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Textile Museum of Canada

Four Must-see Art and Museum Exhibits for Fall

From imaginative monsters to Nazi history to indigenous art to crafted textiles, there’s a wealth of exhibits to experience this season

Delve into the collection of imaginative items at Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters.

 

Raise a Flag: Works from
the Indigenous Art Collection (2000–2015)

To Dec. 10

OCAD University, Canada’s largest art and design school, christens its new 8,000-foot flagship galley in September with an exhibit that creates a dialogue surrounding Canada’s national identity. Works by more than two dozen First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists will be on display from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s comprehensive art collection.

Onsite Gallery, 199 Richmond St. W., ocadu.ca

 

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

To Jan. 7

Few modern filmmakers have made their stamp on the fantasy genre like Guillermo del Toro. This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibits a selection of items from del Toro’s famous personal collection of curiosities, including art, books and ephemera surrounding the afterlife, magic, occultism, alchemy, freaks and imaginary creatures. This show provides a window into the creative process of the mind behind Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim and The Hobbit.

Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W.

 

The Evidence Room

To Jan. 28

In 2000, architectural historian Robert Jan van Pelt proved in a landmark court case that Auschwitz was purposefully designed by the Nazis as a death camp. His research became a source for the emerging discipline of architectural forensics. The Evidence Room—an acclaimed exhibition when it debuted last year at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice—displays key objects central to that research, including full-scale reconstructions of three major components of the Auschwitz gas chambers along with more than 60 plaster casts of additional architectural evidence.

Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park

 

Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles

To Jan. 21

This exhibit displays 19th- and 20th-century fabrics and garments from Kyoto’s professional weaving workshops alongside Canadian-made cotton, cloth and silk kimonos created using traditional techniques. The show features work by contemporary artists Hiroko Karuno and Keiko Shintani, both of whose work has evolved from Japanese textile traditions.

Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave.

10 Museum Shows for a Cultured Spring

DON’T MISS THESE UNIQUE NEW AND ONGOING EXHIBITIONS AT SOME OF TORONTO’S TOP MUSEUMS!

Toronto-New-Museum-Shows-Spring-Aga-Khan-Abbas-Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami’s exhibition, Doors Without Keys, continues at the Aga Khan Museum through to March 20 (photo: Craig Moy)

The permanent collections at Toronto’s major cultural institutions are always worth exploring, but this season their limited-run shows are also very compelling. From two distinct displays of doors to an anthropological examination of tattoo art, there’s something for everyone at these unique new museum shows.

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The Textile Museum Hypes Hooked Rugs

THE CRAFT TRADITION OF RUG HOOKING IS HIGHLIGHTED THIS FALL AT THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA

Textile Museum of Canada Hooked Rugs

Peter and Nancy as the two-headed Dog hooked rug (photo: Dalhousie Art Gallery)

SEPTEMBER 24 TO FEBRUARY 8  The intersection of craft and commerce is the focus of a significant new exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada. Part of the institution’s 40th-anniversary programming, “Home Economics” surveys the stories and iconography that have informed rug hooking, a prominent folk art with over 150 years of tradition and evolution in Canada. More than 100 pieces comprise the colourful show, documenting for contemporary viewers a rich history of artisanal entrepreneurship—particularly as practiced by women in this country’s rural areas. As with many things Canadian, regional differences play a role here: the coast-to-coast collection includes rugs by Emily Carr (yes, that Emily Carr), New Brunswick’s Gagetown Hookers (a.k.a. Lydia and Raymond Scott), and present-day artists like Toronto’s Barbara Klunder and Heather Goodchild. —Craig Moy

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Quick Pick: A Pair of Big-Name Shows at the Textile Museum

THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA MAY SEEM SMALL RELATIVE TO ITS INSTITUTIONAL COUNTERPARTS IN TORONTO, BUT THIS SUMMER THE CLOTH-CONCENTRATING SPACE BOASTS SOME BIG NAMES

Textile Museum of Canada

Artist-designed fabric designs, clothing and more are now on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

MAY 2 TO OCTOBER 4 In “Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol,” colourful pieces by those two icons—plus Dali, Matisse, Chagall and many others—trace a visual history of fabric acting as a unique creative medium for all manner of artists.

JUNE 10 TO SEPTEMBER 7 More than 50 works by photographer Nickolas Muray focus on the vibrant persona—and indeed, often quite imaginative wardrobe—of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Toronto Museums Have the Best Views in the City

THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO VISIT TORONTO MUSEUMS. EACH OF THEM REVEALS IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HUMANITY’S CULTURAL HISTORY, WHILE LOOKING TOWARD OUR SHARED FUTURE.

