A local museum and space dedicated to every kind of imaginative visual art is an impressive statement, and last week the AGO located in Toronto, Canada, opened their largest exhibition to date in Canada. It’s a small homey space on King Street West, an all clear area of the nation’s premiere art museum, and opened with high expectations. From a programming perspective the design and content of the exhibit, “Red Is Beautiful,” was struck by an array of contemporary artists, actors, composers, and filmmakers. The message of the show is that red is good.
Canadian Director of Design Allan Hunter explained to us just how well the exhibition met its mission of present Canadian artists in an attractive and robust space. “We wanted to have a modern play on the idea of the red carpet, we wanted to do a really loud, loud and radical vision of Canadian design and the gallery is the right place for this. It’s an open, no-holds-barred statement, it’s a well-laid out structure,” Hunter says. As the very first director of Design at the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, his distinguished legacy for many years is the International Center of Design Toronto, along with an eye toward contemporary design. “Just one minute into the exhibition, I was completely in love. This is a really perfect marriage of an old-fashioned trompe l’oeil magical feel and in fact its one of the best things I’ve ever seen in the world,” he says.
Hunter tells us that besides to the design, the collection of contemporary Canadian work he loved was its diversity, from traditional painters to an urban architect, along with the musical strings, and experimental filmmakers, one of the highlights was a technology presentation, which included videos that projected images on the walls around the room. “We weren’t very successful in the beginning, in trying to find an outside partner. It just wasn’t the right moment. But Artesian had done such a powerful exhibition two years ago at the AGO with Alena Clagir, and they sent a video down to me. Now it was OK. So I came back and just did this amazing collaboration with them,” he says.