The Contemporary Collection

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The AGO’s contemporary collection is actively transforming. Acquiring work from international artists since 1960 and Canadian artists since 1990, the collection includes painting, sculpture, immersive installation, works on paper, photography, performance, video and sound art.

Most major art movements from the 1960s onwards are represented in the collection, including Pop Art, Minimalism, Post-minimalism, and Arte Povera. The holdings from these areas include work by artists such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, George Segal, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, John McCracken, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Richard Long. Conceptual art is represented in the collection with works by Daniel Buren, Hans Haacke, On Kawara, Lawrence Weiner and Ian Wilson.

A core strength of international art from the 1980s is European Neo-expressionism, with iconic works by artists Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, and Jörg Immendorff. Other important works from the decade are by Gilbert and George, Jack Goldstein, Mary Kelly, Cady Noland, and Nancy Spero.

The collection of contemporary Canadian art is strengthened by career-spanning holdings of key artists such as Michael Snow, General Idea, Liz Magor, Geneviève Cadieux, Rebecca Belmore, and Stephen Andrews, and significant works by Jana Sterbak, Brian Jungen, Janice Kerbel, Micah Lexier, Duane Linklater, John Massey, Ken Lum, Luis Jacob and Geoffrey Farmer.

Sculpture holdings include work by artists Mona Hatoum, Haegue Yang, Simon Starling, Doris Salcedo, Danh Vo and Pierre Huyghe. Tino Segal and Kevin Beasley’s performance works along with the time-based works of Francis Alÿs, Janet Cardiff, Paul Chan, James Coleman, Stan Douglas, Theaster Gates, Mark Lewis, Steve McQueen and Frances Stark distinguish the collection. Highlights of the contemporary photography holdings include work by Scott McFarland, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Jeff Wall and artists of the Düsseldorf School.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE COLLECTION


COLLECTION RESOURCES

E.P. Taylor Library & Archives

The E.P. Taylor Library & Archives is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday. Access to the Archives and Special Collections is by appointment. Book collections are searchable through our online catalogue. Special collections holdings may be browsed online using our alphabetical list.

Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre

This state-of-the-art facility is open to the pubic and dedicated to the study of prints, drawings and photographs. It houses a collection of over 70,000 works which date from the 13th century to the present day. Find out more about the AGO's prints and drawings collection.

Image Licensing

Find the image you need from the Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the most distinguished art museums in North America. AGO Images licenses to scholarly and commercial clients worldwide. Be inspired by Tom Thomson, James Tissot, Kennth Noland, Walter Trier and many more amazing artists.

Conservation at the AGO

Conservation is the care and protection of cultural objects. As the caretakers of collections, conservators examine, research, clean and repair artworks, while also taking action to prevent future deterioration. Here at the AGO, the Conservation Team includes conservators, mat makers, framers and mount makers. These specialists work together to ensure each work will look its best not only for today, but also for generations to come.

Provenance Research Project

The AGO is committed to investigating the provenance of works in its permanent collection, particularly as it pertains the ownership history of European painting and sculpture during the 1933–45 period. The purpose of this is to increase awareness and understanding of the spoliation of works of art by the Nazis and others.

The AGO's Deaccessioning Policy

The Art Gallery of Ontario cares for its collections according to the highest standards. Its resources should only be devoted to works of art that serve its mission and are worthy of such care. This occasionally demands that works be judiciously and carefully deaccessioned from the collections. The proceeds from this are reinvested in new works of art.

Artefacts Canada

Thanks to the important contribution of this country's heritage institutions, the Artefacts Canada database contains close to 4 million object records and approximately 800,000 images from Canadian museums.

 

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