Sunday, February 09, 2014

Art Galleries Worth Checking Out in Toronto

Baldwin Beach by Carl Yoshihara.
Every time I travel, I moan inwardly whenever someone suggests visiting an art gallery.

That’s not to say that I’m not an art gallery kind of gal. In fact, my memories of Europe are a blur of galleries as Helka was studying for her admissions exams to art school in Finland at the time. And on my first trip to New York, I let Chloé drag me into and out of numerous museums, including MOMA and the Guggenheim (which, amongst other things, houses a collection of Mark Rothko’s prints).

What I am saying is that cities often have unique art galleries that visitors might bypass in favour of the bigger, better advertised brands. The easiest way to find out about different museums and art galleries in your destination city is to check out local listing--or if you're researching in advance, Wikipedia is also a surprisingly good place to start.

Best part? Often these museums aren't as busy, have a "pay what you can" scale and may help contribute to a unique understanding of wherever you're visiting.

Here’s some examples in Toronto that aren’t the AGO:

The Design Exchange: Located at Front and Bay, Canada’s Design Museum plays host to events, talks and exhibitions that may change your perception of what “art” is. Case in point is their current exhibit, This is Not a Toy. Guest-curated by Pharrell Williams, it showcases designer toys, including enormous free-standing pieces.

The Distillery District is home to countless galleries, but my favourite place to check out is Toronto Artscape, where you can watch artists creating multi-discipline pieces in their work and retail spaces. Artscape also has studios in the Wychwood Barns and Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. 

Confession—I’ve never actually gone to the Gardiner Museum, but it’s on my to-do list. I love sculptures and ceramics and am dying to try one of the clay classes. The Textile Museum also ranks high on the "go see" list, especially after last year's Marimekko, With Love exhibit. (I love all things Finnish culture.)

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