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Art Toronto is the best way to become familiar with Canada’s biggest art stars, and the gallerists who’ve helped them shine

I definitely miss the people watching and seeing the artwork close up, but touring Art Toronto virtually is still a wonderful experience that brings me a lovely mix of tranquility, inspiration, and pleasure.

Designed for serious collectors, price points at Art Toronto start in the low hundreds, but one could also spend $475,000 for an original Emily Carr. What I love is looking at EVERYTHING, picking my favourites, reading about the artists, and becoming familiar with which galleries represent who. You don’t need to be in the market of art investing to enjoy Art Toronto—consuming it and thinking about the work is an entirely fulfilling exercise on its own. 

The sleek digital platform they’ve built to manage this hellish year allows you to sort by medium (painting, photography, textile, etc.), gallery, price point, or view collections selected by local tastemakers. You can check out what the AGO is acquiring, and also tune into numerous talks that range from Decolonizing Museums and Collections to Claiming Space: Women in the Art World.

Lisa Lyon by Robert Mapplethorpe (Olga Korper Gallery)

If you want to familiarize yourself with Canada’s most celebrated contemporary artists, and the gallerists who have helped pave the way, Art Toronto is the best space to explore the scene. I lay back on the couch for a good hour, while my son sat beside me watching Captain Underpants, and clicked my way through the extensive collection of work, which is mostly Canadian, but also features art stars from all over the world.

As it should be, the work of recent OCAD graduates is displayed next to the most famous of-the-moment artists alongside big names from art history: Annie Pootoogook, Anique Jordan, Nan Goldin, Dana Klaxton, Marie-Claude Marquis, Kim Dorland, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kent Monkman, Jade Rude, Tania Costa, Shellie Zhang. The diverse range of work is invigorating. 

Untitled, Tania Costa (OCAD in partnership with Arts London)

Perhaps what I most enjoy is questioning the process of being drawn to art; what do I like, and why? When I find something that excites me I go down a rabbit hole, reading about the artist and discovering a little bit about their story. Try it. What the hell else are you doing this weekend?

Art Toronto runs from October 28 – November. 8th. See full schedule of programming here

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