Q. How were the funds raised to acquire the Infinity Mirror Room?
As a charity, the AGO relies on generous donors to acquire new works of art and make exhibitions and programming possible. Before the #InfinityAGO campaign began, the AGO secured $1 million towards the purchase of the Infinity Mirror Room from the David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund held in The AGO Foundation. The #InfinityAGO campaign raised an additional $651,183 from over 4,700 donors joining together. The outpouring of support is inspiring and reinforces that this extraordinary artwork belongs in the AGO Collection. Recognizing the importance of this work, we reached back into the Hodgson Fund – a fund dedicated to art acquisitions – to complete the campaign. The Hodgson Fund is an endowment fund that has grown significantly since it was established in 2005. As a result, we did not need to touch the fund’s capital for the purpose of acquiring the Infinity Mirror Room.
Q. What is the David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund?
The David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund was established in The AGO Foundation in 2005 as the result of a generous bequest from the Estate of David Y. Hodgson. The Hodgson Fund is an endowment fund supporting the acquisition of contemporary art for the AGO Collection. Over the years, the Fund has enabled the AGO to acquire significant artworks by leading Canadian, Indigenous and international contemporary artists. Among the works to enter our Collection are iconic works by Brian Jungen, Suzy Lake and Kent Monkman, as well as key pieces by renowned international artists Pierre Huyghe, Steve McQueen and Adrián Villar Rojas, among others. As a charitable organization, the AGO has limited funds available for Collection-building, and we are deeply grateful for the acquisitions that the Hodgson Fund has made possible.
Q. Why did the AGO crowdfund to buy a Kusama Infinity Mirror Room?
We are devoted to bringing the world’s best art to the AGO. Kusama is one of the world's leading contemporary artists. It’s clear Toronto loves Kusama. Over 165,000 people visited the AGO to see the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors in spring 2018. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of donors to acquire new artworks that will help build the AGO’s Collection to be enjoyed today and for generations to come. That’s why we asked the public to help bring a Kusama Infinity Mirror Room to Toronto…for infinity so today’s art lovers and future generations can enjoy this mesmerizing work.
It’s actually not the first time we’ve done this. Back in 1958, the Art Gallery of Toronto (an earlier name for the AGO) showcased a new purchase, Jacopo Tintoretto’s Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet. In order to afford the purchase, the art museum hung a reproduction of the painting, covered with one-by-one inch squares of white paper, which were sold to supporters, visitors and members of the public for $10 each. As donations came in, squares were removed to reveal the reproduction. Once all the squares were purchased, the museum had officially raised enough money to buy the painting. As we learned with the Tintoretto, when a person helps to bring a work of art to a museum, it can build a lifelong connection both to the work and the art museum.
Q. How much did the fundraising campaign cost?
One of the benefits of crowdfunding is the relatively low overhead. That means more dollars go to the acquisition of the artwork. To reach our goal, we needed a lot of donations from a lot of people – and it cost money to get the word out. There are also costs for fulfilling the benefits of a crowdfunding campaign, from buttons to umbrellas and more. The total cost of the #InfinityAGO campaign is approximately 15% percent of our overall goal, with over 85 per cent of funds going to acquire the art work.