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The Living Room

A Public Art Action by the Upholstery Militia, March 2005

Upholstery Militia (UM) & Artist Swintak


Grange Park
Ontario College of Art & Design
Queen’s Park
Nathan Phillips Square
52 Division Police Headquarters
Dundas and McCaul
Shell Orientation, AGO

Project Components

Group Meetings/Workshops
Public Installation
Installation AGO Shell Orientation

Project Description

The Living Room was an initiative made in response to the work of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude by the “Upholstery Militia”. The UM was a 16-person collective made up of Youth Council members and participants from a general call-out and interview process, including representatives from SOY (Supporting Our Youth) and the 7th Generation Image Makers.

Inspired by the Christos’ practice, the UM decided to experiment with the notions of inside vs. outside and private space vs. public space. If Toronto was a room, what room would it be? It must encompass all actions – it must be the Living Room.

The Living Room was pieced together from a cross-section of poll results obtained by questioning the denizens of Toronto’s sidewalks – what lurks in their living rooms? Existing as both an active monument and social experiment, The Living Room was inserted into a variety of public spaces where people were encouraged to interact with and contribute to the piece. The Upholstery Militia was present during the installation to talk with curious pedestrians and to showcase the rooms’ colourful assortment of goods, which included stacks of outdated newspapers, fashion magazines and even a jar of cat hair. The room returned to being an insider with an exhibit in the AGO, along with video documentation of its travels.

The UM also had the opportunity to go to New York during the course of the project and view the source of their inspiration, Christo and Jean-Claude’s installation of The Gates, in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Currently Supported By


AGO Youth Programs generously supported by

  • Robert Harding & Angel Yang
  • Nancy E.A. Main

With assistance from

  • The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation
  • Nordstrom

Public Programming and Learning initiatives at the AGO are supported by the Arthur Lismer Group, The Learning Circle, and the Learning Fund

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