MOCCA explores the future of the contemporary art gallery with exhibition ‘TBD’


TORONTO, AUGUST 28, 2014 The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art kicks off a much anticipated Fall exhibition season with an opening reception on Friday, September 5 at 8:00 pm.

Primary exhibition, TBD, challenges the role of the contemporary art gallery as MOCCA itself gears up for an exciting relocation in 2015 after ten years on Queen West. It’s never been a better time for MOCCA to ask: How is a contemporary art gallery defined?

TBD is the debut exhibition at MOCCA for Assistant Curator, Su-Ying Lee who has made a name for herself by placing art in unusual spaces around Toronto, most recently through the curatorial side project, Flipping Properties (2014)— a large-scale architectural installation by Jimenez Lai installed in an alleyway in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. TBD features works by 15 artists, including 6 that were specially created for the exhibition, as well as 69 juried submissions from MOCCA’s open Call for Ideas.

The exhibition is supported by an impressive series of programming, including a series of four exclusive Brewtality of Fact Beer Club meetings, where members will drink and participate in redefining a “pub-lication”; two panel discussions that place a spotlight on Toronto’s builders and innovators to discuss issues concerning the future of the contemporary art world in our cultural landscape; No Art Tours will lead participants on a meta tour around the gallery; and throughout the run of the exhibition, audiences will be asked to take Another Visitor Experience Survey — a parodic survey of unorthodox questions.

MOCCA’s Fall season also includes Mark Soo: House is a Feeling, an NGC@MOCCA presentation, and Amie Siegal: Provenance, presented in collaboration with the Future Projections programme of the Toronto International Film Festival.


Curated by Su-Ying Lee
September 6 – October 26

TIFF Future Projections
Curated by Andréa Picard
September 4 – 14

Organized by MOCCA and the National Gallery of Canada
September 6 – October 26


September 6 – October 26
Curated by Su-Ying Lee

The exhibition title TBD, most typically used as an acronym for ‘to be determined’, proposes that the definition of an institution such as a museum or contemporary art gallery is not fixed. TBD exposes the defining factors of contemporary art galleries for scrutiny and examines the institutions’ effects on communities in order to imagine possible futures and new approaches.

Highlights include works by Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Bill Burns and submissions from MOCCA’s Call for Ideas. Jonah Brucker-Cohen’s Alerting Infrastructure! (2003), is a physical hit counter that translates the hits that receives into the interior of the museum’s physical building. Each hit will chip away at the gallery wall, amplifying the concern that physical spaces are slowly losing ground to their virtual counterparts. Works from Bill Burns’ series, Art World Celebrity Signs (2014) on view including paper-scale models of major international art galleries, positioning the institution as a vehicle to fame, success and memorial. To Be Destroyed: A call for ideas is a wall installation of 69 submissions selected from MOCCA’s call for ideas, answering the question, “what is a contemporary art gallery?”

Also exhibited are a number of works created specially for TBD including; Jesse Harris’, How much art can you take? (2014), Justin Langlois’, Glossed Over (2014) and Jon Sasaki’s weekly performance, Performance To Double the MOCCA’s Visitor Figures (2014) – a comedic gesture meant to satirize the gallery metrics that prioritize attendance figures over less quantifiable measures of value.

TBD is Su-Ying Lee’s curatorial debut at MOCCA. Lee received a Masters of Visual Studies, Curatorial degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to her appointment as Assistant Curator at the MOCCA, her experiences have included a one-year curatorial residency at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts; a position as Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of Mississauga where she curated Explorers and Dandies in an Open Letter to Canada Post: Frederick Hagan and Kent Monkman (2008), and the curation of several independent projects including her most recent, Flipping Properties (2014), a large scale architectural installation by Jimenez Lai was installed in the alleyway behind Lee’s home as an exhibition that was publicly accessible 24hrs a day (co-curated with Jennifer Davis). Her practice steadily evolved, exploring curation beyond traditional frameworks of presenting art and exhibitions. Lee is interested in employing the role of curator as a co-conspirator, accomplice and active agent.

“The discussion about culture’s impact on communities endures. As the dialogue continues through a range of theories and criticisms, contemporary art museums must be self-reflexive and self-motivated towards evolving, asking: How is a contemporary art gallery defined? What is the art institution’s function in society? Are contemporary art galleries, as they presently exist, relevant? The current juncture in MOCCA’s existence, the search for a new, permanent facility, is the decisive moment to consider how institutions are perceived and situated in their own geographic, cultural and professional communities and what their contributions are/can be within these realms.”
– Su-Ying Lee, Curator of TBD


Brew Pub Journal, Brew Pub #3, 2014
Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Alerting Infrastructure!, 2003
Bill Burns, works from the Art World Signs series
Arabella Campbell, Ways of Seeing by Walking, 2014
ch+qs arquitectos, Floating Museum Proposal, 2014
Tomas Chaffe, Sometimes Artists Work Here, 2010
Michelle Jaja Chang, Buckminster Fuller’s Geometric Explorations, 2008
Steven Chodoriwsky, My Submission, 2014
Buckminster Fuller, Dymaxion Map
Maggie Groat, Fences Will Turn into Tables, 2010-2013
Jesse Harris, How Much Art Can You Take?, 2014
Justin A. Langlois, Glossed Over, 2014
Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect, 1975
Dax Morrison, Shop Series, 2007
Jon Sasaki, Performance to Double the MOCCA’s Visitor Figures, 2014
Jeanne van Heeswijk, Mistaken Identities, 2010
To Be Destroyed: A call for ideas, 2014
Architecture consultation and program: Jennifer Davis


J.P. Bickell Foundation, The Ouellette Family Foundation, Donald Schmitt and Cheryl Atkinson, Armstrong Fine Art Services, Paint the City


Opening Reception
Friday, September 5, 2014, 8:00 pm
Includes a performance of Archer PechawisSeeking Bones – a piece that considers MOCCA from cultural, chronological, geological, and hydrological perspectives.

