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AGO Receives Acclaimed Canadian Contemporary Sculpture

Date Posted: August, 20, 2007

The Art Gallery of Ontario willbe home to David Altmejd’s The Index, one of the country’smajor pieces of contemporary sculpture, thanks to a generous gift from GeorgeHartman and Arlene Goldman. The Index was the star attractionof the Canadian Pavilion at this year’s prestigious Venice Biennale.

An intricate work, The Index featuresa number of connected wood and steel structures filled with flocks ofstuffed birds and squirrels as well as half-human, half-bird bodiesthroughout. Filling an entire room, the installation is surrounded bymirrors to make the viewer a part of the experience. The work iscurrently on display in Venice, but will featured in the newcontemporary galleries in the transformed AGO, when the Gallery reopensin 2008.

"The scale and complexity of The Index isunlike any other work in the AGO's collection," says David Moos,curator of contemporary art at the AGO. “In creating an art environmentthat incorporates the viewer, this work is indicative of a significantnew direction in contemporary art and an important addition to ourpermanent collection.”

“We are donating the Altmejd piecebecause we believe it is a major work by a Canadian who is alreadyrecognized internationally as one of the most exciting young artists,"says George Hartman.

"We wanted to lend a hand in positioningthe AGO at the highest level of leadership on the world stage incontemporary art," says Arlene Goldman.

The youngest artist toever represent Canada at the Venice Biennale, Altmejd is one of thecountry’s rising art stars. He has shown around the world and isrepresented in the collections of many prominent museums including theGuggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Born inMontreal in 1974, Altmejd has degrees in visual art from the Universitedu Quebec a Montreal and Columbia University. He currently lives andworks in New York and London.

“We are deeply gratified that George Hartman and Arlene Goldman have chosen the AGO to be home to The Index,”says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s director and CEO. “Through theirgenerosity, visitors to the AGO in 2008 will experience an engaging andinspiring new addition to our contemporary collection.”

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For media information or visuals, please call:
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416 979 6660, ext. 454, Antonietta_Mirabelli@ago.net

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