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Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Contact Photography Festival Daily Pick: Archive of Modern Conflict

Where Toronto brings you a new image for each day of the 2013 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, which runs throughout May with exhibitions at more than 175 venues across the city.

Today’s top Contact Photography Festival pick:

Photo: Archive of Modern Conflict

Courtesy of the Archive of Modern Conflict

Photo: Sand Dunes, circa 1890
Artist: Charles Henry Turner
Exhibition: From May 2 to June 2, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art presents “Collected Shadows,” an exhibition assembled by the Archive of Modern Conflict, a organization that employs “unexpected juxtapositions and associations across time periods, geographies, techniques and subject matter” to tell stories through archival photography.

Check back daily for more Contact Photography Festival coverage, and visit scotiabankcontactphoto.com for more information about this exhibition!

Hot Art: The Contact Festival’s Primary Shows

An image from Philippe Chancel's Arirang series (photo courtesy of Erick Franck Fine Art)

APRIL 27 TO JUNE 3 The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival returns to display the work of more than 1,000 image-makers. These days, nearly everyone can instantly shoot and disseminate photos; it’s fitting that this year’s event explores the concept of “public”—not only how images capture the places and spaces in which we act, but also how they expose issues of common interest and influence social perspective. Over 200 venues participate in the showcase, but its must-see primary exhibitions are at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art , where the festival theme is explored by the likes of Philippe Chancel, whose Arirang series, depicts a gathering in North Korea.

Staff Picks: 10 Popular Public Art Galleries

The Art Gallery of Ontario features works by Michael Snow and many, many other artists

Become a part of Toronto’s hot art and culture scene by exploring these public art galleries, which are home to timeless masterpieces, contemporary creations, travelling exhibitions and everything in between. (more…)

Hot Art: Immersive Experiences at MOCCA

An image from Tasman Richardon's haunting Necropolis (photo by Alex Grigorescu)

FEBRUARY 4 TO APRIL 1 The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art kicks off its 2012 season this weekend with a trio of engrossing installations.

Three years in the making, Tasman Richardson‘s Necropolis is an immersive multimedia project that addresses the modern world’s loss of emotional engagement through six audio-visual installations set within a darkened, winding superstructure. Curated by Rhonda Corvese, each installation segment offers scenes from films re-contextualized into themes of narcissism, idolatry and oblivion, and their mounting sense of dread transforms the exhibition into a visceral experience. Richardson conceived the display as a response to what he terms “death culture,” or video and culture as a “false intimacy where moments are becoming emotionally oversimplified.” The use of odd frame rates and interlacing further emphasize real experience over than consumption of life through a screen. “Everything that can be recorded,” says Richardson, “is a kind of pseudo-death.” (more…)

Hot Art: Vanguard Vintage at MOCCA

Barbara Cole's Tomorrow

JUNE 25 TO AUGUST 21 The 1980s are back in a big way at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. But instead of following the trend of deconstructing, remixing and mashing-up the era’s creative output, the gallery presents it faithfully, recreating a moment in time. Entitled This is Paradise, the exhibition assembles the work of dozens of Toronto artists who, congregating around the notorious Cameron House—still standing at the corner of Queen and Cameron streets—made the then-gritty Queen West district synonymous with groundbreaking visual art, theatre and music. More than two decades later, Barbara Cole’s Tomorrow, along with numerous other works by the likes of Tom Dean and Pauline Choi, admirably evoke a watershed era of Toronto art for a new generation of viewers.

Contact Curated: Queen & Dundas West

This year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival is now in full swing, with exhibitions at more than 200 venues across the city. Make the most of your festival experience by concentrating your gallery-hopping within specific Toronto neighbourhoods, such as the western sections of Queen and Dundas streets.

At the Drake Hotel: Alex Prager's Irene from the Long Weekend (courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery)

Gladstone Hotel
Martie Giefert: Reconstruction (Gladstone) (May 1 to 31)
Isabel M. Martinez: The Weekend
(May 1 to June 3)

The Gladstone Hotel hosts two Contact featured exhibitions. Inspired by the boutique hotel’s third floor, Martie Giefert deconstructs and recreates a hyperrealistic experience of the space through film and digital photography. Similarly, Isabel M. Martinez splices leisure and landscape photos, bringing them together in a single frame to create a shifting scene for the viewer.

