The Power Plant
|The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery|
|Location||231 Queens Quay West,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Visitors||130,000 per year|
|Public transit access||■ Union
|Website||The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery|
The Power Plant is one of Canada’s leading public galleries devoted to contemporary art, located in Toronto, Ontario at Harbourfront Centre. As a non-collecting art gallery, The Power Plant has presented new and recent work by numerous Canadian artists along with their international peers.
Over its history, the program has included ambitious thematic exhibitions and major solo exhibitions by Canadians Colin Campbell, Janet Cardiff, Peter Doig, Stan Douglas, Geoffrey Farmer, Rodney Graham, Annie Pootoogook, Steven Shearer, and Michael Snow. Solo exhibitions by international artists include those by Fiona Banner, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Ryan Trecartin, Francesco Vezzoli and Carey Young.
Since its foundation in 1987, The Power Plant has produced more than forty influential and award-winning publications, as well as a wide array of public programming such as symposia, performances, screenings, and the acclaimed International Lecture Series that further the dialogue around contemporary practices. Throughout its history, The Power Plant has been committed to creating an environment in which diverse audiences can access contemporary art through educational programs and special events such as the Power Ball.
The Power Plant is a registered Canadian charitable organization supported by its members, sponsors, donors, and funding bodies at all levels of government.
Mandate & Vision
The Power Plant’s mandate continues to be a touchstone guiding our vision, goals and objectives.
The Power Plant is Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art. It is a vital forum for the advanced artistic culture of our time that offers an exceptional facility and professional support to diverse living artists while engaging equally diverse audiences in their work. The Power Plant pursues its activities though exhibitions, publications and public programming. It fulfills its mandate by generating:
- exhibitions that represent the range of advanced practice in visual arts;
- publications that increase knowledge of contemporary art;
- lectures and symposia that encourage debate and further understanding;
- interpretative tools that invite visitors to question, explore and reflect upon their experiences;
- programming that incorporates other areas of culture when they intersect with visual art.
The Power Plant will be a leading international centre for contemporary art, renowned for its global vision and special commitment to groundbreaking contemporary Canadian art and widely supported as essential to the cultural infrastructure in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada.
The Power Plant was initially established in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront. The original Power Plant with its companion building The Ice House (today the Enwave Theatre), was constructed in 1926 to house the heating and refrigeration equipment for the massive Toronto Terminal Warehouse (now Queen's Quay Terminal). Part of the Federal Government's acquisition of a 92-acre lakefront site, The Power Plant was in operation as an actual power plant until 1980.
In 1980, Harbourfront Corporation provided the Art Gallery at Harbourfront with the opportunity to renovate the 1920s powerhouse as its new home. Peter Smith of Lett/Smith Architects was chosen to undertake the renovations, the design of which has taken into consideration both the history of the building and the demands of contemporary art. The powerhouse was then converted to an art gallery and opened to the public on 1 May 1987. The Power Plant is recognizable by its smokestack and exterior façade which have been restored to maintain reference to its history.
In 2006, The Power Plant launched an annual Commissioning Program, which is an ambitious ongoing program to develop and premier major new works by the most exciting Canadian and international artists at work today. The Commissioning Program is linked to The Power Plant’s Strategic Plan to produce at least one major new art work of international significance per annum, establishing The Power Plant as a lead agent in Canada for commissioning landmark contemporary art projects by Canadian and international artists. Since The Power Plant is a non-collecting contemporary art gallery, the commissioning of major new projects is a distinctive and important role for The Power Plant.
Past commissions include:
- Derek Sullivan: Albatross Omnibus (2011)
- Ian Wallace: Abstract Paintings I–XII (The Financial District) (2010)
- Pae White: Sea Beast (2010)
- Candice Breitz: Factum (2009)
- Lawrence Weiner: CUL-DE-SAC (2009)
- Scott Lyall: The Power/Color Ball (2008)
- Simon Starling: Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore) (2008)
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Front (2007)
The Power Plant is a key attraction of Harbourfront Centre. While the gallery is led by its own Board of Directors, Harbourfront Centre supports the gallery with maintenance and improvements to the physical site, as well as services and financial support. The waterfront site offers many visitors a first-time experience with internationally-acclaimed contemporary art.
- The Power Plant's website (www.thepowerplant.org)
- Harbourfront Centre
- Ontario Association of Art Galleries
- "Message from the Director - The Power Plant". The Power Plant. The Power Plant. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Board of Directors & Staff - The Power Plant". The Power Plant. The Power Plant. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "OAAG Award". OAAG. OAAG. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "The Power Plant". ArtSlant. ArtSlant. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "The Power Plant - 2011 Commission". The Power Plant. The Power Plant. Retrieved 23 September 2011.