AGO First Thursday

June 5, 2014, 8 p.m. – midnight
Art Gallery of Ontario

This First Thursday in June at the AGO was one to remember as guests were treated to a celebration of all things Canadian. The evening offered an array of activities to partygoers including pop-up talks, performative tours and one-night-only installations.

Artist Bonnie Devine gives a pop-up talk

Artist Bonnie Devine and curator of Canadian Art, Andrew Hunter conversed before a small audience in the Molly & George Gilmour Gallery before Hunter departed to deliver a second talk in the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Centre. Hunter offered a “behind-the-scenes tour” of a few select works by Canadian artists including Christopher Pratt, Joyce Wieland and Christiane Pflug, pulled from the vaults of the AGO.

Curator of Canadian Art Andrew Hunter speaks in the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Center

Guests could also enjoy the ongoing contemporary art exhibition Elevated in the AGO tower, and those willing to spend an extra ten dollars were able to experience Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty. Unfortunately, as I was sternly informed by a guard, no photography is allowed in the Bacon and Moore exhibit due to copyright laws, though I suppose this lets the viewer focus on the art.

Guests take in some contemporary art in the AGO tower

 Guests appreciate Canadian icon Norval Morisseau’s paintings 

Guests crammed into the beautiful Galleria Italia for drinks, reggae music and art making but when 10 o’clock came around everyone packed into Walker Court for a headlining performance by Canadian rock legends Sloan. Those who planted themselves early enough were able to get a good view while hundreds of others jostled just to get a glimpse of the band. Frontman (and occasional drummer) Chris Murphy, who could be seen chatting earlier near the iconic Lawren Harris collection, led the Juno-winning band through a performance that did not disappoint the sold-out crowd.

Guests fill the Galleria Italia

 Sloan frontman Chris Murphy chatting in the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art

A packed Walker Court rock out with Sloan

The next First Thursday takes place July 3 and will feature a celebration of World Pride with a musical headlining performance by SSION.

Text and photo: Mitch Billinkoff

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