art and drinks (september 2011 — january 2012)
Art and Drinks was an experiment in combining in a quiet atmosphere, a fully-licenced bar with a multi-screen and projection video art gallery, featuring a total of 17 image areas.
It existed for 5 months, from September 13th 2011 through to January 28th 2012, in an excellent location at the lively corner of Dundas and Palmerston in Toronto, connected to a bar café with patio, and a locavore deli.
It was open every Tuesday thru Saturday evening from sunset to 11ish.
There was a new combination of things to see screened and projected every night.
images above from left to right by Hoffmann, Oswald, Rokeby, and Macdonald, observed by Renée Lear
One example was Vivaria, a constantly varying version of John Oswald's Stillnessence image of hundreds of transparent transforming individuals, shown in its North American premiere.
Also, featured were the similarly infinite Machine for Taking Time by David Rokeby, and a changing selection of multiple pieces by Renée Lear, Michael Snow, Bettina Hoffmann, Laurel MacDonald, and Mani Mazinani.
Three of the artists are Governor General Award Laureates.
Two pieces by Annie Onyi Cheung were added in December.
Mark Reale of bnotions and Jim Paterson programmed the interactives and the electronic menus.
Each evening of the week featured a host, who ensured that all guests were welcomed, informed, engaged in conversation, or left alone. Our hosts included Asad Raza, Norah Sadava, Heather Nicol, Jim Paterson, Genviève Martel, and Anne Bourne.
The locavore deli supplied pickled snacks by Jamie Kennedy; Dali of the Casbah made the pickled eggs; and there was fresh house-made popcorn with an assortment of gourmet condiments, all free for nibbling.
The draft was Conductor's Ale supplied by Tom Paterson of Junction Craft Brewing, their first offering, the introduction of which coincided with the opening of Art and Drinks. Wines were selected by Dom Risso of the neighbouring Palmerston Café. Meanwhile bartenders Jess Forrest and Lisa Folkerson created the cocktails named the Rosedale, and the Parkdale, after two very different Toronto neighbourhoods.
Every evening was technically and functionally an 'opening'. There weren't many special events, and, as the character of the lounge developed, the philosophy became that all moments at Art and Drinks were considered equally, potentially special.
Art and Drinks was a fully functioning bar lounge, that catered to contemplative and/or conversational visitors. It attracted a broad range of ages, and boasted many interesting regulars.
In its final week it also became, on a whim, clothing optional.
Art and Drinks was conceived and implemented by John Oswald.
most of the images above are by Geneviève Martel, Phil Strong or John Oswald