One of the first depictions of gay life in a mainstream magazine was published by Life in 1964. In the half-century since those barely discernible gay men appeared in Life, the interplay between increased visibility and increased social acceptance for members of the queer community has been extensive.
If you told me four years ago that images taken with my smartphone would be featured in art publications, in exhibitions and appreciated by a loyal following across the globe, I'd say that's crazy. Then along came a digital photo platform (Instagram) that said instant expression was OK and that you could learn as you go. Instantly, when you sign you up, you're an artist.
Eighty-seven thousand people died in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008; 5,335 of them were children. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei turned the backpacks of those children into a serpent, a statement about what he believes is China's treacherous treatment of its impoverished citizens and government corruption. The rest of the "Ai Weiwei: According to What?" exhibit begins its only Canadian appearance this weekend at the AGO.
Ariel Garten, co-founder and CEO, InteraXon, a thought-controlled computing company based in Toronto, has managed to beautifully blend the worlds of science, art, business and technology. Often referred to as the "Brain Guru," her innovative technology harnesses the power of brainwaves to control objects and create experiences, from gaming to making a chair levitate.
The AGO is the last stop for Evan Penny: Re Figured. It's a solo exhibition that features over 25 of Penny's larger-than-life sculptures, each painstakingly crafted from layers of pigmented silicone, human hair, fabric and resin. Blending abstraction and figuration, Penny's hyper-realistic sculptures straddle the line between object and image, presenting the human form both as it is and as it can be when imagined through the distorting lens of photography and digital media.
General Idea, a Canadian art collective, are famous for employing a range of materials, like work in plaster, taxidermy and fluorescent tube. There is even straw on the floor of one fantastic installation. In it, the poodles (the artists) are contemplating the Canis Major constellation. It's quite funny.