Brew Pub Journal’s Brewtality of Fact Beer Club
(RSVP required for all events)
Monday, September 29, 7:00 pm
Tuesday, September 30, 7:00 pm
Wednesday, October 1, 7:00 pm
Friday, October 3, 7:00 pm

Brew Pub #3 will unfold as a beer club over a succession of evenings. The first few evenings will take place within the home of Eric Emery and cheyanne turions where the publication was brewed. A small group will be taken through an intimate ritual of introduction to Mugwort as a “teacher” following a score developed by the artists. This score will have the potential to be used in an auto-didactical method but also acts as the basic framework for this more detailed exploration facilitated by Gina Badger.

The final evening will take place at MOCCA as a private – Beer Club Members only event. This evening will initially take the form of a traditional artist talk and feature a panel including Gina Badger, Gabriel Saloman and Aja Rose Bond, as well as an invited respondent (to be determined), and will be moderated by cheyanne turions.

The Builders Panel
Monday, October 6, 7:30 pm

A panel discussion comprised of influential community and culture builders who will offer their insights into the current cultural landscape of Toronto and beyond, and what possibilities the future holds.

The Innovators Panel
Thursday, October 9, 7:30 pm

The panel will feature a number of local innovators who, through their resourcefulness and micro-actions, have contributed to the city’s cultural production and broadened creative and intellectual thought. Taking off from the previous ‘The Builders’ panel, these innovators, in this public discussion will further develop some of the questions and ideas about community, culture, impact and how to contribute.

OPEN SESAME: Critics Forum
Saturday, October 18, 3:00 pm

MOCCA is hosting the 7th installment of LUFF Art+Dialogue’s Critics Forum. Based on David Cohen’s Review Panel at the National Academy Museum in New York City, three critics will review three current Toronto exhibitions, after which questions and dialogue between critics and audience will be facilitated.


A series of tours in which viewing the exhibition in a traditional context is avoided.

Blindfolds Tour
Sunday, October 19, 12:00 pm
Visitors will be led on a tour through the gallery blindfolded, experiencing the exhibition through the remaining heightened senses; exploring the differences in cultural consumption and artistic understanding when vision is omitted.

Walls + Outlets Tour
Sunday, October 19, 3:00 pm
A tour that offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the structure of MOCCA, both architecturally and institutionally. By looking past the art, literally, the guide will illuminate the institution’s intimate exhibition, building, and bureaucratic histories, with which only its employees or longstanding members would be familiar.

Ongoing throughout the run of the exhibition

A parodic survey that attempts to collect demographic data about MOCCA audiences through a series of unorthodox questions.

Created byAisle 4 —a curatorial project consisting of Emily Fitzpatrick, Shannon Linde, Patricia Ritacca, Renée van der Avoird.


Organized by MOCCA and the National Gallery of Canada
September 6 – October 26

House is a Feeling plays faintly on our fears of missing out. Here, Mark Soo creates an ambiguous situation where notions of perception, expectation and context are confounded; traditional modes of representation are eschewed; and our spatial understandings of an exhibition are undone. By withholding the visual element of this installation, Soo produces a sense of speculation and intrigue, transporting a domestic experience into a public space normally reserved for contemplation and introspection. Named after an iconic 1990s dance track, House is a Feeling literally rocks the parameters of display and is as much about what is present as what is absent.


TIFF Future Projections
Curated by Andréa Picard
September 4 – September 14

The latest film from American artist Amie Siegel is part of a constellation of works exploring an emblem of mid century modernism: furniture designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret as part of their utopian conception for the Indian city of Chandigarh. Provenance is exhibited with the video Circuit, film Lot 248, and a Lucite­-encased inkjet print Proof (Christie’s 19 October, 2013).



The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art was born on the cusp of the millennium and has exploded onto the Toronto and Canadian art scene with ambitious local-to-global programming. Showcasing the work of 1,000 Canadian and international artists since re-locating to Queen Street West in 2005, MOCCA functions as a hub for cultural production and creative exchange. With a pioneering approach to partnership, MOCCA actively collaborates with like-minded organizations, including the Toronto International Film Festival and the National Gallery of Canada.

All programs and activities of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, BMO Financial Group, CISCO, individual memberships and private donations.


The National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is a collaborative program of exclusive exhibitions in MOCCA’s Project Space, drawn from the NGC’s exceptional Contemporary Art collection.

The National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is generously supported by THE ART DEPT., The Ouellette Family Foundation, and AXA Art Canada.


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Mark Savoia
Marketing & Communications Coordinator