The Art Museum at the University of Toronto reopens with two new exhibitions

Welcome back to the Art Museum! The Art Museum reopens on Wednesday, September 8 with two new exhibitions: Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through and Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years.

Due to construction at U of T and COVID-related concerns, we have made changes to how you can visit our spaces including timed-entry tickets and limited capacity. For more information and to reserve your timed ticket, visit our website.



Pre-production plastic pellets collected in foil for persistent organic pollutant (POP) analysis, 2018. Photo by the Synthetic Collective.

Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through
Organized by Synthetic Collective
September 8–November 20, 2021
University of Toronto Art Centre

Works by Christina Battle, IAIN BAXTER&, Sara Belontz, Leticia Bernaus, J Blackwell, Amy Brener, Hannah Claus, Sully Corth, Heather Davis and Kirsty Robertson, Aaronel deRoy Gruber, Fred Eversley, Naum Gabo, General Idea, Kelly Jazvac, Woomin Kim, Kiki Kogelnik, Les Levine, Mary Mattingly, Christopher Mendoza, Tegan Moore, Skye Morét, Meagan Musseau, Claes Oldenburg, Meghan Price, Françoise Sullivan, Catherine Telford-Keogh, Lan Tuazon, Marianne Vierø, Joyce Wieland, Nico Willliams, Kelly Wood

Plastic Heart is an experimental exhibition that examines plastic as art material, cultural object, geologic process, petrochemical product, and a synthetic substance fully entangled with the human body. The exhibition includes new commissions, historical and contemporary artworks that relate to plastic as a politically loaded material, and investigations into the paradoxes of plastic conservation in museum collections. The exhibition acknowledges plastics as both lubricants of artistic, gallery, and museum practices and also as ‘wicked problems,’ made even more complex by their use and discard in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plastic Heart mobilizes practices of institutional critique and proposes an alternative method of exhibition development and presentation that addresses ecology and sustainability in content and form. This exhibition links scientific and artistic methodologies to show how arts-based approaches to thinking and working can make viable contributions to environmental science and activism.


Tree Protection Zone
Curated by Mik Migwans and Maria Hupfield
September 8–Spring/Summer 2022
Hart House Circle

Works by Shuvinai Ashoona, Susan Blight, Carrie Hill, Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch (Onaman Collective), Taqralik Partridge in collaboration with Nils Ailo Utsi, Que Rock/Manitou Nemeen (Quentin Commanda)

In preparation for the Indigenous Landscape Project at Hart House Circle as part of the University of Toronto’s Landmark Initiative, Hart House Commons is transformed by a number of large tree-protection hoardings which have inspired a public art project entitled Tree Protection Zone (TPZ). TPZ involves artists who elaborate these hoardings into a celebration of the garden and trees, the buried waterway (Taddle Creek) that remains under the soil, and the community that is centred here. The project will feature specially commissioned mural-sized works by eight artists and their collaborators considering the preservation of life, water, and kin and how each is inextricably linked to the protection of trees.

Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) is made possible by Presenting Partners including the Office of the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, University of Toronto; the Art Museum at the University of Toronto; Hart House; Indigenous Student Services; and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at U of T.

The project is produced in conjunction with ArtworxTO, the City of Toronto’s Year of Public Art, launching in September 2021.


Left: TVTV in Miami during the 1972 Presidential Conventions. From left: Allen Rucker, Anda Korsts, Tom Weinberg, Skip Blumberg, Michael Couzins (behind Blumberg), Judy Newman, Steve Christiansen, Chuck Kennedy, Ira Schneider (kneeling), Martha Miller, Michael Shamberg, Chip Lord, (kneeling), Andy Mann, Nancy Cain, Hudson Marquez, Jody Siebert (sitting), Curtis Schreier, Joan Logue, and Jim Newman. Absent: Megan WillIams. Courtesy of Allen Rucker. Right: Ronnie Clarke, Spotlight, 2018. Performance documentation. Photo credit: Yuula Benivolski, 2018.

Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years
Curated by Eli Kerr
September 8–October 9, 2021
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Works by Top Value Television (TVTV)

In 1972, the countercultural video collective TVTV descended on Miami, Florida to produce alternative documentary coverage of the political processes and broadcast network reporting of the Republican Convention.

With striking reverberations for our present political and media landscapes, TVTV’s work Four More Years is revisited as a precedent of artistic and activist efforts that seek to subversively participate in mass media through counter-media tactics. Through experimentation with remediating video and disparate ephemera, the exhibition considers the legacies and implications of Guerilla Television in the context of today’s commodified and politically divisive user-generated media environment.

This exhibition is produced as part of the requirements for the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto.

Open Windows
Curated by Talia Golland
October 27–November 20, 2021
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Works by Zach Blas, Vida Beyer, Ronnie Clarke, and B Wijshijer

Open Windows considers the intrinsic metaphors and variant connotations of the personal desktop interface. Featured works originate upon or reconstruct this digital location, materially and spatially reconfiguring its familiar parameters. In screen-recorded video and large-scale multi-media installations, the desktop is alternately a medium, a depository, a portal, and a stage. Past-tense traces of absent embodiment create a sense of paradoxic proximity, while partial legibilities and strategic omissions both impede and invite the viewer’s voyeuristic impulse. The mediated intimacy of these staged and conditional encounters gesture to queer theoretical constructions of privacy, temporality and desire.

This exhibition is produced as part of the requirements for the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto.


Dialogue 1: Plastic, Pollution, and Policy Change
Wednesday, September 15, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Vanessa Gray, Christopher Hilkene, Michelle Murphy, and Chelsea Rochman
Moderated by Heather Davis

Dialogue 2: Plastic Pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes: Industry and Invisibility
Wednesday, October 6, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Ian Arturo, Dr. Sara Belontz, Tegan Moore, Mary Mattingly, and Alice (Xia) Zhu
Moderated by Kelly Jazvac

Dialogue 3: The Plastic Conservation Conundrum: Preserving Plastics in Museum Collections and Plastics’ Durability in the Environment
Wednesday, October 13, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Courtney Asztalos, Roger Griffith, Sherry Phillips, and Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza
Moderated by Kelly Jazvac

Dialogue 4: Sustainable Museums
Wednesday, October 27, 2pm–3:30pm EDT
With Suzanne Carte, Maya Ishizawa, and Sarah Sutton
Moderated by Kirsty Robertson

Virtual Spotlights
Commissioned essays, interviews, and video content offering a deep dive into the themes explored in the exhibition. New content published monthly on


Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H3

University of Toronto Art Centre
15 King’s College Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7

Reserve your timed ticket here.

Museum Hours
Tuesday to Saturday, 12-5pm
Wednesday, 12 noon-8pm
Sunday and Monday closed

Admission is FREE to all exhibitions.

Media Contact: Marianne Rellin,

The Art Museum at the University of Toronto gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Additional project support for Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through is provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Jackman Humanities Institute.

Additional project support for Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years and Open Windows is provided by University of Toronto Affinity Partner, TD Insurance, and the Reesa Greenberg Curatorial Studies Award and International Travel Fund.