Posts Tagged ‘Harbourfront’

The Museum of Broken Relationships is now appearing at Harbourfront. The stories that accompany the items run the full gamut of emotions – sad, funny, mundane, strange, creepy, sweet, and, you get the picture. There are two permanent museum sites, one in Zagreb and one in Los Angeles. Toronto is one of several traveling exhibits. Zagreb is the hometown of the couple that started the collection, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišic, when their own relationship fell apart.

below: “Given to me by an American “boyfriend” when I was 17 and inscribed “for… who charmed the savage wolf.” I didn’t know that he would eventually hound my parents for years, then eventually have a sex change and steal their name for his new persona.” I’ve never heard of this book before today and I thought maybe I’d like to read it. Curiosity. But then I googled it and discovered that it’s “experimental prose poetry” and written in a stream if consciousness style – so now I’m not so curious. 😎

A book by Bob Dylan called Tarantula on display in a museum show

below: “Not quite sure when it died really… the world just kind of works that way sometimes.”

a small stuffed loon toy on display in a museum show

a man and a woman looking at objects and reading the stories on display at the museum of broken relationships

below: “Empty bag of fortune cookies attached to a Starbucks cup. You were my first love. And I wished you would also be my last. When we got those fortune cookies and I opened mine, it read ‘You have to learn to read between the lines’. I should have followed that advice because between those lines there was you cheating on me over and over. Isn’t that ironic? “

An empty cup with an empty fortune cookie wrapper glued onto the outside of it,

below: “A Linksys router. We tried. Not compatible”. Droll. Succinct.

an old Linksys router on display in a museum show

below: “A spectrum of a star. We are both astronomers. On my 26th birthday he sent me a spectrum of a star in the Orion constellation as my birthday gift. This star, names pi3, is 26 light years away from the Earth. He said, “Look, at the time when you were born, the light left this star, passing through the endless interstellar space, the countless dust and nebula, arriving here after a 26 light year journey. So, have you. Here you meet your starlight, and I meet you.”

a small blue and white image that is a

below: What would you write? What have other people left behind in your life? What symbolic little keepsakes from past relationships do you have buried away?

The story that I don’t have a photo for is that which goes with a broken pair of handcuffs. A sample of the story: “What is left of the fake handcuffs is the result of a particularly passionate night/morning in bed…. I remember one morning when he had me handcuffed to the bed and the phone rang. It was the man who would, several months later, become my next boyfriend.”

At least that’s not as bad as one man’s account of life after breaking up with his wife… when a year later she committed suicide. There is only one side to the story presented here and it made me want to know the other side.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is also online. Here you will find the 1487 heart breaking stories that have been collected so far. Together they form a larger story about the way we love and lose. You can also add your contribution if you want. If you do read the stories, may you not stumble across something written by an ex!

This exhibit has also be described in Toronto Life and Now Magazine
It continues until 8th September.

I’ve decided to put together two exhibits that are on at the moment in one blog post.  The first is ‘Same Dream’ by Omar Ba at the Power Plant Gallery and the second is ‘Reflections of Love’ by a group of photographers next door at one of the  Harbourfront galleries   The two exhibits don’t have a lot in common except the close proximity of the two galleries and the fact that I saw them on the same afternoon last week.

First, Omar Ba was born in 1977 in Dakar Senegal.   He studied art in Dakar and then in Geneva where he now spends part of his time.

below: The large work in the middle of the gallery was painted in place.  That is Jesus on the cross.  The center figure has the word”Horus” painted beside it.  Horus was an Egyptian God who was usually depicted with a falcon’s head on a human body.   The painting depicts “a recurrent motif of birth, death and reincarnation across different cultures today” according to the description of the exhibit on Power Plant’s website .

gallery at Power Plant Contemporary, show of works by Omar Ba, large painting of Jesus and Horus in the middle of the room, a man sitting on a wood bench looking at some of the paintings on the wall

below: ‘Naufrage’ 2014.  Dictators, despots, and authority figures can be seen in many of his paintings, often mixed in with scenes of plants and/or animals.

