From Peter Paul Rubens to Hito Steyerl, artists have always been controversial and inspirational makers and thinkers who respond to the changing world around them with works that ask questions and challenge our perceptions of what is possible. This fall the AGO explores topical issues inspiring artists working today through a diverse line-up of talks, performances, screenings and courses.

“Artists ask us to reconsider the world at every turn,” says Heidi Reitmaier, AGO Deputy Director & Richard and Elizabeth Currie Chief of Education and Programming. “The works in the AGO’s galleries were created by people who were inspired, angered, enamored or concerned with the politics and practices of their contemporary worlds. Our programming continues to explore the important issues of today through the lenses of inspirational thinkers and practitioners.”

AGO Futures
New to the AGO’s programming line-up is AGO Futures, an expansive range of artist, author and curator talks that examine the current issues inspiring artists working today. Several events in the fall series put a special emphasis on current issues around data, surveillance and technology, inspired by the upcoming exhibition Hito Steyerl: This is the future. Highlights include:

  • Well known for her award-winning publications, journalist and author Naomi Klein comes to the AGO on Sept. 20, 2019 for a conversation with journalist Ishmael N. Daro about how we might rise to the challenge of climate change. Offering a deep exploration of the systems and technological advances that created this problem, Klein shows how we can change these same systems and technologies to turn things around.
  • On Sept. 30, 2019, Booker prize-winning author of 12 novels Salman Rushdie is joined by Canadian comedian Candy Palmater for a conversation about his recent novel Quichotte.
  • On Oct. 30, 2019, internationally acclaimed author Zadie Smithdiscusses her first short story collection, Grand Union. In conversation with writer and CBC broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel, Smith will explore the themes of identity, legacy, and the future present in all her works.
  • On Nov. 9, 2019, professor of political science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs Ron Deibert discusses the role technology plays in our everyday lives. From smart cities and the privatization of public spaces to internet filtering impacting freedom of expression, he asks, “are digital democracies possible?” Diebert was a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and Information Warfare Monitor (2003-2012) projects, as well as a founder and VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon, one of the world’s leading digital censorship circumvention services.

Other talks feature writers, performers and artists Billy-Ray Belcourt, Annahid Dashtgard, Daniel Arsham, Paul Seesequasis and Stephanie Barnesthroughout the season, continuing the conversation about contemporary art and culture.

AGO All Hours
After its exciting launch last May, AGO All Hours returns on Oct. 26, 2019 with an all-new roster of programs and performances inspired by Hito Steyerl: This is the future. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon.

More information and tickets for all talks in the AGO Futures series are available online at

About The Author

CEO: Chief Entertainment Officer

René Samulewitsch @VIPRene is a globetrotter with a hunger for adventure, but at heart, he will always be an urban tourist with big love for Toronto. When not busy with his day job as a PR strategist, he spends his time exploring the city’s culture and entertainment venues. Rene has a passion for sharing experiences, and truly believes in the power of word of mouth. Favourite place in Toronto: Kensington Market in the Summer as there’s always something new to discover. Queen Street for the urban vibe and King Street to let loose and party.

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