Although Toronto’s fin-de-siècle rush to the top was largely focused on high finance and even higher skyscrapers, the city’s arts culture has seen notable growth in the past decade.
As groundbreaking artists typically do, Jean-Michel Basquiat embodied an era. He became an unlikely superstar in a segregated art world at just 20 years old, exploding onto the New York scene in the early 1980s, his rise coinciding with the development of hip hop music and graffiti art culture.
The first thing I noticed was the breasts. They were hard to miss. True, this was a Picasso—something from the Rose Period, wherein breasts still plainly resembled, well, breasts—but I was only eight years old and my appreciation of high art was somewhat lacking.
He may be the most celebrated and sought-after architect of our time, but Frank Gehry insists that all he wants is to be a good neighbour. “I’m an egomaniac like all the others,” he confesses happily. “But I’m a Canadian egomaniac. Modesty is built into our lives.”
William Thorsell, director and CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum, is changing the way Canadians see—and are seen.
“Art matters!” proclaims the Art Gallery of Ontario. But while the earnest gallery labours to engender its motto, what place does art really hold in the day-to-day lives of most individuals?