Art Gallery of Ontario Gala Celebrates Change

During a year when the AGO is undergoing a major renovation, the annual Shadow Ball fittingly explored the theme of metamorphosis.

By Kimberly Spice November 1, 2007, 3:09 PM EDT

Insect wallpaper from artist Jennifer Angus helped convey the theme of metamorphosis at the Art Gallery of Ontario's annual Shadow Ball, held on-site at the AGO.

Photos by: BizBash

Art Gallery of Ontario's Shadow Ball fund-raiser, Art gallery of Ontario
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Metamorphosis was the theme of the 2007 Shadow Ball, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s annual masquerade fund-raiser. The focus on change was fitting as the gallery was scheduled to close soon after to allow for completion of a major, Frank Gehry-designed renovation project. Works of art from the AGO’s collection and newly commissioned exhibits by leading artists were used to reinforce the transformation theme, while guests added to the occasion with their pre-Halloween costumes and makeup.

Commissioned visual exhibits included Jennifer Angus’s petrified insect wallpaper and Gwen McGregor’s “Body of Knowledge,” which consisted of hundreds of plexi cubes containing oranges in various stages of decomposition. Sherri Hay’s interactive exhibit, titled “Crow,” invited guests to pose for photos in a fun but sinister setting. Alternative violinist Reena Katz performed live during the reception, and bathroom visits involved encounters with Andrew Hunter’s “Loomings,” a continuous audio loop of sound bites from the movie Jaws.

White fabric from Micki’s hung along the walls in the dining room, establishing an ethereal atmosphere. Contemporary Furniture Rentals provided black Philippe Starck Victoria Ghost and Louis Ghost chairs for the table settings. AGO staff created centerpieces consisting of a magnifying glass flanked by clasped butterflies and colourful liquids in beakers, flasks, and test tubes. The centerpieces were made with materials sourced from the University of Toronto’s chemistry department.

Couture Cuisine executive chef Arpi Magyar started dinner with a wild and domestic mushroom salad, followed by roasted rack of lamb. Magyar closed the meal with a three-part dessert that supported the event theme of metamorphosis—cold sorbet, hot molten dip, and a temperate mousse cake.

Steve Lucas, artistic director of Theatre 2.0 choreographed the dinner entertainment, which featured a cast of Theatre 2.0 performers dressed in black spandex and feathered fashions. The performers wrapped themselves up, down, and around 16-foot ladders inside shadow casting boxes as music compilations by Richard Feren played in the background.

Throughout the gala, held on-site at the AGO, two large screens silently played the 1931 movie Frankenstein. Third from the Sun DJ Vanessa DeWilde closed the evening with dance music. The event attracted 350 guests and raised $310,000 for the gallery.

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