence, as an at-risk resource, as a hotly contested commodity—and its importance to both the natural world and human affairs. There’s also a flood of interactive elements such as walk-through dioramas and live displays of assorted creatures, including cichlid fish, frogs, a gila monster and more.

Hot Dates: Art Highlights

Work from Kloqowej (Star) by Mi'kmaq basket weaver Caroline Gould.

•    Outpourings, a retrospective exhibition tracing François Lacasse’s experiments with form in over 20 paintings, continues at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery.

•    Art 1274 Hollis features creations by local artists. In January, it showcases works by Karen Phinney and Nora Gross, followed by Raymond Smith and Golumba Kim in February.

•    From January 14 to February 27, the Mary E. Black Gallery on Marginal Road hosts Kloqowej (Star) by Mi’kmaq basket weaver Caroline Gould.

The Roundup: What’s on at the museums (but not for long)

"Frogs: A Chorus of Colours" is on until Jan. 9. Photo credit: Museum of Nature, created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling's Reptiland.

The Museum of Nature wraps up some of its special exhibits on Jan. 9. Head over to the museum for a last look at live (and sometimes creepy) species in “Frogs: A Chorus of Colours.” While you’re there, take part in holiday programming that teaches kids about the importance of winter in nature.

The Bytown Museum offers a look at the history of Ottawa. Check out two neat exhibitions that make the past come alive. “Many Guises: Contemporary Self-Portraits” pairs Victorian-era photographs from the museum with self-portraits by six Ottawa artists (until Dec. 31), while “Preserving Our Past: A Conservation Project,” gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work that goes into conserving treasures from days gone by (until Jan. 9).

What came before the celebrity mug shot? “Arresting Images: Mug Shots from the OPP Museum” explores 100 reproductions of criminal photo cards, dating from 1886 to 1908, and tells the stories of the people in the pictures. On view at the Canada Science and Technology Museum until Jan. 2.

Those who love all things equine will be sad to see the end of “The Horse” on Jan. 2. This exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization looks at the profound relationship between horses and humans through artifacts, models, dioramas, art, interactive stations, and high-def videos.

The Canadian War Museum closes its long-running exhibit “1759–2009: The Battle of the Plains of Abraham” on Jan. 9. In honour of the 250th anniversary of this epic showdown, the museum offers a new perspective with 18th and 19th century images that portray the battlefield as it was seen by the soldiers of Montcalm and Wolfe.

Hot Art: El Anatsui’s Artifacts of Modernity

El Anatsui's Sacred Moon (detail)

TO FEBRUARY 27 One doesn’t normally expect an institution best known for its dinosaur bones, medieval armour and ancient Egyptian mummies to delve deeply into contemporary issues like globalization and consumerism. Yet that’s exactly what the Royal Ontario Museum does with its captivating exhibition When I Last Wrote To You About Africa, a retrospective of Ghana-born artist El Anatsui. The critically acclaimed show collects dozens of Anatsui’s drawings, paintings, sculptures and his signature wall hangings which weave such discarded items as bottle caps, aluminum foil and strands of wire into monumental tapestries that simultaneously evoke West Africa’s traditional culture and its modern challenges.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This December

1. The Four Seasons Centre's R. Fraser Elliott Hall

1 Appreciating the splendour of the horseshoe-shaped R. Fraser Elliott Hall at the Four Seasons Centre.

2 Tasting the finest Quebec fromages from Canoe’s cheese offering.

3 Admiring the ornaments on designer-decorated tannenbaums at the Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas exhibit.

4 Coming face-to-face with life-sized figures at the ROM’s The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army exhibit.

5 Enjoying a hot-lather shave at Truefitt & Hill.

4. Terracotta warriors are on display at the Royal Ontario Museum

6 Ambling through peaceful Mount Pleasant Cemetery after a snowfall.

7 Reveling in close encounters with a five-metre-long dragon at the Ontario Science Centre’s Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids exhibi.

