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AGO unveils playful new works by Kim Adams, winner of the 2012 Gershon Iskowitz Prize

Artist’s miniature landscapes inspire AGO March Break Program ‘Itty Bitty City’

(TORONTO- FEB. 14, 2013) Inventive and irreverent Canadian sculptor and installation artist Kim Adams, winner of the 2012 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), makes his return to the Gallery on Feb. 20, 2013, with the opening of Kim Adams: Recent Works. The exhibition, which highlights Adams’ love of miniatures, will be located in both the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium and the Thomson Collection of Ship Models, and runs to Aug. 11, 2013.

Adams’ work will also be featured as part of the AGO’s 2013 March Break program, Itty Bitty City. From March 9 to 17, 2013, families are invited to discover all the teeny artworks in the AGO's collection and make terrifically tiny landscapes of their own.

Curated by Elizabeth Smith, the AGO’s executive director of curatorial affairs, Kim Adams: Recent Works comprises two brand new sculptures that will delight visitors of all ages. The works vary significantly in scale and presentation, but share a common interest in agriculture, consumption and land use. Measuring 16 feet by 13 feet, Travels through the Belly of the Whale, installed in the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium, is a repurposed silver grain silo that contains a secret. Through various windows and funnels in the silo, visitors can catch a glimpse of a meticulously constructed farming community inside, featuring miniature boxcars, tiny figures and model parts. The presence of this fictional world is given away only by the moving electric train that continuously circles around and through it.

In Artist Colony (Gardens), on display in the Thomson Collection of Ship Models, Adams presents an entire world in miniature under glass. A new addition to Adams’ existing Artist Colony series, this bustling imaginary landscape is populated by urban and rural figures and features, capturing everyday human activities with miniature wineries, school buses, scuba divers, pumpkins, beer gardens, cemeteries, car races and a giraffe escaping from the zoo.

“Kim Adams’ sculptural works have the incredible ability to tell many stories in a small space. His technical skill combines with his sense of mischief, disorder and playfulness to create these original and engaging fictional worlds,” said Smith. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to present this unique exhibition and to pay homage to Kim’s significant contribution to Canadian art."

Adams was awarded the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in March 2012. According to Gershon Iskowitz Foundation President Jeanette Hlinka, “the partnership between the Iskowitz Foundation and the AGO has many positive benefits but perhaps one of the best ones is that the work of Canadian artists is becoming better known, something that would make Gershon very happy.”

Born in Edmonton in 1951, Adams is considered one of Canada’s leading contemporary sculptors. He has produced an highly original body of work in sculpture and installation and has exhibited extensively throughout Canada and internationally since the late 1970s. Adams’ last exhibition at the AGO was in 2007, when he debuted the popular Dragon Wagon in the AGO Swing Space.

The AGO and The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation joined forces in 2007 to raise awareness of the visual arts in Canada, renaming the annual award initiated over 20 years ago by Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988). Iskowitz recognized the importance of financial support to the development of artists and acknowledged that a grant from the Canada Council in 1987 in part enabled him to formalize his distinctive style. The AGO is home to the artist’s archives, which include early works on paper, sketchbooks and memorabilia, and holds 29 paintings by Iskowitz spanning from 1948 to 1987 in its permanent collection. A few of the 26 previous recipients include Vera Frenkel, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Stan Douglas, Françoise Sullivan, Shary Boyle, Michael Snow and Brian Jungen.

In addition to the solo exhibition, Kim Adams received a $50,000 award from the Iskowitz Foundation. The winner of the 2013 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO will be announced later this spring.


Meet the Artist: Kim Adams
Feb. 20, 2013
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Walker Court at the AGO
Free admission

A free public reception celebrating Adams’ win of the 2012 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO will be held at the Gallery on Feb. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The artist will be in attendance as visitors view the installations, which are open to the public as part of the AGO’s regular free general admission on Wednesday nights.

March Break Camp 2013: Itty Bitty City!
March 11 to 15, 2013
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weston Family Learning Centre at the AGO
General public $315/ AGO members $255

March Break Camp at the AGO provides campers ages 6 to 13 a studio experience built into the heart of a daycamp. Inspired by the playful and imaginative art of Kim Adams, campers will discover amazing teeny artworks in the AGO collection and make terrifically teensy artworks of their own. Informal drop-in programs are available from March 9 to 17 in addition to the week-long camp. To register for March Break Camp at the AGO or for more information call 416-979-6608 or visit

Family Programs Lead Sponsor: BMO Financial Group

Family Programs Supporting Sponsor: Enbridge Inc.

Education Programs at the AGO are generously supported by smART women with additional support from the Learning Fund.

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’s 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.

March 16–June16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

Aug. 17–Oct. 27, 2013: Ai Weiwei: According to What?

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 on Kim Adams: Recent Works please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

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

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