Chinese rebel Ai Weiwei’s installation, He Xie (detail), is at AGO.
Ai powers the AGO
According To What?, surveying the work of Chinese rebel Ai Weiwei - from his early New York conceptual projects to recent sculpture, installations and videos - is one of the season's big blockbuster shows. Snake Ceiling, constructed from backpacks representing the 5,000 children killed in school collapses during the 08 Sichuan earthquake, is already on view at the gallery. On opening weekend, gallery-goers can take part in a live reading of the children's names, inspired by projects Ai has mounted in defiance of the Chinese government to commemorate them and hold authorities accountable for the shoddy construction practices that killed so many. Put on by the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the touring show makes its only Canadian stop here. At the AGO, August 17 to October 27. ago.net.
As usual, the art component of the Luminato fest (June 14-23, luminatofestival.com) is strong this year. Stockpile, a performance involving a giant claw machine operated by nine Canadian artists (including Diane Landry, Brendan Fernandes and Ed Pien) who participated in last year's Oh Canada exhibit at Mass MoCA, runs June 14 to 22 at Allen Lambert Galleria. Fashion designers Viktor & Rolf's Dolls takes over the Spirit House at the ROM June 9 to 30. At the MAI Prototype, a series of pavilions set up in Trinity Bellwoods Park for the duration of the festival, participants learn exercises based on the work of performance artist Marina Abramovic, who speaks at the Winter Garden on June 18 and stars in theatre extravaganza The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic at the Bluma Appel, June 14 to 17.
NXNE embraces visual art
The mammoth North By Northeast festival has moved into the visual arts sphere. Outdoor events in the inaugural arts program include a projection in Yonge-Dundas Square of Berlin video collagist Ulu Braun's slow pans through fantastic landscapes (June 14); a performance by body-centred local artist Johannes Zits involving reworking of donated business suits (Bay and King, June 11 to 14, and at Ryerson Quad, June 15 and 16); projection works by three Europeans at Duke's Cycle (June 13); and Paris-based Sophie Kitching's installation at Ryerson Quad (June 14 to 16), which joins a big multi-artist fair on June 15.
Among the many indoor events: the premiere of Montreal's Jasa Baka and Allison Moore film Smile Stealers at the Gladstone (June 13); I Am Learning, in which performance artist Brendan de Montigny becomes a human printer making drawings on demand while sitting in box (AGO on June 6 and the Cameron House on June 15); Toronto's Brian Bantugan installation, which explores the body and also allows viewers to contribute to his graphic novel in progress, at the Great Hall (June 12); and Dorian Batycka, Hamilton's self-professed "semiotic gas" and curator for the Venice Biennale's Maldives Pavilion, sounds installation that channels participants' brain waves with an interactive cap, at Neubacher Shor Gallery (June 14).
Also in the mix, street painting, gallery shows, NXNE Interactive conference talks and free entry with wristbands to the Janet Cardiff/George Bures Miller installations at the AGO.
NXNE, June 10 to 16, nxne.com/art.