Posts Tagged ‘books’

… and you’ll find it at the Aga Khan Museum.

a group of people walk past the front of the white wall of the Aga Khan museum, between the museum and the reflecting pool

The centerpiece of the latest special exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum is a large moon created by British artist Luke Jerram from detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.  It measures five metres in diameter and is illuminated from inside.

a large model of the model hangs from the ceiling at the Aga Khan museum and is reflected in the railing that separates the second floor balcony area from the open high ceiling of the first floor

Since the dawn of civilization, the moon has captivated cultures and inspired people.  Along with the large moon, the Aga Khan Museum has put together an assortment of paintings, texts, and scientific objects that have been produced over the centuries that together give a glimpse into mankind’s fascination with the moon.

exhibit about the moon and the crescent shape, museum

below: An illustrated page from “A Translation of Stars of the Legend”, from Baghdad 1590-1599 (Ottoman-period Iraq).  Watercolor, gold, and ink on paper.

illustrated page, with Arabic text, from an ancient book about stars and legends

a groupof people sit on bean bag chairs under a large model of the moon, and on a carpet that looks like the night sky with stars

below: Many Indian palaces included moonlight gardens with white marble walkways and pools to reflect the moon.  Night blooming flowers such as jasmine were grown.  The illustration below is from the 18th century, Murshidabad, Lucknow, watercolour and gold on paper.

illustrated page of an old book depicting people sitting in a moonlit garden in India, two men on cushions

two people stand under a large model of the moon

below: “Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaykh to Earthly Kings”, painted by Bichitr, India, 1615-1618.  The Emperor’s halo combines the sun and the crescent moon – a slim crescent moon hugs most of the sun’s border and this day and night are brought together.    Mughal emperors, such as Jahangir, considered a harmonious relationship between the sun and moon to be essential for the fortunes of their kingship.  Sufi Shaykh, from the title, is the man receiving a book from the Emperor.   Small, and therefore less important, are the Ottoman Sultan and King James I of England.  The smallest man in Bichitr, the painter.  This is a large reproduction of a painting that is 18 cm x 23 cm.

old painting

below: Plaster cast of Queen Ahmose carrying a fly whisk (The original was excavated at Deir-al-Bahri in Egypt, from the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, 18th dynasty ca 1473-1458 BCE).  Queen Ahmose was the mother of Hatshepsut and her name means “born of the moon”.   In ancient Egypt, the crescent moon symbolized Isis, goddess of fertility, women, and the mother of gods.

an old stone tablet from Ancient Egypt with picture of woman's profile

below: “Tell me the story about how the sun loved the moon so much he died every night to let her breathe”

a quote is painted on a wall, with pictures of clouds

A morning exploring some of the art galleries at the University of Toronto.

below: Robarts Library, a large concrete building, is part of the University of Toronto and is their main humanities and social sciences library. It opened in 1973 and has been called Fort Book ever since.

intersection of Harbord and St. George streets, Robarts Library, large concrete building

I have walked past this library many times but I have never gone inside. What I didn’t know about this building is that it is also home to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  It is named after a Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River.  In 1973, his grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated many books to U of T .  Since then, the library has grown to approximately 740,000 volumes including hundreds of versions of Alice in Wonderland in many different languages.  They also collect manuscripts, photographs,  and other rare materials.   You can search their holdings online.

below: The view from the 4th floor observation deck.

interior of Thomas Fisher Rare Book library, looking down from the upper level to the tables below. Shelves of books line all the walls, ceiling is open to 4 or 5 storeys up , large central light fixture

At the moment, the Thomas Fisher Library has an exhibition called “Fleeting Moments, Floating Worlds, and the Beat Generation: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg”. Ginsberg (1926-1997) is known for his poetry but he also took pictures. The Thomas Fisher library has the largest collection of Ginsberg prints in the world.

exhibit of photos by Allen Ginsberg displayed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at U of T, some black and white photos in a case, some books too, shelves of books in the background

below: Mr. Ginsberg took bathroom mirror selfies.  I wonder what he’d think of instagram?

picture of a black and white photo taken by Allen Ginsberg of himself sitting naked and cross legged in front of a bathroom mirror

Ginsberg became friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and the trio later established themselves as the main players in the Beat Movement with their unconventional writing and wild (for the times) lifestyles.  Ginsberg’s first published work was “Howl” in 1956.  It was called “an angry, sexually explicit poem”.   The San Francisco Police Department declared it to be obscene and arrested the publisher.  The court ruled that it was not obscene.  I can see it being “ahead of its time” in 1956 but today it’s fairly tame.

