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AGO: Nuit Blanche gatekeeper

(TORONTO – September 29, 2009) On October 3, the Art Gallery of Ontario is opening its doors and lighting up its walls to celebrate Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2009. The Gallery will act as a gateway to the nightlong art-centric festivities, with a series of projections on its outer walls providing updates and interactive feedback on events and exhibitions around the city. The Gallery will also open its doors from 6:55 pm until 3:00 am, granting the public free access to its recently opened exhibition Edward Steichen: The Condé Nast Years – 1923-1937.

Media feeds from the and ArtStars* will be projected on the AGO’s exterior wall facing McCaul St., providing up-to-the-minute feedback on what can’t be missed (and what could be skipped). Additionally, photographer Che Kothari will be roaming the festival, documenting installations and sending his photos back to the AGO.

The AGO’s festivities are being organized in collaboration with curator Devon Ostrom, visual arts director of Manifesto Festival and founder and coordinator of Ostrom has gathered a diverse group of local and national artists to complete a 90-foot mural, which will run along the outer wall of the Gallery facing Dundas Street. Completed on-site, the temporary mural will help raise the profile of – an advocacy project endorsed by the AGO that will see a tax on billboards with proceeds going to art in public spaces. If enacted, the effort could double municipal arts spending in Toronto.

“In just four years, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has become our city’s most visible annual art event,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s director and CEO. “We’re very excited to be a part of this terrific night, and to continue to facilitate innovative ways to connect people with the exhilarating power of art.”

Says Ostrom, “Scotiabank Nuit Blanche gives artists the keys to the city for one night each year, from small community happenings by local newcomers to dramatic public installations by international artists. The AGO will be a window into the night, a port of connectivity between artist, media, and public.”

Visitors to the AGO can also enjoy a late night snack or shopping as shopAGO and Café AGO hours will be extended on October 3 until 12 midnight.

In addition to the events at the Gallery, the AGO Art Rental + Sales Gallery on University Avenue will also be exhibiting four light boxes from Matthew Varey’s Modern Documentation series from their windows.

This is the fourth year the AGO has participated in Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. In 2006, the gallery extended its hours as part of its InsomniArt program. In 2007, to mark its final week open to the public prior to closing for Transformation AGO, the Gallery held its 12-hour “End of the Party” Party. In 2008, one month before the Gallery reopened, artist Leo Villareal’s installation Scintillator was projected out of the fifth floor windows of the contemporary tower, facing Grange Park below.

Close to one million revelers took to the streets to participate in Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2008. Organizers expect attendance to cross the one million mark this year.

ABOUT BEAUTIFULCITY.CA is a city building initiative endorsed by over 50 organizations from across Toronto (from Lakeshore Arts in the West, to the Scarborough Arts Council in the East to UrbanArts in the North and the Elementary Teachers of Toronto in the Centre) well over two thousand signatories and according to Environics, 7/10 Toronto voters. Once implemented, it would mean a historic increase to Toronto’s arts budget: more than doubling the numbers of artists receiving grants and funding hundreds of new arts projects across Toronto. Aiming to beautify and increase freedom of expression in public spaces, would see a charge or tax paid by billboard advertisers with the funds going to art in the public sphere (e.g. murals, sculptures, festivals, accessible arts programming, outdoor performances, etc.) as well as enforcement of the new bylaw governing billboards. The proposal will be voted on by the Planning and Growth Management Committee on October 7th and Council on the 26/27th

With a permanent collection of more than 79,000 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. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of two football fields along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiralling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from David Altmejd's monumental installation The Index to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the acclaimed Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


For more information or images, please contact:
Sean O’Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454,

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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