Drake Hotel
Robyn Cumming, Sara Cwynar, Daniel Gordon, Alex Prager, Geoffrey Pugen: I’m Not Here (April 22 to June 20)

This featured exhibition at the Drake Hotel emphasizes a contemporary take on portraiture. In many of the photos, the subject’s face is obscured, masked or abstracted in order to draw attention away from the customary focus of portraits and, instead, toward other elements of the image.

Le Gallery
Scott Ramsay: Carril Bici (April 27 to May 22)

In his open exhibition at Le Gallery, photographer Scott Ramsay turns his lens toward Cuba—specifically, that country’s ability to adapt to modernity without industrialism via the relationship between the Cuban people and the bicycle.

Stephen Bulger Gallery
Robert Bourdeau: The Station Point (May 5 to June 11)

Bourdeau’s large-format photographs document four decades worth of old landscapes, historical architecture and inactive industrial sites throughout Europe and North America. The photos offer a sense of how old structures can lose their identity over time yet still contain feelings, ambiguities and  even emotion.

At Angell Gallery: Alex Kisilevich's Stick Figure (courtesy of Angell Gallery)

Angell Gallery
Geoffrey Pugen: Long Divisions
(May 5 to June 11)
Alex Kisilevich: Kallima (May 5 to June 11)

Angell Gallery offers exhibitions by two of its contemporary artists. With Long Divisions, Pugen uses video and photography to manipulate ordinary objects into fantastical ones. Kisilevich explores the idea of camouflage and identity in the natural world and in social contexts for humans.

Gallery TPW
Eric Gottesman: Paths That Cross Cross Again (May 12 to June 11)

True to its history of presenting documentary and political photography, Gallery TPW displays Paths That Cross Cross Again by Eric Gottesman. The exhibit features images that reflect Gottesman’s work with Sudden Flowers, a children’s art collection in Addis Ababa, showcasing the complexity of human relations across social contexts.

Paul Petro Contemporary Art
Suzy Lake: Extended Breath (May 6 to June 4)
Su Rynard: Seed Bank (May 6 to June 4)

For more than 30 years, Suzy Lake has explored themes of female identity and beauty. In her Paul Petro exhibition, Lake uses long exposures to express both stillness and movement. Also in the gallery, Su Rynard’s work takes viewers inside the London Seed Bank to explore the irony of preserving nature within a man-made fortress.

At MOCCA: Viviane Sassen's Parasomnia (courtesy of Motive Gallery, Amsterdam)

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
Olga Chagaoutdinova, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Viviane Sassen, Dayanita Singh: Dynamic Landscape (April 30 to June 5)
Fred Herzog: Vancouver (April 30 to June 5)

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art features two of Contact’s primary exhibitions. Dynamic Landscape, a group show, highlights the interplay between humans and nature from Africa to Canada’s frozen north. Fred Herzog: Vancouver tells the story of the German immigrant’s documentation and transformation of post-war Vancouver.

Elaine Fleck Gallery
S. Vote: The Aesthetic Choices of S. Vote (May 1 to 28)

S. Vote juxtaposes the media of traditional pen-and-ink geisha drawings and contemporary digital photography to create a single unified expression of beauty, elegance, contrast and fragility.


View Contact Photography Festival 2011: Queen & Dundas West in a larger map

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.

Weekend Roundup, August 6 to 8

Rock the weekend with a slew of musical performances, or take some time to appreciate good food, great drinks, and even some tennis!

Friday: Hear the world-music stylings of Dominic Mancuso

Friday, August 6
Explore our urban environment from a different perspective. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s large-scale group exhibition, Empire of Dreams, showcases works by Toronto-based artists that examine the dynamic interactions between humans and their surroundings.

Spend some time browsing the bounty of beautiful vintage furniture, decor accessories, jewellery, apparel and more at the Summer Antiques Show. This annual event at Sherway Gardens is a treasure-hunter’s dream.

Make tracks to Yonge-Dundas Square this evening and let King Sunshine capture enliven spirit with music. With a fusion of disco, funk and house beats, this dynamic group will have you dancing the night away.

Sway to the multicultural singer-songwriter stylings of Dominic Mancuso. The Juno-winning Italian-Canadian takes the stage tonight at Lula Lounge.

Saturday: Mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu performs at the Summer Music Festival

Saturday, August 7
Bear witness to boundless creativity during the SummerWorks Theatre Festival. Dozens of innovative plays are on-stage today—at such venues as the Factory Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille—to satistfy any dramatic preference.

Eat, drink and be merry at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. The popular event floods Exhibition Place with more than 120 types of beers from 60 brewers, plus a variety of finger foods to satisfy your hunger.

Enjoy a Free Family Weekend at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament. On top of the chance to see the tourney’s qualifying-round action at the Rexall Centre, kids of all ages can enjoy plenty of games, activities, free tennis lessons and lots of prizes to be won.

The Toronto Summer Music Festival is still going strong. Tonight, Roxana Constantinescu and Gordon Gietz come together for a powerful operatic performance of Mahler’s Song of the Earth—reimagined for a chamber ensemble—plus the world premiere of composer Glenn Buhr’s Red Sea.

Sunday: Paul McCartney's back at the ACC

Sunday, August 8
Feast on delicious Greek and Mediterranean cuisine today as the ever-popular Taste of the Danforth. Mixing culture, history, food and community, this enormous street festival celebrates the flavours of Greece (and Toronto’s own Greektown) with live performances, activities and, of course, a whole lot of Hellenic cuisine.

Hear some of your favourite Beatles and Wings classics anew as Paul McCartney brings his Höfner bass to the Air Canada Centre. Though he’s been in the business for more than 40 years, Sir Paul retains the energy of youth, as his “Up and Coming” tour attests.

Complete your weekend with laugh-out-loud sketch comedy at The Second City. The talented crew’s  show, An Evening with Second City, gathers highlights from past performances along with new jabs at current affairs and lots of fresh improvisation.

Experience classical music like never before at Harbourfront Centre’s What is Classical? festival. One of its intriguing elements is The Labyrinth Project, which uses the structure of a maze to help listeners contemplate the musicality of different instruments.

Hot Art: MOCCA’s Empire

An Te Liu's Cloud sculpture

TO AUGUST 15 There may be truth in the axiom that without structure, there is chaos. It’s not clear, however, what this structure is, how it should come to be, and, once created, how it should be used. These questions comprise the foundation of Empire of Dreams, a large-scale group show at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Here, Toronto-based artists interpret the myriad ways in which humans envision, produce and interact with the built environments and systemic constructs that order our lives. Often reflecting an increasingly globalized urban experience, these varied works—including An Te Liu’s Cloud, composed of recycled air purifiers—offer imaginative new perspectives on our surroundings and the ever-evolving conditions of our existence.

Contact Photo: Daily View #1

The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival—the world’s largest festival dedicated to the display and discussion of the photographic arts—returns to Toronto this month. There are more than 225 exhibitions to see between May 1 and 31; each day Where Toronto offers a peek at one of them.

Today’s Pick:

Artist: Dana Claxton
Title: Baby Girlz Got a Mustang

See It @ the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art as part of a primary festival exhibition entitled “The Mechanical Bride,” May 1 to June 6.

For more on this exhibition, click here.

Visual Learning: the 2010 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

Toronto’s annual festival of photography asks how the medium’s vast dissemination has transformed the way we understand and interact with the world around us.

On display as part of MOCCA's primary exhibition is "Green Kitchen" and other works from the Cache-Misère series by John Armstrong and Paul Collins. The artists add painted images to photos, altering their narratives.

One of the abiding ways by which change is affected in a given art form is through the introduction and subsequent application of new or improved technology. The invention of the printing press ushered in a new epoch for literature and the written word, colour film transformed the way movies were produced and consumed—the present adoption of 3D techniques could herald a similar evolution—and the amplified electric guitar forever changed popular music. The historical register of these changes is long, and it continues to grow longer.

Of late, the impact of technology has arguably been felt most of all by the photographic arts, and for more than a decade the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival has chronicled the evolution of picture taking with a month-long program of curated exhibitions across the city. This year’s massive event looks at how digital-age advancements—instant-gratification social networking websites, the incorporation of high-quality cameras in portable and relatively affordable devices, the accessibility of easy-to-use image-processing software, and much more—have led to photography’s exponential growth and ponders the effect of the medium’s pervasive influence, as predicted by Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan.

(more…)

You Are Here: West Queen West

Balancing a rough-around-the-edges authenticity with a bit of high-end hipsterism, the section of Queen Street west of downtown’s core has long been a hotbed for creative citizens of all stripes. No surprise, then, that it’s also home to many of the city’s top contemporary art galleries.

Click on any map marker for more information on Where’s neighbourhood favourites.
View You Are Here: West Queen West in a larger map

(more…)