The best Toronto art shows in fall 2018

Including MOCA's grand reopening, Nuit Blanche in Scarborough and a monumental light installation at the Bentway


One reason art is good for you: generally, you need to walk around to see it. Do it with a friend, adding conversation to the mix, and you have a program for healthy cogitation.

This fall, the ambitious art lover can get a lot of walking done. Toronto’s arts organizations have a slew of events and exhibitions planned. Some of these take place outdoors as temporary installations. Others are launching new art venues, kicking off fresh prospects for the city’s scene. Below is a list of upcoming events to get excited about – and plan a day’s outing or two.

Will Kwan, A Park For All

At Don River Valley Park Art Program, Lower Don Trail

Summer 2018-summer 2023

Part of an ongoing series of art commissions for the Don Valley Park, Kwan wrote a text piece that has been writ large on a retaining wall of the Don River. A five-year-long installation, the work reflects on the way public space is defined by the imperfect coexistence of its members.

Sarah Munro and Josi Smit, A View To A Room

At Zalucky Contemporary (3044 Dundas West)

September 8-October 6

Munro presents collage works that use photos of the dwellings occupied by Belgian surrealist René Magritte (a Canadian, Munro lives in Belgium). Complementing this is an installation by Toronto’s Smit, evoking the armature of home decor.

Gordon Parks, The Flávio Story

At Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould)

September 12-December 9

This show is about a 1961 Life Magazine exposé that changed the life of a 12-year-old boy from a Rio de Janeiro favela. African-American Parks was a pioneer of photojournalism. He went on to direct Hollywood films, including Shaft.

Betsabeé Romero, Braided Roots/Trenzando raíces

At Art Gallery of York University (4700 Keele)

September 13-December 3

Mexican artist Romero developed this sculptural installation at the AGYU after a number of visits to Toronto. It’s result of a series of workshops she did with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, along with research into Canadian mining practices abroad.

Jeneen Frei Njootli, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Chandra Melting Tallow and Tania Willard, Coney Island Baby

At Gallery TPW (170 St Helens)

September 13-November 3

Shot on the territory of the Secwépemc Nation in B.C.’s interior, Coney Island Baby is a collectively authored film, made by four women. Focusing on skills that are often the responsibility of women in Indigenous communities, like the snaring of rabbits, the show also features sculptural installations by two of the artists.

Through Lines

At Koffler Gallery (180 Shaw)

September 13-November 25

A show about “redaction” suggests the long history of political censorship as an artistic method, however, redaction is essentially collage. As the works in this group show demonstrate, the technique provides endless scope for artists to cut and recombine materials – to bracing effect. Includes Lise Beaudry, Nadia Myre, and Michèle Pearson Clarke.

Museum of Contemporary Art, International Grand Opening Weekend

At 158 Sterling

September 22-23

The title says it all. With its move to a new location in the Lower Junction, Toronto’s MOCA is announcing the scale of its ambitions. Its inaugural exhibition, Believe, features celebrated artists like Barbara Kruger, Rajni Perera, Ange Loft and Jeremy Shaw, among others. Occupying five stories in a former aluminum factory, the show is free all weekend.

STYLL at Nuit Blanche

At Scarborough Town Centre and Scarborough Civic Centre

September 29

This year, Toronto’s all-night art event includes Scarborough as a location. All projects on view in STYLL – including performances, soundscapes and projections – were made by Scarborough-based artists, or are the result of collaborations between artists and community members or groups. Artists include Hiba Abdallah (also included in the MOCA show), Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE), Ekow Nimako and Director X.

Daan Roosegaarde, Waterlicht

At The Bentway (250 Fort York)

October 12-14

The Bentway presents the Canadian debut of this monumental light work by the acclaimed Dutch artist. Made from LEDs and special projection lenses, it’s part of a series of art-based installations called If, But, What If? running through November under the Gardiner. A range of public programs will accompany it.

Janet Morton and Morley Shayuk

At Paul Petro Contemporary Art (980 Queen West)

November 16-December 22

These two solo shows help celebrate the gallery’s 25th anniversary. Morton is known for her knitted works, sometimes at building scale Shayuk makes fine abstract paintings that often incorporate sculptural elements.

art@nowtoronto.com | @rosemheather

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