Naufrage, a painting by African artist Omar Ba on display at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, a black man in uniform peaking out from behind a lot of plants and their stems

below: Similar to the one above, except hear the plants are based on fairly realistic human hearts with black aortas and yellow blood vessels.

Omar Ba painting of a man behind plants with human hearts on top of them

below: Ba’s paintings are full of small details as can be seen in this close-up of part of ‘Autopsie de nos consciences 2’, 2018.   Name the flags?

detail from an Omar Ba pinting, a black man holding an automatic rifle. The butt of the gun is covered with small flags from different countries

below: More details but from a different painting.

close up of a painting by Omar Ba of a boy's face in grey dots, wearing a patterned shirt

***

‘Reflections of Love’ is a photography exhibit on at Harbourfront for the month of February that features the work of five artists.

As you enter the gallery, the words on the wall say, “In honor of Black History Month, this thoughtful photography exhibit explores the many forms of love found within our black communities through reflections of self, identity and acceptance. Power within vulnerability and healing can only come through togetherness and conversation. This is a true celebration of exemplified strength in people with deep roots and heritage.”

below: On the back wall, a series of images by Stella Fakiyesi.  Fakiyesi was born in Nigeria and raised in Toronto.

part of art gallery at Harbourfront, wood floors, black bench in the middle, some photos on the two side walls, four large photos on the back wall, a series of four photos by Stella of the same black woman in a number of poses.

part of a photo by Stella Fakiyesi of a black woman, two images superimposed on one another

below: Photo by Sean Brown

photo by Sean Brown of a black woman wearing a green turban, a number of hands are tugging at her ears.

below: Photo by Jah Grey

black and white photo by Jah Grey of a black man holding a large round mirror over his head and in front of his face

below: Two photographs by Quil Lemons

two portraits by Quil Lemons, on the left is a black woman and on the right, three black girls

below: A closer look at the one on the right shows a wonderful tangle of three girls.

a close up of portrait of three girls by Quil Lemons

 

below: Three portraits by Yannick Anton

three photos by Yannick Anton hanging on a gallery wall. All three are portraits of black people with bright yellow backgrounds, one is a father and young son, one is a young girls and one is a young child with parents.

***

Happy Valentines Day!

smiley heart on pink wall with red spray paint lines around

It’s been a while, I know.   Part of my excuse – the holidays got in the way.  But more importantly, it’s been very cold with bitter winds adding to our discomfort.  The very cold days are beautiful with their bright blue skies.  Although I have walked once or twice in -20C weather, the pictures here are from a warmer day when it was possible to take pictures without freezing my fingers off.  Unfortunately, in the winter warmer often means greyer.  I thought of calling this post “In Search of Winter” but that would be silly as no search is needed, it hits you in the face and it surrounds you.  Everyone is talking about the cold.

below: Winter in the city isn’t always picturesque.  Salt and sand and snow mix together to form slush.   Brown ugly slush, especially on the roads and sidewalks as seen here on Queens Quay West.  Of course, if you live in Toronto you are already well aware of this!

dirty slush along the streetcar tracks on Queens Quay

below: H2O park now has a pink #TOwaterfront sign (sculpture?) to go with its yellow umbrellas and white Muskoka chairs.  The weakened winter sun tried to break through the wall of clouds.

H 2 O park on Toronto's waterfront with yellow umbrellas over white Muskoka chairs on what is a beach in the summer but is covered with snow in the picture. A pink sign that says #TOwaterfront made of pink wood that is supposed to look like pieces of driftwood

below: The other morning there was a small group of Toronto firemen all dressed for the icy water as they practiced winter rescue procedures.  Both men were tethered to the shore.

two Toronto firemen in their yellow cold water suits, life jackets on, and tethered to ropes, practicing breaking through ice and then recovering by makng their way to stronger ice, practising ice rescues

below: Just a few footprints in the snow. I wasn’t the only one walking this way but there certainly weren’t any crowds.

a few footprints in the snow on a bridge

below: A cold and lonely barbecue, as well as one under wraps, waiting out the winter on the dock.

