The Toronto biennial forum, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and The Power Plant, galvanizes the visual arts community.


The Toronto biennial forum, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and The Power Plant, galvanizes the visual arts community.

Toronto, 27 April, 2010 – An extraordinary 270 people turned out for the overwhelmingly successful public forum ‘From the Ground Up: A biennial platform for international contemporary art in Toronto’ last Saturday, 17 April.  Representatives of all major visual arts organizations and galleries in the city gathered for passionate discussion and demonstrated overwhelming interest in the idea of a contemporary art biennial or triennial in Toronto.

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and The Power Plant brought Toronto’s contemporary arts community to the table for a day of interactive panel discussions.  Many applauded the inclusiveness and underlying spirit of collaboration that characterized the event and mentioned that this was the first time in decades that so many leaders in the visual arts community had met together in person.

The organizers’ vision for the day was brought to life, as much energized and thoughtful debate ensued.  Clearly, this was a timely and resonant topic.  As expected, some respondents questioned the need for such an event; however, the vast majority discussed what the critical factors would be for staging a biennial in Toronto and the risks that would need to be managed.  A dominant view to emerge was the need for such an event to reflect the artistic identity of Toronto in a way that distinguished a Toronto biennial on the world stage.
Next Steps

MOCCA and The Power Plant will lead the next steps and the strategy moving forward with the same spirit of inclusiveness and collaboration that resonated throughout the forum.  Artistic Director and Curator of MOCCA David Liss, and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke, along with Peggy Gale, critic and curator and a moderator for the forum, will continue to consult with a wide range of interested parties and have already begun work on the production of a report.  The happenings of the day will be documented in this report and will be released by the end of May.  The report will summarize the discussion, make recommendations, and outline next steps, including any announcement on future meetings.

Speakers and respondents at the symposium included: Gregory Burke, Director, The Power Plant; David Liss, Artistic Director and Curator of MOCCA; Jessica Bradley, Owner, Jessica Bradley Art + Projects; Barbara Fischer, Executive Director/Chief Curator, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto; Philip Monk, Director/Curator, Art Gallery at York University; Lisa Steele, artist, co-founder of the media arts centre Vtape, and Professor and Associate Chair of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto; Gerald McMaster, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario; Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Founders of DisplayCult curatorial collaborative and Associate Professors, Ontario College of Art & Design and York University respectively; Heather Haynes, Founder and Executive Director, Toronto Free Gallery; Haema Sivanesen, Executive Director, SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre); Janice Price, President and CEO, Luminato; Fern Bayer, an independent researcher/curator who has also been previously active in international cultural promotion projects; Matthew Teitelbaum, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario;  Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art & Design; Ann Webb, Executive Director, Canadian Art Foundation; Richard Rhodes, Editor, Canadian Art; Gail Dexter Lord, Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources;  Dr. Paul Marks, collector and physician for the Toronto Raptors; Demetra Christakos, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Art Galleries; Richard Fung, video artist and Associate Professor, Ontario College of Art and Design; Marc Glassman, publisher and formerly owner of Page’s Book; Dyan Marie, artist; Monica Tap, artist and Associate Professor at the University of Guelph; Adrian Blackwell, artist, urban theorist and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Toronto; Laurel MacMillan, Programming Co-Director, Toronto International Film Festival, Corrado Paina, Executive Director, Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario; and Julian Sleath, Programming Manager, Special Events, City of Toronto.


Media Contacts:

Fayiaz Chunara
Communications & Development Coordinator
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Robin Boyko
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Power Plant
416.973. 4927