Online and in-person: Must-see exhibits on now

Screenshot of Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Reference Library (Source: Toronto Public Library)

As museums and art galleries continue to open, we’ve collected a few must-see exhibits in Toronto, and online, that are sure to give you a break from the chaos of school starting and provide you with some much-needed relaxation. Most of the exhibits are low-cost or free, or have free days and/or discounts for students. 

Art Gallery of Ontario: Andy Warhol Exhibit

Andy Warhol is one of the newest exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Running until October 24, this exhibit gives people a chance to get up close and personal with the vibrant pop art of Andy Warhol.

Warhol became a 20th century icon with his bold and unique artistic style that led the pop art movement. As an artist, he dealt with themes relating to his own life and modern American culture as a whole; consumerism, activities of the underground counterculture in New York City, his own sexuality, religion, and much more lay at the heart of his art. 

Aside from his relatively well-known pieces, such as “Marilyn Diptych” and “100 Campbell’s Soup Cans,” this exhibit also includes some of his experimental work. “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” is an experimental, immersive multimedia film projection. 

As well as in-person walk-throughs, the AGO also offers virtual workshops and art talks. Nature’s Wild is an event happening on September 23 featuring a conversation about the award-winning new book Nature’s Wild: Love, Sex and Law in the Caribbean on its international publication day.

Bata Shoe Museum: The Great Divide

The Bata Shoe Museum has over a thousand displays dedicated to shoes and related artifacts. The museum has multiple exhibits that centre around different themes and eras — their newest being The Great Divide. This exhibit explores the art of footwear in the Age of Enlightenment and how it reflected the societal norms and values of the time.

The 17th and 18th century was a time of social change, questioning, and great division among people. This exhibit shows that complicated history through the footwear and fashion of the time. 

It opens up a conversation about class, gender, and race as the constant division between people, and was reflected as well as challenged in the footwear and fashion in this period of time.

The Bata museum also offers a number of online exhibitions you can see from the comfort of your home. Among my favourites were The Perfect Pair: Wedding Shoe Stories and Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels

Toronto Reference Library: Art of the Book and Arthur Conan Doyle Collection

The Toronto Reference Library has a reputation of being a book-lover’s dream come true. The Art of the Book is an exhibit that opened August 9 and is set to remain open until September 19.

The exhibit includes rare, fine press, and artist-made books from the Toronto Public Library’s Special Collection. 

According to the website, this exhibit, which is free to the public, will take you through the artistry and history of books. It will also make you question what a book can do. 

Another incredible area of the Toronto Reference Library is the permanent Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, which boasts over 25,000 items related to Doyle and his preeminent character, Sherlock Holmes.

Here, you can find Doyle’s fiction, non-fiction, and correspondence — from biographies, manuscripts, photographs, to books on spiritualism and true crime, it has even more than you could imagine. 

This exhibit, while located in a relatively small and secluded room, seems as if it could go on forever due to the sheer size of the collection.

The Toronto Public Library also has a number of online events, clubs, talks, and exhibits you can watch and take part in from the comfort of your home.

About the Author

By Kaila Gallacher

Former Editor

Kaila is a poet and writer in her fourth year at York, studying Creative Writing and the Humanities. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Artichoke, a student-run magazine out of Winter’s College. She is passionate about highlighting the arts community here at York and in Toronto as a whole. She is particularly interested in how art can be a mode of expression and how it can inspire personal, social, and political change. When Kaila's not reading, writing, or editing she is an avid hiker and photographer.


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