ART TORONTO: A survivor’s guide


The last week of October should be highlighted in your calendar for three reasons. Reason number one is Hallowe’en; reason number two is my birthday; reason number three is the opening of Art Toronto on Thursday, October 27, with an Opening Night Preview for the high rollers. On the following four days, the show opens at 12 p.m. The late start is to allow the gallerists to restock their shelves and sleep off the effects of the night’s festivity.

     For some collectors, Art Toronto is a problematic experience. It is too spread out, has too many galleries represented, and the food and drink in the VIP Lounge is too expensive. In addition, the Corporate and Private Collections’ Visits are often booked out seconds after the R.S.V.P. start time.

     Generally speaking, I am not among the naysayers with regard to Art Toronto. I like the wider aisles; I like the reduced number of galleries; I like the sitting areas dotted throughout the show.  I particularly like the combination of international galleries and Canadian galleries. I can touch base with old friends and, hopefully, make new ones. I do not go through the frustration of attempting to book the special visits; the lectures and seminars  throughout the day are good enough for me. All in all, I have enjoyed my many visits to Art Toronto but this does not mean there aren’t some issues.

     The food and drink in the VIP Lounge should be free. The people with the VIP Pass are considered deserving patrons by the various galleries. Some one spending $50,000.00 on a painting should not have to pay for a glass of questionable white wine. Easy access to food and drink opens wallets. The tour groups create congestion and impede the progress of only children like me who move through life alone. A final caveat. The private collections selected for viewing tend to belong to members of Toronto art elite. There are many other interesting collections in Toronto owned by private citizens who collect in comparative obscurity, but their “galleries” are worth a visit. Please remember the Vogels.

     So, enjoy your visit to Art Toronto but treat it as an expedition: plan your destinations, plan your routes, and wear sensible shoes. I will be reporting in more detail after my visits to Art Toronto and, don’t forget, your VIP Pass allows you to take a guest. Spread the word about art and do the world a favour.

Tom Maunder  

Photo: KIRBY

p.s. Don’t forget my current show, THE POWER OF PORTRAITURE, now through November 27th at knife | fork | book 281 Augusta Ave @ Rick’s Cafe, Kensington Market, Toronto 

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