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national post, Saturday, February 6, 2010 post toronto nationalpost.

com TO
Artist Wangechi Mutu will tear up an AGO wall to represent the human form
The socially provocative, collage-based works of Kenyan- art gallery of ontario tion of the female figure. “This is part of the AGO’s commit-
born artist Wangechi Mutu will be on display this winter ment to presenting contemporary art on the leading edge,”
at the Art Gallery of Ontario, marking the first solo exhib- series of drawings mounted on a ‘pockmarked’ gallery wall, said Matthew Teitelbaum, the gallery’s director and CEO.
ition of her artwork at a major North American museum. which will be punctured and torn to reflect post-colonial Curator David Moos added: “Mutu’s representations of the
Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization? features 12 themes.” The artist’s medium includes anything from maga- human form are disturbing and transfixing, at once utterly
large-scale collages, two videos and two environmental zine cuttings to glitter, acrylic paint and found objects, all of complex and strikingly direct.” The exhibit runs Feb. 24
installations, one of which is being described as “a haunting which come together to represent a distorted representa- through May 23. Vanessa Farquharson, National Post

Urban utopia
Architecture and design students and faculty at the University of Toronto
For those who want to rock,
these guys can teach you!
— flexible hours mean students
recently reimagined five sites in the city. But could these ever be realized? Toronto Institute can book classes or practice
time to suit their own sched-
for the Enjoyment ules, and are encouraged to de-
of Music velop their own taste in music,
rather than learning specific
By Julie Bogdanowicz Quarrylands at Victoria Park genres or “levels.”
and Danforth Avenues By Tabassum Siddiqui There’s also an emphasis
If urban planning over the past Laura Miller, Pete North, Matthew Soules on digital technology — every
50 years can be described as This site includes an undeveloped, post-indus- The Toronto Institute for the study room has a computer for
mega (Robert Moses) vs. local trial parcel that rivals the size of Trinity Bell- Enjoyment of Music may sound students to learn recording and
(Jane Jacobs), then this is the woods and Christie Pits. This project makes like an obscure society for other new-media techniques.
moment when planners have an argument for civic amenity and sculpted beard-stroking artistes, but the “So many kids are going to You-
no alternative but to balance open space through soil remediation: scrape, bright, airy, loft-like space, nes- Tube, looking up songs,” Gold-
large scale considerations with cap, plant. The 10,000 housing units that form tled between clothing boutiques bach notes, joking that his wife,
the natural environment, tran- a border around the park are cleverly laid out and cafés on Queen Street West, Ana, has even taken up drum
sit, social diversity, urban quirk- and demonstrate an alternative to conven- is actually home to the city’s lessons after getting a kick out
iness, human health and local tional smaller parcel development. newest music school. of playing Guitar Hero.
nuance. Yes, this is the dawning Open since mid-December, Thus far, most classes are
of the Age of Aquarius. the centre offers private and one-on-one lessons, with stu-
The city of Toronto owns a group classes, for both adults dents learning everything from
portfolio of sites that will be and children, taught by a list piano and guitar to classical
developed under the direc- of experienced musicians that strings and brass.
tion of Build Toronto, the mu- reads like a who’s who of the lo- “It’s been mostly adult stu-
images courtesy university of toronto
nicipal government’s newly cal music scene (from film and dents who once studied music
formed real-estate arm. Five TV composer Charlie Finlay to and are now coming back to it,”
of these sites — categorized 5 minute forest at McCowan Andrew Barker of indie-rock Goldbach says. “People looking
as either large, oddly shaped, Road and Progress Avenue group Bruce Peninsula). for a second chance to recap-
cut off from the community, Ivan Rupnik, Tim Love  Local pianist and instructor ture that enthusiasm.”
near transit and/or next to This project is clearly laid out but complex in Howard Goldbach decided to PR manager Sarah Thomp-
expressways — represent a de- its deployment. A five-minute walking radius open the Institute after find- son, 33, was hoping to do
velopment challenge and have around McCowan station is planted with trees ing that traditional music les- exactly that when she immedi-
been variously describes as: on a 10 metre grid. The new spatial experi- sons in private homes or stuffy ately signed up for drum les-
orphaned, risky, virgin, under- ence would replace the vacuous non-place studios left students bored sons upon coming across the
utilized, strategically located, of this ill-planned site. Pedestrian walkways and unmotivated to practise Institute while walking in her
infrastructurally problematic (at canopy level, which hover above large lots their instruments. He jumped neighbourhood.
and amazing opportunities. and the disjointed, dangerous sidewalk on the at the chance to establish a “I remember very clearly be-
As the biggest outliers, they ground) are connected to new buildings and modern, welcoming space in ing a child and putting all these
are difficult to develop without parking drums.  the Queen West area and to pots and pans on the couch and
some creative design thinking, capitalize on the neighbour- just wailing away on them,”
says Richard Sommer, dean of hood’s artistic bent (“It just she explains, laughing. “I’ve
