Art Metropole was founded in 1974 by the Canadian artists' group General Idea
General Idea was a collective of three Canadian artists, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, who were active from 1967 to 1994.As pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art, their collaboration became a model for artist-initiated activities and continues to be a prominent influence on...
as a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of the province of Ontario. It is located in Toronto, Canada.
is an Artist run centre
An Artist Run Centre is an art institution that lacks many of the traits of a commercial gallery space.By methods and ideologies made popular in the late 1970s, artist run culture came to prominence in response for the need of an alternative to conventional gallery spaces.Generally working within...
that publishes, promotes, exhibits, archives and distributes artists' publications and other materials. Art Metropole specializes in contemporary art in multiple format: artists books, multiples, video, audio, electronic media, and offers these artists' products for sale on the premises and through their web site http://www.artmetropole.com.
The three artists of General Idea had been publishing their periodical FILE since 1972. The enormous interest they received internationally led them to found Art Metropole as a means for other artists to access their distribution system, and as an archive of artists' materials, especially artists books, periodicals, video, audio, and ephemera. They conceived Art Metropole as the gallery shop and archive from the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion. In 1974 they opened their doors to the public in an abandoned space over a Greek restaurant in downtown Toronto. The building had originally been built in 1911 for one of Toronto's earliest art galleries, Art Metropole (which closed in the forties), and from this came the name for the artist-run space Art Metropole.
In 1975 Peggy Gale joined Art Metropole to initiate AM's first video distribution service, one of the first in the world. In 1987 it was discontinued and Art Metropole began publishing artists' video in low-cost VHS format for general distribution instead.
Art Metropole began publishing books in the late 70s. "Performance by Artists" in 1977 was the first of a series of resource books on new artists' media. The same year AM published "3 death stories" by Tom Sherman, the first of a long series of artists books. You can find the complete list of AM publications here: http://artmetropole.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=shop.FA_dsp_search_results&ArtMetFlag=1
Although AM hosted video screenings and book launchings, AM did not undertake an exhibition until 1982, when AM toured the seminal exhibition "Museums by Artists". In 1984 AM presented the first exhibition on their own premises, a tenth anniversary overview of the Art Metropole Collection. In the late 80s AM established a small exhibition/display space and began their regular exhibition program.
In the meantime AM continued to produce a series of innovative distribution-based projects such as "Ads by Artists" (1987) and "Billboards by Artists" (1997). In both cases AM commissioned artists to produce art works for conventional advertising space, in one case in the advertising section of international art magazines, in the other, on billboards in downtown Toronto.
In 1997 AM transferred their permanent collection of over 13,000 items to the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada , located in the capital city Ottawa, Ontario, is one of Canada's premier art galleries.The Gallery is now housed in a glass and granite building on Sussex Drive with a notable view of the Canadian Parliament buildings on Parliament Hill. The acclaimed structure was...
as the Art Metropole Collection.