In the City: Art Metropole 40th-Anniversary Party: 40 Years, 40 Yeahs!

The big circular white clock in the landmark Great Hall

of  historic Union Station signalled it’s neon-coloured, white-hot arrivals and departures last Thursday evening  welcoming over 300 members of Toronto’s Arty crème de l’avant-garde to drink, schmooze and iPad-bid on some of the many pieces up for auction at the birthday celebration of Art Metropole, 40 Years, 40 Yeahs!  The 40th-anniversary party was a multifaceted, mixed-medium affair; a queery, beery (Kronenbourg 1664 sponsored) evening with a balloon-stuffed drag queen DJ pumping music from beneath that white-hot clock center piece and turning Union Station into a 21st-century Art House.  At least 25 artists had been enlisted to transform the historic early-20th-century hall into a technology-driven Art Auction and the Great Hall thumped and vibrated to the eclectic vibe.

Pre-party was an exclusive Show-and-Tell event, at which several friends of Art Metropole presented their favourite pieces, and personally described the emotions and meanings the piece of art represented for them.

Art Metropole is made up of 3 of the original members of General Idea, and continues many of the values of GI today. My foggy rememberance of 40 years ago was that General Idea was Art for the Masses, Art for All, Art Afforded by All. Now, 40 years later, Thursday evening celebrated AM’s founding as one of Canada’s pioneering not-for-profit artist-run centres, internationally renowned for its dedication and focus to the collecting, archiving, selling and lending of artist-initiated books, videos, audio recordings, postcards and T-shirts, catalogues, buttons, drawings and periodicals in pretty much any type of media and “especially those formats and practices predisposed to sharing and circulation”.

Art Metropole’s Director, Corrin Gerber has plans for the next 40 years as well and notes that “this anniversary is not only a look-back but a looking-forward”. Early 2015 will see installations centered on Union Station itself; then in June there will be the opening of a “mobile kiosk” in Union Station “for distributing artists’ works in multiple forms” as well as rotating installations on site in the Great Hall.

Heres to 40 more years of Art and at least 40 more Yeahs!


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