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AGO Launches AbEx with Two Show-Stopping Events


Gallery will throw an opening party and a New York tribute with Luminato

TORONTO – The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will celebrate the arrival of the exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art with two major public events. The first is a public party featuring some of Toronto’s hottest DJs and an exclusive exhibition preview. The AbEx Opening Party, with DJ sets by Egyptrixx, The Makeover, Luis Jacob, and Jaime Sin, will take over the AGO’s Walker Court on May 27 from 9 pm to midnight. The exhibition opens to the public the next day at 10 am.

Two weeks later, on June 13, the AGO will host an all-star performance presented in partnership with the Luminato Festival that celebrates the explosion of creativity that rocked New York in the 1950s. Spontaneity: A New York State of Mind features some of Toronto’s most talented musicians and writers performing landmark works from the era in which the Abstract Expressionists dominated the international art world, including:

*acclaimed jazz trumpetist Nick “Brownman” Ali, leading a jazz ensemble that will play works by New York jazz giants Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and others;
*dancer and choreographer Peggy Baker, performing choreography inspired by Merce Cunningham;
*pianist Eve Egoyan and musician Paul McCulloch performing the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman; and
*writers Lynn Crosbie and Stuart Ross reading poetry and prose by the New York School and the Beats.

Misha Glouberman, host of the Trampoline Hall lecture series, will host the evening, which will include screenings of films by Hans Namuth and Shirley Clarke. The event begins at
8 pm and ticketholders will have exclusive access to the exhibition from 6 pm.

Tickets to the AbEx Opening Party are $25 for the public and $20 for AGO members; tickets to Spontaneity are $30 for the public and $15 for AGO members. Tickets to both events are on sale now and can be purchased online at and by phone at 416-979-6655.

Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art opens May 28 at the AGO and features more than 100 works by the legendary artists whose drips, splatters, and fields of incredible colour catapulted New York to the centre of the international art world in the 1950s and changed the course of art history forever. On view for just 14 weeks, this landmark exhibition — a Canadian exclusive — features era-defining works by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Franz Kline, among others, and will be on view through September 4.

AGO members receive free admission to Abstract Expressionist New York, and are invited to attend exclusive previews of the exhibition on May 26 (10 am – 5:30 pm) and May 27 (10 am – 8:30 pm). Members do not have to pre-book tickets to the exhibition and can avoid the general line by presenting their membership card and exhibition ticket to enjoy access to an exclusive VIP line. AGO members also receive a 10% discount on merchandise purchased in the AbEx satellite shop, in addition to their discounts at shopAGO, caféAGO, and FRANK, the AGO’s signature restaurant.

Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. National Bank and Metropia are supporting sponsors of the exhibition.

With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


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