Current Issue Cover

Must-Sees This Week: December 15 to 21, 2016

There’s a solid selection of art events taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for some shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are ongoing or closing. Visit our Exhibition Finder for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.


Middle-aged does not equal middling. This could be one reading of Marie Claire Forté and Alanna Kraaijeveld’s series of dance-based performances at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery this fall. In the series—which wraps up December 15 at 5 p.m.—the duo enact gestures by dozens of iconic choreographers, from Bob Fosse to Solange, behind a set of screens. As Forté states, “We happily offer the energy of dance in the gallery—although as Alanna says, we can’t give it all away. A set of screens obstructs and deconstructs our bodies as mid-career dancers, as women no longer young. The collection reveals the labour of dancing and remembering, the random specificity of movement vocabulary, repetition, process and friendship.” Forté and Kraaijeveld’s performance is part of the exhibition “I’d rather something ambiguous,” which closes at the Ellen on December 16.

Elsewhere, artists Marigold Santos and Claire Labonté will be present at a finissage for the exhibition “Les mythologies singulières” at 1700 La Poste on December 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. Galerie Graff launches a book on Pierre Ayot on December 15 at 5 p.m. Last chance to catch several projects in the city this week: Pierre Ayot’s sideways Croix du Mont Royal, up till December 19; Eliza Griffiths at Ellephant, up till December 17 (for more details on that, see our feature article); Dominique Sirois and Julie Tremble at B312, up till December 17; Yannick De Serre at Galerie Bernard, up till December 17.


Vancouver artist Ho Tam’s recent book Ghost Image collects photographs and documents of his lover Kirby, who died of an AIDS-related illness in the mid-90s. On December 15 at 7 p.m. at Platform, Kegan McFadden discusses Tam’s work in the context of his exhibition there, “Cover to Cover.” (Note: that’s one of the last days to catch Tam’s show, which wraps December 17.)

Later, on December 17 at 3 p.m. Plug In ICA, another BC-based artist is also in focus when Skeena Reece gives the talk “A Presentation on Art and Sustenance, and the Importance of Your ‘Spirit’ in the Work.” Using a range of strategies, Reece will reflect on the trajectory of her work through time, including the impact of becoming a mother and other life changes, on her working methods and outcomes.


The latest iteration of VIVO’s ThirstDays series—titled “Eat Rice Yet?”—is curated by Henry Tsang and Diyan Achjadi, who have this to say about the origins of this program focusing on art, music and food: “Our title, Eat Rice Yet?, is the ubiquitous, pedestrian way of greeting one another in Chinese culture. One asks how you are by inquiring whether you are hungry, whether you have been fed; because if you have not, then we need to be concerned. That rice represents food is emblematic of its role in Chinese cuisine, culture and identity, as it is with over half of the world’s population that considers this ancient grain their staple, their visceral base, their place of comfort and satisfaction.” Find out more December 15 at 7:30 p.m. at VIVO, with works by Fred Wah, Meeru Dhalwala, Vanessa Richards and others. Elsewhere, Rebecca Brewer’s show of new paintings and felt-based works closes at Catriona Jeffries on December 17.


The collective SAD LTD (Teresa Tam and Michelangela Samiadji) is examining the stigmas, stereotypes, experiences and values of ambiguous Asian-Canadian identities—and they need some help. On December 15, volunteers are welcome at the New Gallery to assist with re-labelling jars for SAD LTD’s upcoming exhibition there in March. Meet-up is at 6:30 p.m. Also at the New Gallery: Jo-Anne Balcaen’s show “The Artist Should Have Value” closes December 17.


It’s not a big week for openings in Hogtown, likely given the holidays imminent for some, but “Unfamous: The Works of Gary Taxali” is launching at First Canadian Place Gallery on December 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. It’s the well-known creator’s first solo show in Toronto since 2012.

Cooper Cole is also soldiering on, opening the intriguingly titled group show “Freud’s Mouth” on December 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. Featuring work by Sascha Braunig, Adrianne Rubenstein, and Ajay Kurian, among others, the exhibition is curated by Ebony L. Hayes.

Also intriguing is Henri Fabergé’s event/performance Heligoland: Sol Sacrifice, set for December 20 from 8 p.m. at the Owl’s Club. Set in the winter of 1820, the happening promises a “community conversation and ritual sacrifice” as well as music and dance. Further on the performance front: Andrea Spaziani will present a dance solo on presence and feminist representations of the female body at Dancemakers on December 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.

Watch for an old Queen West and Gladstone donut shop to be transformed into a shadow lamp by Chris Foster, starting on December 19. This week is the last chance to catch Iris Haussler’s uncanny Sophie La Rosière project at Scrap Metal, Kristan Horton and David Armstrong Six’s “If By Dull Rhymes” at Clint Roenisch and Brittany Shepherd’s “of Flight and of Leak” at Roberta Pelan. All three shows wrap up December 17.

Last but certainly not least: the life of late artist Noel Harding will be celebrated on the evening of December 21 at the Gladstone Hotel. Reception is at 6 p.m, tribute at 7 p.m.

Saint John

The New Brunswick Museum hosts a free holiday celebration on December 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Grande Prairie

If you thought Montreal was hard-core for having its Nuit Blanche in February, check this out—an Art Walk in Grande Prairie in December. The walk hits three spots, the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, the Centre for Creative Arts and Grant Berg Gallery. All will have free admission and other activities starting at 6 p.m. on December 15th.


Enjoy a lunchtime talk regarding “Season to Season, Coast to Coast: A Celebration of the Canadian Landscape” on December 15 at 12:10 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Alberta.


Tim Dallett’s project with artist-run centre Verticale, “Local 24,” wraps up at Galeries Laval on December 15 with a reception, artist talk and activation of work. Artist talk is at 4 p.m., reception starts at 5 p.m., and the work will be activated from 7 p.m. to midnight. For the piece, Dallett has investigated a vacant commercial space in a local shopping mall, activating it with various kinds of radio transmissions. The event also serves as publication launch for Teja Gavankar — Mind Spaces.


Join a tour of Judith Scott’s exhibition at Oakville Galleries Centennial Square on 15 December 15 at 7 p.m.


Centre Bang holds a holiday celebration and publication launch on December 15 at 7 p.m. at Point de Suspension. Among the publications being celebrated: Folie/Culture #11 and Zone Occupée #12.

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are chosen from opening and event announcements sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment



Note: Fields denoted with (*) are required.