The Artist Files Collection

The artist files at the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives are a trove of documentation on contemporary and historical artists. The collection is focused on artists active in Canada, and takes an inclusive approach without regard to whether an artist’s work is represented in the AGO’s art collection. There are currently over 14,000 files, typically containing exhibition invitations, press clippings and artist CVs. The files are consulted as research materials by curators, students, art writers and others.

Artist files - Upcoming Event

UPCOMING EVENT

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ARTIST QUESTIONNAIRES

The files were initiated in 1912 when the Art Museum of Toronto (now the AGO) sent biographical questionnaires to living artists, asking about their training, exhibition histories and representation in major collections. The AGO library has continued to distribute questionnaires from time to time, giving artists the opportunity to document their practice and their career in their own words. Most recently, we have collaborated with the EMILIA-AMALIA Working Group to activate and build the artist files through artist file fair events, working to address systemic gaps and exclusions in the collection.


HOW TO CONTRIBUTE

The Library & Archives is actively building the artist files collection, and welcomes donations of documentation from interested artists. We especially encourage submissions from BIPOC, women, and trans or non-binary artists. Here are some ways to contribute:

  • Complete an artist questionnaire (PDF 87.79 KB)
  • Send us copies of exhibition invitations, articles, and/or your CV or biographical statement (please email artist.files@ago.ca with digital copies, or to make arrangements to give us physical copies)

Please keep in mind that the collection is publicly accessible, and do not include private personal information.


Artist file fair - past events

PAST FILE FAIRS

Special Events
Artist File Fair
Saturday, January 30, 2021 1 PM

EMILIA-AMALIA and the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario invite BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), women, queer, trans and non-binary artists to contribute to the AGO’s collection of more than 14,000 artist files that document the practices of artists in Canada since 1912.

This 3rd edition of the File Fair will feature Artist Erika DeFreitas and Curator Lillian O’Brien Davis in conversation about the work of attempting to share space, unearth and pay their…

Special Events
Artist File Fair with EMILIA-AMALIA, no. 2
Saturday November 30, 2019, 1 - 3 pm

EMILIA-AMALIA and the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario invite BIPOC, womxn, and trans artists to contribute to the AGO’s collection of more than 20,000 artist files that document the practices of artists in Canada since 1915.

This year, EMILIA-AMALIA is working within the framework of HOLES AND HOW TO FILL THEM as an organizing principle and guiding metaphor. Designed as a test-site…

Special Events
Artist File Fair with EMILIA-AMALIA
Saturday, July 8, 2017, 2 - 5 pm

As part of their artist residency, EMILIA-AMALIA invites artists to contribute to the AGO’s collection of more than 20,000 artist files that document the practices of artists in Canada since 1915. This afternoon of free programming will invite guests to explore the existing collection, hear talks from local artists and curators, and start their own file by completing a questionnaire about their work.

Emerging and established artists alike are encouraged to come start a new artist file or contribute to their existing file.…

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