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Tickets for Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the AGO go on sale Saturday, July 27

First block of tickets for David Bowie is to be released in special combo package on same day

TORONTO—Heralded as the “the most powerful figure in contemporary art today” by ArtReview, Ai Weiwei makes his Toronto exhibition debut at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Aug. 17, 2013. Comprising more than 40 large scale works of art including sculptures, video, installation, photographs and audio pieces, Ai Weiwei: According to What? blends the artist’s activism with traditional Chinese materials and symbols to present a compelling vision of his everyday world and his ongoing fight for freedom of expression in the face of Chinese government censorship. Tickets for the exhibition, which runs to Oct. 27, 2013, go on sale on July 27, 2013.

Timed-entry tickets for Ai Weiwei: According to What? are $16.50 for youth ages 17 and under, $21.50 for seniors and $25 for adults. Admission is FREE for AGO members and for children ages five and under.

Also, beginning on July 27 ticket buyers will be offered a special opportunity to upgrade to a combo package that includes early access to the first block of tickets for the highly anticipated exhibition David Bowie is, which starts its world tour at the AGO on Sept. 25, 2013 after finishing a successful run at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Combo tickets—which offer timed-entry access to any time slot for Ai Weiwei: According to What? and the first month of David Bowie is—are $31.50 for youth ages 17 and under, $36.50 for seniors and $40 for adults.

Single tickets for Ai Weiwei: According to What? and combo tickets can be booked in person, by phone at (416) 979-6655 or online by visiting ago.net/aiweiwei. Single tickets for David Bowie is go on sale on Aug. 23, but early purchase via the combo package is encouraged as quantities are limited for high-demand time slots. AGO members can book single tickets for David Bowie is on July 27, 2013. For more information on becoming an AGO member, please visit ago.net/membership.

Ai Weiwei: According to What? is curated by Mami Kataoka, the Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo. A specialist in Asian contemporary art, Kataoka first presented this exhibition in Toyko in 2009. “Ai Weiwei is best known as a dissident artist whose works give insight to not only his political criticisms but also his fierce commitment to Chinese traditional culture,” said Kataoka. “His art transcends borders and compels viewers to examine issues of fundamental human conditions, values and freedoms.”

The installation of the exhibition will be overseen by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s curator of modern and contermporary art. “As the only Canadian stop on a hugely successful North American tour, the AGO’s presentation of Ai Weiwei: According to What? offers a rare opportunity for Canadians and visitors to be transfixed and transformed by the exceptional talents of one of the most prolific and provocative contemporary artists in the world,” said Scott. “Toronto is the perfect destination for this exhibition; the positive reception of Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads in Nathan Phillips Square has shown that our city is eager to experience more of Ai Weiwei’s groundbreaking art.”

Ai, who is under constant surveillance at his home in Beijing, has been unable to leave China since the government confiscated his passport in 2011. As a political activist and champion of freedom of expression, Ai has been publicly critical of the Chinese government’s reported human rights violations.

Chronicling his work from the mid-1990s to the present, Ai Weiwei: According to What? presents works that are in turns solemn, contemplative, humourous and witty.

The exhibition at the AGO follows a successful run at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. After its run at the AGO, Ai Weiwei: According to What? will be presented at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

As part of the City of Toronto's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, a new edition of Ai’s Forever Bicycles (2013) sculpture will be installed at Nathan Phillips Square as part of this year’s celebrations on Oct. 5, 2013. This complex and abstract sculpture, consisting of 3,144 bicycles, is curated by Ami Barak. Further details will be announced by the City of Toronto later this summer.

AGO extends invitation to Chinese-speaking community members
The AGO is undertaking several initiatives this summer to draw attention to Ai’s ongoing campaign for greater freedom of expression within China. Working with Toronto artist Gein Wong, the Gallery invites members of the GTA who speak a Chinese dialect to participate in Say Their Names, Remember, a live reading of the names of the thousands of schoolchildren who perished in the devastating earthquake in China’s Sichuan province on May 12, 2008. This initiative was inspired by Ai’s powerful artworks Remembrance (2010) and Names of the Student Earthquake Victims Found by the Citizens’ Investigation (2008-11). Those who wish to participate in a reading of the names on Aug. 18, 2013, can register at www.ago.net/aiweiwei-names.

