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The Royal Ontario Museum: Impressive?

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We snuck in on the final day to see the Cut/Paste: Creative Reuse in Canadian Design show at the Royal Ontario Museum this past weekend, and, while the huge gallery spaces overwhelmed the design objects on display, there were a few things of particular interest, like objects that prison inmates had ingeniously cobbled together: water-boilers and crudely made toaster, to transform water and bread into toast and tea.


A toaster made by a prison inmate, similar to the one on view at the ROM. Image: weburbanist.com

Overall–though we didn’t expect to be–we were quite impressed with the ROM.

Although we were among the most vocal opponents of the ROM’s new crystal addition, and we hear the new building still suffers from maintenance problems, it seems to be improving its programming.

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The little things are what still depress us about the ROM. Oh, well. Image: VoCA.

The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, which presents the diversity of life on earth and the significant challenges to its conservation and survival, is an excellent place for families to take kids, and we could have spent hours in the (appropriately) excellent Teck Suite of Galleries, with its astounding displays of crystilized minderals and gems.

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A notice in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity. Image: VoCA

Most importantly, the ROM seems to finally be loosening its grip on Libeskind’s precious space. Using the space, being unafraid to curate it, will be key to rejuvenating the institution.

For the ROM’s newest contemporary show, Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi will fill the walls with his editorial drawings. Perjovschi is recognized for his unique style that mixes cartoons and graffiti to depict witty and incisive commentary on political, social and cultural issues of the moment. Seeing the artist at work is the main event! He’ll be at work for the duration of the show.

Dan Perjovschi: Late News
February 15 to 21, 2010


Dan Perjovschi, in action at the MoMA in 2007. Image: moma.org

Since William Thorsell announced his departure – HERE’s a recent Globe and Mail article on that – the search is on for a new director. We wonder who his successor will be.

One thing they could do is to revamp the Institute of Contemporary Culture, by bringing in the excellent curator Scott McLeod, director of Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art in Toronto, who has been doing such amazing quality exhibitions and world class speakers to the little gallery at 401 Richmond, to take it over.

McLeod, who was recently appointed curator of the next Mois de la Photo in Montreal (Sept 2011), would be a wonderful choice.


The House that Herman Built, Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace’s project. Image: bdonline.co.uk

Prefix has announced upcoming talks for the Urban Field Speakers Series 2010. They include one upcoming on Feb 9 by the New Orleans-based artists and activist Jackie Sumell who will discuss her longtime collaborative project, The House that Herman Built, that she created with former Black Panther and current inmate, Herman Wallace.

The starting point for the collaboration was this question: What kind of house does a man who has lived in a 6′ x 9′ prison cell for over 35 years dream of? Evolving via a written correspondence over years, the project has manifested itself in sketches, plans, architectural models and much more.

Definitely worth checking out.

Click HERE for more info on upcoming talks at Prefix ICA.

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