Nuit Blanche originally started in Paris in 2002. The idea was to bring contemporary art to the public, all in public spaces. The name translates into “Sleepless Night.” Today, more than a million people take to the streets of Paris every year.
The North American chapter began in 2005 when Paris organizers contacted the City of Toronto and suggested Toronto join six other European cities to produce a North American edition of this successful all-night event.Toronto was the first North American city to fully participate. Since then, the event has gained international momentum and is now featured in 25 cities across the world.
Nuit Blanche is a 12 hour event which is both a “high art” event and a free public event. It encourages celebration and community engagement. The city is filled with temporary exhibitions in cultural institutions, museums, galleries and on the streets.
The first Nuit Blanche in Toronto happened on September 30th, 2006. It brought out 425,000 people and had the whole city buzzing. Last year, the event brought out over 500 artists and curators, 500 volunteers and 25 corporate sponsors. It is estimated that the economic impact of last year’s Nuit Blanche was $37.2 million.
This year’s event features hundreds of exhibitions. The centrepiece of the event will be 14 projects located at Nathan Phillips Square, entitled Museum for the End of the World and curated by Janine Marchessault and Michael Prokopow. It will highlight questions of catastrophe, Armageddon, collecting and catharis.
There are three “zones” throughout the city, each dedicated to distinct themes.
The art in Zone A attempts to transform architecture and landscape in ways that highlight memory, history and imagination that converge in our everyday experiences. It is located in and around David Pecaut Square. While walking around the neighbourhood, you’ll probably pass the Icon, 300 Front, Lofts 399, Fashion House, and Victory.
The area around Yonge and Dundas Squareis Zone B. The theme of the art is to try to get viewers to consider how their passage through the city inflects its shape and how their encounters with its spaces contribute to the construction of its traditions. Lots of condominium projects are located nearby. College Park, The Murano, The Burano, and The Modern.
Finally, Zone C presents works which reference and evoke repetition and emotion, recognizing the power of memorial and re-enactment. It is located by Queen Street East and Church Street. Similar to St. James, The King East, The Richmond, The Mozo and Rezen.
In addition to these exhibits, visitors can check out Nuit Talks – lectures on contemporary art.
Don’t miss out on this exciting event!