The opening lines:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,”

below: Three books about The Beats.

display in a glass top case, three books by Alan Ginsberg, the one in the middle has a yellow cover and is The Beats

The Ginsberg exhibit continues until the 27th of April.

A short walk through part of the St. George campus….did I mention that it was snowing at the time?… to another art gallery on campus.

snow is falling, snow on the ground, tree in foreground, also black wrought iron fence, looking across the playing field of the U of T St. George campus to a building, tower,

below: We passed a moose standing in the snow.

a flat metal sculpture of a moose stands in a small space beside a tree, snow on the ground, snow falling from the sky. public art

The second gallery was the Art Museum at Hart House.   One of the exhibits showing there is “Figures of Sleep”.  Straight from the gallery website is this description of the exhibit: ” [it]…considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation”.  What it is is a collection of videos, photographs, and artwork depicting sleep, i.e. people sleeping by a number of different artists.  This exhibit ends on 3rd March.

below: Watching videos of people sleeping

a person watching a large video display in an art gallery

below: She’s very life like.  She’s also much smaller than life sized but even so, she was a bit creepy. “Untitled (old woman in bed)”, 2000-2002, by Ron Mueck.

very realistic and life like scupture of an old woman with grey asleep under a blanket with her head on a pillow

below: “Dream Catcher” by Rebecca Belmore, 2014 .  This wall hanging is quite large.

dream catcher by Rebecca Belmore, a large wall hanging of a person sleeping on the sidewalk, under a blanket with a picture of a lion on it.

below:  The Malcove Collection is in the same gallery.  The collection includes about 500 pieces, not all of which are on display at the moment.  Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) was born in Russia just before her parents emigrated to Canada and settling in Winnipeg.  She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and then spent most of her adult life as a Freudian psychoanalyst in New York City.  Over her life time she amassed a collection of art that she bequeathed to U of T.

wall display cases in an art gallery, religious pieces on display, old, antiquities

below: From the Malcove collection, ‘Male Dedicant’, made of limestone, Coptic, late 4th century or early 5th century

antique stone carving (relief) of a man with curly hair, both hands raised, one hand holding a spherical object and the other hand holding a cross

below:  Detail from “The Burning Bush”, 19th century.

very old painting, religious, virgin mary and baby jesus in the center surrounded by other religous scenes

 

below: Last but not least, and having nothing to do with art, is this plaque on a wall near the art gallery at Hart House.  It commemorates the relationship between the Canadian and Polish Armies during WW1.  A transcription of it appears below.

 

plaque on an exterior brick wall commemorating the role of the Polish Army

In the early months of 1917, twenty three Polish probationary officers were trained here by the staff of the Canadian School of Infantry in Toronto.  They were the forerunners of more than 20,000 North American volunteers of Polish descent who were trained in Canada (mostly at Niagara on the Lake) to serve in the French Army, ultimately commanded by Joseph Haller.  The existence of this Polish Army in France went far to assure the presence of Poland at the Peace Conference at the end of the war and played a significant role in the reconstitution of a reunited and independent Poland after 123 years of partition. 
The Canadian Polish Congress has placed this tablet to commemorate the ardent Polish patriotism of so many Polish volunteers from the United States and Canada.   The Congress also wishes to honour the Canadian officers who trained the volunteers, including notably Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Lepan of the staff of this university and his principal subordinates, all from this university as well as Major C.R. Young, Major H.H. Madill, Major W.F. Kirk and Major F.B. Kenrick. A.D. 1990

 

a bike parked outside an old brick building on St. George campus of U of T, snow covered

More information about:

Allen Ginsberg exhibition

Figures of Sleep, and others, at Hart House Art Museum

Illustrations of the holdings of the Malcove Collection

 

Once again, the last Sunday of the month was Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market.  There was a large turnout this past weekend!  Lots of people, music, food, sunshine, and good times.

below: Dancing in the steet

a small group of men are playing instruments and singing Spanish songs, a crowd of people have gathered to watch, outdoors, on a street, some of the people have started dancing on the street

Two men stand beside their bikes talking, a woman in a straw hat an dsunglasses sits behind a table with a yellow table cloth with items for sale on the table

a large number of people in an alley. A banner over the alley says Kensington Flea Market and Beer Garden

below: A song, a mandolin, and a Polish Boy Scout belt buckle?

two musicians, one is playing a mandolin and singing the other is just singing, they are both sharing the same microphone

below: She is showing lots of courage!

a mannequin sits on an upper balcony but only her legs and feet show in the picture, hanging from the balcony are some pieces of paper with the word courage written on them

a young man drills out the center of a pineapple while two women blend the chunks into juice. The juice is then poured back into the hollowed out pineapples and sold as a drink

a head mannequin in a store window, with an orange piece of fabric wrapped aroungd her head. Other fabric in the window. also two people reflected in the glass

two men with baseball caps are sitting on yellow Muskoka chairs on a sunny afternoon. One is facing the camer - he is holding a piece of paper in one hand, he is yawning.

