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Taking to the Streets

Located at Queen's Park and University of Toronto

Curated by Barbara Fischer, this exhibition features eight projects.

Barbara Fischer

Curatorial Statement

Even in the normal course of everyday life, streets are complex sites. In the intervals, crevices and deep channels of the city, where hundreds of thousands of us commute to work every day, pedestrian vulnerability meets car culture, public and private intermingle in unpredictable ways, and an ever present sense of commerce, its excesses and privations, serves as reminder of the need for calibration.

When social justice movements succeed, the street becomes the primordial site to celebrate and remember--such as in annual festivals like May Day and Pride. When there is no justice the street becomes the place where we rally and throw our voice together in a show of force. Festival and protest meet in the street. And art is associated with both, remembering by way of images, words, whispered histories, or monuments, the points where anger and power clash.

In these unfurling protests, near and far, the street is the medium where multiple symbolic and make-shift gestures rise up to lay claim to attention and assert existence: t-shirts and posters, placards and lights, scaffolds and banners, the fury of words and the sound of music, altogether to break through deaf ears, stop traffic, and summon each other to a common cause.

— Barbara Fischer


Barbara Fischer is the Executive Director/Chief Curator of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.

Her curatorial work focuses on contemporary art and its histories, and includes solo exhibitions with major, internationally recognized artists, and group exhibtions. Major projects included the General Idea Editions 1967-1995; Projections (2007); and Traffic Conceptual Art in Canada 1965 - 1980 (2010 to 2013).

She received the 2008 Hnatyshyn Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art, and was appointed commissioner and curator of Mark Lewis' project of the Canadian Pavilion for the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

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