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House Guests: Contemporary Artists in The Grange [AGO Exhibition]

  • Conceptual
  • September 15, 2001 - January 27, 2002

Built by the Boulton family between 1817 and 1820, The Grange is Toronto's oldest remaining brick house and a national historic site. The Grange was bequeathed at the beginning of the twentieth century to become the home of Toronto's first art museum. During the nineteenth century, The Grange was at the centre of this city's social and political activity. Today, with its collection of furniture, artifacts and art, it is an historic house museum and a unique part of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The house embodies the AGO''s development over the past century, when it grew to become the eighth largest art museum in North America.

The works of several contemporary artists will be special "guests" in The Grange, the Gallery's first home, in celebration of the Art Gallery of Ontario's first century and the fact that the Gallery was founded with the work of then living artists. The exhibition, which is entitled House Guests: Contemporary Artists in The Grange, provides the opportunity to interweave our past and our future. Drawing upon the continuous transformations that have characterized The Grange, its holdings and its social and cultural role, these artists have been invited to respond to this rich site with works that will be installed throughout the house. This co-mingling of historical and contemporary forces will reveal our artistic heritage as the living legacy from which many current artistic practices are fashioned.

The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a book, featuring an essay about The Grange by Charlotte Gray, author of Sisters in the Wilderness. The artists participating in House Guests will provide commentary on their installations and the impact that the house and its place in Toronto's history and culture had on their creative process.

Among those currently conceiving special projects for this unique exhibition in The Grange are Luis Jacob, Robert Fones, Rebecca Belmore, Christy Thompson, all from Toronto, Elaine Reichek (New York), Elizabeth LeMoine (London) and Josiah McElheny, (New York).

The project was originally conceived by AGO Curators Christina Ritchie and Jessica Bradley of the Contemporary Art department, in collaboration with Grange Curator Jenny Rieger. The publication is supported by The Grange Council.