Christof Migone

Blackwood Gallery takes art Door to Door

Kimberley Wright

U of T Mississauga’s Blackwood Gallery is taking art to the streets, and in some cases, right into the homes of local residents. The gallery’s unconventional Door to Door project, launched in 2011, is a series of roaming art events that pairs contemporary artists for one-week exhibitions throughout Mississauga. Door to Door’s sixth edition will unveil across the city in spring 2013.

From a silent cheerleading routine performed for local businesses, to quotation plaques mounted on buildings, to driftwood art delivered through the mail, Door to Door triggers inquiry, reflection, and conversation.

Christof Migone, director and curator of Blackwood Gallery, founded the ‘site-less’ project following successful off-site exhibitions in Port Credit. “Ultimately, we want people to come to UTM, but we need a presence outside the gallery as well,” Migone says. “Many talented artists work well ‘in the street’ without the framing device of a gallery.”

Door to Door is so unique, people may not even realize they are intersecting with contemporary artists. “Some of the art work that was sent by mail was not returned or did not garner a response, so we don’t know what the reaction was,” Migone says. “Our hope is that it sparked a conversation. People often connect art with an antiquated notion of a solitary genius. For me, it’s also about engaging and commenting on the world around us.”

Migone’s own work as a sound artist provokes and engages audiences. During university, Migone worked as a campus radio announcer and later experimented with shaping sound and concocting unusual sound palettes. In 2001, inspired by conceptual art of the ‘60s, he produced Crackers, recordings composed solely of the sound of people ‘cracking’ loose joints.

“When people hear Crackers, they get a little flinch,” Migone says. “They don’t get absorbed by the aesthetic form only; there’s another layer that connects back to the body.”

As Blackwood Gallery’s director since 2008, Migone is constantly on the hunt for new audiences, new artists and new ways to get exposure. Partnering with other UTM departments is one of Migone’s key initiatives. In October 2012, the gallery and biomedical communications presented Splice: At the Intersection of Art and Medicine by guest curator Nina Czegledy, which showcased traditional anatomical art complemented and challenged by contemporary artworks.

Migone says he would like to partner with other UTM departments, including management or economics. “At first glance, one might think that art and economics don’t have much in common, however, presenting an artistic take on the economy could be very enriching.”

Photo Credit: Angus Rowe MacPherson