barbecues under tarps on snow covered docks in partially frozen harbour

below: Access to the docks along the waterfront was discouraged. It was easy to get out there but I suspect that if I’d fallen in I would have gotten in trouble, and not just from being wet. I wonder how thick the ice was there?

a danger do not enter sign and yellow caution tape across a dock on the waterfront, windswept snow, old railing,

below: Instead of comic relief, we have colour relief!

close up of porthole and red wall on boat in the harbour, railing and rope knotted, both with snow on them

below: Ducks on ice.  Have you ever seen a duck land in the snow?  It looks exactly like a landing in water but with a much shorter skid at it comes to a stop.   Or maybe that was obvious because how else would a duck land?

ducks onthe ice on Lake Ontario in the foreground, Canada Malting Co silos in the backgrounds

below: More ducks… ducks swimming in the small patch of open water.  There can’t be much food for them these days.

snow covered docks with one small snow covered boat, harbour, some ice and some open water

tall ship in harbour, with condos along Queens Quay in the background

snow covered boats on snowy docks, bottom of larger boat is in the background.

ice covered ropes that are holding a boat tied to the shore

below:  Lake Ontario with the Port Lands and the Toronto Islands in the background.  Windswept snow on the ice.

frozen harbour, Lake Ontario, with some snow covered docks

Stay warm everyone!

And don’t lose your gloves!  There are so many lost and lonely gloves out there… I hope that this one isn’t yours because if you’re like me, you lose at least one every winter.  I wonder they end up? In landfills?  … where archeologists of the future will dig up all these single gloves and mitts and wonder what it says about our society?  [smile!]

one black wool glove that has been dropped on a slushy wet sidewalk in winter

Monday’s walk was a meandering route downtown, once again going where my feet and eyes take me.  No particular plan in mind and no set destination…   just trying to explore where I haven’t been recently.   No theme jumped out and tapped me on the shoulder but a few “stories” emerged.

below: There is now a 3D sign between the CN Tower and the Aquarium that says Canada 150.

a young boy is leaping from the D of the 3D Canada 150 sign in front of the CN Tower, and is leaping onto the top of the A. His hands are on the top of the A, one foot is one the side of the A and the other foot is near the top of the D

below:  …and another 3D sign by the CN Tower (you can see part of the back of the Canada 150 sign through the tree). I wonder how many there are in this city now?   Another bit of information (trivia?) – this area is called Bobbie Rosenfeld Park and has been since 1991. Fanny (“Bobbie”) Rosenfeld was a Canadian athlete who won two track medals  in the 1928 Olympics.   She also played softball and hockey in the 1920s and 30s.  When arthritis force her to stop playing she turned to sports journalism, working for the ‘Globe and Mail’ until her retirement in 1955.

3D sign for the CN tower with tourists taking pictures in front of it. Canada 150 3D sign in the background as well as some people sitting around on benches

One of the routes from the CN Tower into the downtown core of the city is via the Skywalk, a glass enclosed elevated walkway over the railway tracks.  The next few photos were taken as I walked that route.

below: A Toronto species of woodpecker in its native habitat – a forest of glass and steel. This artwork was completed in 1997 and is the creation of Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi who together are known as Fastwurms.

large sculpture of a woodpecker on a pole in the foreground, many glass skyscrapers condos in the background

below: The above photo was taken from a quiet little terrace that I accessed from the Skywalk. Now you can see just how big the woodpecker is!  The ‘tree trunk’ pole is 30m high.  What you can’t see is the second woodpecker who is on the other side of the pole and slightly farther down it.

a concrete terrace, with benches and planters with purple flowers, lots of condos in the background, one person standing there

below:  The glass of the Skywalk creates some interesting reflections and shadows.  The glass was fairly clean the other day when I walked through it.  I have seen it when it’s been quite dirty and it’s not a pretty sight.

reflections of a woman walking on the Skywalk between Union Station and the convention center, with views of the street below and buildings beyond also in the frame
reflected in the red glass of the entrance to the CN tower are two women walking

below: Union Station, looking east from the Skywalk.   The new roof over the station platforms is taking shape.  Someday soon I’m going to have to take a look at the insides of the station; I can’t wait for all the renovations to be completed.

