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Judy Chicago’s performance at Sugar Beach marks conclusion of Toronto Biennial of Art

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A Tribute to Toronto, 2022 is a performative artwork approved and supported by the City of Toronto

TORONTO, June 2, 2022 – For an incredible ‘smoke on the water’ experience, the conclusion of the Toronto Biennial of Art (TBA), Canada’s leading contemporary visual arts event featuring worldwide artists, there will be a one-time FREE performance by Judy Chicago at Sugar Beach on the evening of June 4, 2022. Chicago’s A Tribute to Toronto, 2022 is a performative artwork approved and supported by the City of Toronto marking the conclusion of the second edition of the Toronto Biennial of Art (TBA). Fresh from her talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario on June 1, Chicago is an American artist, educator, author and humanist, Judy Chicago is considered one of the most influential artists of our time, with an expansive practice investigating a range of mediums.

There will be a one-time FREE performance by Judy Chicago at Sugar Beach on the evening of June 4, 2022 to signal the conclusion of Toronto Biennial of Art 2022

A Tribute to Toronto is described by TBA as “a one-of-a-kind Smoke Sculpture™ created with non-toxic smoke and LED lights that will create ever-mixing colour in the air over approximately a 12 minute period before dissipating. The performance will be staged on a barge 100 feet out in the water next to the Water’s Edge Promenade at Sugar Beach on the evening of June 4, 2022 (rain date is June 5, 2022). It will be visible from the shore of Lake Ontario, as a series of environmentally safe, non-toxic coloured smokes are released from a barge.The location is adjacent to the Redpath Sugar refinery and most of the commercial, retail and residential developments in the area are located well away from the performance site on the water.”

For this one-time performance, the public are invited to gather at the waterfront to see the lake and sky transformed. Hearkening back to Chicago’s Atmospheres photo series of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which sought to soften and “feminize” harsh, man-made environments, according to the description, “A Tribute to Toronto, 2022 works against the tradition of male Land Art artists whose work imposed itself on the earth. Instead, Chicago’s performance offers an alternative and impermanent approach that merges colour with landscape to increase awareness of the beauty of our natural environment.”

Judy Chicago’s A Tribute to Toronto is a one-of-a-kind Smoke Sculpture™ created with non-toxic smoke and LED lights that will create ever-mixing colour in the air over approximately a 12 minute period before dissipating.

Since the 1960s, Judy Chicago (born in 1939, Chicago, USA; lives and works in New Mexico, USA) has been creating Land Art that involves the dispersing of dramatic and colourful plumes of smoke. Her Atmosphere and Smoke Sculpture™ projects are an important contribution to contemporary art. She has created this one-time performance as a specific response to Lake Ontario and offers our community the opportunity to witness art history in the making. A Tribute to Toronto is curated by Candice Hopkins, Senior Curator at the Toronto Biennial of Art and citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

The pigments and smoke used in the performance are non-toxic and meet environmental safety standards. The electronic ignition that sets off the smoke emits little or no sound. Unlike a fireworks display, there are no explosions or loud bangs in the performance.

Rest assured, this performance has the approval of the Toronto Fire Department. Chicago works with an internationally recognized pyrotechnic firm Pyro Spectaculars by Souza who have staged many of her Smoke Sculpture™ performances in recent years. The firm has secured all the licenses and permits for the project based on local safety precautions and only uses materials that are safe and approved by the Toronto fire services. 

The Toronto Biennial of Art is Canada’s leading visual arts event focused exclusively on contemporary art from around the world. For 10 weeks every two years, local, national, and international Biennial artists transform Toronto and its partner regions with free exhibitions, performances, and learning opportunities. Grounded in diverse local contexts, the Biennial’s city-wide programming aims to inspire individuals, engage communities, and contribute to global conversations.

Just the Details – Judy Chicago Toronto Performance

Who:

Judy Chicago (born in 1939, Chicago, USA; lives and works in New Mexico, USA) is an artist, educator, the author of fifteen books and humanist. She considers her work and life as models for an enlarged definition of art, an expanded role for the artist and women’s right to freedom of expression. Judy is most well-known for her role in creating a feminist art and art education program in California during the early 1970s and for her monumental work The Dinner Party (1974–1979).

What:

A Tribute to Toronto is a one-of-a-kind Smoke Sculpture™ created with non-toxic smoke and LED lights that will create ever-mixing colour in the air over approximately a 12 minute period before dissipating.

Where:

On a barge 100 feet out in the water next to the Water’s Edge Promenade at Sugar Beach.

Sugar Beach
11 Dockside Drive
Toronto ON
M5A 1B6

When:

The evening of June 4, 2022 (rain date is June 5, 2022).
DJ and Bar opens at 7pm
Performance begins at dusk (8:00pm-8:45 pm)

‘A Tribute to Toronto’ is commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art and made possible with the generous support of the City of Toronto, ArtworxTO, the Delaney Family Foundation, Menkes Developments, Waterfront Toronto, the Waterfront BIA, and the Women Leading Initiative.

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