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Ecology of an Art Scene | Conversation Two | Infrastructure: Re-Inventing Institutions

Toronto City Hall Council Chambers November 9, 2013

This conversation, Infrastructure: Re-Inventing Institutions, was part of The Ecology of an Art Scene, a Toronto symposium that brought together experts from Paris and Toronto to discuss what makes art communities tick on November 8 and 9, 2013.

On November 8, the symposium took place at Harbourfront Centre, and on November 9, it took place in Toronto City Hall Council Chambers.

Infrastructure: Re-Inventing Institutions was moderated by Richard Rhodes, editor of Canadian Art, and it addressed the role of major art galleries, museums and funders in creating healthy art scenes.

The conversation participants included Barbara Fischer, executive director/chief curator, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto; Vincent Honoré, curator and writer, Paris; David Liss, artistic director and curator, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Andrew Hunter, curator of Canadian art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Gaëtane Verna, director, the Power Plant, Toronto.

Ecology of an Art Scene | Conversation Two | Infrastructure: Re-Inventing Institutions from Canadian Art on Vimeo.

The Ecology of an Art Scene was part of the Canadian Art Foundation International Speaker Series and presented in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto as part of Paris-Toronto, a 10-month series highlighting contemporary art from France in the Greater Toronto Area. The symposium was sponsored by BMO Financial Group, with support from the Institut français.

The introductory text for this particular conversation was as follows: The last decade has seen the evolution of institutions in Paris and Toronto that enable the development of new practices, networks and collaborations between artists, curators and organizations both locally and internationally. These platforms have generated programming and research that move beyond national or localized mandates of the traditional contemporary art museum or art school, and instead encourage the accumulation of knowledge through shared concerns based on experience and practice. This has led to new ways of thinking about collecting, recording histories and producing discourse, as well as extending exhibition models, pedagogical practice and the involvement of artists in the creation of institutional structures. What are the key issues and practices that have generated these new frameworks? How do institutions embrace these methodological shifts while at the same time addressing their own histories, mandates and local communities? Speakers will come together to share the context they work within and the strategies they use for institutional innovation.

For more information about The Ecology of an Art Scene, please visit

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