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AGO Hosts an Electrifying 1st Thursday Inspired by
Frida & Diego

December edition of monthly art party features artists Nina Arsenault, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and Grange Prize 2012 winner Jo Longhurst 

(TORONTO – Dec. 3, 2012) 1st Thursdays returns to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dec. 6, 2012, with a night of art, music and drinks inspired by the AGO’s hot fall exhibition, Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. Doors open to adults 19+ at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for this interactive late-night fiesta, and party-goers are encouraged to buy tickets in advance as they regularly sell out.

Toronto-based performance artist Nina Arsenault takes over the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre with a performance entitled NARCISSISM WILL HEAL THE SICK, a powerful response to Frida Kahlo’s artwork. Picking up the thematic threads of identity, gender, and self-representation in Kahlo’s work, Arsenault’s multimedia performance sees the artist enacting a stationary endurance race in the centre of the gallery, surrounded by projections of her many physical transformations and incarnations.

DJs Max Mohenu and Young Bran will be spinning all night long on the main floor and in Galleria Italia. Polaris Prize–shortlisted musical guests Yamantaka // Sonic Titan take the stage in Walker Court at 9:30 p.m. Blending Eastern and Western sounds and aesthetics, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is an inter-media collective whose debut album was called “the most original thing I’ve heard this year” by Exclaim!.

In addition to the popular life-drawing workshops that have been featured at each 1st Thursday, a self-portraiture station in the Edmond G. Odette Family Gallery lets visitors  exercise their self-expression.

U.K. artist Jo Longhurst, winner of The Grange Prize 2012 and the AGO’s current Grange Prize Artist-in-Residence, will give a talk inside The Grange Prize 2012 Exhibition at 7:30 p.m. Longhurst will discuss her award-winning work and her current residency at the AGO, which has seen her collaborate with the Oshawa-based Gemini Gymnastics Club, led by Olympic gold medalist Elena Davydova, to create new work. The AGO’s Artist-in-Residence Program, the first of its kind at a major Canadian art museum, hosts as many as six artists each year, providing dedicated studio space in the Weston Family Learning Centre.

Continuing the diverse 1st Thursday line-up, the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Centre’s Out of the Vault series returns with an exclusive one-night-only showing of self-portraits from the AGO collection. Visitors can come face-to-face with Rembrandt, Cindy Sherman and many more iconic artists from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Mexican-inspired comfort food is being served up all night long. On the main floor a poutine cantina takes the Canadian classic south, and two pop-up taco stands will be serving all night long. Upstairs in Galleria Italia, oysters will be on ice and Black Market Churros will be available for dipping. Pop-up bars serving margaritas, mojitos, wine and beer will be dotted around the Gallery. Visitors looking for more than a taste can enjoy FRANK’s Frida & Diego–inspired 1st Thursday three-course, prix fixe menu for just $35. Reservations can be made by calling (416) 979-6688.

As part of this 1st Thursday’s designTALKS in shopAGO, Sue Bennett, principal designer and CEO of Bennett Design Associates Inc., presents a discussion on sustainable design solutions from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Twenty-dollar ticket packages are available online for Frida & Diego: Passion Politics and Painting and December’s 1st Thursday. The exhibition will be open until 9:30 p.m., with the last entry at 9 p.m. AGO Members enter the exhibition for free.

Tickets for December’s 1st Thursday are on sale now. Regular-priced tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Admission for AGO Members is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be booked online by visiting

For up-to-date details about 1st Thursdays, visit and follow #AGO1st on Twitter.


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

Oct. 20, 2012–Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passon, Politics and Painting

March 16–June 16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

The Grange Prize is a partnership of the AGO and Aeroplan, an Aimia company.
The 2012–2013 Artist-in-Residence Program at the AGO is generously supported by the J. P. Bickell Foundation and the Macquarie Group Foundation.

Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by The Canada Council for the Arts.

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City in association with The Vergel Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art and Galería Arvil.

EXHIBITION SPONSOR: Scotiabank Bright Future™

INDIVIDUAL SPONSORS: The AGO is grateful for special support from Gretchen & Donald Ross, and generous assistance from Scott & Krystyne Griffin and Valerie Greenfield & Hunter Thompson.

MEDIA PARTNER: The Globe and Mail


GOVERNMENT PARTNERS: Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Government of Ontario. The exhibition is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program / Avec l’appui du ministère du Patrimoine canadien par le biais du Programme d’Indemnisation pour les exposition itinérants au Canada.


For more information on 1st Thursdays at the AGO, 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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