8 Enjoying seasonal carols at the St. Michael’s Choir School’s concert on December 10 and 11.

9 Dancing the night away at the opulent Dolce Social Ballroom, which features gold foil-wrapped columns.

10 Catching a hockey game at the Great One’s namesake sports bar, Wayne Gretzky’s.

14. Colourful Swatch watches

11 The first sip of Mayan hot chocolate from Soma, which blends chilies, ginger, cinnamon, orange peel and vanilla.

12 Bloor-Yorkville’s storefronts specially adorned for the holiday season.

13 Biting into a flaky, buttery croissant from Clafouti.

14 Giving the gift of time with a watch from Swatch’s Toronto Eaton Centre location.

15 Feeding animals at the Toronto Zoo on its Treats Walk.

19. Casa Loma

16 Perusing the beautiful selection of journals at The Paper Place.

17 Singing along at Kenny Rogers’ holiday show—it’s a gamble you can count on.

18 Making new friends at the wooden communal table at Dark Horse Espresso Bar.

19 Taking in the majestic and commanding Christmas tree at historic Casa Loma.

20 Adding bling with a shimmery cocktail ring from Banana Republic.

20. Banana Republic offers bling

21 Reminiscing with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future—and Scrooge, too—in A Christmas Carol.

22 Tucking into an authentic subcontinental breakfast of masala omelette at Jaipur Grille.

23 The well-curated selection of professional titles at Books for Business.

24 Discovering what’s so hush-hush at the opening of the Victoria’s Secret location at the Toronto Eaton Centre.

25 Biting into airy doughnut holes with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces from Kultura.

24. Victoria's Secret at the Eaton Centre

26 Exploring the tomes at the kid-friendly “booktique” at Advice from a Caterpillar.

27 The ever-glowing sign at Honest Ed’s bargain emporium lighting up the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets.

28 The elaborate, visually appealing wrought-iron window screens at George.

29 Posing with the NHL’s most coveted prize, the Stanley Cup, at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

30 Toasting in 2011 with a glass of bubbly from the highest perch in the city, 360 the Restaurant at the CN Tower.

Hot Art: David Hoffos’ Unsettling Intimacy

David Hoffos' Winter Kitchen

TO DECEMBER 31 Give yourself the gift of imagination this month at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Its current exhibition, Scenes from the House Dream, assembles unique works by Alberta-based artist David Hoffos, who employs television screens to reflect ghostly, almost holographic figures into detailed miniature dioramas. Inspiring in their originality, the dreamlike pieces also offer a somewhat eerie measure of the uncanny. Adding to this feeling is the clever setup—the viewer is, in fact, a voyeur, peering through a living room window or the crack of a bedroom door and into the artist’s own mysterious world.

Hot Date: A Fantasy World at the Ontario Science Centre

The legendary "Roc" is among the Ontario Science Centre's mythic beasts

OPENS OCTOBER 9 For centuries, strange creatures of all shapes and sizes have been conjured in fables and books, art, music and even film. Our enduring fascination with legendary beasts has meant that they’ve become ingrained in the popular imagination—with standardized habits and traits, they’re almost real to us. A new Ontario Science Centre exhibition entitled Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids traces the historical and cultural origins of folkloric fauna, as well as their subsequent evolution. Intriguing items such as paintings, sculptures, fossils and “life-size” models including a menacing roc and a 40-metre-long Chinese dragon are sureto illuminate this fantasical animal kingdom. Admission $11 to $18; call 416-696-1000 or click here for more information.

Hot Art: Queen West’s Area for Art

Tony Taylor's Justifying the Means

SEPTEMBER 17 TO 19 The Queen West Art Crawl is back for another year of creativity, as a variety of emerging and established artists display their works at various Queen Street West venues from Bathurst Street to Roncesvalles Avenue. The theme of this year’s event is “intersections”—the unexpected mixing and mingling of art forms. As always, the main event is the outdoor art sale at Trinity Bellwoods Park (Queen Street West and Strachan Avenue), where art hunters can spot such works as Tony Taylor’s Justifying the Means, while related happenings like the Parkdale Prom dance party attract even more admirers of local art and culture.