Client: Art Metropole
Volume: 340 ft3
Location: Toronto, Canada
Art Metropole (AM), with the support of Osmington Inc. and the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts (TFVA), is in the process of creating an unprecedented exhibition platform to be based out of Canada’s busiest transit hub: Toronto’s Union Station. AM Station will be one of the inaugural contributors to Union Station’s cultural renaissance, an augmentation of the nation’s busiest transit hub into a eminent cultural locus for food, performance, art, and architecture.
Complementing AM’s current Toronto storefront location, AM Station will be an exhibition made of a shippable architecture, providing a means to exhibit art and architecture books, multiples, comics, zines, and films to audiences in Toronto specifically, as well as nationally and internationally through participation in wandering exhibitions, symposiums, lectures, pop-up shops, art and art book fairs. At home in Union Station, AM Station will induce a vast expansion of AM’s potential audience, making hundreds of artists’ and architects’ works available to the 200,000 passengers that pass through the station daily. Regular events, as well as site-specific artist-initiated programs throughout the station, will further public engagement.
Art Metropole’s history of exhibiting and distributing art and architecture artifacts, books and multiples has been entrenched since its inception. In 1980, General Idea, Art Metropole’s founding artist collective, created a tongue-in-cheek art gallery sales kiosk called “The Boutique” from which they distributed their own artwork and multiples. Taking the form of an extruded and stacked dollar sign, The Boutique served as a critique of the mixing of art and commerce, while simultaneously situating the General Idea collective, as both physical bodies and body of work, in that challenging space.
Picking up on these themes, Toronto-based architecture studio PARTISANS has conceived the structure for AM Station as a solid cube that breaks apart through a daily ritual of disassembly into a series of faceted, individualized yet interlocking shipping crates. Taken together, the crates form a prominent exhibition platform at Toronto’s Union Station. Taken apart, they are an infrastructure for expediting the dissemination of architecture and art books and multiples around the globe. The crates, each with the potential to sit in multiple orientations, permits remarkable variety in exhibiting physically and topically diverse content. The curatorial flexibility and logistical pragmatism instantiated in the design will ensure an exhibition ever-ready to adapt to changing programming, content, and physical space constraints of wherever AM Station may find itself.