The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is regarded as one of the 10 best museums in Toronto. The museum presents rotating exhibitions centred on 21st century artistic expression, and its mission is to promote dialogue and diversity through art.
Located at 158 Sterling Road in Toronto’s Lower Junction neighbourhood, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-6pm, and open until 9pm on Fridays. The museum is free for people under 18, $10 for students/seniors, and $14 for adults. The museum also offers free entry every Friday from 5pm-9pm, and is free all-day on the first Sunday of the month.
The museum’s current programming focuses on sculptural/installation art that both engages and provokes audiences. Throughout the exhibits, ideas of globalization, sustainability, architecture, storytelling, and perception are challenged. In my opinion, it is one of the best exhibits the MOCA has ever presented. A majority of the works (first and third floors) are presented from February 24th, 2023 to April 30th, 2023 with the exception of Remediation (first and second floors) that are on display until July 23rd, 2023.
Suggested visit time: Less than one hour
Floor 1: Elliptical Field (part of Remediation) by Kapwani Kiwanga
The tenacious relationship between humans and natural environments are the focal points of Kiwanga’s MOCA exhibition. On Floor 1, *sisal-covered hanging sculptures encompass the space as a representation of human intervention of biology, and the repercussions of its interposition. Kiwanga’s art is both alluring and thought-provoking; it is no surprise the artist will be representing Canada in the 2024 Venice Art Biennial.
*Sisal is a species of flowering plant native to southern Mexico, but it is widely cultivated across the globe.
Floor 1: ni4ni v.3 by Serkan Ozkaya
Closed off by curtains, observing this art requires being immersed in it. The large mirrored sphere in the room looks like a giant eye for audiences to look back at themselves. Through its reflection, audiences explore ideas of perception and self.
Floor 2: Keyhole, Residue, Scorch, Line, Vumbi, and The Marias (part of Remediation)by Kapwani Kiwanga
A continuation of Kiwanga’s work on Floor 1, the pieces on this floor comprise of a pool/garden, a banana-leaf instillation, PVC vivariums, window treatments, Japanese floorboards, paper flowers, and a video meditation. Read about each piece here.
Floor 3: Trade Show by Susan For Susan
Juxtaposing an apartment interior, collective Susan For Susan’s Trade Show explores the “distinction between sculpture and product design”. The instillation balances rationale with playfulness, creating a space that feels both familiar and absurd.
Floor 3: The New Alphabet by Athena Papadopoulos
The work of Papadopoulos is presented in two parts: Bones for Time and Trees with No Sound. In the first, a variety of bewildering and disturbing sculptures are categorized from A-Z. The latter, are a collection of larger-than-self sculptures are made from materials from the artist’s home – clothing, furniture, plush toys, holiday decorations, etc. This exhibit engrossed me; both grotesque and beautiful, it is hard not to immerse yourself in the work.
South Stairwell: Only the dreamer knows it by Matt Nish-Lapidus | until April 30th, 2023
Keep your eyes – and ears – peeled for sound exhibit in the museum’s south stairwell, This installation “probes the myth that computers should be useful rather than beautiful”.
Outside: Crown land by Patrick Cruz | until April 30th, 2023
Don’t be fooled by the mock billboard on the MOCA’s exterior (like I was). Disguised as a relator ad, this fictitious advertisement highlights the “entanglement of artists and arts institutions with the real estate industry… acknowledging the role that artists and institutions play as gentrifying forces within our urban landscape”.
WANT MORE ART?
Seeing the Invisible: An Outdoor Augmented Reality Exhibition in partnership with the City of Toronto and Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation, curated by Hadas Maor & Tal Michael Haring | October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023
With locations at the MOCA, Sorauren Park and High Park, this exhibition includes AR works by thirteen internationally recognized artists, such as Ai Weiwei. Activated by the Seeing the Invisible app - available for iPhone and Android in the App Store and Google Play – the artworks can be experienced individually or as a walking tour that can be completed in 1-1.5 hours. Learn more about the exhibition here and here.