ABOUT AI WEIWEI
Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing) has been the recipient of numerous grants, honours and awards, most recently in 2012 the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent of the Human Rights Foundation; the International Center of Photography Cornell Capa Award; an honourary fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects; an Honourary Degree from Pratt Institute; and a foreign membership in the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. Other honours over the past five years include a Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Lifetime Achievement; an International Architecture Award for Tsai Residence; Das Glas der Vernunft (The Prism of Reason), Kassel Citizen Award; The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation Award for Courage; the Skowhegan Medal for Multidisciplinary Art; Wallpaper Design Award Best New Private House for Tsai Residence; and a Wall Street Journal Innovators Award (Art). Ai Weiwei is consistently included in top artist and human rights lists, including GQ Men of the Year in 2009 (Germany); the ArtReview Power 100, rank 43 in 2009; the ArtReview Power 100, rank 13 in 2010; the ArtReview Power 100, rank one in 2011; Foreign Policy Top Global Thinkers of 2011, rank 18; and runner up in Time’s Person of the Year in 2011. Ai Weiwei helped establish Beijing East Village in 1993, co-founded the China Art Archives & Warehouse in 1997 and founded the architecture studio FAKE Design in 2003. He studied at the Beijing Film Academy, Parsons School of Design and Art Students League of New York; upon returning to China he collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Ai Weiwei: According to What? was organized by the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and the Art Gallery of Ontario. It is curated by the Mori Art Museum’s chief curator, Mami Kataoka.

Leadership gifts in support of the exhibition from Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight and the Hal Jackman Foundation. Additional generous support from The Delaney Family Foundation; Donner Canadian Foundation; Partners in Art; and Francis and Eleanor Shen.

Assistance from media partner The Globe and Mail. Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The installation of Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was made possible in part by AW Asia, New York.

ABOUT DAVID BOWIE IS
This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers North America its first chance to take an exciting odyssey through the world of pioneering artist David Bowie—musician, performer and style icon—in the acclaimed exhibition David Bowie is, direct from thedirect from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A). Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive, the multi-media show exposes the groundbreaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. David Bowie is opens on Sept. 25, 2013, and runs to Nov. 27, 2013, giving Toronto two full months to experience it. The AGO is the exhibition’s first stop on its world tour. Acclaimed by the New York Times as “united in sound and vision in a way rarely seen in a museum,” David Bowie is marks the first international exhibition devoted to the British-born musician and performer (born David Robert Jones in 1947), who has sold more than 140 million albums throughout his genre-defying career. Organized thematically, the show immerses visitors in a spectacular and interactive trip through Bowie’s numerous personae and legendary performances, with particular attention paid to his artistic influences. His experiments with surrealism, German expressionism, music hall, mime and Japanese kabuki performance are all explored in an explosion of colour, light and sound.


David Bowie is
was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. www.vam.ac.uk

In Partnership with: Holt Renfrew and RBC

Sound experience by Sennheiser

Leadership gifts in support of the Bowie Experience from La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso; The Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation; and Rob & Cheryl McEwen

Assistance from government partner: Government of Ontario

Hotel partner: Eaton Chelsea

Media partners: Q107 and NOW Magazine

ABOUT THE AGO
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 Kenneth 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 ago.net 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.

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

Sept. 25, 2013 – Nov. 27, 2013: David Bowie is

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

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

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 press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea McLoughlin; Senior Publicist, Holmes PR
416-628-5609, amcloughlin@holmespr.com

Adrienne Kakoullis; Vice President, Holmes PR
416-826-5610, akakoullis@holmespr.com

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

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