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AGO to present first museum retrospective of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro in September 2017

Major exhibition organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Minneapolis Institute of Art to make its only Canadian appearance next year

TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will present the only Canadian appearance of a new exhibition that offers a rare glimpse into the creative process of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Organized by the AGO in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters makes its Canadian debut at the AGO on Sept. 30, 2017 and runs to Jan. 7, 2018.

Co-curated by Britt Salvesen of LACMA, Jim Shedden of the AGO, and Matthew Welch of Mia, Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters brings together elements from del Toro’s films, objects from his vast personal collections and objects from the permanent collections of all three institutions. The diverse range of media featured in this exhibition—including sculpture, paintings, prints, photography, costumes, ancient artifacts, books, maquettes and film—totals approximately 500 objects and reflects the broad and alluring scope of del Toro’s inspirations. 

“This exhibition embodies the AGO’s commitment to timely projects that explore the creative imagination in its many forms, across time and place, and will immerse visitors in the fantastic spaces of Guillermo del Toro’s mind,” says Stephanie Smith, the AGO’s Chief Curator. “We are delighted to be organizing this important project and bringing it to our audiences as part of a dynamic exhibition schedule over the coming years.”

“Guillermo del Toro believes that we need monsters,” says Jim Shedden, co-curator and the AGO’s Manager of Publishing. “To him, the imperfections of monsters are found in all of us, whether we see them or not. At the same time, despite his empathy for the tragic monster, del Toro is fascinated with truly terrifying and invulnerable monsters. By witnessing his incredible creative process, we can make unexpected connections among different genres and narratives, high art and pop culture, and blur boundaries between fantasy and reality.”

“To find beauty in the profane. To elevate the banal. To be moved by genre. These things are vital for my storytelling,” says Guillermo del Toro. “This exhibition presents a small fraction of the things that have moved me, inspired me, and consoled me as I transit through life. It’s a devotional sampling of the enormous love that is required to create, maintain, and love monsters in our lives.”

The exhibition is organized into eight thematic sections, including:

  • Childhood and Innocence, exploring the central role children often play in del Toro’s films;

  • Victoriana, loosely referencing the Romantic, Victorian, and Edwardian ages and latter-day interpretation of the Victorian era;

  • Rain Room, a recreation of a favourite spot in del Toro’s personal residence (“Bleak House”) where he installed a false window with special effects to simulate a perpetual thunderstorm;

  • Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult, exploring the many puzzles, talismans, secret keys and quests for forbidden knowledge that appear in del Toro’s films;

  • Movies, Comics and Pop Culture, delving into the scope of his obsession with cinema, from B-movies and horror films to Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel;

  • Frankenstein and Horror, revealing del Toro’s lifelong love affair with the tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster;

  • Outsiders, considering del Toro’s fascination with monsters of all types, from those found in horror movies to those in nature, literature, myth and art; and finally

  • Death and the Afterlife, which speaks to the disturbing confrontations with death that del Toro experienced growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the late 1960s and ’70s.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Insight Editions. The 144-page volume is edited by Britt Salvesen, Jim Shedden, and Matthew Welch, with contributions by Guillermo del Toro, Keith McDonald, Roger Clark, and Paul Koudounaris. The hardcover catalogue will be available in shopAGO upon the exhibition’s opening.

AGO members receive free admission to this time-ticketed exhibition. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at http://www.ago.net/general-membership.

This exhibition was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It will open in Los Angeles on July 31, 2016 and in Minneapolis on Feb. 26, 2017.

ABOUT GUILLERMO DEL TORO
Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is one of the most inventive filmmakers of his generation. Beginning with Cronos (1993) and continuing through The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015), among many other film, television, and book projects, del Toro has reinvented the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Working with a team of craftsmen, artists, and actors—and referencing a wide range of cinematic, pop-culture, and art-historical sources—del Toro recreates the lucid dreams he experienced as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. He now works internationally with a cherished home base he calls “Bleak House” in the suburbs of Los Angeles. 

ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 90,000 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’s 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 ago.net to learn more.

Mar. 12 – May 29, 2016: Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s-1980s

July 1 – Sept. 11, 2016: The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris

Oct. 22, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017:  Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more

April 22 – July 30, 2017: Georgia O’Keeffe

Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

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 contributionsfrom AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

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For hi-res images and other press inquiries, please contact:

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

Caitlin Coull; Manager, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364, caitlin_coull@ago.net

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