A monthly dose of culture: Reviewing the AGO’s First Thursdays


If a regular person ever wanted the chance to feel like a cultural blue blood, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)’s First Thursdays are the time to do it. The series, which began in October and will continue the first Thursday of each month, is an after-hours gallery party complete with music, special exhibits, talks with industry professionals and more. October’s installation featured art by...

Art and document: A review of the ROM’s “Observance and Memorial: Photographs from S-21, Cambodia”


In 1975, Cambodian dictator Pol Pot began purging the country of citizens accused of undermining his Khmer Rouge party. By 1979, over 2 million people had been arrested, tortured and killed. During that time, 14,000 men, women and children had been filtered through Security Prison-21 (S-21), an old high school-turned-prison used for interrogating detainees. Of those 14,000, only 23 survived.

Mirabilia: A Miracle on Gladstone Avenue


I’ve always wanted to go into St. Anne’s Church, tucked away on Gladstone Ave, just north of Dundas St. West, but not to feed religious urges, more out of art historical interest: the Anglican church, Canada’s only Byzantine-style edifice, is home to a series of religious paintings created by the Group of Seven. This past week, I got my excuse: Mirabilia, a nine-day festival of...

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations


Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations By Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda. Introduction by Judith Thurman. New Haven and London: Yale University Press-Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. 324 pages; 206 illustrations.   This summer, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art juxtaposed the works of two influential Italian women in fashion design: Elsa Schiaparelli, whose...

Christopher D’Arcangelo’s Occupations


In recent months, the Occupy Wall Street splinter group Occupy Museums staged an alternative, barter-based art fair outside New York’s annual Armory Show, and released a fake press release under the guise of the Whitney Biennial disavowing the exhibition’s corporate sponsors and apologizing to the exhibiting artists “for allowing them to be exploited by the former sponsors.” In these...

The World’s Greatest Art Museum is in Hobart, Tasmania


Reviewed in this essay: Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania. Listen to the author read this piece:  Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. Visit the permanent collection of any national art museum and you will likely find an Impressionist...

Highway 401 Revisited: On the Jack Chambers Retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario


Reviewed in this essay: Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place and Life. Curated by Dennis Reid, with Sarah Milroy. Until May 13, 2012 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. . I live in Toronto but hometown is still Windsor and though I’ve taken the train many times, flown the ridiculously short distance, and on one ill-advised trip even rode the bus, the only real way to get home is to...

Time for Another Rewrite: The AGO’s General Idea: Haute Culture, A Retrospective 1969-1994


A review of General Idea: Haute Culture, A Retrospective 1969-1994, Art Gallery of Ontario, July 29, 2011–January 1, 2012, curated by Frédéric Bonnet, organized by ARC/Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario, catalogue published by JRP Ringier That a major survey of General Idea’s work is only now taking place in Toronto seems a serious art historical oversight...

Knelman’s Hot Art: One Big Game

Hot Art, by Joshua Knelman

Stolen art—like a political sex scandal, corporate meltdown, or celebrity criminal trial—makes for a good story. Behind the thrilling headline of an $80-million Rembrandt heist, however, exists a complex network of thieves, dealers, auction houses and galleries. It is this network that Joshua Knelman traces in Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives through the Secret World of Stolen Art. That...