Critical Talks & Projects Enrich Usual Fair Fare At Art Toronto
Metro Toronto Convention Centre October 25 to 29, 2012
By Sam Cotter
POSTED: OCTOBER 25, 2012
Art Toronto returns to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from the evening of October 25 to October 29 with 4 kilometres of wall space, expectations of more than 20,000 visitors, and estimates of 2,800 lightbulbs and 10,000 feet of electrical cord to be used. Last year, $15 million worth of art changed hands in the four-day event. Beyond the carnivalesque nature of art fairs in general and feelings, for many visitors, of being caught in the midst of a cultural feeding frenzy, Art Toronto has a number of valuable offerings—including significant critical content—all included with admission.
This year Art Toronto is presenting Focus ASIA, an exploration of contemporary Asian art that entails bringing several notable Asian galleries to the fair, as well as mounting a large-scale exhibition and several tours and talks. The exploration is part of Art Toronto’s annual incentive to identify influential emergent themes in—and hotbeds for—contemporary art.
Interestingly, the flagship exhibition “Beyond Geography” acts as a counterpoint to the ethno-geographical specificity implied in Focus ASIA—curators Zheng Shengtian and Katherine Don focus on contemporary art that exhibits hybrid expressions of multiple cultures and reflects more on ideas of a globalized culture than on specific notions of Asia. “Beyond Geography” includes work by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Jompet Kuswidananto, Li Ran, Tomas Vu and Rirkrit Tiravanija, as well as Aaron Taylor Kuffner’s much-anticipated work The Gamelatron—a fully robotic Indonesian drum orchestra.
Zheng Shengtian will be giving a lecture on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., while co-curator Katherine Don will be giving daily tours of Focus ASIA, including a visit to “Beyond Geography,” at 3 p.m. There will also be a special Focus ASIA panel on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Canadian Art assistant editor David Balzer will also be speaking at Art Toronto on Friday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. His talks focus on the distinct context of the Quebec art scene and noteworthy Quebec-based artists to keep an eye on. Balzer’s talks will be followed by tours. Editor Richard Rhodes will be holding a series of talks—related to an exhibition “Aerials: Prisons, Vistas, Infinities”—which examine the role and meaning of elevated perspective in the work of three Canadian artists: Alain Paiement, Ohotaq Mikkigak and Jennifer Rose Sciarrino. The “Aerials” talks will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
C Magazine will be hosting a daily talks series at 3 p.m. featuring artists, curators, collectors and writers in conversation with editor Amish Morrell. Guests include Mark Titchner, Rutherford Chang, Dave Dyment, Elle Flanders, Tamira Sawatzky, Su-Ying Lee and cheyanne turions.
The Power Plant is presenting Power Talks—now in its seventh year—with speakers Philip Tinari (director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing) on Friday at 6 p.m.; Angeline Scherf (chief contemporary curator at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris) on Saturday at 4 p.m.; and Nigel Prince (executive director of the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver) on Sunday at 4 p.m.