Event Recap: AGO Massive Party GOLD

This year’s AGO Massive Party was all about glitter, gold, grillz and glamour. On Thursday evening (April 18th), the Art Gallery of Ontario was the hot spot (quite literally) to be, as the sprawling venue quickly filled with ready-to-party and gold-clad young professionals (YPs) for AGO Massive Party GOLD. Co-chairs Laura Adams and Marie Corsini welcomed 1,800 partygoers to the AGO for the sold-out, gold-themed party. Now in its 9th year, Massive Party is a not-to-miss affair for Toronto YPs – art lovers and party regulars alike. It offers an evening of art, entertainment, shameless networking, and, of course, a chance to party at the famed gallery.

Inspired by all things gold, a selection of participating artists – including the coveted Thrush Holmes, Tibi Tibi Neuspiel & Geoffrey Pugen, Mango Peeler, Mahmood Popal and Jade Rude – explored different notions of the precious metal with photo-worthy and conversation-provoking installation art. Massive Party Artistic Director and multidisciplinary artist Justin Broadbent (who, as of the weekend, is also a Juno winner), curated the art and offered pieces of his own.

The evening began with a performance art portion in the AGO’s lower level, where Tibi Tibi Neuspiel and Geoffrey Pugen captured the crowd’s attention with “Hurdles.” The pair competed against each other by hurdling over various objects, like a wheelbarrow full of tennis balls, stacks of Kool-Aid cartons and a taxidermy raccoon, as the crowd (most of whom were on their second cocktail) cheered on. Other attention-catching art included an illuminated billboard by Toronto artist Jade Rude, entitled Wish You Were Here (we also loved her Nice to See You in the mirrors inside the bathroom); Thrush Holmes’ new installations that portrayed gold as currency, religion and a symbol of love; Mango Peeler’s glitzy golden caravan; and Broadbent’s video art projection of a gold, grilled-out mouth complete with humourous, rotating pick up lines and random thoughts and sayings. 

Other talking points included Mahmood Popal’s DOLLA, DOLLA GRILLZ YA’LL interactive art grill dispenser (inspiring no shortage of cell phone selfies among guests); barely-dressed models covered in gold body paint; a busy photo booth sponsored by Kobo and designed by interior decorator, stylist and set designer Melanie Cantwell; a midnight poutine station; fake dollar bills that fell from above; and the general sense of discovery with each new room you walked through.

As for the guests, some brought dates, some came in large groups following dinner (the event didn’t start until 9:00pm), and others arrived with clients and coworkers. It was the type of event where you may run into an old flame, people you haven’t seen since high school, clients and cousins all within an hour.

As usual, once one made their way through each room and level, the place to end up at was the top floor of the venue – if you were patient enough to brave the lineup for the elevator ride up.

The evening featured a live performance by Maylee Todd, which got the high-energy partygoers on the dance floor with mash-ups of golden oldies and current tunes. DJ Mensa, Felix & Gani (milk.) and Your Boy Brian’s selection of current hits and old school favourites kept the dance floor packed until the lights came on when guests realized that it was, unfortunately, still a weeknight.

Funds raised through Massive Party will help the AGO continue to deliver ambitious education and exhibition programs. If you missed Massive, check out the next best thing with AGO’s 1st Thursdays, where the gallery stays open late for a fusion of art, networking, music, and cuisine on the first Thursday of each month. The next one happens May 2nd!

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