October 24th, 2012
‘I suffered two grave accidents in my life. One in which a streetcar knocked me down. The other accident is Diego.’ —Frida Kahlo
With her flare for flowery headpieces and his generous girth, Frida Kalho and Diego Rivera were never an obvious pairing.
Despite multiple affairs, divorce and remarriage, this tortured ‘accident’ produced a prolific body of work now on display at the AGO. Kahlo’s intimate self-portraits have extra oomph next to Rivera’s political murals, but our favorite is a touching silent film showing the couple in loving embrace.
On our way out we stopped at FRANK for margaritas and emerged so inspired that we’ve tossed our tweezers in the trash. —Marianne Wisenthal
Tickets from $16.50; Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting at the AGO, October 20-January 20, 2013, 317 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-979-6648, www.ago.net
July 6th, 2012
Troy Brooks knows a thing or two about bad girls.
The Toronto artist paints ethereal ruby lipped ladies (imagine a glamorous Joan Crawford with the angst of Sylvia Plath) who are beautiful but dangerous. I was bewitched by a hammer-wielding dame in red velvet, an icy blonde clutching a shark and a Katharine Hepburn-type leaning next to a chair engulfed in flames.
Brooks’ original femmes fatales sell like hot cakes but his new book. The Women of Troy includes illustrations from the entire collection. Bring all of them home (if you dare). —Marianne Wisenthal
Troy Brooks at the Pentimento Gallery until July 15, 1164 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-406-6772, www.pentimento.ca
April 27th, 2011
The MoMa's most bombastic, triumphant show—Abstract Expressionist New York—is coming to Canada.
Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, de Kooning: are you lining up yet? The history of America's first, and still-best (since you asked me), art style is splendid enough to enthrall even seen-it-all gallery-goers.
For its sojourn at the Art Gallery of Ontario, AbEx NY (as it's affectionately called) will have to be pared down—which might make it easier to appreciate. Still, it'll be impossible not to see how big (literally and figuratively) this movement is. In the Eighties, painting was declared dead. The rumours turned out to be exaggerated, as anyone can tell you now. But while Abstract Expressionism lived, painting had never been more vital. —SNP
Tickets to Abstract Expressionist New York at the AGO go on sale this Saturday, April 30 (opens May 28). Adult admission is $25. For more information, or to purchase, see call 416-979-6655 or visit www.ago.net
October 7th, 2009
Hip tots drool over his wooden toys—adults marvel at his mobiles.
A delightful exhibition of Alexander Calder’s work comes to the Art Gallery of Ontario this fall. With a focus on his Paris years (1926-1933) the exhibit spotlights 80 works ranging from Calder’s early sketches of circus folk in New York and the small wire sculptures he created in Paris to early examples of his famous mobiles.
A mini moveable 3D circus including a tuxedo wearing ringmaster, a trapeze artist and a roaring lion is the pièce de résistance.
Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-979-6648, http://www.ago.net
March 4th, 2009
If you love art but find art fairs intimidating, don't miss the chance to snap up a bargain at The Artist Project.
With over a hundred emerging and established artists on show, you’re bound to snag yourself the perfect print, photograph or painting to fill that big blank wall.
With every rising star, there's always the chance of a prospective comet.
March 5–8 ($12 entry) at Liberty Grand, 25 British Columbia Rd., Exhibition Place, Toronto, www.theartistprojecttoronto.com
August 14th, 2008
These days, we can’t seem to get enough of Montreal. It’s ‘Paris without the jetlag.’
The city boasts some great design hotels and we opted for the stark minimalism of the St. Paul. The rooms at this restored Beaux Art style building are lofty, light and luxurious with spacious bathrooms and ultra-soft towels and linens. From $195 with breakfast. www.hotelstpaul.com
Our quest for unique buys took us across the city from Old Montreal to Plateau to Mile End. We snapped up graphic novels and posters at Drawn and Quarterly, a maple spatula at chic culinary boutique Les Touilleurs, and a gorgeous sunflower yellow vase at Midcentury gallery/store Couleurs.
Don’t miss the YSL retrospective—it really is a thrill. A hot pink cape covered in gold stars and a plum jersey jumpsuit are among our favourite pieces.
Back in Old Montreal, it’s definitely worth checking out the Sophie Calle exhibition at the DHC/ART Foundation. Taking its title from a breakup email written by Calle’s ex-boyfriend, “Prenez soin de vous” invites 107 women to interpret the email through their various professions.
Breakfast at the St. Paul is fine (croissants, bagels, cereals etc), but we couldn’t resist the nosh and vibe of Le Cartet. Eating is communal canteen style and the food is really tasty. Lunches (Gazpacho, Nicoise, packed panini) are equally good. Pick up some gourmet spreads, sauces, pastas and chocolate from the épicerie on your way out. 106 rue McGill, Montréal, 514-871-8887.
August 13th, 2008
Forget about leaving on a jet plane, all you need is Toronto’s red rocket transit system to experience exotic lands of afar.
On show at the Design Exchange, Fringe Benefits: Cosmopolitan Dynamics of a Multicultural City explores how multiculturalism is transforming Toronto’s mundane strip mall-dotted landscapes into bustling night markets and palatial mandirs.
From North America’s first Tamil shopping centre in East York to the BAPS Hindu temple in the West end (built to last 1,000 years), curator Ian Chodikoff uses photography, video and maps to illuminate the tiles in this wonderful mosaic of ours.
I’ll have my murukku to go, please.
Running until September 23, First Floor Gallery, The Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto, 416-363-6121, www.designexchange.org
April 23rd, 2008
Some people come to meet the mummies—others the dinos.
For us it was the couture frocks that brought us to the crystal.
Spotlighting fashion greats from Alaia to Dior, the Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costume at the Royal Ontario Museum will set any fashion lover’s heart aflutter.
A Westwood toga dress in soft avocado was a favourite as was a ruby red Dior cocktail frock with five layers of petticoats.
Textiles range from a 19th Century wedding quilt from Ontario to a late 19th Century Japanese kimono covered in weeping cherry leaves and blossom.
More than enough to get wrapped up in.
Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park Toronto, 416-586-5894, www.rom.on.ca