06/20 2011

Legacy Plaques Honour Cultural Pioneers

The Heritage Toronto Legacy Plaques Program unveiled eight new tributes this morning honouring leaders in the city’s cultural and intellectual life. Lawyer Grace Westcott (left, chair of the Legacy Project) joined City Councillor John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West) and Karen Carter (Executive Director of Heritage Toronto) for the unveiling in the City Hall members lounge. The plaques are being installed at the former residences of media theorist Marshall McLuhan (29 Wells Hill Avenue), National Ballet of Canada founder Celia Franca (166 Carlton Street), composer Harry Somers (158 Douglas Drive), architect E.J. Lennox (487 Sherbourne Street), photographer William James (250 Major Street), writer Jane Jacobs (69 Albany Avenue), painter Tom Thomson (38 Elm Street) and geologist/physicist J. Tuzo Wilson (Ontario Science Centre). The Toronto Legacy Project was established in 2002 by the city’s first Poet Laureate, Dennis Lee, to celebrate our artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape.

166 Carlton Street
10/20 2010

Poetry Hits a Wall in Islington

Mayor Miller with Louise Garfield (Arts Etobicoke) and Poet Laureate Dionne Brand
A jovial Mayor Miller uses his camera phone to capture a moment at yesterday’s unveiling of Article 13, an artistic rendering of a new poem by Dionne Brand, far right, the City’s Poet Laureate. In the centre is Louise Garfield, Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke, the Local Arts Service Organization that spearheaded the art alley mural project.

Article 13 is the twelfth in a series of 30 proposed public murals — part of Amnesty International’s Project: Urban Canvas — each one an interpretation of one of the 30 articles of human rights. Article 13 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” You can read Brand’s poem on the Arts Etobicoke website. The mural was designed by artist Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos. Click through to see photos of the mural. READ MORE

Posted in Art, Street Culture
10/1 2010

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche: Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Nuit Blanche curator Christof Migone
In my interviews this week with the four Scotiabank Nuit Blanche curators, each of them acknowledged the challenges of physically accommodating the huge crowds that will descend on the event tomorrow night.

The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers), 2009, Performance Art by Davide Balula

The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers), 2009, Performance Art by Davide Balula

“Nuit Blanche is a victim of its own success,” suggests Zone C curator Christof Migone, above. “My theme,  Should I Stay Or Should I Go, is a direct response to the lineups you inevitably see at Nuit Blanche and when you confront one you have to make the decision to stay or to go.”

Consequently, Migone, like his colleagues, made every effort to stage installations out of doors in spaces as open as possible in order to embrace the public’s enthusiasm for this feast of contemporary art. But even a site like the expansive Commerce Court Courtyard, accessible from three sides, is likely to jam up as people stream in to witness Davide Balula’s The Endless Pace (variation for 60 dancers), 2009, above.


09/30 2010

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche: The Night of Future Past

Sarah Robayo SheridanIf you didn’t go to school at Ryerson University you probably have no idea that the grassy splendour of the Kerr Hall Quad exists between Gould and Gerrard streets, west of Church. Perhaps Saturday night’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and the two commissioned works being staged in and at the entrance to the Quad will introduce you to this normally tranquil little hideaway for the first time. That’s one of the hopes of curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan, left (photo by Angus Rowe MacPherson), who, together with the artists, has selected the location for the performance piece Reunion, 2010 (Ryerson Theatre) and Up, Up and Around: Toronto City Hall, 2010, by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young (Ryerson Quad).

Very nearby will be New York artist Iman Issa‘s four Meeting Point installations, “light box projects stationed through the area that form a little pathway,” explains Robayo Sheridan. “They’re sort of tucked away in alleyways and back parking lots and they serve as proposals for monuments of the artist’s own invention. Those locations I scouted on bicycle, combing through the area to see what would work best, so I think some of the sites will be a surprise to people.” READ MORE

09/29 2010

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche: Sound and Vision


Daniel Lanois will be at the centre of "Later That Night at the Drive-In, 2010" in Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday

If you’re not a David Bowie fan you probably don’t know (and possibly don’t care) that “Sound and Vision” is the title of a song from the rock star’s pivotal and supremely arty 1977 album, Low. In many ways, the song sums up what curator Anthony Kiendl wanted to say with his Scotiabank Nuit Blanche exhibition this Saturday (October 2) so he borrowed the title.

“I was thinking about the role of pop music in art and vice versa,” says the Winnipeg-based Kiendl, “and at that particular time Bowie was leaving the U.S. and going to Europe to make the Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger). It seemed like an example of someone crossing boundaries and making transitions; he’d been doing film work around that time, as well. I like that it’s a simple title, it doesn’t over-explain or pre-determine the reception of the artworks.” READ MORE