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AGO First Thursdays gets queered with a World Pride–worthy bash

Designer Jeremy Laing guest-curates this month’s art party featuring musical headliner SSION and special projects initiated by Videofag, the Feminist Art Gallery, and more

TORONTO — On July 3, 2014, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) celebrates WorldPride 2014 with a flaming First Thursday. Guest-curated by Toronto fashion designer Jeremy Laing, the unofficial WorldPride 2014 after-party features musical performances, pop-up art projects and artist talks inspired by the Gallery’s newest exhibition, Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography. Advance tickets are $10 for members and $12 for the general public, on sale now at The 19+ event runs from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Underground pop sensation SSION takes over Walker Court at 9:30 p.m. as this month’s musical headliner. Hailing from Kansas City, the queer collective, led by artist Cody Critchloe, have been described by Pitchfork as “purveyors of devilishly simple, self-reflexive, and undeniably catchy dance-pop.” DJ Cozmic Cat and Denise Benson of Cherry Bomb, Toronto’s hottest party for queer woman and friends, kick off the dance party at 7:30 p.m. in Walker Court. Queer DJ collective YES YES Y’ALL heat up Gallery Italia all night long with the beats of hip hop, R&B and dancehall.

Videofag, a Toronto-based media-art storefront gallery, presents #queerdeathdrive, an interactive video installation the Signy Eaton Gallery on Level 2. This immersive installation features work by 10 local artists and revels in “the liminal, fucked up, failing, glitching and degenerate,” according to Videofag co-founders and Jordan Tannahill and William Ellis.

Toronto’s Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) collaborates with Pennsylvania-based artists Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Dana Bishop-Root to declare that “no one is disposable.” Inspired by activists Reina Gosset and Dean Spade, the artists will spread their political message through an installation of placards on Level 1 and an intervention into the night’s food and drink offerings.

Jeremy Laing reunites the West Side Stitches Couture Club, the queer sewing circle he initiated with the late artist and activist Will Munro, artist Luis Jacob, and artist and musican John Caffrey, among others. The activity will be presented in collaboration with Supporting our Youth ― a community development program designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth. Visitors can join in for a queer-corsage art-making project all night long in Galleria Italia.

Keith Cole presents an open-mic performance entitled The Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired Queer Soap Box Keith Cole Experience dot com backslash 9/11 Princess Diana was Murdered forwardslash Inside Job. Cole, a legendary provocateur, invites a slew of guest comedians, artists, actors, writers and First Thursdays guests to rant atop the queer soapbox all night long in the Fleck Family Lounge on Level 2.

Sophie Hackett, curator of Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography, invites visitors to explore the AGO’s World Pride exhibition with her at 7:45 p.m. Talks by artists featured in the exhibition will follow with Raphael Bendahan at 8:15 p.m., Zackary Drucker at 8:45 p.m., and Alice O’Mallay at 9:45 p.m. Jon Davies, associate curator of the Oakville Galleries and compiler of the Fan the Flames’ YouTube video installation, speaks about his piece at 9 p.m.

Guests can cool off with cocktails and pints available at bars throughout the Gallery. Food and drink can be purchased with cash, credit and debit cards. This month’s menu includes fish tacos, mushroom arancini, oysters, nipple cupcakes and, to beat the heat, Augie’s boozy ice pops.

Tickets for July’s First Thursday are on sale now. Regular-priced tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission for AGO members is $10 in advance and $13 at the door. In the final weeks of the critically acclaimed exhibition Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty, party-goers have one last chance to see the exhibition with a combo-ticket package for $22. The exhibition will be open until 10 p.m., with the last entry at 9:30 p.m. AGO members enter the exhibition for free but are encouraged to book tickets in advance. Tickets can be purchased and booked online by visiting

For details about First Thursdays, visit and follow #AGO1st on Twitter and Instagram.

Official Beer Sponsor: Grolsch

Media Partner: NOW Magazine

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 Kenneth 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 and to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

April 5, 2014 – July 20, 2014: Francis Bacon & Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty

Aug. 23, 2014 – January, 2015: Alex Colville

Oct. 18, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015: Michelangelo: Quest for Genius

The Art Gallery of Ontario 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 media inquiries about AGO First Thursdays, please contact:

Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 504,

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