Bonfirecity brings artouteast to Toronto June 21st

If you happen to be one of those people who think of the east coast in summer time as one big camping trip, where we all sit in boats or on the shore in our sweats, drinkin’ beers and singing songs…

Well, you’re not far off.

Fellow artist and Nova Scotian (never mind that we are from the same wonderful town, Pictou!) Mary MacDonald is capturing  a piece of the bonfire culture this Tuesday right here in Toronto.

bonfirecity is a simulated campfire experience transported to the heart of downtown Toronto. Part exhibition, part social gathering, this project seeks to rectify the intense urbanity of summer in downtown Toronto by introducing a decidedly pastoral summer event. On a series of ten television monitors, piled at the centre of the gallery, DVDs of the commercially produced Faux Fire 2 will be played. In keeping with ritual, visitors to bonfirecity are encouraged to dress for a proper beach fire (plaid shirts are highly encouraged) and bring a blanket or cushion to sit on. Throughout the evening, host artist Mary MacDonald will encourage performances of all varieties from traditional storytelling and games to performance art and musical odes to summer. Two guitars will be present in case this very impromptu sing-along happens to break out. What is a summer campfire without friends, sociability and a general woodsy atmosphere?
bonfirecity is a gentle if not humourous critique of contemporary art’s recent obsession with relational aesthetics as explored by Nicolas Bourriaud. bonfirecity does not attempt to bring the “real” bonfire into the gallery space, rather an absurd mutation of it. Unlike the real thing, bonfirecity is potentially infinite and repeatable for the gallery will long close before the virtual logs burn out.
So on the eve of summer, come and enjoy bonfirecity with a friend, have a marshmallow and enjoy the scene. This event is free and open to all summer revelers. If you have a burning interest to participate or perform at bonfirecity, and would like to know more, please send an email to

bonfirecity is to be held on the evening of June 21st, the official summer solstice, from 9pm to 1am. The Graduate Gallery is located at 205 Richmond Street West (at Duncan), on the Ground floor (press G in the elevator).
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 Mary MacDonald is an artist and aspiring curator from Pictou, NS. At present she is studying towards a MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice at OCAD University (Toronto). Currently researching the production and presentation of contemporary art in non-urban locales, Mary is interested in hybrid modes of curatorial practice that support partnerships between artists and communities and the potential field of inquiry that this opens. Mary graduated from Mount Allison University (BFA 2006) and until recently worked as Assistant Director of Eastern Edge Gallery (St. John’s).


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