Art Bash! Baroque Ball in support of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
In just three years, Art Bash!, which serves as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s key fundraiser, has taken one of the top spots on Toronto’s fall social calendar. Andy Warhol’s foil-lined New York factory and the wonderfully eccentric style of Venetian arts patron Marchesa Casati (an Augustus John portrait of the flame-haired figure is among the galleries most beloved), inspired the first and second incarnations of the event. For year three, held on Nov. 23, the institution looked to its current exhibition, Early Rubens, and settled on baroque – complete with all things gilded and ornate – as the guiding theme.
Baillie Court on the gallery’s third floor looked rather marvellous, done up for the occasion by party designer Jeff Roick with tables that brimmed with flowers. Overhead hung rather contemporary metal scaffolding that held wonderful digital prints that called to mind Michelangelo’s great ceilings in the Sistine Chapel. Nearby, a substantial still life by Briony Douglas – with beachball-sized oranges and grapes as big as your head – titled Big Baroque was on offer. With speeches kept to a minimum, conversation during dinner flowed. My seatmate was fashion designer Mani Jassal, a bright talent whose spirited spin on traditional Indian dressing has garnered a considerable following and was included in a fashion showcase that popped-up during the evening.
After dinner, dessert was served downstairs in Walker Court under the Frank Gehry-designed staircase. Dotting the perimeter of the space were nude models more commonly seen at the gallery’s popular life-drawing classes (fitting as funds from the eve support AGO programming and education). In the centre of it all was a dancing space, which to my delight, actually saw the soles of Toronto’s big-givers’ shoes. Among them out at this latest, co-chaired by Sonja Berman and Dean Bender: philanthropist Emmanuelle Gattuso; financier Ira Gluskin and Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, who serves as honorary chair of the AGO board of trustees; real-estate developer David Feldman and his wife, Angela, who served on the event committee; AGO board of trustees vice-presidents Andrew Federer, vice-chairman at RBC Capital Markets (RBC served as a presenting sponsor), philanthropist Rosamond Ivey, and Jay Smith (first VP at CIBC Wood Gundy); Christie’s international consultant Brett Sherlock; and of course, AGO director and CEO Stephan Jost and his husband, Will Scott. North of $860,000 was raised during the evening. Early Rubens runs through January 5.
Press On Winnipeg sharing hope through art – CHVN Radio
A local art initiative says they were inspired by a Christian punk band to use art to spread joy.
The image of a flying blue sparrow accompanied by a logo reading “Press On Winnipeg” is catching the attention of both outdoor and art enthusiasts. The anonymous street art project organizers say they hope people find inspiration when they see the bird.
The group says they want to spread positivity and encouragement and have good things from people. They say have heard of people viewing their art for a number of purposes, ranging from using it as an excuse to take a walk to hunt for the birds.
“Art can be a really deep and fascinating way in which we experience something greater than ourselves,” an anonymous representative from the group says. “Others have had spiritual experiences where they have shared that when they have seen our art that they have had experiences with God or Jesus.”
The representative says they want people to have a spiritual connection to art and is glad to see it happening with their work.
They say the name, Press On Winnipeg, comes from Relient K’s “Pressing On.” Relient K is a Christian punk bank from Ohio.
“That is actually what inspired one of us to start this project.”
While they were inspired by the band 10 years ago, their intention since the beginning is simple: to spread happiness.
The movement is now catching the attention of thousands as the group ramped up their efforts during COVID-19.
Active since beginning to share their work on the Waterfront Bridge a decade ago, the group has only recently joined any form of social media. Their Instagram account was created in the spring after Winnipeg joined the list of cities affected by COVID-19. They currently have over 4,700 followers and say it is a great way to interact with people.
“When we only had 30 followers, one of the 30 followers in all of our group was actually the person that caught us.”
The group tries to stay anonymous and has only been caught putting their art up on a handful of occasions in the past 10 years. They say they try to be respectful regarding where they put their art and use special screws when posting their signs on trees and do not put art on occupied buildings unless requested.
Press On says they have received very little negative feedback.
“The whole idea of it was to share some happiness and hope with Winnipeg.”
The group shares art and the image of the bird both in Winnipeg and now outside the perimeter in unique spots.
Press On hints that the next Winnipeg location to see their work will be “very very high up.”
Now taken down for the winter, Press On shared that their Wall of Hope installation was fulfilling its purpose.
