Salman Rushdie, Andrea Fraser and Charles Officer come together for AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall

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TORONTO, ON, February 21, 2018 - AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall returns this spring to discuss Art and Truth. Live and unscripted, this year’s event brings to the stage internationally celebrated writer Salman Rushdie, provocative performance artist Andrea Fraser, and award-winning filmmaker Charles Officer for ninety minutes of artful debate. This timely conversation will address not only how art shapes our understanding of authority, but will dare to ask if art should be our moral compass. The event, taking place on April 4, 2018 at 8 p.m., will be live-streamed at and broadcast nationally on CBC Radio One.

In this age of information, and indeed, misinformation — from pseudo-science to abbreviated tweets — we struggle to know what authority to believe. Can art be a guiding light in the search for truth? If so, what is the role of art in helping us decode our ever-complex world, and how can art help us navigate the swiftly changing social, economic, and political forces colliding around us at digital speeds? 

These three artists come together in Toronto for one night, to take part in an in-depth conversation about uncovering truth through the act of creating and experiencing art. As author Salman Rushdie wrote, “A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep;” Andrea Fraser has deployed performance art, text-based, and installation work to provoke and critique our notions of what art is and how we experience it — often with a searing sense of humour; filmmaker Charles Officer’s latest documentary is a coming-of-age story of a young woman who uses art and music to open up her world. 

A landmark partnership between the Art Gallery of Ontario, Massey Hall, CBC, and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince, whose leadership inspired the development of the project. The semi-annual series aims to examine the present and imagine our futures through the eyes of some of the world’s most innovative and socially-engaged artists, while celebrating the vitally important role their work plays in shaping our lives.

Tickets for AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall will be available through the Roy Thomson Hall box office, and range from $19.50 to $79.50. Tickets go on sale to members of AGO Curator’s Circle, AGO Next, AGO Members, Banff Centre alumni, and Massey Hall Friends First on February 22 at 10 a.m.; and to the public on February 23 at 12 p.m. 

Creative Minds debuted to sold-out audiences in September 2016, and has welcomed an incredible line-up of international artists that includes Rebecca Belmore, Sir David Adjaye, Buffy Sainte-Marie, André Alexis, Junot Diaz, Paul Gross, Christi Belcourt and Deepa Mehta. 

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Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince.

About Andrea Fraser:  Andrea Fraser is one of the most provocative and influential artists of her generation. Fraser’s work spans performance, video, and a range of other mediums and appears both as a social critique and an ethical investigation. Fraser famously posed the question of whether art is, metaphorically, prostitution by sleeping with a collector on camera in Untitled (2003). Her site-specific project Down the River for the Whitney Museum of American Art, used audio recorded at Sing Sing prison to bridge the social, cultural, and geographic divide separating museums from correctional facilities. Surveys of her work have been presented at museums around the world, and her books include Andrea Fraser: Works 1984-2003; Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser; Texts, Scripts, Transcripts; and Andrea Fraser. Fraser is Department Chair and Professor, Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Art at UCLA.

About Charles Officer: Charles Officer’s filmmaking career began with a slate of award-winning short films that premiered at international film festivals around the world. He is an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre Director Residency where his debut fiction feature Nurse.Fighter.Boy was produced. The film premiered at TIFF ’08 and earned 10 Genie Nominations. Charles followed with his first feature documentary Mighty Jerome that won 4 Leo Awards in 2011 and a 2012 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary. Other notable films include Stone Thrower: The Chuck Ealey Story, The Skin We’re In, and most recently, Unarmed Verses (2017), which  won Best Canadian Feature Awards at Hot Docs, VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival) and the People’s Choice Award at 2018 TIFF Top Ten Canadian Film Festival.  He is currently in post-production with Invisible Essence: Le Petit Prince, a feature documentary based on the international bestselling novella. 

About Salman Rushdie: Salman Rushdie is the award-winning author of thirteen novels— including Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and The Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, Fury, The Enchantress of Florence, Luka and the Fire of Life, and his newest novel, The Golden House. He has also published a book of stories, East, West, and four works of nonfiction—Joseph Anton, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, and Step Across This Line—and co-edited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. His books have been translated into over forty languages. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. A former president of PEN America, Rushdie holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – France’s highest artistic honour, and was knighted in 2007 for services to literature.

About the Art Gallery of Ontario: With a collection of more than 95,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

About Massey Hall: Massey Hall is one of Canada’s most revered cultural institutions and a designated National Historic Site. The iconic venue has hosted some of the greatest historical figures and contemporary artists including, Winston Churchill, Gordon Lightfoot, Helen Keller, Enrico Caruso, Neil Young, U2, Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, Bob Dylan, Feist & Harry Styles. Built in 1894 by Hart Massey, Massey Hall was gifted to the citizens of Toronto and to this day, operates as a not for profit organization. Remaining true to Massey’s vision, the organization devotes much of its focus on community outreach & education as well as artist development programs. In order to logistically & successfully accommodate these initiatives as well as continuing to attract the world’s greatest performers, Massey Hall is currently in the midst of a Revitalization - a seven-year multiphase project to renew both the interior & exterior of the hall and the construction of a new south tower - to ensure that the lives of Canadians continue to be enriched through arts, employment, and cultural celebration for generations to come. 

About CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

À propos de CBC/Radio-Canada: CBC/Radio-Canada est le radiodiffuseur public national du Canada et l’une des plus grandes institutions culturelles du pays. Nous sommes la source de confiance des Canadiens pour l’information et les contenus de divertissement canadiens. Profondément enracinée dans les communautés de partout au pays, CBC/Radio-Canada offre une programmation diversifiée en français, en anglais et en huit langues autochtones. Nous présentons également un point de vue typiquement canadien sur l’information internationale.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. In 2018, Banff Centre celebrates 85 years of creative practice.

For more information, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson
Senior Communications Officer, AGO
416.979.6660. ext. 403

Naomi Carniol
Associate Director, Communications, AGO
416.979.6660 ext. 364