union station as seen from the west, from the skywalk, with open air tracks as well as the covered platforms. New roof over the platforms, tall buildings in the background

below: Part of the south “wall” along the railway tracks.

buildings reflected in another glass building right beside the trains tracks south of Union Station

below: Looking east from lower Simcoe along the south edge of the Gardiner Expressway.   The podium of the new condo under construction at 10 York Street is quite the wedge!

construction of a tall condo beside the gardiner expressway. The bottom of the condo is a wedge shape to maximize the space available

below: I played a bit on google maps street view and this is what I found for the above scene (taken Nov 2016).  If you compare the photos (above & below), it’s obvious that one of the ramps for the Gardiner Expressway has been demolished.   The eastbound exit to Yonge/York/Bay was removed a couple of months ago.  If you are a regular user of the Gardiner, I’m sure you have already experienced the consequences of this!

screenshot of google maps street view of Lower Simoce stret just south of the Lakeshore, one of the offramps for the Gardiner, a new condo under construction

below: Standing on the same spot, but turning around 180 degrees – looking west from Lower Simcoe.  An old ramp in the foreground…. and what looks like new construction in the background.  Those are new bents (the structures that hold up the road).

under one of the Gardiner Expressway ramps, with new bents being built for a new ramp in the background.

below: To get a closer look at what was happening here, I ventured around to the other side .  This is the view from closer to Rees Street. There is car on the old ramp so it must still be open (onramps still functional, just the offramp was removed).

two "cherry pickers" parked in front of new bents being constructed for a new ramp for the Gardiner Expressway

below: The trees are growing at Canada Square (Harbourfront), but so are the condos.  Yes, this new building is the same one with the wedge shaped lower floors.

view from Canada Place (Queens Quay West) with a clump of birch trees in the foreground and 3 highrise buildings in the background - two older ones and one in the middle that is under construction.
below: Also at Canada Square, there are three large photographs by Johan Hallberg-Campbell, a series called “Coastal”.   This one of them:

a large photograph of a run down building, northern, on the side of a concrete structure that is an entrance to the underground parking

below: More of Hallberg-Campbell’s work can be seen inside in the Artport Gallery (Harbourfront building) – here, many photographs with simple wood frames are mounted on a wall that is covered with large images.  “Coastal” is the product of the artist’s travels to coastal areas of Canada, from Newfoundland to northern Manitoba to British Columbia and many places in between.   Life on the edge, so to speak.  (Note: gallery show ends 18th June)

three colour photos in simple light wood frames mounted on a wall that is covered with large images

below: It’s not art but sometimes the line between public art and advertising campaigns is fuzzy.

a man walks on the sidewalk below a largef ad for Apple watches.  The photo is cropped so that the only part of the ad that shows is a hand on the handle bar of a bike.  A bright turquoise watch is on the person's wrist

Not all is shiny and new.   And that’s the way it should be.

metal grille, part of a barricade along the side of a parking structure, rusted,

parking structure on the top, old door and wall on the bottom. A wood picnic table in disrepair is in front of the door

Yesterday afternoon I wandered into The Power Plant Art Gallery.  It was late enough in the day that the sun was already low in the sky.  It shone through the large windows in the main gallery and cast a warm glow on the current exhibit, works by Yto Barrada titled ‘Faux Guide’ .

The first thing you see when you enter the rooms is a collection of carpets.  This is ‘Geological Time Scale’ and it consists of bright and bold red, blue, and green carpets – Beni Mguild, Marmoucha and Ait Sgougou pile rugs from Western Central, Middle Atlas, Morocco.   It’s definitely eye catching and it definitely draws the viewer into the exhibit.

main exhibit room of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, large room with two large windows in which the low afternoon sun is shining. Exhibit by Yto Barrada consisting of red, green and blue carpets on the floor. some framed pictures on the far wall, walls have been painted yellow up to about 4 feet from the floor.

