NOW / Gift Shop Gift Shop

January 21 – April 1, 2012

The Now service bureau kicked off 2012 inside AGO’s Young Gallery with a collaborative installation by Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette. On January 20th, behind the NOW logo on the vindows, an extremely large crowd filled the gallery to capacity with radiant young energy.

The project’s goal was to provide a place of  “artistic creativity that encourages mindful actions on local issues.” They also stated that, “This projects reflects the artists’ interest in the tension between the rush and impatience of our current lifestyle and the benefit of slowing down.” Now, they got that part – the slowing down I mean.

Going back to the exhibition on the next day all that remains is a very small installation with a  video screen, an empty room, and a big wall with some names – a strong contrast between the opening celebration and the actual show.

 Gift Shop Gift Shop fares better. It was a good idea to put it in the actual  AGO gift shop, a place where the featured show usually exhibits mementos. Its predecessor was the Chagall show.

It features Toronto-based artists, designers and illustrators and many of the works reuse street and everyday materials, transformed into valuable objects. It is a neat  idea and some of the objects are unique while the others  just blend into the usual museum gifts. The life-size  “put-your-face-in” wood cut-outs are really cool.

Text: Emese Krunák-Hajagos, Photo: Mauricio Contreras-Paredes

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