Empire of Dreams Phenomenology of the built environment Contemporary artists from Toronto Curated by David Liss
Jun 19, 2010 - Aug 15, 2010

Opening reception: June 19, 7 – 11 p.m.


Dan Bergeron/ Joda Clément with Nigel Craig/ Liam Crockard/ Dorian FitzGerald/ Sara Graham/ Alberto Guedea Zamora/ David Han/ Janet Jones/ Yvonne Lammerich/ Tristram Lansdowne/ An Te Liu/ Samina Mansuri/ Alex McLeod/ Jade Rude and Bruno Billio/ Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak/ T&T (Tyler Brett and Tony Romano)/ Josh Thorpe/
David Trautrimas

The things that we build embody our highest aspirations and our essential instincts to survive. They also express our will to find place, to establish dominion over territory, over our destiny. Empire of Dreams is an exhibition of recent work by artists that looks at ways in which we exist within our built environment – the phenomenon that is our experience and interaction with structures and architectures that shape complex sensory and cognitive relationships to our surroundings.

Empire is manifest through physical structure – the built environment – and also through intangible and arbitrary structures: economics, politics, and the social and cultural constructs that influence identity and our perception of our place in the world. The artworks selected and produced for Empire of Dreams convey the artists’ insightful and timely discourses around our ever-shifting relationships to architecture, urbanization, economic and cultural paradigms, utopianism, existing and imagined space; the physical and the fluid structures that characterize empire and define who we are.

The artists’ backgrounds are diverse yet are filtered through the common lens of living in Toronto, Canada in the year 2010. Though the exhibition and the artwork do not always reference Toronto specifically, this shared experience of living in a large urban centre inevitably reflects conditions of existence common to all of us in the age of globalisation, of an emerging global empire. Through a remarkable range of approaches, techniques and in various media, the works in Empire of Dreams awaken within us new understandings of our surroundings, of the worlds that we build and inhabit.

Empire of Dreams also includes a magazine-format publication documenting the exhibition, including text from the curator, interviews with participating artists, and contributions from prominent guest writers and theorists, produced in collaboration with new Toronto-based art journal One Hour Empire.

For information on related outreach and education events click here.



Matthew Teitelbaum
Matthew Teitelbaum is Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2009 the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art honoured Mr. Teitelbaum with its biennial MOCCA Award in Contemporary Art in recognition of his leadership and vision in Transformation AGO. During his acceptance speech at the Award event, Mr. Teitelbaum announced his intention to donate the accompanying $20,000.00 dollar Award prize back to MOCCA in support of an exhibition featuring works by Toronto artists. Matthew Teitelbaum’s generous support of this exhibition extends his substantial contributions to the cultural fabric of the City of Toronto.


Partners in Art
Partners in Art is a non-profit group of Toronto art enthusiasts with an interest in supporting the visual arts in Canada in two ways – first by partnering with established arts organizations on collaborative fund-raising projects, and secondly, by furthering members’ own understanding and knowledge of the visual arts through an active educational program. The group cultivates alliances among artists, dealers, curators, educators, business, and the public to develop vital and exciting contemporary art projects that raise the awareness of Canadian art and artists nationally and internationally.
Partners in Art support of this exhibition marks its second major donation to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and is directly inspired by the generosity of Matthew Teitelbaum’s support of the project.

First Capitial                    C.A Delaney Capital Management Ltd
BMO Financial Group      Gluskin Sheff
Aastra                             Odgers Berndtson
Rogers                            RP Investment Advisors
TD Securities                  St. Joseph Communications


David Blackwood
David Blackwood is one of Canada’s foremost visual storytellers and is nationally recognized for his accomplished body of work that reflects the legendary spirit of the Newfoundland landscape and its people. In 2009 the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art selected Mr. Blackwood to produce a limited edition plate to honour Matthew Teitelbaum as the recipient of the MOCCA Award. Upon completion of the plate Mr. Blackwood donated his fee to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in support of this exhibition.

Corporate Donor