Jan 2, 2024

Six artful moments at the AGO in 2024

Upcoming exhibitions, events, and publications coming to the AGO this year 

Pacita Abad's European Mask (1990)

Pacita Abad, European Mask, 1990. Acrylic, silkscreen, thread on canvas. Tate: Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2019. Courtesy Pacita Abad Art Estate and Tate. Photo: At Maculangan/Pioneer Studios.

New year, new exhibitions to see, events to attend, and books to read.  

At the AGO, 2024 marks the start of an array of exhibitions featuring the works of artists such as Sonia Boyce, June Clark, Kazuo Nakamura and Jinny Yu. Exhibitions dedicated to the work of James Tissot and Rembrandt will also go on view in 2024, the latter exhibition featuring seven works attributed to the Dutch Golden Age painter. Dedicated to the 1960s resort, which acted as a refuge for a network of crossdressers, the exhibition Casa Susanna opened in December, featuring over 350 images sourced from three collections, including the AGO's.  

And, of course, the AGO’s major exhibitions continue into the new year. Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody and KAWS: FAMILY remain on view into March. Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now is on view until April 1. Building Icons: Arnold Newman’s Magazine World, 1938 – 2000 closes on January 21. 

On the programming side, the AGO has a line-up of talks, performances, and events coming up, including a performance by artist and educator Sharon Marley, a Toronto KiKi Ballroom ball, and an AGO Bistro dinner inspired by the work of Keith Haring.  

Here are six highlights happening at the AGO in 2024. For the full exhibition, event and programming line-up, visit AGO.ca 


1.   KAWS: FAMILY  Catalogue, winter 2024

The cover of the KAWS: Family exhibition cover

KAWS: FAMILY. 2024. Artwork © KAWS. Cover image: AGO

Keep your eyes peeled in early 2024 for the release of the KAWS: FAMILY exhibition catalogue.  

156 pages and fully illustrated, this new hardcover catalogue documents KAWS’s Canadian museum debut at the AGO. Readers are immersed into the world of KAWS and his characters through works on view in the exhibition, an interview between KAWS and Jim Shedden, AGO Curator of Special Projects and Director of Publishing and an essay by Julian Cox, AGO Deputy Director, Chief Curator, and curator of the exhibition.  

KAWS: FAMILY contains more than 75 works by the artist, including wall murals, sketches, paintings, sculptures, and product collaborations. The exhibition is on view until March 31, 2024. 


2. OKAN Musica, February 2, 2024 

A photograph of OKAN MUSICA

Image courtesy of the artists

In celebration of Black History Month, the AGO has a rich programming line-up throughout February, including a series of performances for AGO Friday Nights.  

Kicking off the month is a performance from Juno Award-winning Canadian Afro-Cuban Jazz group OKAN. A woman-led ensemble of Cuban Canadian musicians Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne, OKAN combines Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk, and global rhythms. Their songs focus on topics such as immigration, courage, and love. Join in on this spirited evening at the AGO on February 2 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, free with general admission and for AGO Members and Annual Pass Holders. Get more information on the performance here.  

Also on the roster for AGO Friday Nights is a performance from artist, educator, and advocate Sharon Marley on February 9 and two performances from steelpan artist Suzette Vidale on February 16 and February 23. 

On top of the AGO Friday Nights programming, the AGO will be hosting a screening of the documentary RasTA: A Souls Journey, a conversation with British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové and Family Day Weekend programming for the whole family.  

Get the full details on Black History Month at the AGO here. 

3.  Choreographer Bill. T Jones in Conversation, March 6, 2024 

A photograph of Bill T. Jones

Photo by Maria Baranova.

In honour of the exhibition Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody, on view until March 17, 2024, American choreographer, director, and dancer Bill. T Jones will join Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art at the AGO to discuss his collaborations with Haring. 

Jones and Haring first met in 1983 in London, developing a friendship that led to a series of collaborations in performance and drawing, resulting in some of the most iconic imagery of the era.   

