Media were out in droves this morning for the press launch of David Bowie Is, the Victoria and Albert Museum blockbuster that makes it first international stop at the Art Gallery of Ontario beginning tomorrow. Featuring 300 artifacts from Bowie’s 50 year career — including 50 stage costumes — the show is an immersive multimedia extravaganza, truly a feast of sound and vision. The show opens September 25 followed by a blow-out opening party Friday night; David Bowie Is is on until November 27 before it heads to Sao Paulo, Paris and Chicago.
Sound art has made tremendous in-roads during the past decade, witness the warm international reception for artists such as Christian Marclay (a sound artist long before The Clock) and celebrated Canadians Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Pioneering Ontario-based composer and sound artist Gordon Monahan, left, says he was “resigned to working in obscurity until suddenly in the mid-’90s people started paying attention.”
Monahan’s Erratum Addendum, an eight-channel sound installation for solo piano, is being installed in Fort York‘s Blue Barracks for this weekend’s On Common Ground Festival of Culture and Community (September 21 – 22). The work will transform the rustic old building into a Zen-like chamber of minimalist piano as single notes ring out and move around the room from speaker to speaker, occasionally overlapping as one note fades and another is struck.
Museum and art gallery parties have been the rage for the past decade, starting in New York at the MOMA, the Met and the Guggenheim and spreading around the world including to Toronto where the AGO’s 1st Thursdays and the ROM’s Friday Night Live program have been unqualified successes.
Tomorrow night the ROM celebrates Indo Pop with a South Asian themed party directed by TO-based choreographer Chase Constantino, left. Entertainment includes the choreographer’s own company, Broken Dance, YouTube comic sensation Superwoman and projected artworks by UK-based digital artist Inkquisitive. South Asian fashion takes a turn on the catwalk and of course, there will be Henna demos.
Constantino was bowled over by a recent Friday night at the ROM with its street-rocking queue and wall-to-wall party vibe. “What an amazing space to hold an event like this!” he marvels. “I love art and culture so to see it all come together at the ROM is fantastic!”
It may look like a heap of dirt under the Gardiner Expressway but to the folks at Fort York National Historic Site it’s the sweetest pile of earth that’s ever been moved. Last month, construction got underway on the long-awaited Fort York visitor centre, a 26,000-square foot museum facility that will finally give the fort a front door through which to welcome the city.
“I can go back to files from 30 years ago citing the need for a visitor centre at Fort York,” says museum administrator David O’Hara. “This project really has been a long time coming.”
October is history month and Toronto’s historic museums are marking the event with a look back to 1812 as part of this year’s bicentennial celebrations. The trouble for an historic house like Spadina Museum is that the building didn’t exist in 1812 so there are no artifacts to propel a discussion.
But that didn’t stop curious historic interpreters Ann McDougall (above) and Cathy Mancuso from creating a kind of artistic scavenger hunt with small installations scattered across the Spadina grounds. Both women are artists who contributed to The Encampment at Fort York National Historic Site this past summer and that experience of creating art based on historical record provoked the pair to do something similar at Spadina. This Sunday (October 14) from 12 – 4 pm, the artists lead guided tours of their installations around the property. READ MORE