CONTACT is an annual festival of photography in Toronto, during the month of May, with over 1000 local, national and international artists exhibiting at almost 200 venues. Founded as a not-for-profit organization 16 years ago, and now a charitable organization, the festival is devoted to celebrating, and fostering the art and profession of photography. It stimulates excitement and discussion among a diverse audience that has grown to over 1.8 million. CONTACT is the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada.
Stimulated by the renewed global interest in street photography, this year’s festival explores the theme “Public” in a series of exhibitions, site-specific installations, and events across the city. Drawing attention to social and political issues that are framed by photographic images, the works presented challenge the distinctions between our private lives and the public sphere. CONTACT 2012 highlights how photography shapes collective experience and makes things public.
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Harry Callahan, Chicago, 1961 © The Estate of Harry Callahan.
Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Gilden, Leon Levinstein, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Weegee. Spanning six decades, from the 1930s to the 1980s, Street View reflects the development of street photography as a record of city life and shifting social and economic conditions. Drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, this exhibition highlights the work of seven photographers whose seminal visions helped to describe the 20th-century urban landscape. Organized by the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA).
PUBLIC: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces
In an age of social media, global urbanization, protest and revolution, photography plays a crucial role in mediating our understanding of contemporary life. This two-venue exhibition, Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces, presents images from around the world to explore the ways we articulate our identity in public, and the tensions that arise from the occupation of public space. Organized with Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) and University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC).
The artists showing at MOCCA challenge the tradition of street practice and the shifting parameters of public space to reveal aspects of urban existence that are not always visible.
Philippe Chancel, Cheryl Dunn, Barry Frydlender, Baudouin Mouanda, Jon Rafman, Bill Sullivan, Michael Wolf.
The artists exhibiting at UTAC suggest that the role photography plays in engaging conflict can be as contested as the spaces it represents.
Tarek Abouamin, Ai Weiwei, Ariella Azoulay, Benjamin Lowy, Sanaz Mazinani, Richard Mosse, Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, Noh Suntag.
Larry Towell, Donovan Wylie - Afghanistan
This exhibition brings together two acclaimed Magnum photographers who explore the consequences of the armed conflict in Afghanistan from contrasting perspectives. Larry Towell’s black-and-white photographs reveal the devastating effects of war on the people and landscapes of Afghanistan. Donovan Wylie’s colour photographs document the operating bases built by the Canadian military for surveillance and defense of the surrounding terrain. Organized with the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
FOB Masum Ghar, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2010, © Donovan Wylie/Magnum Photos
Lynne Marsh - Upturned Starry Sky
Upturned Starry Sky presents a selection of works by Lynne Marsh that are brought together under the rubric of spectacle. Engaging with three sites in Berlin—an empty sports stadium, a disused amusement park, and the interior of an orchestral concert hall — Marsh positions the viewer as participant in the social relation that gives each location its essential meaning. On view at the CONTACT Gallery.
Berenice Abbott - Photographs
Featuring more than 120 photographs, this is the first exhibition in Canada to cover the many facets of the American photographer, Berenice Abbott (1898 – 1991). A committed member of the avant-garde, and staunch opponent of the Pictorialist movement and the school of Alfred Stieglitz, Abbott spent the whole of her career exploring the limits of documentary photography and photographic realism. Organized by the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, and the Jeu De Paume, Paris. Presented in partnership with CONTACT, Ryerson Image Centre and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The presentation in Toronto is supported by Ryerson University and the Ontario Arts Council. On view at the AGO.
Blossom Restaurant, 103 Bowery, New York City, October 24, 1935, © Berenice Abbott/Commerce Graphics
Lynne Cohen - Nothing is Hidden
Scotiabank Photography Award 2011 Winner Exhibition
Throughout her career, Lynne Cohen has largely focused on investigating the interiors of domestic, industrial, leisure, and educational institutions. Her cool, and intriguing images, precisely executed and infused with uninflected light, reveal a great deal about the scope and limitations of our abilities to control chaos and make sense of the external world. Organized by the Scotiabank Photography Award. On view at the Design Exchange.
Showcasing artists from Canada and abroad, public installations throughout Toronto reflect the ways photography frames social issues and public space. CONTACT presents site-specific projects by artists Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, Max Dean, Jim Goldberg, Melanie Manchot, Scott McFarland and Bill Sullivan. In the Toronto subway system images by Derek Besant, Alyssa Bisonath, Ruth Kaplan, Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Brent Lewin, Debra Friedman, and Robert Poulton are shown on platform posters, and in response to an open call a selection of images submitted by members of the public are shown on the LCD screens.
Alcantara, 2007 - 2008, © Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos
A special Cross-Canada Billboard project, Sleeping Soldiers, presents portraits of sleeping American soldiers in Afghanistan by the late photojournalist and filmmaker, Tim Hetherington. The images are featured on billboards in Toronto, and in six cities across Canada (Dartmouth, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, and Vancouver). Supported by Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada.
Reflecting a diversity of approaches—documentary to abstraction—the 32 Featured Exhibitions presented throughout Toronto were developed through a public call for proposals and by means of collaboration within the community. Artists from around the world present a wide range of photographic works that speak to the vitality of the medium today.
Untitled (David and Jonathan), 2004. © Adi Nes & Jack Shainman Gallery
In response to an open call to participate in CONTACT more than 1,000 artists exhibit their work at over 130 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. RICHARD JOHNSON GALLERY