Seven graduate students in OCAD U’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice programguest curated the popular First Thursday event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on February 6. First Thursday is a monthly art party bringing together art, artists and music.
The OCAD U team developed a theme of The Duel: Competition at the Heart of Play, choosing to explore the competitive nature that drives us, and our need, even as adults, for play. “The gallery can be a neutral and somewhat intimidating space,” said Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, whose role on the team was to coordinate the pop-up talks and logistics. “We wanted to transform it into a place where new and playful interactions could occur and give people a new way of relating to the artwork.”
The team selected pre-existing works from some of the artists involved in the evening, including concept artist Nathalie Quagliotto, whose fun, large-scale playground architecture installations, Maturity Correlation and Double Your Chances, bring giant swings, mini-golf and gumball machines to the AGO’s European galleries.
The team was excited to commission new works by performance artists Geoffrey Pugen and Sarah Febbaro specifically for the event. Pugen’s King’s Court is a table tennis duel played on a modified, circular table with Pugen head-to-head against a professional table tennis player. Sarah Febbraro’s Let’s Figure This Out Fast So We Can Just Be Together! is an alternative speed matchmaking service over text messaging that sets couples up on instant dates.
The evening line-up also includes pop-up talks by AGO artist-in-residence and indie videogame maker, Jim Munroe and collective artists from VSVSVS, plenty of music spinning and playing in the AGO’s Walker Court. “Between Tape Deck Bros., Tasha The Amazon and Pick a Piper there will definitely be a lot of music to dance to!” said Blakeney.
The team of Criticism and Curatorial Practice students coordinating the event included Rui Amaral, Vicki Clough, Matthew Kyba, Victoria Mohr-Blakeney, Natasha Peterson, Erin Saunders and Genvieve Wallen. Blakeney said the opportunity to work with AGO staff in was an invaluable experience: “it definitely gave us a great insider view as to how an arts institution of this size functions on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
The Art Gallery of Ontario First Thursdays
Criticism and Curatorial Practice