below: A quiet corner for a good book

double entrance to semi-divided house, both doors are open, there are bookcases beside the doors. In one of the doorways, a boy in a green t-shirt sits and reads

looking into the window of a bakery/restaurant. Three people are sitting at a table that looks out the window. One is one his phone and the other two are looking out the window. The sign on window, in red lettering is Ricas tortas,

items for sale on a table outside, three shoes (no pairs), one gold, one red velvet and one patterned, on a purple table cloth. Also for sale, two round orange lamp shades

below: Numbers on the alley by #whatsvictorupto

an alley in Kensington with a painting by #whatsvictorupto on the ground - numbers

below: Drinks – the changing nature of Kensington market is reflected in the food and drink that is available.  There is now a large South American influence in the area so products like Inca Cola and Chicha can be bought.

sample of drinks for sale at a food stall at a street festival, nestea, coke, water, some soft drinks as well as south american products like chicha (purple) and

below: A poser bunny still lurks in an alley.  Everything around him as changed be he remains.

an old poser bunny on a wall in an alley

below: Sign on phone – Stop busting our phone!  Outside the Moonbean Coffee Shop

a small phone booth outside a coffee shop with a patio. Some people are sitting on the patio, Moonbean coffee. On the phone is a round white hand written sign that says Please stop busting our phone

a man looks at sunglasses at a table outside where they are for sale. The sign says Pedstrian Day Sale, sunglasses ten dollars, straw hats ten dollars

an old green and white pickup truck parked in a driveway in Kensington Market, beside a store with a very faded sign that barely says King of Kensington

below: Who you callin’ a pretty boy?

an ugly white dog, on a leash, is looking at the camera, outside, on the street, with the legs and feet of some people

items in the window of a store, as well as on a table set up outside the store

below: The Joker and a friend.

in an alley, two graffiti pieces. One is a pasteup, realistic and detailed drawing of Heath Ledger as the Joker and the other is a quick black line drawing of a man's face

Flat Death and Contemporary Floral Arrangements,
by Sarah Cwynar,
large photographs on billboards on Lansdowne Avenue,
Part of CONTACT Photography Festival.

below: ‘Flat Death’ at Lansdowne and Dundas West.
Black and white photos of books on four billboards.

billboards above a used car lot, 3 billboards with large black and white photos of books.

Two billboards side by side each with a large photo of old books in black and white

bikes parked in a bike stand in the foreground, a used car lot in the background.  Above the car lot is a billboard with a black and white photo of old books.  A Lansdowne TTC bus is on the right hand side.

 below:  ‘Contemporary Floral Arrangements’ on the corner of Lansdowne and College

The foundation for ‘Contemporary Floral Arrangements’ are 1960’s photographs of floral arrangements.  Small objects such as key chains, plastic bits, buttons, spools of thread, etc are then placed on the photos, matching colour and tone.

An building with a 'car wash' sign on it but the windows are covered with a sign for "engima' cond development.  On the roof of the building is a billboard with a large photo of a flower arrangement.

The idea that this is an ad made of things that no one wants may be interesting in theory but in practice it’s just a pretty picture.  Because of the location of the billboard, the details of the picture can’t be seen.

At an intersection, An building with a 'car wash' sign on it but the windows are covered with a sign for "engima' cond development.  On the roof of the building is a billboard with a large photo of a flower arrangement.

Last Folio, A Living Monument to the Holocaust
An exhibit of photographs by Yuri Dojc,

at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Yuri Dojc was born in Slovakia but is now based in Toronto.
Starting in the 1990’s he has returned to Slovakia a number of times in search of traces of Jewish life from prior to WW2.

a close up of a photograph of an old book, open, with the pages on one side all curled up.   The photo is taken from the top of the book.

Details of one of the photographs in the exhibit.

There are only eight photographs in this exhibit but each one tells a story.   Narratives of loss and of life interrupted.
But also stories of memory and remembrance.

 More information about the Last Folio project.

 

Toronto is undergoing a massive amount of redevelopment these days.  When I walk around this city I see older buildings that I often wonder about – are they going to still be around in 2 years?  5 years?
….that is what happened yesterday when I was on Yonge St. between Bloor and College.  I took a few pictures, just in case these buildings disappear in the near future.

row of three storey buildings on Yonge St.  Brick buildings with storefronts on the ground floor.

Looking south (and a bit west) from just below Bloor Street.

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At the intersection of Yonge & Wellesley.

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We’ll see what happens in the next few years!