AGYU to reopen with North American first

The Art Gallery of York University will reopen in its new location in the Accolade East Building, Keele campus, on Jan. 25 with the first survey in North America of Indonesian-born, Amsterdam-based artist Fiona Tan. The exhibition, to be launched with a public reception from 6 to 9pm and continuing until March 26, will include the premiere of a newly commissioned work.

Until now, Tan’s work has generally been recognized for its investigation of the western world’s look at the colonial “other” or its archival examination of itself through collective portraiture in film and photography. This exhibition will be an oblique take on her work as it posits an undisclosed poetic behind the art whose subject is the flow of time. Tan and AGYU curator Philip Monk will collaborate on a publication derived from the exhibition, to be published in the near future.

Right: Detail from Lift (2000) by Fiona Tan, silkscreen, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

The AGYU, whose gallery space has been closed since the fall to prepare for the move, will now be located in two spacious galleries designed for the exhibition of contemporary art in all media. The public gallery spaces are supported by exhibit preparation, storage and installation facilities as well as a reception-retail area and offices.

“When the AGYU moves into the Accolade East Building, we will have a space to match the quality of our exhibitions,” says Monk. “For the past two years, we have put the apparatus in place for a larger enterprise. Its realization is now possible.

“The AGYU always had a strong international reputation, sustained by its exhibitions and publications,” Monk explains. “Sometimes it was more heard of than seen. We want to change this…. With our new space automatically raising our profile – and more accessible on campus, too – our ambition is to be the most important contemporary art gallery in Toronto.”

Right: Andrew J. Paterson in character

The event begins on the Performance Bus, the AGYU’s unique moving performance venue, which will depart from the Art Gallery of Ontario, 100 McCaul St., at 6 pm sharp for the grand opening and return downtown at 8:30pm. This trip by will be hosted by legendary Toronto performance artist Andrew J. Paterson and features his own special game show titled Lucky 13.

Left: News from the Near Future (2003) by Fiona Tan, video projection, courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

In conjunction with the exhibition at the AGYU, Tan will also give a lecture on her work as part of the Kodak Lecture Series at Ryerson University on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30pm. See for more information and to view the lecture footage online.

The AGYU Web site will feature new content in conjunction with the opening. “Voice Over”, by Toronto artist and writer Brian Joseph Davis, is the first virtual exhibit in FREE MONEY: Artists @ AGYU, a new series of artists’ projects specifically commissioned for the AGYU’s Web site. “Voice Over” will be available online in January and launched in conjunction with the reception for Tan on Jan. 25.

Davis is a creator of deceptive projects. Alex Ross, in The New Yorker, called him a “genius” for turning the writings of philosopher Theodor Adorno into a punk seven-inch record album (left), while Frieze Magazine deemed the project “serious hilarity…joyous and thoughtful.” Coach House Books recently published his first book, Portable Altamont, of which John Oswald declared, “his disavowal [of truth] should be adopted as standard boilerplate in all works claiming to exist in their own unique universe.” Check out: and visit Diaz Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (Jan. 12 to Feb. 11, 2006) to see more of his work.

Time travel with the AGYU

On Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 4pm, the AGYU will host “Explorations in Time Travel: Fiona Tan and the Archival Image”, a panel discussion, moderated by Philip Monk and featuring Suzie Young, a professor in York’s Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts; artist Vid Ingelevics, who teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design; and Corinn Columpar, professor in cinema studies at Innis College’s department of English, University of Toronto.

As of Jan. 25, 2006, the AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, Keele campus. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10 am-4 pm; Wednesday, 10am-8 pm; Sunday, noon-5 pm. The gallery is closed Saturdays. Admission to everything is free.