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Gardiner Museum celebrates contemporary ceramics with New + Now

4 years ago

Featuring zodiac-inspired installation by Toronto-born artist David R. Harper

TORONTO—The Gardiner Museum’s annual 12 Trees exhibition has become New + Now, a celebration of national and international ceramics in support of the Museum’s clay education and outreach programs.

The highlight of this year’s inaugural New + Now event is a dramatic celestial installation commissioned from Toronto-born artist David R. Harper. David R. Harper: Zodiac, on display to the public from November 16 to January 6, features twelve works placed throughout the Museum, each one inspired by a different astrological sign.

Harper, whose work can be found at The Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), the National Gallery of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, is known for his innovative use of traditional and non-traditional materials including ceramics, embroidery, stained glass, rubber, and dehydrated milk.

The works in the series, which visitors will discover as they make their way through the Museum in search of each piece, include a porcelain ram’s head and a life-sized sculpture in the form of a goat.

“I want people to be able to see themselves, based on their zodiac characteristics, in some way in the work,” says Harper.

The Gardiner is also collaborating with Canadian author, performance artist, and astrologer, Liz Worth, to create horoscopes that will be unveiled on the Museum’s social media channels throughout the month of December with images of each work from the installation.

Also part of New + Now, the Gardiner is holding an International Ceramic Art Exposition on November 16 and 17 showcasing work from top established and emerging contemporary ceramists including Robin Best, Ruth Duckworth, Sara Flynn, Kayoko Hoshino, Ron Nagle, Lucie Rie, Toshiko Takaezu, Peter Voulkos, and Zane Wilcox.

“We’re excited to be working with some of the most prominent galleries in Canada and internationally to bring a selection of exceptional ceramics by leading artists to Toronto for a limited time,” says the Gardiner’s Chief Curator, Sequoia Miller.

The participating galleries are Erskine Hall & Coe (London), Joan Mirviss Ltd (New York), Ferrin Contemporary (Massachusetts), Jeffrey Spahn Gallery (California), and David Kaye Gallery (Toronto).

Guests of the sold-out New + Now Gala on November 15 will have the opportunity to preview the International Ceramic Art Exposition as well as the installation by David R. Harper.

For more information about New + Now, visit gardinermuseum.com/new+now.


The Gardiner Museum brings together people of all ages and communities through the shared values of creativity, wonder, and community that clay and ceramic traditions inspire.

The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art was founded by Toronto businessperson and philanthropist George Gardiner and his wife Helen in 1984, and was established in a building designed by Keith Wagland on the campus of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. The Museum was managed by the Royal Ontario Museum from 1987 to 1996 and then, with an additional endowment from George Gardiner before his death in 1997, became and remains an independent, non-profit museum. The Gardiner’s remarkable building was substantially renovated in 2004 by KPMB Architects.

The Gardiner Museum’s collection of ceramics comprises approximately 4,000 objects, and focuses on specific areas which have been collected in depth. These include the most important collection of European porcelain in Canada, with particular strengths in Meissen, Vienna, and Hausmaler decorated porcelain, as well as a comprehensive collection of figures inspired by the commedia dell’arte. It holds the best collection of Italian Renaissance maiolica in Canada, and a superb collection of English tin-glazed pottery. The Gardiner preserves highly significant collections of ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary Canadian ceramics. It also houses a research library and archives, clay studios, award-winning Shop, and a restaurant.

The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the world’s most notable specialty museums. For more information, please visit: gardinermuseum.com.

Media Contact:

Rachel Weiner
Senior Manager, Marketing
Gardiner Museum

With thanks to our New + Now Honorary Committee

Nicky Eaton, Chair
Gail Appel
James Appleyard
Anne-Marie Applin
Dan Bain
Debra Campbell
Stephen Dembroski
James Eaton
Linda Frum
Emmanuelle  Gattuso
Hank Latner
Barb Macdonald
Linda Maxwell
Margaret McCain
Kent Monkman
Anjli Patel
Lynda Prince
Diana Reitberger
Ellen Roland
Simona Shnaider
Roly Watt

Commission Sponsor

Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso

Education & Outreach Partners



Rosemary Phelan, The Langar Foundation
Ira Gluskin and Maxine Granovsky Gluskin
The Thor E and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation

Emerging Artist Supporters


AXA, Ecclesiastical, HUB International

Susan Crocker and John Hunkin

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