Toronto Museums Royal Ontario Museum

The Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, Gallery of the Age of Mammals, and Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures are among the Royal Ontario Museum’s many unique permanent exhibits (photos: Royal Ontario Museum)

ALL-ENCOMPASSING INSTITUTION
It can be easy to take the Royal Ontario Museum for granted. If you’ve visited Toronto for any length of time, you’ve probably wandered through the museum’s halls and examined its vast holdings at least once. After all, the ROM has now stood for 101 years. No matter, though—if this is your first visit or, well, your one hundred and first, there’s always something to discover. Most patrons (especially those with children) make a beeline to the Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs on the second floor of the stark Michael Lee Chin Crystal, but we think you’ll find equal enjoyment examining the museum’s stunning assemblage of minerals and gems, and its vast holdings of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South Asian art. Unique among Toronto museums, the ROM’s purview includes both natural and human history. Feel a bout of museum fatigue coming on? The fourth-floor contemporary gallery is usually a little quieter (though right now it’s hosting a big Douglas Coupland show), or just take a minute to stand in the ROM’s historic rotunda: its domed ceiling is composed of more than one million Venetian glass tiles, arranged in pictographs representing the world’s natural and cultural histories.

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The Textile Museum Doffs its Chinese Children’s Hats

CHINESE CHILDREN’S HATS MAKE FOR A COLOURFUL KICKOFF TO THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA’S 40TH YEAR

Textile Museum of Canada Chinese children's hats

The Textile Museum features Intricately embroidered hats and other children’s garments from China

FEBRUARY 11 TO MAY 24  What’s your spirit animal? If you were a child in early 20th-century China, you probably had many of them—dragons, tigers, rabbits and more, stitched into hats and other garments to help ensure good fortune and ward off bad. More than 80 of these elaborate pieces are featured in a Textile Museum of Canada exhibition that honours the love and protection bestowed on children by their crafty mothers and grandmothers. Titled Good Beginnings, the show also serves a second purpose: its artifacts comprise one of the original collections bequeathed to the museum, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  —Craig Moy

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
• Map and reviews

Textile Museum’s Marimekko Retrospective Shows a Pattern of Success

Textile Museum Marimekko Armi Ratia

Marimekko founder Armi Ratia (photo: Textile Museum of Canada)

JANUARY 21 TO APRIL 21  Just as Ikea is to home decor and Electrolux is to appliances, Marimekko is to fashion. This month, the Textile Museum of Canada looks back at the Finnish company’s early role in the establishment of Scandinavian design as we know it. Founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo, Marimekko captured a timeless yet thoroughly modern Nordic aesthetic—a simple but colourful marriage of form and function that was accessible to all. Featuring chic apparel, bold patterns and other archival materials, this retrospective explores the development of Ratia’s original vision, which endures even now as a touchstone of clothing and decor the world over.  —Craig Moy

>> Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
>> Map and reviews

Hot Art: Symbolically Canadian at the Textile Museum

Grant Heaps’ Stag

MAY 23 TO SEPTEMBER 30 The icons of our country have long been ingrained in its citizens through the arts. You’ll see that first-hand in the latest exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada, which presents functional and artistic quilts, mats and other household articles that comprise a compendium-in-cloth of our national history, community traditions and personal connections to the land we live in. Augmenting the display, dubbed Dreamland: Textiles and the Canadian Landscape, are diverse works by 10 contemporary artists, including Douglas Coupland, Michael Snow, Barbara Todd and Grant Heaps—whose Stag wall hanging, we think you’ll agree, could only have been made by a Canadian.

Hot Art: Textile Museum Offers Model Charity

A 2009 Dare to Wear Love contribution from Farley Chatto

FEBRUARY 8 TO MAY 6 The Textile Museum
of Canada
is not just about festive hats and historical tapestries; its forays into modern fashion and textile art are often its most captivating! At present, the institution boasts an exhibition of haute couture created from African cloth for the annual fashion fundraiser Dare to Wear Love—by such Canadian designers as Farley Chatto, Brian Bailey and Linda Lundström. Culled from three years of the event, the unique pieces emphasize how social awareness in the global milieu can be increased through artistic expression.

