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Opening of Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto

Ahead of the public debut of Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics, a splendid and monumental show at the Gardiner Museum, a swish opening celebration was held on Oct. 18, for key supporters and individuals who made the show possible.

The 350 works at the centre of the show, which was curated by Ron Graham and designed by architect Siamak Hariri, are held by three of Canada’s great institutions, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum, and are reunited at the Gardiner for the first time.

The institution’s respective directors Nathalie Bondil, Stephan Jost and Josh Basseches were all in attendance, alongside of course the Gardiner’s Kelvin Browne. The assemblage of exquisite Japanese ceramics (many are small, utilitarian pieces that would have been held in the hand) were collected by, and in the case of the series of remarkable corresponding watercolours that dot the show, painted by, one man: railway builder Sir William Van Horne, a figure who Phyllis Lambert, legendary architecture advocate and preservationist, said during dinner “really pulled Canada together.”

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Lambert was an honoured guest at the gathering and a portion of the proceeds raised by the dinner, which was co-chaired by Rosemary Phelan and Helen Graham, supported the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Architecture, which she founded. The exhibition runs through Jan. 20 and will open at Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal next year.

Art Toronto opening night, Toronto

The following week, Toronto’s convention centre was the place to be on Oct. 25 for the opening night of Art Toronto, this country’s international contemporary and modern art fair. For its 19th edition, the focus was on artists and galleries from California.

Opening night of the weekend-long fair has, for the past 13 years, served as a benefit for the Art Gallery of Ontario, and this year raised more than $500,000, funds that will support programming at the gallery, in addition to two acquisitions: a drawing by OCADU graduate Ken Nicol, and a work titled Re-Invaders: Digital Intervention on an Emily Carr Painting (Indian Church, 1929), which is part of Indigenous artist Sonny Assu’s ongoing series Interventions on the Imaginary. Heather Partridge and Daniel Rechtshaffen served as co-chairs of the opening night funder, which had more than 2,300 people in attendance.

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