Best art and design
1214 Queen West, 416-531-4635, www.gladstonehotel.com
Thirty-seven artists designed hotel rooms that literally have something to tickle everyone's fancy. Among my favourites are Offset, by Heather Dubbeldam and Tania Ursomarzo, and Parlour Of Twilight, by Simone Moir and Corwyn Lund. Don't miss Come Up To My Room, a once-a-year event of temporary artist-designed rooms. Rent a room and support the arts.
Credit curators Sandra Rechico and Christie Pearson with the genius idea of turning 14 city wading pools into art installations. Contributors to the biennial event make art that involves viewers by keeping the pools swimmable. Jell-O in the pool? Rose petals? Peter Chin dancing? Go ahead -- jump in. .
THE JUNCTION ARTS FESTIVAL
Every September, the Junction Arts Festival transforms a neighbourhood once considered a wasteland. This spectacular street festival offers a wonderland of 24 impromptu art galleries, plus live music, dance and theatre performances. The multidisciplinary event features site-specific installations in unconventional spaces. Shows you how art can be the key element in rejuvenating a neighbour. Oh yes, and it's free. .
Best local curator
Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, 778 King West, 416-413-9400
The reclusive Ydessa Hendeles outdid herself this year with her cryptic and densely plotted show Predators & Prey, which includes gold-plated Gucci high-heels, a tea set from the doomed Hindenburg airship, photos by Weegee and Jeff Wall, and an authentic vampire-killing kit. Her one-off shows are complemented by one of the most serious contemporary collections anywhere. Where else can you find Jenny Holzer, Luciano Fabro, Jeff Koons and Katharina Frisch in the same space? .
A finalist in this year's RBC painting competition, Kim Dorland also had a recent solo show at Angell Gallery. He brings a solid marriage of formal painterly concerns, strong narrative elements and sizzling colours to his intense, thoughtful, gestural and relevant paintings of the disaffected teenage wasteland of Northern Alberta. .
Best performance artist
Jess Dobkin's performances are consistently clever and wacky. Her Attending bathroom performance during the last Toronto International Art Fair vexed security officers, The Lactation Station Milk Bar stirred media frenzy, and Vagina Dentata during Nuit Blanche was nothing short of amazing. It is not shock art, it's an intelligent discourse on women's bodies and public space. .
Best multimedia artist
Levitt balances traditional and new photographic techniques with video in ways that show her smarts and ingenuity. Her work appeared in the brilliant anthology The Passionate Camera: Photography And Bodies Of Desire and she was instrumental in facilitating Gallery TPW's recent move to new digs. And she has a ton of upcoming shows, including Thin Air, loosely based on the experiences of two Jewish women who worked for British intelligence in Europe during the Second World War, at the Koffler January 11 to February 25. Don't miss it. .
Shary Boyle's mutated Meissen porcelain figurines at the Power Plant combined conceptual kitsch and post-feminist nightmare. Building on the abject and self-revelatory themes of Kiki Smith and Tracey Emin, these disturbing dollies meticulously melded the worst bits of the Brothers Grimm with 40s cheesecake, science fiction, horror and classic cinema.