art toronto 2016

Toronto's biggest art fair of the year is now open

Art Toronto is back at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for its 17th year. It features art galleries not only from Toronto and Canada, but also from cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. Like last year, it's continuing to focus on Latin America and the fair highlights a number of galleries and artists from Central and South America.

New for this year is the Edition Toronto art book fair. It's located on the ground floor of the convention centre. And while you'll have to pay to get into Art Toronto, this part of the event is free.

art toronto 2016

And, it seems way more approachable than the rest of Art Toronto, mainly because it includes work many of us can afford, including books, zines, pins, patches and even t-shirts. This fair highlights publishers, commercial galleries, artist-run centres, independent artists, collectives, book-makers and dealers and is run in collaboration with Art Metropole.

art toronto 2016

After you visit the book fair, head upstairs the rest of the show, but don't be overwhelmed. Art Toronto it features more than 100 galleries as well as individual artists. Don't rush and instead take your time looking at all the work, which includes paintings, photography and sculptures - like this one titled Mahihkan by Joe Fafard at the Slate Fine Art Gallery booth.

art toronto 2016

It can be dizzying to walk around the show, but then pieces like Ken Lum's "You Don't Love Me," at the Royale Projects: Contemporary Art steady you a bit.

art toronto 2016

If your head is spinning from all the art, take a break, sit down, and grab a coffee. Better yet, hop on a hammock in Stefan Benchoam and Christian Ochaita's Buró de Intervenciones Públicas (BIP) installation, which features hammocks, pineapples and other whimsical details. The two artists started the BIP when they noticed a lack of public space in Guatamala City.

art toronto 2016

While you won't get a chance to meet Obama (though you can see Chris Buck's photo of the late-term president at the Galerie Youn booth), one of the benefits of attending Art Toronto is that you actually get a chance to speak directly to the artists. And if they're not available, the gallery owners are usually on site to help you out - whether you're interested in making a purchase or not.

art toronto 2016

But if you're nervous about approaching a renowned artist, take some time to people watch. Seriously, this is one of the best parts of Art Toronto. The fair attracts a diverse and interesting array of individuals; you'll be sartorially inspired and will likely walk away feeling more creative simply by being around some of the city's most imaginative people.

art toronto 2016

Art Toronto runs at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre until Oct. 31. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them online and are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors and $45 for a multi-day pass.

Photos by Derek Flack.

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