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ROM and AGO unveil two star-studded exhibitions on September 26, 2009

(Toronto, Ontario — Sept. 23, 2009) The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will be launching two complementary and dynamic exhibitions this fall, featuring images that epitomize glamour and that have helped define the public personas of some of the world’s most influential people.

September 26 marks the simultaneous opening of two iconic photography exhibitions — the ROM’s Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008, presented by the Bay, featuring classic images from Vanity Fair magazine’s early years and contemporary images after its 1983 re-launch, and the AGO’s Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937,showcasing photographs by one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

This groundbreaking new partnership highlights two of Toronto’s major attractions and showcases two great reasons to visit Toronto this fall. The new collaboration between the ROM and the AGO features visitor and member benefits, shared advertising, select joint programming, discount incentives and a joint media preview.

“We are very pleased to be working together with the AGO on the simultaneous launch of these two beautiful and highly anticipated exhibitions. A visit to both shows will be top of the list for Ontario residents and tourists alike this fall,” said William Thorsell, director and CEO of the ROM.

“The ROM and the AGO have been instrumental in putting Toronto on the map as an international cultural destination,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO. “By working together and pooling resources efficiently, we are able to draw more people to these absolute must-see exhibitions.”

“For the better part of this past century Vanity Fair has granted an intimate glimpse into the glamorous and mysterious world of high profile personas and celebrities. The magazine’s striking portrait photography has epitomized both the beauty of each individual selected and stood for the iconography of each era,” said Bonnie Brooks, the Bay CEO. “The Bay is proud and excited to be a part of this collaboration with the ROM, Vanity Fair and the Institute for Contemporary Culture.”

“We are proud to sponsor the Edward Steichen exhibition with funds from the Volunteer Endowment Trust,” said AGO Volunteer President Anne Marie Smith. “The glamour and elegance of the photographs make Steichen's work easy to share with all visitors.”

Visitors to either exhibition can retain their ticket stubs for presentation at the other venue to receive 20% off the cost of admission. A reciprocal members’ weekend will also be offered on October 17 and 18, allowing ROM and AGO members free admission to the other attraction.

The ROM and AGO will also host a panel discussion focusing on the culture of celebrity and photographic portraiture on Monday, November 9. Facing the Lens, Seeing the Light: Observations on Portrait Photography will be moderated by Sophie Hackett, assistant curator of Photography at the AGO and Francisco Alvarez, managing director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the ROM, and will include photographer Nigel Dickson, gallerist Jane Corkin and Dr.Lilly Koltun of the Portrait Gallery of Canada.

The AGO exhibition Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937 and the ROM exhibition Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 will run from September 26, 2009 to January 3, 2010.

About Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008:

The ICC at the ROM will be the only Canadian venue to display Vanity Fair Portraits, and this will be its first showing in eastern North America. The exhibition, which garnered record-breaking attendance in its recent European engagements, showcases 146 portraits, and is the first major exhibition to bring together the magazine’s historic archive of rare vintage prints with its contemporary photographs. A collaboration between Vanity Fair and the National Portrait Gallery, London, the exhibition is curated by Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, and David Friend, Vanity Fair’s Editor of Creative Development.

The exhibition was mounted to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the modern-era magazine and the 95th anniversary in 2008 of the original magazine’s founding and brings together a collection of captivating images of cultural icons from Louis Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Jean Harlow and Katharine Hepburn to Madonna, Matt Damon, President and Mrs. Reagan and Demi Moore.

About Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937:

The man who defined a new era of elegance and glamour in photography – Edward Steichen – takes centre stage this fall at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). As chief photographer at Vogue and Vanity Fair in the 1920s and ’30s, he profoundly shaped the look of celebrity and fashion. The exhibition features more than 200 extraordinary photographs including the creations of great designers of that age: Poiret, Chanel, Lelong, Lanvin, Patou and Schiaparelli. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923–1937 is organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, and the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, in collaboration with the AGO.

Institute for Contemporary Culture:

The ICC at the ROM plays a vital role in a museum whose collections embrace many civilizations, as well as the record of nature through the ages. In the context of the ROM’s lively documentation of history, the ICC explores current cultural issues through exhibitions of art and architecture, lectures, film series, and informal gatherings. For more information on the ICC, visit www.rom.on.ca/about/icc.


Supporting Sponsor – Moira and Alfredo Romano

Exhibit Patron – Alex and Simona Shnaider

Vanity Fair is a registered trademark of Advance Publishers Inc.

A collaboration between Vanity Fair and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923 –1937 is curated by William A. Ewing, director, Musée de l´Elysée; Todd Brandow, executive director, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography; and Nathalie Herschdorfer, curator, Musée de l’Elysée.

The exhibition has been organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, and the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

Generously supported by The Volunteers of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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For more media information, interviews or images please contact:
Anne Marie Todaro, Publicist, 416-586-5558; e-mail: amtodaro@rom.on.ca
Antonietta Mirabelli, AGO Communications, 416-979-6660, ext. 454; e-mail: antonietta_mirabelli@ago.net.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Opened in 1914, Canada’s largest museum of natural history and world cultures has six million objects in its collections and galleries showcasing art, archaeology and natural science. Renaissance ROM is an ambitious expansion and heritage renovation project that reasserts the Royal Ontario Museum as one of North America's great museums and a leading cultural attraction for the city, province and country. Renaissance ROM continues until 2010 with several new and renovated galleries to be created at the Museum.

For 24-hour information in English and French, please call 416.586.8000 or visit the ROM’s web site at www.rom.on.ca.

With a permanent collection of more than 79,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. After a stunning redesign by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the transformed AGO opened its doors to the public in November 2008 amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of two football fields along the Gallery’s façade; and the iconic central 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 new African Art Gallery; from David Altmejd's monumental installation The Index to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the acclaimed Thomson Collection — there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.

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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