A gallery is transformed into a basketball court at the AGO in Brian Jungen Friendship Centre

The first major exhibition to open under the AGO’s new admission model is free for AGO Members, Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under

Toronto, Canada— Air Jordan sneakers transformed into masks, golf bags into totems, a whale skeleton made of patio chairs, a gallery resembling a gymnasium – Brian Jungen’s singular vision has returned to Toronto in a compelling major exhibition at the AGO. Brian Jungen Friendship Centre explores this internationally renowned artist’s unique approach to sculpture and large-scale installations made from everyday objects. This exhibition includes a broad range of Jungen’s work, including sculpture, painting, drawing and film, and offers a revealing look into his personal archive.  Curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, this is the first major solo exhibition by a contemporary Indigenous artist to be featured in the AGO’s marquee Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion and is on view now.

It is also the first major exhibition to open since the AGO announced its groundbreaking pricing changes. Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre is free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 years and under. Annual Passes provide unlimited admission for an entire year for only $35, including the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions. For more details about the Annual Pass or to become a Member, visit ago.ca.

Jungen (b.1970) is well known for multidisciplinary art making that explores a long history of cultural inequality, a concern for the environment and a profound commitment to Indigenous ways of knowing and making. The exhibition includes 20 of Jungen’s critically acclaimed Prototype masks, as well as a large number of new Air Jordan sculptures and masks, several of which have never before been seen in Canada.

The exhibition is striking in its ambition, with one part transformed into a full-sized basketball court. “With Friendship Centre, Brian is asking us to imagine the AGO as an important Indigenous space. Gymnasiums—open and multipurpose—are crucial hubs on reserves. Friendship Centres located in major cities perform a different but related purpose. Both are important gathering spaces, and the exhibition reflects that,” says Kitty Scott, Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

Too large to fit inside the Sam and Ayala Zacks Pavilion, Jungen’s monumental installation Furniture Sculpture (2006), will be on view in Walker Court from July 5 to July 23, 2019. A teepee made of skinned leather sofas, the artwork measures 27 feet high by 22 feet in diameter.

Brian Jungen Friendship Centre runs until Aug. 25, 2019. For more details click here.

The exhibition is accompanied by a variety of AGO events, special menus and offerings, including:

This July the AGO’s Dr. Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School explores sculpture with a selection of exhibition-inspired courses. The four-week Introduction to Sculpture begins on July 3, or go deeper with the series Sculpture Explorations: Assemblage. For more details about all summer course offerings, and to register, visit ago.ca/learn/courses.

Inspired by the tastes of western Canada, AGO Bistro has created a delicious seasonal menu and themed cocktails to accompany Brian Jungen Friendship Centre. Featuring new takes on classics such as bison meatloaf with sea buckthorn and duck breast with smoked maple glaze, the full menu is available here.  AGO Bistro opens for Canada Day to offer brunch, available from noon to 2:30 p.m. on July 1.

Take home an artful souvenir of the exhibition from shopAGO, which offers themed gifts, accessories, books and prints. The exhibition is accompanied by a 224 page hardcover catalogue, co-published by the AGO and Prestel. An ideal addition to any art library, the catalogue features more than 80 colour illustrations alongside archival photos and preliminary sketches. Edited by Kitty Scott, the catalogue includes essays by Scott, Ken Lum, Gerald McMaster, Candice Hopkins and Yasmin Nurming-Por. Available online, the catalogues arrives at shopAGO on June 21, 2019. AGO Members always receive a 10% discount on purchases.

Brian Jungen lives and works in North Okanagan, British Columbia. Solo exhibitions include Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2016); Kunstverein Hannover (2013); Bonner Kunstverein (2013); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); Strange Comfort, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC (2009); Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2007); Tate Modern, London (2006); Vancouver Art Gallery (2006); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2006); and the New Museum, New York (2005). Modest Livelihood, a collaborative work with Duane Linklater, has been shown at the Edinburgh Art Festival (2014); Art Gallery of Ontario (2013); and the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre, in collaboration with dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, Crystal Bridges Museum of Contemporary Art, Bentonville (2018); Beautiful world, where are you?, Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool (2018); Unsettled, Anchorage Museum (2018) and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2017); On Space and Place: Contemporary Art from Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Vancouver, De Paul Art Museum, Chicago (2016); Residue: Persistence of the Real, Vancouver Art Gallery (2015); Sakahàn, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2013); and Shanghai Biennial (2012).

@AGOToronto | #JungenAGO

Brian Jungen Friendship Centre is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario

Generous Support                 Panasonic
Volunteers of the AGO
The Schulich Foundation
Jay Smith & Laura Rapp

Generous Assistance           Greg & Susan Guichon
Hal Jackman Foundation
Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau
Nadir & Shabin Mohamed
Sabourin Family Foundation
Donald R. Sobey Foundation
The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Located in Toronto, Canada’s largest city of 5.9 million, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of the largest art museums in North America. The AGO Collection of close to 95,000 works ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, taking special care to showcase diverse and underrepresented artists. Its 585,000 square foot building was most recently expanded in 2008 by Frank Gehry, and attracts approximately one million visits per year. A new pricing model launched in May, 2019, offers all visitors 25 and under free, unlimited admission; a $35 Annual Pass includes entry for an entire year. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.