'This Is Not A Toy' opens in Toronto

 ‘This is Not a Toy’ opened in Toronto on 7 February. I went down to the Design Exchange to check out the exhibit with my hopes pretty low. The Kickstarter campaign for the exhibition had failed, reaching only $21,661 of the $75,000 needed despite the efforts of guest curator Pharell Williams to get folks to pledge. I took this as yet another example of the disinterest in Canada over the designer toy movement. Boy, was I wrong...

Somehow, with what I can imagine was some serious behind the scenes efforts, the project got pulled together and opened as scheduled. And to whoever is responsible, from the event organizers, to the private collectors who offered their pieces for public consumption all the way down to the folks working the elevators, a massive thank you for putting together such a remarkable exhibition in such a beautifully curated space.

I took a super low-fi video of a sizeable portion of the exhibit. You can watch the 14-minute clip below. Or you can just head to my Flickr and look at some of the photos. ‘This is Not a Toy’ is on until 19 May 2014.

Going in - thanks to some teasers from Billion's instagram - I was most looking forward to Bill McMullen’s ambitious upscale of his original AD-AT piece (2004, Spans of Sunset). Bill drove the massive AD-AT in the back of a U-Haul all the way from San Diego to Toronto in some pretty fucked up weather. Much respect to the Billions for the insane effort. Celebrity sightings of McMullen in Toronto confirm that he rocked shorts during his visit despite the balmy -13°C weekend weather. A true baller.

 I’d never realized the two different whites used for the body and head of the AD-AT were a homage to the cream shell toe design of the original Adidas Superstars. Bill dropped that bit of info. on his instagram while he checked out the '
Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture' exhibit currently on in Toronto at the Bata Shoe Museum.

My initial expectation was that This Is Not A Toy would make the mistake - all too common in events of this nature - of focusing to strongly on Kidrobot as if it were the beginning of all things art-toy. Man, was I wrong. Walking into the exhibit, I immediately stumbled past a 3-foot Bounty X Hunter Skull Kun.

The exhibit - which could easily take you a few hours to take in - has a heavy Kaws theme. There are also sizeable amounts of Coarse Toys, Friends With You installations, Takashi Murakami, Bearbricks, a large Huck Gee collection, James Jarvis, Nathan Jurevicus and a window display of every 3 inch dunny to date.

One of my favourite pieces was this awesome and simple, or maybe just simply awesome, Friends With You installation I call Spin Me.

At some point, i found myself hypnotized by this Friends With You animated video.


 If I came for the McMullen, I stayed for the wooden companion.

Another highlight was this insane Takashi Murakami x Pharrell Williams x Jacob sculpture. I think this debuted at Art Basel back in 2009.

‘This is Not a Toy’ is on until 5 May. Students get discounts, regular folks pay 18 clams. Visit The Design Exchange website for more details.

More photos...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RAD! Great coverage of the exhibit... And thanks for the kind words

- Bill McMullen