AGO Celebrates IAIN BAXTER& with Interactive Features and Special Events
(TORONTO – Feb. 16, 2012) For 50 years, Canadian artist IAIN BAXTER& has been radically redefining the role of the artist, integrating photography, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing and performative aspects into his work. An upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011, invites visitors to become collaborators, by engaging with the artist and his work. Special events that highlight the interactive nature of the artist’s brand will complement and activate the exhibition, which is on view from March 3 to Aug. 12, 2012.
Co-curated by David Moos, former curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the AGO and Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011 brings the evolution of BAXTER&’s career to life for visitors. The exhibition travels directly to Toronto from Chicago, where it was recently on view at the MCA and was named a critic’s pick by Artforum International.
“BAXTER&’s thinking resonates today because his willingness to experiment remains undiminished,” Moos said. “It is here, between originality and the familiar, that one finds BAXTER&, raising our awareness that art is an experiment—an embrace one must experience.”
A believer in collaboration, the recurring symbol in BAXTER&’s work is the ampersand, and he often refers to himself as “the &man.” The artist, whose surname is pronounced “Baxter-and” has worked under various monikers throughout his career, most famously N.E. Thing Co., a corporate-style organization he served as co-president of with his then-wife Ingrid Baxter. In 2005 BAXTER& legally added an “&” to his name, reflecting his collaborative approach to art and his fundamental belief that art requires a strong connection with the viewer. “Life,” says BAXTER&, “seems to be about ands. After we leave this life and this planet, only an & remains.”
Recognizing that communication goes both ways, the exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to interact and engage with BAXTER& and his work. Eighteen custom-designed QR codes populate the exhibition, letting smartphone users watch, share and comment on videos, audio and behind-the-scenes content in the Wi-Fi enabled Gallery. At the heart of the exhibition lies an ampersand-shaped interaction station where, through Twitter, visitors can share their answers to thought-provoking questions from the artist, including topics of environmentalism which figure heavily in his work.
Featuring some 100 photographic, sculptural and vacuum-formed works, including Inflated Blue Sky and Zero Emissions, the exhibition takes visitors on an often witty tour through some of the most important themes of contemporary art: the connection between art, business and everyday life; environmental issues; and the rise of photography as a vibrant and relevant art form.
Events and highlights for IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011 include:
AGO MEMBERS’ PREVIEW
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
AGO members enjoy free admission to IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011 and are invited to attend a special members-only preview of the exhibition. Visit ago.net for more information.
CATALOGUE AND BOOK LAUNCH
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 6 p.m.
Featuring more than 200 reproductions, the exhibition catalogue IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958-2011 includes essays by David Moos, Michael Darling, Dennis W. Durham, Christophe Domino, and Lucy R. Lippard, as well as original interviews with IAIN BAXTER& and Ingrid Baxter by Alexander Alberro. Edited by David Moos and co-published by Goose Lane Editions, the soft-cover, 224 page volume is available for $45 at shopAGO. To celebrate this publication, BAXTER& will be on hand to sign copies of the catalogue at the public book launch.
MEET THE ARTIST: IAIN BAXTER&
How I Became the &Man
Wednesday, April 4, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Jackman Hall at the AGO
Members $17| Public $20 |Students $12
Follow IAIN BAXTER& on his journey from zoologist to conceptual artist. The &man will share his insights on the ecology of life and art &…. Visit ago.net for more information.
EARTH DAY WEBINAR WITH IAIN BAXTER&
Tuesday, March 27, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
In this live, online event educators can join in a conversation with BAXTER& on the topic of Earth Day. The artist will discuss his work and its relationship to the environment, the notion of working together in a participatory environment, and his art making process. He will also share his thoughts on Earth Day and how educators and students can get involved, and engage educators with four participatory questions from the exhibition.
Organized by the AGO, IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011 is generously supported by Leslie Gales & Keith Ray, Rosamond Ivey, the Steven & Michael Latner families, Philip B. Lind & Ellen Roland and Carol & Morton Rapp.
The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners:
American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program; and Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.
Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.
For more information on exhibitions and special programming, please visit www.ago.net.
ABOUT THE AGO
With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Architectural highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.
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