Art attack: six must-see gallery exhibits

Art attack: six must-see gallery exhibits

Euan Macdonald
This Scottish-born multimedia artist has built a career out of making ordinary objects and moments seem extraordinary. (Want to turn that workman icon, the CN Tower, into something amusing and bemusing? Bury it in the Sculpture Garden with only the very top poking out.) In his new show, Macdonald takes a crack at factory production (and cats and keyboards).
Oct. 21 to Dec. 4. Birch Libralato.

Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts
Unlike many multimillionaires today, India’s maharajas had not only money; they had taste (a few gilt-loving Ivana Trump moments notwithstanding). Making its only Canadian stop, this dazzling show covers some 300 years of subcontinental history and features more than 200 objets d’art, including the Patiala Necklace, checking in at a modest 2,930 diamonds. And let’s not forget the carriage made entirely of silver.
Nov. 20 to April 3, 2011. Art Gallery of Ontario.

Henry Moore
You probably thought you’d seen them all. The AGO already has a huge collection of Moore’s work, but the Tate Britain is lending the gallery 50-plus pieces from the 1920s and ’30s, most of which have never been shown in Canada. Moore was beginning to break with figurative sculpture during those years, though he remained obsessed with the body. The road to The Archer begins here.
Oct. 23 to Feb. 6, 2011. Art Gallery of Ontario.

Ian Wallace and Pae White
Two prominent West Coast artists take over the Power Plant with separate but equal shows. Photographer Wallace has been a major influence on the Vancouver scene since the ’70s and mentored countless artists, including Jeff Wall; his new, somewhat astringent painting-based photos are nicely offset by the brightly coloured and giddy tapestries courtesy of L.A.’s White.
Oct. 8 to Jan. 2, 2011. Power Plant.

El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa
For sheer, shameless gorgeousness, it’s hard to top the work of this world-famous Ghanaian artist, particularly given that his favourite medium is garbage. He takes discarded aluminum foil, milk tins, bottle tops, old metal graters and bits of wire and weaves and assembles them much the way his ancestors handled more traditional materials. These “cloths” are fully African, but the impact of European colonialism is never far from the surface.
Oct. 2 to Jan. 2, 2011. Royal Ontario Museum.

Shary Boyle
Shary Boyle’s art—preoccupied as it is with mythology and fables, beauty and sexuality—has a quietly astonishing, grotesque power that won her last year’s $25,000 Gershon Iskowitz Prize. This fall, the AGO unveils Boyle’s Flesh and Blood, a four-room show devoted to, among other works, her delicate porcelain miniatures, droll portraiture and an installation of a haystack with two enormous, copulating figures—a mosaic tile-covered woman and a scarecrow. Read our Q&A with Boyle here >>
Sept. 15 to Dec. 5. Art Gallery of Ontario.

(Photographs: Euan MacDonald courtesy of Birch Libralato; Maharaja from V&A Images; Ian Wallace work courtesy of Ian Wallace and Catriona Jeffries Gallery; El Anatsui courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery; Henry Moore courtesy of the Henry Moore Foundation archive)

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