Except for the wrapping problem and getting it down the chimney, there's no better gift than art. It's personal and unique. Dozens of really good gallery sales happen at this time of year, and here are a just a few that should not be missed.
Cash and carry - and cheap
More Gifts That Fit at A Space (401 Richmond West), December 11-14. 416-979-9633. The artists at A Space are a thoughtful group, and any of their works would make a welcome and affordable gift. Prices range from $20 to $100. Mark these dates on your calendar so you can snatch up pieces by J.J. Lee , Oscar de las Flores , Sadko Hadzihasanovic , John Abrams and more.
Mini Me: SMALL WORKS SALE at Gallery 1313 (1313A Queen West), to December 21, reception tonight (Thursday, December 4), 7-10 pm. 416-536-6778. The small pieces here, no bigger than 13 by 13 centimetres, are about the size of a small book. There's some good work, and prices start at less than you'd pay for a hardcover ($20).
$99 Cash and Carry at Propeller (984 Queen West) to December 7, reception Friday (December 5), 5-7 pm. 416-504-7142. Everything here is 10 by 8 inches or 8 by 10, depending on how you hold it when you carry it out the door. Propeller has some talented members who know how to do fun fundraising.
Christmas Madness Sale! sis boom bah (1114 Queen West) to December 13. 415-531-7511. Works are $50 a pop at sis boom bah, a gallery that's recently put on some really strong shows and will probably continue to do so through this holiday sale. Look for weapons made of soap that you can give to the dirty bandit in your life.
Higher price but pretty nice
Photorama 2003 at Gallery TPW (80 Spadina) to December 13, opening reception tonight (Thursday, December 4), 6-9 pm. 416-504-4242. Possibly the best holiday sale in town, this is the best place to get a great photo-based work by a great photo-based artist. You can get pieces by some of T.O.'s most exciting artists, like Balint Zsako , Ed Burtynsky , Chris Curreri , Mitch Robertson , Eldon Garnet , Ho Tam , Iza Mokrosz and more. Some 50 artists are showing, and most work is going for less than $300.
Artist Proof Sale at Open Studio (468 King West) to December 13, opening reception tonight (Thursday, December 4), 6-10 pm. 416-504-8238. Prints are a great gift for the novice collector, and this sale always offers a number of good artist proofs (the test prints before the official numbered print run). Also look for the editioned artist cards that are often on sale cheap and look great in little frames.