Art shows in Toronto this winter serve many purposes, but we are a brutal people once the cold sets in, and a good show fills one certain criteria: it takes our minds off the frozen salted sludge leaking into our boots, be it through challenging paintings or charming miniature dioramas. While the AGO's programming will dominate, Dundas West will be a hot spot for visual art and Union Station will be entering the ring as a makeshift gallery.
Here are my picks for winter's must-see art shows in Toronto.
Chris Thomas - Hood Times (November 28-30, Goodfellas Gallery)
Fans of miniatures and cityscapes won't want to miss Chris Thomas' exhibit over the weekend at Goodfellas Gallery, which will include some works inspired by Toronto's own Parkdale. Hit up the opening if you want to chat with Thomas about gritty commissions of your neighbourhood.
Beware of the Beast (November 28 - December 20, Narwhal)
Jamiyla Lowe's Beware of the Beast is a special take on snakes and ladders, and here artists Nicholas Aoki, Nicholas DiGenova, Amy Lockhart, Jamiyla Lowe, Noel Middleton, Andrew Remington-Bailey, and Will Sweeney take inspiration from the history of games. No longer in the Junction, the gallery is now just east of Roncesvalles on Dundas West.
Art Spiegelman Retrospective (December 20, 2014 - March 15, 2015, AGO)
Pulitzer winner and one of the Time's 100 Most Influential People, the Maus cartoonist's work is a thrill to see in person. The AGO exhibit will include rarely seen works from Spiegelman's career, including autobiographical continuous strip called Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@?*!.
Michael Dumontier (January 10 - February 7, MKG 127)
In the new year, see (former, RIP) Royal Art Lodge member Michael Dumontier's illustration work at MKG on Dundas West. Not sure if Neil Farber, Dumontier's partner in giving animals sharpies, will have work up as well.
Villa Toronto (January 16 - 23, Union Station)
Some exciting news for Toronto art fans: Union Station will host this mysterious week-long exhibition featuring 20 galleries from near and far including Toronto's Art Metropole, Jessica Bradley, and Cooper Cole plus galleries from London, Milan, Tokyo, Reykjavik, Paris, Barcelona, Zurich, and Mexico City.
JD Walsh (January 16 - January 23, Cooper Cole)
While Cooper Cole's stark gallery doesn't care much if you get their thing, JD Walsh's show might be a good entry point - the New York artist's music themed sculptures are especially accessible, yet beautiful all the same. Learn more via PS1's website.
Burn with Desire / Anti-Glamour (January 21 - April 5, Ryerson Image Centre)
These two shows make an interesting contrast: Burn with Desire will feature images of Hollywood stars from RIC's collection, including commercial portraits and work by Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. Anti-Glamour: Portraits of Women's photo and video works will take closer look at women's public personas.
The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding (January 24 - May 17, Power Plant)
Power Plant at the Harbourfront comes through with the winter's highbrow exhibition. Best to book solid time with this ultra contemporary show featuring Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Sven Augustijnen, Steve McQueen, Shelagh Keeley, and Zineb Sedira, as you likely won't get much out of a pit stop.
Douglas Coupland (January 31 - April 19, MOCCA)
Canlit fans will be excited about this upcoming exhibition at MOCCA: Douglas Coupland's everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything installation will continue the writer's obsession with tech and pop culture via whatever means necessary - including Lego.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (February 7 - May 10, AGO)
Another AGO blockbuster, this will be Canada's first large retrospective of the NYC graffiti/fine art artist. Basquiat's often massive paintings are fascinating to behold in person, as child-like sketches and sardonic scrawled wordplay tackle issues of racism, social justice, and politics that are unfortunately just as relevant today.
What did I miss? Add your suggestions for winter art shows in the comments.
Images: Art Spiegelman image from Maus; Dumontier illustration via Juxtapoz; Union Station photo by Gerald Querubin in the blogTO Flickr pool; Photo: Manfred Linus, Untitled [Marilyn Monroe], date and location unknown. BS.2005.190119/113-1226. The Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre; Installation view of Spectres by Sven Augustijnen, VOX, centre de l'image contemporaine, Montreal, from May 11 to July 13, 2013. Photo: Michel Brunelle via Power Plant; Copeland image via MOCCA;
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO