OCAD U teaches AGO how to party with an Art Spiegelman–inspired First Thursday

Toronto electro-pop artist Lowell headlines March art party dedicated to comics, zines and illustration

TORONTO — March comes in like a lion at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) as First Thursdays returns on March 5, 2015, with a fierce lineup of artist projects, live music and pop-up talks, all inspired by the work of groundbreaking comics artist Art Spiegelman. Party-goers at this 19+ event will see the AGO transform into an after-hours artistic and cultural hub from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Guest-curated by OCAD U MFA Criticism and Curatorial Practice students, this special edition of AGO First Thursdays promises an exciting lineup of young and emerging talent, including a performance by Toronto’s own electro-pop lioness Lowell. Praised by the CBC for releasing one of the top 20 albums of 2014, her first album, We Loved Her Dearly, debuted in September to rave reviews on and off the dance floor. Lowell takes the stage in the AGO’s Walker Court at 10 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now at www.ago.net/firstthursdays. Regular-priced tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission for AGO members is $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Party-goers can purchase $22 advance combo-ticket packages to see Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time. The exhibition will be open until 10 p.m., with the last entry at 9 p.m. AGO members enter the exhibition for free but are encouraged to book tickets early. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended as First Thursdays consistently sell out and tickets are not held back for at-the-door sales.

The March First Thursday lineup also includes:

Art Spiegleman’s CO-MIX: A Retrospective

Visitors are invited to explore the work of Pulitzer Prize–winning New York artist Art Spiegelman on view on the second floor of the AGO. A tireless innovator, Spiegelman creates work that references politics, the Holocaust, Cubism and hard-boiled detective fiction among other subjects. Representing the breadth of Spiegelman's career, the exhibition features 300 works on paper ranging from trading cards to magazine covers, including rarely seen works from Spiegelman's teens and 20s, original drawings for In the Shadow of No Towers (2004), illustrations for a 1994 edition of the Flapper Age epic poem The Wild Party and original manuscripts of his award-winning graphic novel Maus, rarely exhibited due to their fragility. The exhibition will close March 15.

Pop-Up Talks

Join AGO curator of Canadian Art Andrew Hunter, curator and critic Dr. Matthew Ryan Smith and Toronto artist Nina Bunjevac for a trio of pop-up talks beginning at 8 p.m. in the McLean Centre for Canadian Art. Hunter will discuss Speigelman’s influences, while Dr. Smith will explore autobiography in art and literature and Bunjevac will speak about her installation Out of the Fatherland, currently on view.

Artist Projects

Toronto artists Fiona Smyth and Alexandra Mackenzie (a.k.a Petra Glynt) will bring the AGO’s Fleck Gallery to life with a series of large-scale projections celebrating Toronto female artists. Entitled The Walk, Smyth’s silent six-minute film tells the of story of woman’s life from birth to death, while Mackenzie’s drawings come to life in the video Propaganda, a video work inspired by her song of the same title from her 2014 album Petra Glynt. In the Edmond G. Odette Family Gallery on the first floor illustrator Ness Lee surprises with a series of life-sized figures and scenes, entitled Head in the Hole. In Walker Court, from 7 to 10 p.m., En Masse, a live drawing collective with members from Toronto and Montreal, will gather to create art.

Zine Lounge

Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Jason McLean invites visitors to pull up a chair and explore Soapbox Pillow, an installation of more than 20 zines, culled from his own extensive collection. Featuring collaborative publications from the 1990s to the present, this temporary library will be on display in the Reuben Wells Leonard Memorial Gallery on the first floor. As part of the project, McLean invites visitors to submit a title for his new book.

Fake Injury Party

Merging performance, comedy and improvisation, Derrick Guerin, Scott Leeming and Paul Tjepkema are Fake Injury Party, a three-man artist collective. Join them at 8 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. on the fifth Floor of the AGO’s contemporary tower as they present Men of the Rose, an interactive performance.

Art Making

Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in three different art-making projects during First Thursday. Button-making stations will be set up in Galleria Italia, and on the fifth floor of the contemporary tower, visitors can take inspiration from Spiegelman’s Garbage Pail Kids trading cards and make their own. In the shadow of the Group of Seven, visitors are also invited to participate in illustrated storytime, as they draw to the sounds of live storytellers. Art-making activities run all evening.


DJ Donna Lovejoy will be spinning tunes all night long in Galleria Italia and DJ Barbi will get the crowd going in Walker Court from 7 to 10 p.m.

Additional local artists, speakers and interactive projects will be announced in the coming weeks at ago.net/FirstThursdays. The evening will also feature an Out of the Vaults exhibition of rarely seen works from the AGO collection, as well as delicious food and drinks (cash bar; ID required).

For all the latest details on First Thursdays programming, visit www.ago.net/FirstThursdays and follow #AGO1st on Twitter and Instagram.

Supporting Sponsor: Joe Fresh

Official Beer Partner: Grolsch Premium Lager

Signature Partner, AGO Artist Projects: RBC Emerging Artists Project

Media Partner: NOW Magazine

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program, Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program; and the RBC Emerging Artists Project, Signature Partner of AGO Artist Projects.

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

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

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and receives 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 all media enquiries about AGO First Thursdays, including interview requests and high-resolution images, please contact:

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

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