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Patti Smith: Camera Solo comes into focus for March edition of AGO 1st Thursdays

Gallery pulls vintage rock and roll artifacts out of the vaults in honour of Smith’s appearance

Toronto — On March 7, 2013, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will draw inspiration from its newest photography exhibition, Patti Smith: Camera Solo, to throw a Patti Smith-inspired AGO 1st Thursday featuring two live performances by the legendary musician, poet and artist. A range of talks, activities and installations will nod to Smith, including a special showing of vintage rock artifacts from the Gallery’s prints and drawings vault.

“This installment of 1st Thursday is, once again, packed with exciting opportunities for people to engage with art,” said Kelly McKinley, the AGO’s executive director of education and public programming. “Patti Smith embodies exactly what 1st Thursdays are all about — meaningful exploration of all artforms. We’re delighted to welcome her to the AGO and hand her the mic.”

The March edition marks the sixth consecutive sold-out installment of the popular series, which launched in October 2012 to critical acclaim. The Gallery welcomes the Joe Fresh® brand this month as its new sponsor of AGO 1st Thursdays, which will go on hiatus in April and return with a fresh round of programming in May 2013.

"We are big fans of the programming the AGO is bringing to the city through 1st Thursdays, and are happy to be able to support these fun evenings," said Joe Mimran, Creative Director, Joe Fresh.

Patti Smith Performances

In conjunction with the photography exhibition Patti Smith: Camera Solo, the AGO presents two live performances in Walker Court by Smith with guest musicians Jesse Paris Smith and Tony Shanahan. An Evening of Words and Song with Patti Smith features two sold-out performances starting at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Access is for special performance ticket-holders only.Patti Smith Performances

Both general admission and performance ticket-holders may take advantage of the AGO’s general 1stThursdays activities located throughout the Gallery.

Out of the Vaults 

The AGO’s rarely-seen collection of 1960s concert posters and memorabilia will be on display for one night only in the monthly Out of the Vaults 1st Thursdays feature. Party-goers are invited to view original set lists handwritten by Jim Morrison of The Doors as well as the vest Morrison wore for many concert appearances, and authentic concert posters featuring Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan.

Pop-up Talks & Performances

Pop-up talks in the Patti Smith: Camera Solo exhibition will begin at 8 p.m. in the Philip B. Lind Gallery. Speakers include actor, writer and director Don McKellar; writer and pop culture expert Lynn Crosbie; the AGO’s assistant curator of photography Sophie Hackett; and the AGO’s manager of publishing, Jim Shedden.

Additionally, Toronto vocal ensemble CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR! will delight party-goers with Patti Smith tunes performed in surprise locations throughout the Gallery all night long.

4th Floor Art Party 

 A Smith-inspired art party will heat up the Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art on the AGO’s fourth floor. Separated into six distinct rooms, the gallery spaces will feature snacks, musical performances,poetry readings, theatre performances and art-making stations.

Room 1 features intimate performances by local musicians. Singer/songwriter Emma McKenna kicks the night off, followed by performances by Andre Ethier, Amy Bowles and Katie Stelmanis.

Pomme Grenade Productions presents two readings of Cowboy Mouth — a play by Sam Shepherd and Patti Smith — in Room 2. The story depicts the relationship between characters Slim and Cavale, two lost souls living together in sin, as they struggle to find the meaning of art and the role of the artist. Excerpts will be brought to life by actors Vanessa Dunn, Adam Wilson, director Natasha Greenblatt, designer Amy Siegel and musician Reg Vermue (a.k.a Gentleman Reg).

Room 3 pays homage to Smith’s love of poetry with readings throughout the evening. Three of Toronto’s brightest young poets, Truth Is, Spencer Butt and Dahveed Delisca, will perform their original works.

Texts written or cherished by Smith will fill reading stations in Room 5 to inspire guests, who are invited to leave their mark on gallery walls facilitated by Toronto poet and novelist Zoe Whittall.

Party-goers will enjoy tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese and drinks from the canteen in Room 6 as DJ Katie Ritchie spins for those wanting to get their groove on.

Galleria Italia  

Gallery Italia will be home to the ever-popular nude life drawing stations all night long. Visitors braving the cold weather will find an assortment of comfort foods and drinks including the Fresh Rock cocktail at the Galleria Italia pop-up bar. DJ Shit La Merde will spin tracks by artists who influenced Patti Smith as well as her contemporaries.

AGO Massive Party

The 1st Thursdays series will go on hiatus in April to make way for the AGO’s annual Massive Party on April 18, 2013. The $150 ticket ($125 for AGO Members) includes access to an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment and contemporary art installations. Funds raised through Massive Party will help the AGO continue to deliver ambitious education and exhibition programs. The event has sold out in advance for the past three years; hopeful party-goers are encouraged to purchase tickets well in advance at

1st Thursdays will return to the AGO on May 2, 2013, with monthly art parties stretching into the summer and fall. For up-to-date details, please visit and follow #AGO1st on Twitter.


The Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to acknowledge the Joe Fresh® brand as the Lead Sponsor of Patti Smith: Camera Solo and Sponsor of 1stThursdays at the AGO.

Patti Smith: Camera Solo was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut.

Special support from Robert Harding

With generous support from:
Shon & Cindy Barnett, Barry Campbell & Debra Grobstein Campbell, Jack & Beverly Creed, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin, Rosamond Ivey & John Macfarlane, Audrey & David Mirvish, Robert & Donna Poile and Geoff Smith & Megan Hagarty Smith

Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program; and American Express, Signature Partner of the AGO’s Conservation 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 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, 2013 – June 16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

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

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

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 press inquiries about 1st Thursdays at the AGO at the AGO, 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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