Art Toronto is Canada’s international contemporary and modern art fair now in it’s 17th year. Let’s do some fact-finding: a conversation with special exhibition FOCUS: LATIN AMERICA’s guest curator Isabela Villanueva, how to get on an art tour, and general ramblings.
ART TORONTO: OCTOBER 28th – 31st, 2016
So you’re interested in going to an art fair or simply figuring out what an art fair even is, and so this will be. The current direction I’d point you in would be Art Toronto, which happens to, rather effectively, state both its central purpose and location.
To begin with the basics, an art fair is essentially a place where you go and a bunch of different galleries, generally both local and international, have booths set up. In these booths are selected artworks of some of the artists they represent. There is art for sale, I suppose, but I would argue that’s not the only reason to go! Like how, in my personal experience there was an abundance of carbonated water and on the opening night, cheese. So with it firmly established that you’re absolutely interested then let’s get into it.
This year, Art Toronto will be showcasing modern and contemporary art from 106 galleries across 14 countries. Which is exactly why you should go. More than anything it avails an opportunity to see, or buy, art typically housed far away which otherwise you may not have access (except potentially via the web, but that’s a whole other can of worms).
Aldo Chaparro, Untitled, 2015. Gold leafed wood, 59 x 47.2 Inches. Courtesy of Galería Lucía de la Puente, Lima, Peru. (Booth F07)
Isabela Villanueva’s FOCUS: LATIN AMERICA
Beyond the individual galleries showing, Art Toronto will offer a series of programs in collaboration with local and international artists, curators, and institutions geared towards different levels of interaction with the works and themes at play.
One of the chief events undertaken for this programming is the FOCUS series, which will exhibit its second installment on Latin America this year. The guest curator of the fair’s special exhibition FOCUS: LATIN AMERICA, Isabela Villanueva, shared some thoughts on her approach within the context of the fair.
Employing a diverse roster of artists from across Latin America and the Caribbean, Villanueva’s FOCUS brings a look into urban culture and the ever-changing city. This year will feature works by Vivian Caccuri, The Buró de Intervenciones Públicas, Luciana Lamothe, Mario Navarro, Ishmael Randall Weeks, Frederico Ovalle, and Carlos Garaicoa.
Having worked previously with the Bienal de las Fronteras and a noted panelist for the topic “Biennials in alternative locations” at El Museo del Barrio, Villanueva reveals a history of investigating the relationship between spatiality and the bearing it can exert over art. Here she takes the opportunity to display the not only the regional diversity of the selected artists, but also their varied practices in examining the urban and the effect these surroundings have over them.
At its core, Villanueva stresses the rapid pace of change found in these centres over the course of the last few decades. “Unprecedented aggressive transformations are taking place in most cities of the Caribbean and Central and South America, and their urban centres are mutating at a very quick pace. The artists invited to the projects section are presenting works that react to these metamorphoses.” Something that is likely all too familiar to a Toronto audience.
Villanueva sees this theme as potentially globally malleable, the rapid urban transformation being as present in Toronto as it is within Latin America and the Caribbean, though manifested differently. Showing this work at Art Toronto supports her ambition for a stronger inter-American relationship.
In addition to this FOCUS brings 16 participating galleries from across Latin America to exhibit select works.
WHAT’S ON: PROGRAMMING
In its first year, Edition is an international art book fair that will run concurrently to Art Toronto to promote art book publishing in all forms. In collaboration with Art Metropole, Edition will house contemporary and historical editions, multiples, publications, and art-related collectables. Edition will also host a series of talks and a “Book Club.”
Projects are a series of exhibits curated and installed by a variety of guest curators and institutions such as Canadian Art, The National Gallery of Canada, and The Drake. Full list of projects and statements available here.
In partnership with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Platform is a series of lectures and panel discussions on buying, making, and reading art. Go learn some stuff!
Hosted Friday through Sunday during Art Toronto at 3pm select curators from Canadian art institutions will provide a unique lens through which to view certain art of the fair. This year exhibits talks from Barbara Fischer of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Mandy Salter of the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and Jeffrey Spalding of Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Here different artists will be in conversation with each other with the opportunity to discuss their work within the context of a particular theme as well as how it situates at Art Toronto.
Find more details on all programming here!
So the art fair does not just exist to sell art and it is definitely not a place that you cannot go if you do not plan on buying art. There is much to do, art to see, carbonated water to drink, lectures to hear, and such. Plus, if I haven’t sold you yet, then go because it’s better than a baseball game?