Scott McFarland’s large-scale photographic mural “Corner of the Courageous, Repatriation Ceremony for Sergant Martin Goudreault, Grenville St., Toronto, Ontario, June 9th 2010″ (2012) in the courtyard of MOCCA. Photo by M-KOS
Toronto’s vibrant art scene and exuberant artist community package many artist-run spaces, a number of notable commercial galleries as well as important public and private art institutions. The annual Scotibank Contact photography festival testifies as a case study to the city’s cultural dynamism, currently showcasing over 100 artists under the theme: Public. M-KOS journeyed to Toronto for this occasion and more, featuring the Canadian metropolis within our regular Art Marathon.
Posted in Art Marathon, Visual Arts
Tagged Angell Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Artist-run centre, Birch Libralato, Contact Photography Festival, Diaz Contemporary, G Gallery, Gallery TPW, Gendai Gallery, Georgia Scherman Projects, Mercer Union, MKG127, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, O'Born Contemporary, Susan Hobbs, The Power Plant, Toronto
David Liss is the artistic director and chief curator of MOCCA, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. During Toronto’s International Art Fair, Liss talked to M-KOS about the current landscape of the Canadian art scene, in an insightful and refreshingly outspoken manner.
M-KOS [MK]: Could you introduce our readers to MOCCA and how you started getting involved in this art centre ?
David Liss [DS]: MOCCA started in 1999, it was reformed from the Art Gallery of North York, in the north part of Toronto. At the time it was a privately run gallery space, showcasing Canadian art. But for reasons that were well covered by the media back in those days, that enterprise went bankrupt. It was a big theatre complex, a performing arts centre with a small gallery inside it. That entity collapsed and the gallery was set to close but the art community of Toronto lobbied the city to keep the gallery open. So they did keep it open but the budget was greatly reduced, and the director and staff left. I started there at the end of 2000, coming from Montréal to figure out what to do next with this, the newly named, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. One of the first things in my discussions with the hiring committee was, given the name of the institution, that I didn’t think it was relevant in the 21st century to have a parochial or nationalistic view of contemporary art. So I restructured the mandate and the mission of MOCCA to include Canadian and non-Canadian artists.