University of Toronto’s John seemed fitting that a music played a few instruments over
H. Daniels Faculty of Architec- school would be part of an arts the years — I would practise
ture, Landscape and Design DoppelGround at Yonge Street scene,” Goldbach notes), tak- diligently, but my heart wasn’t
(FALD). “Almost all of them and Eglinton Avenue ing over a former antique shop really in any of them. But I al-
have been subject to very poor Carol Moukheiber, Christos Marcopoulos  and outfitting it with eight ways wanted to try drums, so
planning in the past,” Sommer A glance at the TTC’s city-wide plans could studio rooms of varying sizes when this chance came up, I
says. “Considerable design im- lead one to conclude that this intersection will and a cozy open-concept front just had to do it.”
agination will be required if become the most heavily trodden in the city, so space that will be home to live Thompson, who takes a pri-
they are to become exemplary why not go big and bold here? This visionary performances (Goldbach’s col- vate class every Wednesday
urban projects for Toronto.” mega project presents a more metropolitan lege chums, rising Vancouver night, credits instructor Jeff
With U of T’s Cities Centre, architecture at this site, which currently feels band Mother Mother, played Butterfield for her new-found
Sommer invited design profes- like downtown Calgary. In a city that has begun an intimate concert for the In- fervour for playing. She’s been
sionals to join FALD students to flirt with an elevated horizontal urbanism stitute’s launch), seminars and practising nonstop on an elec-
and faculty to participate in last (building above, public space below, see the Will master classes. tronic drumkit at home and is
month’s City Centre Workshop, Alsop-designed Ontario College of Art and De- Goldbach, who studied com- eager to learn the drum line to
in which 20 teams submitted sign), this project could further the discussion. posing at the University of Brit- her new favourite song, Cosmic
design proposals for these five ish Columbia and plays in ex- Love by British indie darling
highly contested sites. perimental electro band Fight- Florence and the Machine.
The proposals are very much Reconnect and Recharge at er/Lover, lost interest in music “I think we kind of quell the
works in progress — Robert Bloor Street and Islington Avenue after being forced to take piano creativity we learn as children
Stephens, a city planner in Nadia Amoroso, Barry Sampson   lessons as a child, but reignited as we get older,” Thompson
Scarborough, noted that most Roads, transit infrastructure, hydro line cor- his passion for playing in high says, “but everyone should stop
of the city’s population growth ridors and a rail line have fragmented this school thanks to a teacher who tripping over their fear, pick up
over the next 30 years will be neighbourhood. The roof of a multi-storey, supported experimentation. an instrument and rock on.”
through immigration, adding winding building hosts a landscaped bridge “There isn’t just one method Inculcating that lifelong pas-
that projects could investigate that attempts to reconnect the site by allowing to learning,” Goldbach says. “In sion for music is precisely what
how local needs of new Canad- people to get safely up and over the barriers. the Conservatory process, every- the Institute is aiming for, Gold-
ians would be met in these sub- This visually delightful bridge is colonized as body works out of the same bach points out. “I hope stu-
urban sites. amenity space for the community and acts as book — that idea is so limiting. dents here learn to find some-
The school has been in on- an ecological filter. These days, someone might be thing about music they can be
going discussions with Build into pop, or jazz or something satisfied with,” he says.
Toronto, though this workshop else, so it’s all about drawing on z The Toronto Institute for the
was an independent exercise. those interests. The art of the Enjoyment of Music is located
While only a few Build Toronto lesson is setting the student up at 821 Queen St. W. Fees start
representatives attended the with the right teacher.” at $35 per half-hour lesson.
final presentations, it is hoped What sets the Institute for For more information, call 416-
that the organization, com- the Enjoyment of Music apart 504-5444 or visit enjoymusic­
mitted to developing sites ac- from other music schools is its toronto.com.
cording to the city’s Agenda for tailored approach to learning National Post
Prosperity ( job creation, live-
ability, rejuvenation, improved
infrastructure and amenity)
can provide an afterlife for the
research. At present, Build To-
ronto emphasizes commercial-
ization over innovation — its
CEO is an expert in retail mall Forgotten Sites at Downsview
development — but these pro- Roger Sherman, Michael Piper
posals offer unfettered energy This tireless study of traffic focused on strategic interventions at intersections between transit
that it would be dim to ignore. stations and expressways. One example for the site at Downsview and the 401, the sprawling
An exhibition and book cloverleaf on/off ramp, was put on a diet: Its reduced, svelte shape could accommodate new uses,
about the workshop are forth- such as parking. When a representative from the London Transit Commission visited Toronto last
coming. For more informa- year, he thought it remarkable and efficient that at transit stations, buses and streetcars connect
tion, visit daniels.utoronto.ca. with subway stops below. Obviously. Here, car users are seamlessly connected to transit that acts Peter J. Thompson / National Post

National Post as a lever for development in the surrounding area.   Sarah Thompson dominates the drums!