Albert Gleizes’ Head in a Landscape at the AGO’s “Great Upheaval” exhibition (photo courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York)
NOVEMBER 30 TO MARCH 2 On the heels of its hugely popular Ai Weiwei and David Bowie exhibitions, the Art Gallery of Ontario invites you to take a stroll through eight tumultuous years in the creation of avant-garde art. “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910-1918” draws 66 major works from New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, including pieces by the likes of Cezanne, Gaugin, Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and Mondrian, as well as a wide range of lesser-known experimental artists who were active in the early 1900s. Described by AGO CEO Matthew Teitelbaum as “an exhibit that tells a story,” the show allows its contents to speak for itself, with the vivid colours and shapes of the selected works set against stark white walls. But a story is indeed told: arranged chronologically, each pocket of the exhibition is headed by an infographic that sheds historical light on the paintings and sculptures within.
The minimalist presentation offers visitors the chance to slip inside the experience of the artists, tracing their evolution through the years leading up to World War I as they reacted to—and interacted with—a world in the process of being turned upside down. The first room of the exhibit showcases early experiments such as Frantisek Kupka’s Planes by Colors (1910), a large-scale portrait that employed vibrant colour planes instead of traditional shading, inspired by the recent invention of x-rays. From there, patrons can meander through the lush dreamscapes of Marc Chagall and Vasily Kandinsky’s increasing abstractionism alongside other major pieces like Franz Marc’s Yellow Cow (1911) and Matisse’s Italian Woman (1916). The exhibition culminates in a final collection of works from WWI, which offers a fascinating observation of the effects of war on the artists’ psyches: darker colours, harsher lines and ominous symbolism lurk in pieces such as Max Ernst’s City With Animals (1919). Having borne witness to this artistic upheaval, AGO visitors are left with a final thought from Albert Einstein, projected on the gallery floor: “The world cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” —Sara Burnside Menuck
• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
• Map and reviews
BY STEPHANIE YOUNG
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has long had a reputation as a notoriously dull place—a suburban checkpoint that must be endured on the way to more exciting destinations. But a recent spate of upgrades means you need no longer fear a delayed flight, drawn out stopover or the lengthy waits that can come with the holiday travel season. We’ve outlined some of the noteworthy new ways to pass the time at Canada’s busiest airport below. Know of any other fascinating corners or crevices? Leave your tips in the comments below!
There are always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great events and concerts taking place throughout the city this month!
BY STEPHANIE YOUNG
Casa Loma hosts a number of holiday happenings this month
DECEMBER 7 TO 23 It’s a childhood delight to rush downstairs on Christmas morning and see that St. Nick has enjoyed the milk and cookies you left him. But why wait until December 25 when you can enjoy breakfast with the jolly man himself at Casa Loma’s annual Breakfast with Santa. Families will also note that Peter Pan is scheduled to visit the historic manor this holiday season: the story of the boy who never grew up is dramatized in the conservatory and library. Casa Loma, breakfast $25, general admission $20.55; call 416-923-1171 or visit here for more information and a complete schedule of events.
The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is one of Toronto’s most anticipated new attractions. Home to more than 15,000 underwater creatures including stingrays, sharks, octopus, green sea turtles, and jellyfish.
Check out the gallery below from our most recent visit to meet the city’s newest residents.
Snow Moment by Jasper Doest, one of many images on display at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum
NOVEMBER 23 TO MARCH 23 It’s easy to feel like you’re roaming the African savanna with a lion, swimming the Arctic Ocean with a polar bear, and skittering about the prairies with a field mouse while viewing the stunning scenes of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. Drawn from more than 43,000 submitted to an international competition organized by the BBC and London’s Natural History Museum, the show—now in its 49th year, but enjoying its North American debut—features 100 large-scale, back-lit prints that depict both the natural world’s inherent artistry and the skill of the photographers who capture it.
BY CRAIG MOY
No matter where you live (well, at least in the Western world), by now you’ve probably heard of Toronto’s embattled mayor, one Robert Bruce “Rob” Ford. A city councillor for 10 years before riding a wave of suburban discontent into the mayor’s office in October of 2010, Ford has long divided Torontonians with his notoriously truculent style and myopic decision making. He’s hardly the first elected official to be lacking in intellectual rigor, nor is he the only politician to have cynically sought to score points by, say, pitting neighbourhoods against each other in a battle for public transit resources. But there’s only one mayor who has, among (many) other things, been caught reading while driving, appeared intoxicated at numerous public events, been the subject of long-term police surveillance, consorted with known criminals, and, most spectacularly, admitted to smoking crack-cocaine.
It seems that Rob Ford has done more to put Toronto on the map than any Cy Young Award winner, livable-city ranking, or new aquarium ever could. So while you’re in town, why not check out the sites of some of our mayor’s most infamous foibles.
