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Michael Snow Receives 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO

(TORONTO – June 6, 2011) Michael Snow, one of Canada’s most internationally celebrated artists, is the winner of the 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO for his remarkable contribution to the visual arts in Canada. The AGO and the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation will commemorate the award at a reception on June 10, and next year, the AGO will host an exhibition of Snow’s work. The cash prize has been increased by $15,000 for 2011, and Snow will be the first artist to receive a $40,000 award.

Born in 1928 in Toronto, Snow has led a prodigious career, spanning eight decades and including painting, drawing, sculpture, photo works, film, video, projection, sound installation, experimental jazz, and book works. Snow’s work continues to be shown in galleries and museums around the world, including recent solo exhibitions at Le Fresnoy in France, Angels in Barcelona, and the British Film Institute in London.

“Michael Snow’s contribution to art in Canada is unparalleled,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the MIchael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the AGO. “The breadth, innovation and creative vision of his work have been consistent throughout his career. The Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to collaborate with the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in presenting this prize to Michael, who’s specific genius permeates each medium he interacts with.”

With 82 of Snow’s works housed at the AGO, including several of the Walking Woman Works, early drawings, sketchbooks, films, music, and sculpture, the artist and the institution share a unique history. In 1994, Snow was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition titled The Michael Snow Project, with installations at the AGO, The Power Plant and other public venues. That same year, the AGO collaborated with Alfred A. Knopf Canada to publish four books about Snow's work.

Gershon Iskowitz Foundation President Jeanette Hlinka says Michael Snow was selected by the jury “as a visionary, and stand alone figure of the contemporary art world, with a body of work that challenges the viewer to not only reconsider how one might look at their surroundings, but how one might conceive of art altogether.”

The 2010 Gershon Iskowitz Prize was awarded in May 2010 to artist Brian Jungen. An exhibition of Jungen’s work titled Brian Jungen: Tomorrow, Repeated – Winner of the 2010 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO is currently on view at the AGO until August 7, 2011 in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre featuring Jungen’s work alongside Moore’s sculptures. For more information on Tomorrow, Repeated, visit www.ago.net.

ABOUT THE GERSHON ISKOWITZ PRIZE AT THE AGO
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 twenty years ago by Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988). Iskowitz recognized the importance of grants to the development of artists and acknowledged that a grant from the Canada Council in 1987 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 1948 to 1987 in its permanent collection. Previous recipients include Vera Frenkel, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Stan Douglas, Françoise Sullivan, Shary Boyle, and Brian Jungen.

ABOUT THE AGO
With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 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 an entire city block along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.

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For more images and more information, contact:

Sean O’Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403, sean_oneill@ago.net
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454, antonietta_mirabelli@ago.net

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: BMO Financial Group, Signature Partner of the Canadian Collection Program; Amex, Signature Partner of the Contemporary Collection Program; and Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and 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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