The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo presents inspired seasonal menus that showcase locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by stunning views of the city.
You're invited on a journey from the steamy kitchens of cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time to the dining rooms of connoisseurs who relished their meals served on newly-invented vessels. Be transported back to the 18th century through stunning objects, decadent recipes, amusing stories, and theatrical sets. Plan your visit to Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment now!
On December 10, award-winning Cree journalist Connie Walker moderates a panel featuring exhibiting artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Kali Spitzer, as well as Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Health Association. The conversation will centre on the role of visual art in addressing the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, queer, and trans community members. Get tickets now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
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9-foot-tall vessel by renowned ceramist now sits on Queen’s Park
TORONTO—The Gardiner Museum has revealed a new monumental ceramic sculpture by acclaimed Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle. The 9-foot-tall sculpture, Cracked Wheat, now sits in front of the Museum on Queen’s Park—a voluptuous cartoon figure to compliment the squat silhouette of the Jun Kaneko “head”, a fixture on the Gardiner Plaza since 2013.
Mounted on larger-than‐life childlike legs, the polished bronze and white clay of Boyle’s sculpture reimagines the 18th-century European decorative tradition of ormolu. A map of gold painted cracks between 220 unique porcelain “shards” pays homage to the reinvigorated 16th-century Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, which celebrates breakage and repair as part of an object’s history.
Boyle’s sculpture is decorated with a vintage “Canadian Wheat” pattern, which was internationally mass-produced in the 1960s as common, affordable tableware.
“Cracked Wheat playfully dares us to confront our complicated relationship to vulnerability, value, and colonialism,” said Boyle.
“This new work by Shary Boyle is a testament to the versatility and potential of clay on a grand scale, and a gift to the people of Toronto by one of Canada’s most important contemporary artists. It’s also a wonderful expression of the Gardiner’s commitment to improving access and deepening public engagement with clay,” said Kelvin Browne, Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum.
The Gardiner recently undertook a major renovation on its front entrance—the Linda Frum and Howard Sokolowski Plaza. The project involved the replacement of the front steps with concrete and local stone, the repositioning of the accessibility ramp to a more visible location on Queen’s Park, improved lighting, and an expansion of the garden designed by Neil Turnbull Ltd.
Boyle’s design was selected by a five-person jury consisting of artist and novelist, Douglas Coupland; Director of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Gaëtane Verna; Associate Dean of OCAD University, Michael Prokopow, former Gardiner Chief Curator, Meredith Chilton; and Kelvin Browne, culminating the Gardiner Museum’s Ceramic Sculpture Competition launched in 2016.
“Whether its purpose is to delight, inspire, or promote discussion, public art has the ability to enrich an entire community,” said philanthropist Emmanuelle Gattuso, who commissioned the sculpture.
Shary Boyle represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2013, and has held solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant, the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Her work has been featured in numerous group shows, including at the Gardiner Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal, the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in South Korea, MASS MoCA, and Cité de la céramique Sèvres in France.
The Gardiner is grateful to La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso for commissioning the artwork and to the City of Toronto and Jane Perdue for their support of the Gardiner Museum Ceramic Sculpture Competition. The Museum would also like to recognize Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Emmanuelle Gattuso, in particular, for their leadership.
Read the artist statement for more information.
ABOUT THE GARDINER MUSEUM
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.
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