What a beautiful sight it is to walk in Canada’s largest art fair! Showcasing contemporary and modern artworks, it remarkably has something to offer for everyone. ART Toronto is on its 19th edition and shows no sign of slowing down. In our city of Montreal, there is really no art fair as big we can relate it to in our city in terms of art fairs. Even though Papier, the fastest growing Montreal based art fair is maturing, you can’t compare it to the vast and international ART Toronto has already established.
More than presenting top Canadian art from leading galleries, the fair also offers a program of lectures and panel discussions from prominent art world figures, and top-tier cultural offerings throughout the city. We attended a talk on how environmental issues can inspire certain artists to create provocative pieces. It is a real delight to hear some of these artists speak passionately about their work and its associated foundation.
The structure of the fair is composed of the MAIN, FOCUS, VERGE, and SOLO. We discuss each section below. There was also a free event outside the fair called the west-end gallery which we explain below.
We also attended the West-End gallery hop on Friday night which was enjoyable and free. Organized by ART Toronto, it gave visitors a way to connect to the galleries on location during the fair a more personal option. We met many gallerists and the artists themselves even! Great initiative. The following galleries were our highlights, Birch Contemporary, Georgia Scherman Projects and Susan Hobbs Gallery on Tecumseth Street
This established section includes more than 70 premier modern and contemporary galleries. The galleries were mainly from Canada and a few international locations (United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina, Israel, and Belgium).
Every year, the fair celebrates a certain topic by selecting industry known curators. This year the focus was CALIFORNIA curated by California-based curators Glen Helfand and Kim Nguyen. The focus was INDOOR/OUTDOOR, and when you walk around this section, you can sense how their sunny state influenced the essence of the artworks. The section presented a selection of galleries and artists from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
When you step through the coral-colored section, you sense the change of feel from the galleries in the MAIN section. It is pleasant to view an exhibition within the fair that has a less commercial objective than the principal section. Even though the artworks are for sale, it definitely gives a different flavor from the rest of the fair. Quite a refreshing one!
This was my favorite section of the fair and it included 12 galleries, each presenting a highly-curated body of work by a single artist. In many instances, the artists were also present and able to talk to you directly if you wanted to. It gave a very personal touch to the artistic creations that the viewer could discover. Also, it was a great way to really discover an artist and their work. Some of our favorites included:
Véronique La Perrière M. from Galerie D’Este (Montreal)
Tessar Lo from Project Gallery (Toronto)
Louis-Philippe Côté from Galerie Simon Blais (Montreal)
This section is dedicated to galleries that have been in business for eight years or less. These galleries present work by young and emerging artists made in the past five years. This year Art Toronto welcomes Projet Pangée from Montreal and DNA Gallery from London, Ontario.
All in all, ART Toronto gives the observer an exciting array of experiences to choose from. From the events to the conferences and of course to the ART, there really is something for everyone to appreciate. Amateur, art enthusiast or collector, it doesn’t matter where you stand in your relationship with the art world, you can simply enjoy the art the way you feel fits you best.
Even after two days there, I did not feel that I had fully seen everything there was to discover but I can’t wait for next year! I did, however, take the opportunity to visit the AGO and the newly reopened MOCA which gave me a good sense of where the art culture was at in the country’s largest city.
For more information on ART Toronto, visit the link here.
Founder & Creative Director. Passionate about the city of Montreal, discovering its various cultural components as well as exploring foreign places. I am inspired by telling stories of artists, innovative concepts, philanthropy, creative encounters and cultural events.