Contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huan and 20th-century photographer Berenice Abbott get spotlights at the Art Gallery. Recent paintings made with ash by Shanghai- and New York-based Zhang, who's stirred up controversy in China with his endurance performances, use realistic images to question official history. The Abbott retrospective, co-presented by the Ryerson Image Centre (where galleries open in the fall) and Paris's Jeu de Paume, includes iconic photos of New York in the 30s, portraits of 20th-century French artists and personal documents. AGO, to August 19.
Discover artists and buy work directly from them at the Riverdale Art Walk (June 2 and 3, Queen east of the DVP), where more than 125 artists take over Jimmie Simpson Park and shops on Queen East, and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, now in its 51st season, which fills Nathan Phillips Square with juried art in all media July 6 to 8. At the monthly Art Spin (from Trinity Bellwoods Park, last Thursday of the month, 6:30 pm), cyclists join a Critical Mass-style ride to west-end galleries and specially commissioned projects, followed by an after-party.
Signs of summer
Returning to the fertile ground of Ed Mirvish's bargain emporium, where it presented Iris Häussler's clothing exchange project in 09, the Koffler Gallery mounts Summer Special, a show inspired by hand-painted signage in the store's archives. Art by Corinne Carlson, Robin Collyer, Barr Gilmore, Jen Hutton, Sarah Lazarovic and Ron Terada infiltrates the building and surrounding neighbourhood. At the Koffler's offsite location at Honest Ed's, June 21 to November 25.
Artists-in-residence at the printmaking Open Studio Gallery, Tom Ngo, in screenprint series Refractions, points out the absurdity of building designs by overlaying floor plans onto various architectural images, while Derek Sullivan continues his exploration of the act of reading in a series called Surplus Portfolio, in which pairs of woodblock-printed parallelograms evoke book pages. June 28 to July 28.
On the shelf
Thousands of artists (and anyone else who wanted to take part) registered online with Brooklyn's Art House Co-op, which sent them blank books that they returned filled with artwork. The result is The Sketchbook Project at the Gladstone Hotel, July 18 to 22. Not your typical on-the-walls show, the sketchbook library is touring the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia. All the volumes are catalogued, viewers receive a library card, and artists get an email each time someone checks out their book. Sign up to contribute in 2013 at arthousecoop.com.
Images in Observance And Memorial: Photographs From S-21, Cambodia, made in the 1970s by the Khmer Rouge of detainees on their arrival at the S-21 secret prison (now a museum) in Phnom Penh come from one of the world's most harrowing photographic archives. Only seven of S-21's 17,000 prisoners - kept in brutal conditions and tortured to extract confessions - are known to have survived. The ROM's Institute for Contemporary Culture provides context to situate these photos as artifacts of genocide and a contemplation space to process the powerful emotions viewers may experience. August 11 to March 17, 2013.