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Toronto's Top 5 Must-See Art Exhibits this Summer

Toronto's Top 5 Must-See Art Exhibits this Summer

Picture of Celio Barreto
Updated: 11 December 2015
Toronto, Canada is a multicultural center like no other, and the city has the art scene to prove it. Complementing the 2015 Pan American and ParaPan American games, bridging the Western Hemisphere together in Toronto, city galleries have got some great exhibitions lined up for the summer. Inspired by a spirit of international solidarity, from Bloor Street to City Hall, from Dundas West to The Distillery District, here are Toronto’s 5 must-see exhibitions this summer.

AGO Painting the Americas
Cotopaxi,1855, Frederic Edwin Church, United States, 1826-1900 | Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario)

Picturing the Americas: Landscape Paintings from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic

Why is it a must-see? Historical painting by Pan-American heavyweights of art. The AGO is hosting this wonderful historical exhibition of works created between the early 19th and early 20th centuries, just as the Americas were breaking with their colonial overlords, becoming full-fledged nations in their own right. Admire the work of our continent’s greatest artists of the time, showing us the potential they saw in their newly-established countries. Picturing the Americas is presented as a series of encounters between artworks, travelers and the land. The viewer will see beloved and unfamiliar sites as seen through the eyes of celebrated landscape artists. The inspiring works of Brazil’s Félix Émile Taunay and Tarsila do Amaral; Mexico’s Eugenio Landesio and Gerardo Murillo ‘Dr. Atl,’ Canada’s Cornelius Krieghoff and Lawren S. Harris and Frederic E. Church and Georgia O’Keeffe from the United States among others await your visit.

June 20 – September 20, 2015

Stephen Bulger Gallery - Canadian Modernism
Canadian Modernism: Group exhibition featuring John Vanderpant & Contemporaries The Valve, 1930 | © John Vanderpant

Canadian Modernism: Group Exhibition Featuring John Vanderpant & Contemporaries

Why is it a must-see? Canadian photography that broke out of the pictorial box. Photography wasn’t always considered an art form. When the medium first began to take hold in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, awards were given out to talented photographers, in lieu of a traditional art market. At a time when photographers were styling their work after established painting styles, Dutch photojournalist John Vanderpant migrated to Canada. He cultivated a photographic style that emphasized light and form, showing subjects in focus and detail. In effort to refine this blunt style, Vanderpant led a group of his contemporaries to develop the new so-called ‘straight photography’ of the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

June 26 – September 12, 2015

Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, + 1 416 504 0575

Ring of Fire
Ring of Fire with Marlon Griffith, 2013-2015 | Courtesy of the Art Gallery of York University

Ring of Fire

Why is it a must-see? A performative art experience for the mind and body. Commissioned by the Art Gallery of York University, Ring of Fire is a 300-person strong street procession, two years in the making, hosted by internationally renowned Trinidadian artist Marlon Griffith. Staged at the ParaPan American Games, the performance takes place on Sunday, August 9 along University Avenue from Queens Park to City Hall. This large-scale art project is ‘a living line,’ the result of what organizers call ‘a trans-cultural and inter-disciplinary collaboration between individuals, groups, and organizations’ with the purpose of raising critical awareness around accessibility in solidarity with people with disabilities. Dancers with disabilities from Picasso Pro and Equal Grounds, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, members of Toronto’s Capoeira Angôla community, and young spoken word poets from Jane-Finch, Malvern and Regent Park give life to the performance. ‘Ring of Fire is a living line and a symbol of endurance, solidarity, and social awakening,’ according to its website.

Procession route: Universty Avenue, from Queens Park to City Hall, August 9th 2015, 12:00 pm

Performance: Nathan Philips Square, August 9th 2015, 2:00 pm

The Body: A Celebration | Courtesy of Propeller Gallery
The Body: A Celebration | Courtesy of Propeller Gallery

The Body: A Celebration

Why is it a must-see? This juried exhibition features local artists climbing the ranks. As individuals from around the Americas and the world prepare to converge in Toronto for the Pan American and ParaPan American games, Propeller Gallery invited artists to submit works that explore the human body at rest, or in motion. This juried exhibition focuses on the beauty, physicality and resilience of the human figure as a form of expression and inspiration. The artists chosen for the exhibition include: Sabrina Chamberland, Octavio Contreras, DNA Dodds, Pat Dumas-Hudecki, Gina Duque, Eric Field, Mark Gane, David Griffin, Mr.Hyde, Nile Inalouei, Tai Kim, Irina Litinsky, Nadya Fedotova, Dan Nuttall, Sylvia Pecota, Tony Saad, Peter Shoebridge, Audrey Smith, Susan N. Stewart, Keijo Tapanainen, Gwen Tooth, Magda Vasko and Ross Winter.

July 8 – 26, 2015

Propeller Gallery, 30 Abell Street Toronto, ON, + 1 416 504 7142

Corkin Gallery - André Kertész, Buenos Aires, Mexico, New York, Toronto,Royal York Hotel from Window of Jane Corkin Gallery, 1979 | Courtesy Corkin Gallery
Royal York Hotel from Window of Jane Corkin Gallery, 1979 | Courtesy Corkin Gallery

André Kertész, Buenos Aires, Mexico, New York, Toronto

Why is it a must see? Superstar photographer connecting The Americas. Known for his lyrical, spontaneous photographs of everyday life, André Kertesz‘s black-and-white images have exerted a strong influence on both art photography and photojournalism. Considered the father of street photography, he is also credited with making the first distortion of the human form and the first nighttime photograph, both radical departures from photographic practices in the early 20th century. After Kertész and his brother Eugenie fled Hungary, André immigrated to New York while his brother immigrated to Buenos Aires. The two remained close and frequently visited each other. This exhibition tells the story of the Americas – of movement and displacement.

July 7th to August, 2015

By Celio Barreto

Celio is a transnational artist / curator / gallerist / researcher / writer, conducting research and curating shows in Canada, France, Japan, Nicaragua and the U.S. Visit his website here.