Staff Picks: 10 Superb Specialist Museums

Specialty museums often operate on a smaller scale than their more comprehensive counterparts, but make up for their size with history and dedication to their subjects. Both informative and entertaining, these Toronto museums welcome visitors for a unique cultural experience.

The Gardiner Museum specializes in historical and contemporary ceramic art (photo by Tom Arban)

Bata Shoe Museum
This one-of-a-kind institution showcases over 4,500 years of footwear history. It features a celebrity collection and changing exhibitions that explore the function and style of shoes, and what they tell us about historical and contemporary culture. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799.

Casa Loma and Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens
Overlooking the city from midtown is financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt’s famed turn-of-the-century residence, which boasts dozens of finely decorated rooms and a general air of European splendour. Next door sits Spadina Museum—formerly home to three generations of the prominent Austin family, it’s been restored to demonstrate Toronto life in the 1920s. 1 Austin Terrace, 416-923-1171; 285 Spadina Rd., 416-392-6910.

CBC Museum
The history of the Canadian Broadcasting Company unfolds with the help of over 4,000 artifacts. This well-respected radio and television network has been integral in presenting Canadian news, entertainment and sports coverage for 75 years. 250 Front St. W., 416-205-5574.

Design Exchange
Internationally recognized for its dedication to promoting the value of design. The museum hosts curated exhibitions throughout the year, and offers frequent lectures and workshops as a part of its community outreach efforts. 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121.

Gardiner Museum
In its KPMB-designed building on the edge of Yorkville, this museum is dedicated to displaying and conserving one of the world’s oldest artistic media—ceramics, in all its varied functional and artistic forms. Grab a quick lunch at the airy Gardiner Café, featuring a menu created by chef Jamie Kennedy, or sign up for one of the museum’s many events and workshops. 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080.

Hockey Hall of Fame
Home of the Stanley Cup and located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Hockey Hall of Fame celebrates Canada’s sport year-round. The museum is suitable for all ages and features interactive exhibits and the world’s largest collection of hockey memorabilia. 30 Yonge St., 416-360-7765.

Mackenzie House
The historic home of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor, is a city-run museum and fine example of Georgian architecture. Historical exhibitions are offered, and there’s also a re-created 1850s print shop and a modern gallery. 82 Bond St., 416-392-6915.

Museum of Inuit Art
Located in the Queen’s Quay Terminal, this lakeside museum is devoted to presenting the history of the Inuit people through their distinctive art forms. Its collection spans hundreds of artifacts and artworks, and includes a number of showcase sculptures by major Inuit artists of the modern era. An adjoining gallery shop offers authentic stone carvings, prints and more for purchase. 207 Queens Quay W., 416-640-1571.

Redpath Sugar Museum
Canada’s oldest sugar refining company opened its museum to the public in 1979.
A self-guided tour is also included, and reservations are recommended for your visit. 95 Queens Quay E., 416-366-3561.

Textile Museum of Canada
This museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 12,000 historical and contemporary objects from around the world. The garments and fabrics displayed in themed exhibitions tell the stories of different cultures, while contemporary showcases place textile art in a modern context. A hands-on gallery teaches visitors about the ways in which textiles influence our lives. 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321.

Hot Art: Textile Art, Summed Up

Alia Toor's installation 99 Names of Aman

MAY 18 TO NOVEMBER 20 Geometry conveys cultural and spiritual significance at the Textile Museum of Canada. Its Magic Squares exhibition deciphers the “patterned imagination of Muslim Africa” through historic artifacts that incorporate squares in a manner not unlike today’s Sudoku puzzles. Modern artists’ interpretations of these forms is perhaps even more intriguing: subjects like Arabic calligraphy and the visual power of repetition are examined in pieces such as Alia Toor’s 99 Names of Aman, demonstrating the durability of cultural symbols and their relevance to a broad swath of contemporary issues.

Contact Curated: Downtown

This year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival features 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 Downtown core.

At the Design Exchange: Guy Tillim's Apartment building, Avenue Bagamoyo, Beira, Mozambique (courtesy of Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg)

Design Exchange
Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba (April 20 to June 14)

Another of Contact’s highly anticipated primary exhibitions, Tillim’s Avenue Patrice Lumumba series examines the effects of colonialism on modern history and architecture in African nations like Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

University of Toronto Art Centre
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics (May 3 to June 25)

Over the past 40 years, artist Suzy Lake has captured and expressed the female identity within the political, social and media context. She was also one of the forerunners of body-based photography. Lake’s exhibit at the University of Toronto Art Centre touches themes like beauty, femininity and identity.

