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Local bars take over Toronto contemporary art museum on free Friday nights

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has partnered with local bars across the city during their Free Friday Nights.

The takeover is alongside Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija's work untitled 2013 (thomas demand's here)

Partnered bars include Bar Mordecai, Civil Liberties and most recently Mother Cocktail Bar hosted its final takeover on December 16.

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A performance during a recent Friday night.

The installation begins on the ground floor, with a replica of a bar named Black Label located in Kokura, Japan. 

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MOCA's industrial interior provides the backdrop to the art on display.

The concept behind the installation originated from Thomas Demand, a German sculptor, finding the bar in the middle of a parking lot in Kokura. Demand would soon go on to replicate the bar through paper in its original size. 

Tiravanija replicated Demand's work into untitled 2013 (thomas demand's here). Mother Cocktail Bar was serving three cocktails curated for the installation. 

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Mother Cocktail Bar hosted their final takeover. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Fareen Karim.

The Honey + ($15) cocktail included agave reposado tequila and Ontario bee pollen. It gave hints of smoky and floral undertones. Their smokey Oolong Tonic Temple ($15) was made with Roku gin and smoked black oolong tea.

The bar's signature drink, and my favourite of the night, was the Motherland Old Fashioned ($15) made with coconut-infused rye and homemade woodland bitters. 

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Photograph of Demand's life-size Black Label bar replica. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Fareen Karim.

Thomas Demand's House of Card installation snaked throughout the museum , with the third floor showcasing an image of Demand's life-size paper replica of Black Label.

Demand's artwork shares an odd familiarity with a space that feels as though we've visited, bringing feelings of nostalgia.  

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Inside look at Demand's replica of Edward Snowden's hotel suit. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Fareen Karim.

The museum showcases more of Demand's visual deception by recreating spaces through a paper medium. Through his exhibit, Demand also presents photographs of his large-scale models of Edward Snowden's room where he hid for a month in Russia, called Refuge.

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Thomas Demand's replica of the Triple Folly pavilion in Denmark. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Fareen Karim.

The exhibit also includes Demand's replica of the Triple Folly pavilion, which he created alongside Caruso St John Architects in Denmark.

More of Demand's work, including his exploration of late Tunisian couturier and shoe designer Azzedine Alaia, is showcased on the second floor.

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Part of the exhibition at MOCA.

The purpose of Demand's work is to highlight the importance of scrap and traditionally discarded material. When given access to Alaia's studio after the designer's death, Demand hyperfocused on the neglected material from clothing designs. 

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Azzadine Alaia's scrap material photographed by Thomas Deman. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Fareen Karim.

House of Card will continue to be exhibited until January 8, 2023.

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The bar at MOCA.

Tiravanija's bar and karaoke installation host its final night with Bar Mordecai on December 23.

Photos by

Fareen Karim


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