A short clip from their collaborative performance Long Distance (1982) is on view as part of the exhibition. In this performance, Jones dances downstage of Haring, who is painting a work live. The sounds of Haring’s brushstrokes and traffic from the street outside are the only noises accompanying Jones’ dancing.   

Learn the details of Jones and Haring’s collaborations and about the choreographer's time in New York on March 6, 2024, at 7 pm.  

Tickets for the talk are $20 for AGO Members, $30 for Annual Passholders, and $35 for the public. Grab tickets here.  

4.   Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800, opening March 27, 2024 

Judith Leyster, Self-Portrait , c.1630 - A painted self-portrait of Judith Leyster

Judith Leyster. Self-Portrait, c.1630. Oil on canvas, Unframed: 74.6 × 65.1 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss, 1949.6.1. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 brings together more than 230 objects ranging from royal portraits to metalwork, ceramics, textiles, and cabinetry to demonstrate the many ways women contributed to the visual arts of Europe. 

Featuring the work of artists such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, Luisa Roldán, Rosalba Carriera, Rachel Ruysch, and Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun alongside female artisanal collectives, talented amateurs, and women working in factory settings and workshops, this exhibition is the first to consider women artists across genres, time and a continent. 

Making Her Mark is co-curated by Dr. Alexa Greist, AGO Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawings and Dr. Andaleeb Banta, BMA Senior Curator and Department Head, Prints, Drawings & Photographs, and is co-organized by the AGO and the Baltimore Museum of Art.  

5. Pacita Abad, opening October 9, 2024 (image at top) 

Pacita Abad brings the exuberant and wide-ranging works of the late Philippine-born artist to Canada for the first time.  

Born in 1946, Abad grew up in Batanes, Philippines as the daughter of a congressman. Politically active from a young age, Abad began to organize student demonstrations against Dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After her family home was the target of an attack, Abad fled the Philippines, landing in San Francisco in 1970 where she began to explore the art world.  

This acclaimed retrospective includes more than 100 artworks showcasing Abad’s experiments in different mediums: textiles, works on paper, paintings, prints and a range of archival materials and studio ephemera. Much of Abad’s work is defined by her engagement in social justice and her exploration of materials. She is best known for her large-scale hanging trapuntos, a form of quilted painting made of stitched and stuffed canvas.   

The exhibition is organized by the Walker Arts Center in collaboration with Abad’s estate and curated by Victoria Sung, Phyllis C. Wattis Senior Curator at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), and former associate curator, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center; with Matthew Villar Miranda, curatorial associate at BAMPFA, and former curatorial fellow, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center. 

The AGO presentation opens October 9, 2024, and will be organized by Renée van der Avoird, Associate Curator, Canadian Art. 

 6.   The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, opening December 2024 

Hank Willis Thomas, Black Power (2008)- a close up of a Black man's mouth with grillz that read 'Black Power'

Hank Willis Thomas, Black Power, 2008. Lightjet print, 62.2 x 100.3 cm. © Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century brings together contemporary artists, musicians, designers, and stylists to tell the story of the art form, its ongoing innovation, and its global impact on visual culture.  

Organized for hip-hop’s fiftieth anniversary, the exhibition features contemporary art by some of today’s most important and celebrated artists, including John Edmonds, Deana Lawson and Hank Willis Thomas.  

The Culture highlights hip-hop’s enduring conceptual and material innovation, placing fashion, music, and consumer marketing in conversation with paintings, sculptures, poetry, photography, and multi-media installations to explore the topics of racial identity, gender and sexuality, the concepts of bling, swagger, and activism. 

The exhibition is co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum and is co-curated by Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director; Gamynne Guillotte, the BMA’s Chief Education Officer; Hannah Klemm, SLAM’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; and Andréa Purnell, SLAM’s Audience Development Manager.  

The AGO presentation is organized by Julie Crooks, Curator, Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora at the AGO. 

The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century is co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum.

Fill your new year with art across mediums – visit the AGO’s exhibition page to see the full 2024 exhibition line-up and keep a tab on the AGO’s upcoming programming through the events page.  

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