A series of  small exhibits are arranged around the room and most of them are the result of the artist’s research on Moroccan dinosaurs, fossils, and the industry that has built up around them including the trade in fake fossils sold to tourists and museums.   I have not shown most of these exhibits – I will leave it up to you to discover them.

below: “I am not exotic I am exhausted”.  I suspect that this comes as Barrada’s response to living in a place (Tangiers Morroco) where tourists come to see “exotic things”.  But it is also the lament of anyone trying to live and work in a place that is also a “tourist attraction”.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. 6 shown in this photo. Including one that only has a few word on it, I am not exotic I am exhausted.

below: The whole of ‘A Modest Proposal’ and ‘Faux Guide’, 2015.  A set of 48 posters loosely tacked to the wall.  A mix of humorous and poignant.  One is an alphabetical listing of all the types of dinosaurs found in Morocco.  One says “Miss Colorado and Miss Finland are Moroccan” – which did happen in 2012.

Part of an exhibit by Yto Barrada of a series of posters printed on paper and loosely tacked to the wall, of images and words. They are arranged in a grid of 12 x 8 pictures. A woman is standing in front of them, reading the words on one. Blue and red carpets are on the floor in the foreground.

below: ‘Plumber Assemblage’ by the window, with skaters outside in the fading light.

plumber assemblage, an artwork by Yto Barrada consisting of a few sculpture like pieces made from pipes, faucets, taps, shower heads and other plumbing things.

There are many, many things that you can take from this exhibit.  Many things to think about.

An article in the  Toronto Star claims that Barrada  “explores the cultural heritage of her homeland through a colonial lens” and how that heritage has been used to make money from tourists.   But….   Is this the making of money by exploiting one’s culture and history?  Or the exploiting of Moroccan culture and history by the tourists?

Tourists go searching for the foreign and the exotic.  Many of them are souvenir hunters – Sometimes it’s a selfie in front of every “famous” place (or interesting building or whatever) and sometimes it’s a “find”.  But we live in a world that is full of  ‘made in China’ souvenirs and we are a people that don’t care to distinguish between the real and the fake.  We just want a story to tell the folks back home.

There were once dinosaurs living in a tropical land in what is now Morocco….  how the world has changed, and is changing.   Insert your opinions on climate change here.

Because it is a collection of exhibits under one umbrella, it has been compared to a museum.  Very trendy.   One description of the exhibit claims that it is “Meant to make us question the ways in which museums confer value on things”.  Can I take that one step further by asking, how do art galleries confer status on art and artists?  Museums make curatorial choices and so do art galleries.  Barrada too has surely made choices as have I.

You are probably wondering what carpets on the floor have to do with all those words that I just wrote.  Good question.  I think that Yto Barrada is on to something – an exhibit that has visual appeal, offends no one, and is flexible in its interpretation (i.e. it says something different to everyone and fits nicely into most people’s narratives).   You can agree with me, or disagree.  Best to go and see it for yourself and form your own opinions…. mine just might be fake.

below: People skating on the frozen Natrel Pond beside The Power Plant.

late afternoon with the sun low in the sky casting yellowish glow on the world, Toronto skyline in the background with its condos and construction cranes, also The Power Plant Center and art gallery. In the foreground is the frozen Natrel Pond of Harbourfront and on it people are skating.

Yto Barrada’s exhibit will be on at The Power Plant until the 2nd of January.

 Food is an important part of our lives and there is a lot that we take for granted about the food we eat. Food, and all that accompanies it, is the theme of a collection of art exhibits at Harbourfront’s Artport.   On display is work by a number of artists who have been examining different food related issues.   How we see food, it’s role in our lives, how healthy is it,  it’s production, and how we obtain it, are just a few of the questions that are explored.   We eat food but what about the parts we usually waste?

Below is a sample of what is on offer.

below: ‘Wearable Food – Hat’, 2014, by Sooyeong Lee, part of a series of photographs that displays food in atypical and unexpected ways.   An acorn squash fascinator is precariously perched on her head.

A picture of a photo of an Asian woman with her hair in a braid, a stern expression on her face, and the top of an acorn squash on her head in place of a hat

below: ‘Frugivore Project’, 2011-ongoing, by Amanda White, an attempt to communicate biologically with tomato plants.  White bought tomatoes from the grocery store and ate them.   She harvested the seeds after they had passed through her digestive system and then planted them.  After the plants bear fruit, it is eaten and the cycle continues.