“The idea of it was to create this wall for people to be able to express themselves, to be able to create art that signifies hope for themselves.”
The tall structure acted as a gallery wall for people who wished to showcase their hope and what helps them “press on.”
Now waiting in storage, Press On promises that the wall will return.
No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere – Toronto Life
No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere
Plastering everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets
StreetARToronto was launched by the city in 2011 with two main goals: to reduce vandalism and help support street artists. These days, it provides workshops for local artists and regularly hosts open call-outs for public art, often on themes of diversity and inclusion, to decorate Toronto’s empty walls and alleyways. So far, the initiative has sponsored over 1,000 pieces around the city, which plaster everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets. When Covid-19 hit, the organization asked artists to submit ideas for murals honouring front-line workers. Here are a few that have been completed so far.
Emmanuel Jarus, an artist and muralist, has redone this same wall near Graffiti Alley three times over the past six years. He completed his latest reinvention during the pandemic. The idea came to him when he ran into a very tired friend in a parkette, taking a break from work. He thought her mood and stance perfectly reflected the exhaustion and uncertainty of the current moment. “I like to observe things—I call my work ‘painting journalism’—and my murals happen organically,” Jarus says. He snapped a bunch of photos of his impromptu model, created an image on his iPad and selected his colour palette from whatever was available at the discount warehouse down the road. The result is a striking image which Jarus hopes passersby find relatable and honest.
Adelaide and Portland
Alexander Bacon is an internationally recognized artist who’s been painting since he was a teenager in the 1990s. His vibrant, large-scale pieces, featuring portraits and historical references, can be spotted all over Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. The inspiration for this massive mural near Adelaide and Portland came to him when he was submitting ideas for a virtual art festival in Puerto Rico. The flower represents the fragility of life, and the gloved hand represents the strength of our front-line workers. The scene is also supposed to show the sacrifices everyone is making for the most vulnerable in our society. “We basically shut the world down for people who aren’t strong enough to fight this virus,” says Alex. “I think it’s beautiful humanity is willing to do that.”
Peru Dyer Jalea’s signature style uses simple geometric shapes, primary colours and clean lines to create puzzle-like patterns with a meditative vibe. This particular mural, which is on the side of Pancho’s Bakery, a Latino-owned business near Jalea’s home, was designed to honour firefighters. “It’s one of the noblest professions I could think of,” he says. “They’re often unrecognized and underpaid for doing one of the city’s most dangerous jobs.” There’s a station nearby, where Jalea had taken his two young children for a tour earlier this year. “My son is obsessed with fire trucks and my daughter’s favourite colour is red, so I was able to make everybody happy,” he says. For the mural, Jalea used geometric shapes spelling out “gracias,” blended with the image of a fire truck to guide the eye down the wall and around the corner to the bakery. He says the community has been thrilled to see the wall, which had been tagged with unsightly graffiti before, turned into a tribute to first responders.
Hamilton-born Kapwani Kiwanga wins France's top art prize for Flowers for Africa installation – The Globe and Mail
A Canadian expat has won France’s top art prize. Kapwani Kiwanga, who lives in Paris, won the Prix Marcel Duchamp Monday.
Kiwanga, who was born in Hamilton and grew up in nearby Brantford, studied anthropology at McGill University in Montreal before establishing herself as a visual artist in France. Her work in installation, video, photography and sound art begins with documentary research and explores issues of society, place and colonialism.
She won Canada’s $100,000 Sobey Art Prize in 2018 with a large installation that evoked the walls of prisons and hospitals. Her contribution to the Duchamp Prize exhibition is an installation entitled Flowers for Africa, a continuing project she began during a residency in Senegal in 2013. It evokes key moments in the history of African independence by recreating the floral bouquets that were placed on parade-viewing platforms or negotiating tables during diplomatic and national ceremonies.
The Prix Marcel Duchamp was established in 2000 by the Association for the international diffusion of French art to identify the leading artists of the new generation in France and give them international exposure. Finalists are selected through a vote by the association’s members before a winner is chosen by an international jury.
The winner is awarded €35,000 (about $54,000), and several exhibition and professional development opportunities including participating in the group show dedicated to the four finalists at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This year, the other finalists included Alice Anderson, Hicham Berrada and Enrique Ramirez. All four artists’ work is on display at the Centre Pompidou until Jan. 4 while an exhibition of previous laureates is touring France to mark the prize’s 20th anniversary.
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