Art Gallery of Ontario
Abel Boulineau: “Where I was born…”: A Photograph, A Clue, and the Discovery of Abel Boulineau (March 5 to August 21)

This series of gelatin silver photo prints in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection was only recently discovered to be part of Boulineau’s portfolio. A painter by trade, the French artist’s photographs reveal the stillness of everyday rural from 1897 to 1916.

At the ROM: Edward Burtynsky's SOCAR Oil Fields #9, Baku, Azerbaijan (courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery)

Royal Ontario Museum
Edward Burtynsky: Oil (April 9 to July 3)

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture presents internationally renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s collection of 53 large-format photographs, which explore the ugly reality of the oil industry and oil dependence in contemporary society.

First Canadian Place
Dr. Roberta Bondar: Within the Landscape—Art Respecting Life (April 4 to May 20)

Using artistic elements like line, texture and colour, this exhibition offers a look at diversity of patterns in nature viewed at a distance—for example, a herd of buffalo moving across a plain, shot from above by the first Canadian woman ever to travel to outer space.

Nicholas Metivier Gallery
Edward Burtynsky: Monegros (May 5 to 28)

Depicting the complex and diverse landscape of Monegros, Spain, this collection of large-format Burtynsky photographs explores the effects of industrial farming in the region.

Toronto Imageworks Gallery
Dianne Davis: Impervious (May 5 to June 4)

Davis’s works utilize tableaus and subjects that tell the story of a specific place and time to examine notions of fragility, transience and the brevity of life.

At Bau-Xi Photo: Brett Gundlock's yntitled image from his Home series

Bau-Xi Photo
Rafal Gerszak, Brett Gundlock, Jonathan Taggart, Aaron Vincent Elkaim and Ian Willms: Boreal Collective (April 30 to May 13)

The Boreal Collective features the work of young photojournalists who document social, psychological and physical inequities through Canadian-based narratives.

Leo Kamen Gallery
Roberto Pellegrinuzzi: Constellations (April 30 to May 28)

What you see isn’t what you get with Pellegrinuzzi. In this exhibition, each layered, translucent photo offers an atypical way of viewing a landscape.

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Creative & Technical Team, Pearl Chen, Meagan Durlak, Matthew Fabb, Priam Givord, Brandon Hocura and Ana Serrano: Becoming What We Behold: A CFC Media Lab Project (May 7 to 29)

This interactive installation features a geometric web of tablet computers showcasing user-generated content. Viewers become artists as they upload images and share photos in the literal web of interconnectivity that’s meant to mimic social media.

Gallery 44
Surendra Lawoti: Don River (April 30 to June 4)

Chris Boyne: Stillwater (April 30 to June 4)
Susan Kordalewski: Space vs. Place (April 30 to June 4)

The three exhibitions at Gallery 44 study landscape and place in various contexts. The first, by Lawoti, focuses on locals and displaced residents living in and around the Don River Valley in the midst of urban Toronto. On the other hand, Boyne’s works depict unseemingly colourful landscapes with dark histories told through audio narratives. Lastly, Kordalewski’s photos play with one’s sense of perception by placing 2D representations within 3D spaces.

At Birch Libralato: Lee Goreas's The Happy Hooker (courtesy of Birch Libralato)

Birch Libralato
Lee Goreas: New Works 2011 (April 30 to June 4)
James Nizam: Memorandoms (April 30 to June 4)

Lee Goreas uses golf balls to create a series of large portraits that demonstrate the “character” of ordinary objects—form, colour, surface and age reveal each ball’s unique history. In Memorandoms, photographer James Nizam takes viewers inside the oldest public housing development in Vancouver, just before it was demolished. Using leftover objects like doors, drawers and shelves, he re-creates a sense of place with a fleeting identity.

KWT Contemporary
Caitlin Cronenberg, David Frankovich: RED / Plus de Deux (May 5 to 28)

Using images selected from the New York Times’ Canadian Photography Archive, Cronenberg’s series at KWT Contemporary reimagines and reinvents the photos as a commentary on how Americans have viewed Canadian culture in the past.

Textile Museum of Canada
Peter Wilkins: Loop (April 29 to June 12)

Concerned with “pattern languages” in urban settings, Wilkins’ exhibition transforms man-made objects and structures into abstract geometric patterns through repetition and reflection.


View Contact Photography Festival 2011: Downtown in a larger map

*All images courtesy of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival unless otherwise noted.