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#AGO1st returns Feb. 4 to celebrate Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard

Tickets on sale now for February First Thursday featuring Toronto’s own Casey Mecija

TORONTO — Toronto’s biggest monthly art party makes its 2016 debut on Feb. 4, 2016 with an exciting line-up of music, performances, talks, food, drinks and art making. Inspired by the new immersive exhibition Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard, the theme for February’s event is No Place Like Home, and artists including Alvis Choi, Andil Gosine, Jerome Havre and Matthew Ryan Smith will invite audiences to consider how we might hold onto traditions while radically reimagining them for the present. Tickets for this 19+ event are on sale now at www.ago.net/firstthursdays. Regular-priced tickets are $12 for the public and $10 for members. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended, as First Thursdays regularly sell out and tickets are not held back for at-the-door sales.

February’s musical headliner is Toronto’s own Casey Mecija, formerly of Ohbijou. Debuting her new solo album, Psychic Materials in Walker Court at 10 p.m., her performance will be accompanied by visuals created by local photographer and filmmaker Sammy Rawal. An experimental combination of art and music, Mecija’s dreamy songs investigate memory, desire, queerness and history. The music doesn’t stop there: DJ Stunts of Yes Yes Y’All and Cameron Lee of Feministry fame will both be spinning beats all night long.

February First Thursday Highlights:

Artist projects include a performance in Irinia Moore Gallery by Toronto’s Alvis Choi (a.k.a Alvis Parsley) entitled The Cartography of Heart Strings. Mixing historical and nostalgic references, Trinidad-born artist Andil Gosine presents Cane Portraiture, a performative look at the history of indentured labour in the Caribbean and the idea of home as an image.

A series of pop-up talks on the subject of geography, memory and belonging will also be happening throughout the night. Matthew Adam Smith will be speaking on Andil’s project Cane Portraiture. The AGO’s current Artist-in-Residence Jérôme Havre will speak about his work, politics and contemporary life, as they relate to nationalism in France and Canada. A speaker from the Syria Film Festival will offer a timely perspective on notions of home, landscape and placehood.

Art-making activities include a pop-up heraldry station, where visitors can invent and create their own utopic family crests; and in the Reuben Wells Leonard Gallery, a giant window display waits to be decorated by visitors.

Plus, don’t miss all the regular First Thursday favourites, including the monthly Out of the Vaults exhibition and fabulous Night Market featuring delectable snacks prepared by AGO chefs.

For the latest details on First Thursdays programming and tickets, visit www.ago.net/FirstThursdays, and follow #AGO1st on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Official Beer Partner: Grolsch Premium Lager

Official Vodka Partner: Absolut Vodka

Sigature Partner, AGO Artist Projects: RBC Emerging Artists Project

Media Partner: NOW Magazine

ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 90,000 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, 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. Visit ago.net to learn more.

Oct. 31, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016:  J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free

Mar. 12 – May 29, 2016:           Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s-1980s

July 2 – Sept. 11, 2016:            The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris

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 all media inquiries about AGO First Thursdays, including interview requests and high-resolution images, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; Senior Communications Officer
416-979-6660, ext. 403, andrea-jo_wilson@ago.net

Caitlin Coull; Communications Manager
416-979-6660, ext. 364, caitlin_coull@ago.net

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