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AGO Exhibition Celebrates Internationally Renowned Toronto Artist Sorel Etrog

Collaborative Google map lets visitors discover and share Etrog’s public works in Toronto and beyond

Toronto — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) celebrates Toronto-based artist Sorel Etrog (b. 1933) with a career-spanning exhibition opening April 27, 2013. Internationally renowned for his public sculptures—more than a dozen of which can be seen in Toronto’s streetscape—this is the first comprehensive exhibition of Etrog’s work organized by a Canadian museum, offering visitors an opportunity to connect familiar works of civic art with the rich history of the artist. The exhibition runs to Sept. 29, 2013.

Simply titled Sorel Etrog, the collection of works showcases an intimate look at the artist’s creative process, his explorations with form and media and his literary collaborations with famed writers and thinkers Marshall McLuhan, Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett. Located in the AGO’s Signy Eaton Gallery, the exhibition features 103 works drawn primarily from the AGO collection and Etrog’s private holdings. It includes sculptures, drawings,  paintings, prints, film, published writings and archival footage from the artist’s studio.

Etrog’s public sculptures are visible in many public spaces around Toronto. For example, the large-scale sculpture Sunlife sat  at the corner of King Street and University Avenue since 1984. He is also known for designing the bronze statuette presented to winners of the Canadian Film Awards. Originally dubbed the “Etrog”, it was known as the “Genie” from 1980 to 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO will launch Seeking Sorel Etrog, an interactive Google map designed to help visitors discover and share Etrog’s public works online. See it on the AGO’s Art Matters Blog. Torontonians are invited to add to the map by visiting sites throughout Toronto that feature Etrog’s sculptures and submitting their own photos to Three submissions will be drawn randomly and will win the exhibition catalogue, the Sorel Etrog exhibition poster and two general admission passes to the AGO.

“This exhibition presents a meaningful opportunity for the AGO to honour a Canadian artist of international renown,” said Greg Humeniuk, the AGO’s curatorial assistant of Canadian Art. “As a sculptor, painter, draughtsman, filmmaker and writer, Etrog is one of the most multifaceted artists of his generation. We invite the public to see the artist in a new light – as more than a sculptor – and to experience a rich and diverse selection of his many works.”

Born into a Jewish family in Romania in 1933, Etrog escaped Nazi and Soviet persecution and emigrated with his family to Israel in 1950. In 1958 he moved to New York City to further pursue his art and to cultivate relationships, most influential among them being his friendship with Toronto collector and AGO patron Saumel J. Zacks. It was Zacks who would convince Etrog to settle in Toronto in 1963. Over the last five decades, Etrog's work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally.

A limited edition 128-page hardcover catalogue entitled Sorel Etrog will accompany the exhibition. Edited by art historian and scholar Ihor Holubizky, it includes rare archival photos and illustrations as well as essays and comments from international writers and scholars including William J. Withrow, Marshall McLuhan and Canadian art writer Gary Michael Dault. The publication is dedicated to the memory of Sam Zacks, Etrog’s influential supporter and AGO patron, and is available for purchase at shopAGO for $25.


Lead supporters of Sorel Etrog: Al & Malka Green

Additional generous support from:

BloombergSen, Lloyd Fogler & Fogler, Rubinoff, The Jay & Barbara Hennick Family Foundation, Albert & Temmy Latner Foundation, Steven & Lynda Latner, Samuel & Esther Sarick and Charles & Rose Tabachnick, with assistance from Sonja Bata.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program; and Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.
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Aug. 17, 2013 – Oct. 27, 2013: Ai Weiwei: According to What?

Nov. 30, 2013 – March 2, 2014: The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. 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 about Sorel Etrog, please contact:
Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 504,
Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications 
416-979-6660, ext. 403,



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