Dominic Besner’s Sombre dérive des victorieux (photo: Thompson Landry Gallery)
NOVEMBER 15 TO DECEMBER 3 Artist Dominic Besner mixes the familiar with the fantastic in his new exhibition, Humani ex Machina, on display at Thompson Landry Gallery. Real-life images meld and contort beneath multiple hues and textures; bleeding garish colours and delicate mythical elements leave you unsure whether these mixed-media scenes come from your most surreal nightmares or most whimsical fantasies. Adopting a lighter colour palette expressing “the metaphysical energy of society,” Besner explores themes of time and reality, of the “strange everyday machine” that pervades everyday life, and the unreality of an age where what’s “real” is constantly in flux, and therefore more difficult than ever to define. —Sara Burnside Menuck
• Thompson Landry Gallery, Distillery Historic District, 416-364-4955; thompsonlandry.com
• Map and reviews
Each and every month we scour the city to bring you all the very best that Toronto has to offer! Check out our latest favourites below, and don’t forget that many of our previous picks remain applicable throughout the fall.
Best of Toronto #1: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
1 Visiting with exotic aquatic species like pufferfish and stingrays at the Ripley’s Aquarium.
2 Connecting with Canada’s culinary heritage at Canoe with mains like Alberta lamb.
3 Flaky Portuguese custard tarts from Churrasco in the St. Lawrence Market.
4 Whimsically artistic ceramic sculptures at the Gardiner Museum.
5 Hungrily traversing six Toronto neighbourhoods while on the Foodies on Foot 501 Streetcar Food Tour.
There are always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great expos, events and concerts taking place throughout the city this month!
BY SARA BURNSIDE MENUCK & STEPHANIE YOUNG
See prize winning heifers—and much more, naturally—at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (photo: Ben Radvani Photography)
NOVEMBER 1 TO 10 Since 1922, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has brought rural life to the city, showcasing thousands of growers and breeders while educating urbanites about our bounteous land. This year’s fair has a number of tasty new features, including the a-MAZE-ing Food Journey, in which you discover the path from farm to table, as well as the return of the Royal Chef Challenge. And entertainment abounds, too: Don’t miss the renowned Royal Horse Show’s international equestrian competition, an annual fair highlight and the capstone to a “cultivated” event for the entire family. Exhibition Place, $16 to $23; call 416-263-3400 or visit royalfair.org for more information.
David Cronenberg on the set of A Dangerous Method (photo: Liam Daniel)
NOVEMBER 1 TO JANUARY 19 In the hands of David Cronenberg, the uncanny becomes shockingly real. The Canadian director has explored “the possibilities and perils of human evolution” in more than 20 films, which simultaneously titillate and unsettle with depictions of everything from malicious broadcast signals to beetle typerwriters to “gristle guns”—and all manner of psychological disturbances manifested in the flesh. This fall, the TIFF Bell Lightbox delves deep into Cronenberg’s imagination with a sprawling exhibition of original artifacts (check out our gallery, below), designs and ephemera from his movies, as well as screenings of those films, of course. And if you hunger for even more skewed views, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art features works with a Cronenbergian bent by leading visual artists. —Craig Moy
• David Cronenberg: Evolution at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-968-3456; tiff.net
• Map and reviews
• David Cronenberg: Transformation at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen St. W., 416-395-0067; mocca.ca
• Map and reviews
A leopard produced by ceramics maker Meissen (Photo: Gardiner Museum)
OCTOBER 10 TO JANUARY 12 Art and literature intersect this season at the Gardiner Museum; its ongoing Animal Stories exhibition uses ceramic figures of mythical beasts, beasts of burden, common pets and more to examine the ways in which animals and humans interact. Employing four centuries’ worth of decorative and functional pieces, the show illuminates such topics as approaches to naturalism, the current state of wildlife, and representations of animals in both real life and legend. A fun feature is the illustrated books—from children’s literature to works of natural history—that accompany the pottery and demonstrate how images and words combine to produce the stories that influence our everyday lives. —Sara Burnside Menuck
• Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park, ; gardinermuseum.on.ca
• Map and reviews
Micah Lexier’s Self-Portrait as a Wall (photo: Roger Smith)
SEPTEMBER 21 TO JANUARY 5 Systems of description, organization and appraisal have long featured in Micah Lexier’s artistic practice, so it makes sense that a survey of his recent works would be assembled based on by the number of people involved in each piece’s creation. Thus at the Power Plant you’ll find a precise ordering of intriguing visuals, including Self-Portrait as a Wall, the anagrammatic Two Equal Texts, produced with poet Christian Bok, and More Than Two (Let it Make Itself), for which Lexier collected 200-plus pieces by other creators to reflect Toronto’s vibrant art community. It adds up to a multifaceted display at one of the city’s top contemporary galleries. —Craig Moy
• The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949; thepowerplant.org
• Map and reviews