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AGO transforms into an art playground for February First Thursday

Art party designed by OCAD U students features table tennis, modern jungle gyms and video games

Toronto—The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) transforms into an art playground complete with table tennis, video games and modern jungle gyms on Feb. 6, 2014, with the next edition of AGO First Thursdays. Designed by graduate students from OCAD University, the event is aptly titled The Duel: Competition at the Heart of Play, and features large-scale interactive installations, playful performances and inspired musical performances. Advance tickets are $12 for members and $15 for the general public, on sale now at The 19+ event runs from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Party-goers can channel their inner child with interactive playground installations by Toronto-based artist Nathalie Quagliotto. Quagliotto presents reconfigured jungle gym structures such as Maturity Correlation, conjoined swings that cause a couple to swing in unison, and Doubled Persistence, an altered mini-golf game winding through the galleries.

A table tennis gauntlet is thrown as Toronto-based multimedia artist Geoffrey Pugen takes on professional table tennis player Simon Schlesinger in a competition called King’s Court in Walker Court at 8 p.m. Spectators will witness a one-hour face off between Pugen and Schlesinger as they go head-to-head on a circular table designed by the artist. 

Art talks will shed light on Toronto’s indie video game culture and the intricacies of collaborative art making. Video game designer and AGO artist-in-residence Jim Munroe and video game artist Christine Kim will discuss the nature of competition and collaboration in gaming. Later, members from the seven-person art collective VSVSVS will dissect their creative process and share their experience of producing work while living together in open-concept space in the portlands of Toronto. VSVSVS will also present an interactive artist project in which visitor’s creations will go head-to-head in a battle to the finish.

Local artist Sarah Febbraro plays matchmaker in her interactive performance entitled Let’s Figure This Out Fast So We Can Just Be Together! Febbraro will invite love-seeking party goers to speed up the dating process by exploring their preferences in love, relationships and sex. Once a match is made, the artist will text participants and bring them together for an instant date in the AGO.

DJ duo Tape Deck Bros. kicks off the Walker Court dance party at 7 p.m. with their house remixes of classic pop tunes. Tasha The Amazon takes the stage at 9 p.m. to spit rhymes described by Torontoist as “a mélange of hard-ass menace and high-art abstraction.” At 10 p.m., psych-pop trio Pick a Piper (featuring Caribou’s Brad Weber) will mellow the mood with dreamy electronic sounds.

Tickets for January’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. The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918 will be on view for a special First Thursdays upgrade price of $10. Book tickets 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.

Nov. 30, 2013 – March 2, 2014: The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918

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

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.

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For media inquiries about AGO First Thursdays, 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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