AGO MASSIVE PARTY returns April 23 with a serious HOTBED of talent

#AGOMASSIVE is Toronto’s hottest art party with live music, installations and performances by underground artists including Calvin Love, Prince Innocence, Maya Fuhr, Brad Tinmouth and more


TORONTO – On April 23, 2015, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will introduce Toronto to the next generation of influencers and tastemakers as it hosts 1,900 art lovers at its 11th annual Massive Party fundraiser. Tickets to AGO’s Massive Party Hotbed are more than 85 per cent sold. The event has become one of the city’s most buzz-worthy parties and tickets are going fast.  

Co-chaired by George BarkasRob Drynan and Anais Granofsky, this year’s theme is Hotbed. Curated by multidisciplinary Toronto artist TALWST, and inspired by Toronto’s own emerging talent, this one-night-only event offers party-goers electric performances by some of Toronto’s most cutting edge artists, as well as live music, DJs, food, drinks and never-before-seen art installations inspired by the party’s theme. Guests can follow all the action and share their own party pictures online by using the hashtag #AGOMASSIVE.

“The artists and performers featured in this year’s Massive Party share a common trait – they are all on the verge of international acclaim. These are tomorrow’s stars and influencers, and Toronto is the new hotbed for talent,” said TALWST, artistic director of Massive Party 2015. “The AGO’s Basquiat exhibition is evidence of how rare it is to find a hotbed. I hope guests will consider Massive Party their opportunity to travel back in time, and to recognize that Basquiat’s microcosm is around us now; to meet the Grace Joneses, Madonnas and Keith Harings of our time.”

Tickets to Massive Party are $160 for the public and $130 for AGO members; groups are invited to purchase 12 tickets for the price of 10 at $1,600. AGO Next members are invited to join the artists of Massive Party for the AGO Next Pre-Party beginning at 8:00 p.m. in Baillie Court. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 416-979-6628. Guests must be 19 or older (ID required).

The cutting-edge installations and performances on view throughout the Gallery are a perfect complement to the visceral power of the AGO’s Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's the Time exhibition, which will be open to party-goers from 9 to 11 p.m.

Inspired directly by Basquiat’s work, Toronto textile artist Erika DeFreitas presents the brick and mortar (that is sacred), a series of text-based needlework pieces, whose words and dialogue are drawn verbatim from her attempt to contact with Jean-Michel Basquiat via a psychic medium. These hand-stitched works will be on view in the Weston Family Learning Centre all night long.

Getting in the door is only the first step. Once in Walker Court, guests can captivate bouncers for their chance to party inside the most exclusive party area of the night – LEMONLESS. An homage to the underground and its notorious nightlife, LEMONLESS is Toronto artist Maya Fuhr’s inspired take on disco and excess, all captured on 35mm film.

Upstairs in Baillie Court, Toronto artist Chloe Wise presents a very literal, albeit campy, view of this year’s theme. A multimedia installation incorporating sculpture and video, at the centre of Wise’s work HOTBEDANDBREAKFAST is a hotel bed covered by warm breakfast foods.

Toronto artist duo Rose and Joy Broadbent – the Broadbent Sisters invite guests into their surreal confessional booth for a tarot-card reading unlike any they’ve experienced before. Pushing back the curtain, once inside guests will confront the sisters themselves and receive one of a series of unique handmade tarot cards, chosen for its semblance to the guest’s inner self. Guests can line up for their readings in the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre Gallery School.

Guests looking for somewhere to recharge need look no further than Brad Tinmouth’s immersive sculptural installation The Cultivated Landscape. An idealized environment, where nature and techonology meet, the installation features living plants to purify the air, classical paintings to inspire the senses and a variety of cellphone chargers to help guests literally recharge and retweet. Tinmounth’s sculpture includes fragrant cedar tables and ample natural seating, replete with builtin bottle openers, customizable cups, beer and wine await guests looking for a tastier kind of refreshment in the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre.

Dotted throughout the Gallery, Virgil Baruchel’s veil of hand-painted flowers provides a visually stunning backdrop to the sinuous movements of roving dancer Benjamin Kamino. In this work, entitled YOUCANTSEEUSBUTWESEEYOU, Baruchel invites guests to connect with Kamino as he moves through the gallery and to follow him through the party and into the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre where he will perform at 10 and 10:45 p.m.

This year’s artistic director TALWST will reanimate his dynamic performance piece lanmó -- a highlight at both Art Toronto and First Thursday -- one last time for guests.  Inspired by the AGO’s exhibition Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time, the procession will begin at 11 p.m. in Walker Court.

Teeming with energy, this year’s Massive Party presents not one but four live musical performances in the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre. Kicking off the party at 9:30 p.m., Edmonton-born musician D.B Buxton brings his unique blend of synth and blues rock to the stage, followed  at 10:15 p.m. by Toronto hip hop artist Drew Howard. Mixing it all together, power pop duo Prince Innocence takes the stage at 11 p.m. Newly signed to Toronto indie label Arts & Crafts, singer songwriter Calvin Love takes the stage at 11:45 p.m. for a dramatic headlining set.  

Spinning ambient disco tunes all night long in Walker Court are Toronto DJ’s A Digital Needle. In Baillie Court, the dance party goes late with DJ Bambii playing her own eclectic mix of dancehall, electronica and hip hop.

After all that dancing, guests can quench their thirst at one of the many open bars, sponsored by Absolut Vodka, Château des Charmes and Kronenbourg 1664. An incredible selection of hot eats will also be available. Menu items include Moroccan beef handpies, chickpea masala, taro fries and birria beef tostadas with cilantro crema. No party is complete without a late night treat and come last call AGO Events Chef Annick Le Goaix will be passing out grilled cheese sandwiches with braised shortrib, pickled red onion, cheese and bone marrow butter.

The AGO gratefully acknowledges the support of Massive Party Hotbed Lead Sponsor TD Bank and Supporting Sponsor Purpose Investments. In-kind sponsors include Absolut Vodka, Chair-man Mills, Chateau des Charmes, C.J. Graphics, Firedog Creative, and Kronenbourg 1664. NOW Magazine is this year’s media partner and the creative partner is Brightworks.

Proceeds from Massive Party support the AGO’s exhibitions and education programs.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Feb. 7 – May 10, 2015: Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time

April 11 - July 12, 2015: From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia

June 20 – Sept. 7, 2015: Picturing the Americas

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For high-resolution images and other press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403, [email protected]

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364, [email protected]

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