Two pictures of one art installation. On a small door is a picture of a woman eating a tomato and with a pile of tomatos in front of her. Open the door and it reveals a small space with a tomato plant growing there.

 

below: ‘Foraged Palette’, 2015, Thea Haines, made with wool, silk, linen, hemp and cotton with natural dyes.   The dyes are made from food waste such as carrot peels, onion skins, pomegranate skins and avocado pits.

A pattern of hand dyed, hand cut leaves in varying shades of yellows oranges and browns is displayed on a wall

close up of A pattern of hand dyed, hand cut leaves in varying shades of yellows oranges and browns is displayed on a wall

below:‘Strain to Absorb, 2015, by Lisa Myers, three digital files running simultaneously. Blueberries contain the pigment anthocyanin which the artist produces from strained fruit.

Three video screens displayed horizontally on a wall.

below:‘Accidental Hunter’, 2014, by Erin Riley, hunting with a rifle received as a gift from her father and taking pictures of the event.

A picture of a large photograph of people in orange vests and hats as they set out with their rifles on a hunting trip. To the right is part of a picture of dead geese but only part of it is visible

below: ‘Delicate merchandise!”, 2014, by Lynn Price, oil on paper.  The title comes from a poem called ‘Ode to a Lemon’ by Pablo Neruda (see bottom of post)

A grid of 16 black and white paintings of three lemons in a bowl , on an art gallery wall

below:Functional Ceramic Tableware, 2005-2015, by Bruce Cochrane

Two intricately designed ceramic containers on a table in front of a series of pictures of lemons in a bowl

Two artistic ceramic pieces by Bruce Cochrane on a small shalef

below: Trading Places, Victoria Piersig.  A series of photographs from a journey spent onboard a ship transporting wheat from Thunder Bay to Montreal.

close up of part of a very large black and white photograph of a man standing on the deck of a lake freighter at night in the winter

Two photographs of parts of a ship mounted on a wall that is covered with a large black and white photo

below: cookie cutter rings and brooches, by Andree Wejsmann

six little rings and broaches made to look like cookie cutters, a shovel, a squirrel, a rabbit, a heart, a duck and a snail.

below: Teerex and Triceratops Corn Cob holders, 2012, by Lana Filippone

sculptures of cobs of corn, three, each with dinosaur corn cob holders.

***

‘Ode to a Lemon’ by Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium
Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it –
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.

‘In-Between Worlds’ is a series of photographs by Canadian photographer Meryl McMaster.   This series centres around the role of McMaster’s dual heritage in her search for self;  The images represent her being part of, and also being between, two different cultures as she is part Cree and part ‘European’.

Three of the images are on display at Ontario Square by Queens Quay West and Lower Simcoe St.

below: Horse Dance.  The bright red and blue of the shaggy hobby horses against a winter landscape makes for an eye catching picture.  On closer look, you realize that there is a person’s head inside one of those horses’s head.  Heads that have no eyes to see or mouths to speak.

A large photograph of three red hobby horses with long blue mane, taken outside in the winter in the snow, with bare trees in the background. A mix of the real (outdoors) and the unreal (hobby horses instead of real horses). Photo is Mounted on a concrete wall outside.

below: Wingeds Calling.  Around the corner there is another picture of a person in costume, playing the role of a real, yet not real, animal.  A large black bird-like figure walks on the frozen ground, perhaps too big and awkward to fly.

A photograph Mounted on a concrete wall outside of a person draped in a large black cape and wearing a head piece that looks like a large black bird. Photo taken outside in winter so the background is all white and grey like a foggy winter day.,

below: Wind Play Variation.  The third picture baffles me a bit.  Although this is another picture of a person assuming a role,  this time the creature is totally of the artist’s imagination.  A blue hairy thing that is slightly blurry as it walks amongst the pine trees.   Is it coming or going?

Photo of a blue furry creature taken in winter with snow covered evergreens in the background. Mounted on a concrete wall outside.