AGO Massive Party 2017: Machine Age Massive

May 1, 2017

For the thirteenth consecutive time, on Thursday, April 27, the Art Gallery of Ontario threw its annual art-filled Massive Party — a fundraiser to support the venue and its educational programs.

Massive Party is a long-awaited event for the city’s art-supporters, fashionistas, party-people and media, as it has a reputation of one of the greatest parties in Toronto. It usually attracts between 1,500 and 2,000 guests.

This year, the theme “Machine Age” was dedicated to the futurism and mechanical wonders of machines, robots and cyborgs. One such massive T1 Bot was welcoming guests by the entrance, walking back and forth, and giving them high fives.


The suggested attire was each guest’s interpretation of Machine-Age fashion with bold shapes, metallic fabrics and wearable technology. The inspirational cues could have been taken from The Jetsons, Mad Max or 2001: A Space Odyssey. As always, there were hundreds of people who followed the dress code with original dresses, accessories and make-up, and those who did not exit their comfort zones and showed up in cocktail dresses or suits. Either way, the gallery was filled with stylish and fabulous people.

Each floor at the AGO had its own mini-party with different sub-themes, art works and signature drinks.

As people walked into the Walker Court, they found themselves in the Digital Age with video art by Trudy Erin Elmore. The signature drink was called A.I.: TAG 5 vodka soda with a cucumber syrup and lime juice. Guests could also check out the newly opened, Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition in this part of the gallery.

One of Trudy Erin Elmore’s pieces showcased on a screen at AGO.

After taking the elevator to the third floor, you would find yourself in the Space Age. This area was filled with sculptures by Harley Valentine. The signature drink was called Space Odyssey, and featured vodka with a splash of cranberry and grapefruit juices.


There was also a very special performance by Svetlana Lunkina — a renowned performer and one of the principal dancers at the National Ballet of Canada — who also previously danced for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Svetlana Lunkina performs at the Massive Party in front of a large crowd.

On the concourse level, the space was transformed into a multi-levelled Industrial Age. This was the area where everybody enjoyed tunes by Steph Honey on a multi-colour lit dance floor. One room showcased art by Jon Sasaki and served a drink Rusty Pipe, matching the art, which was vodka with ginger beer and lime juice. Great entertainment and photo-op in the other room was created by Arto LIFEWTR, a new premium water brand. A newly established brand, they plan to feature new artists on their bottles several times per year, and this artistic approach made them organically fit into the party. At the venue this year, LIFEWTR set up a fun light installation and a photo-station for both selfies and amusing boomerang videos.

The lights keep shining and changing on the dance floor.

The party was filled with never ending hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, fashion and people-watching, socializing and mingling, art-admiring and criticizing. We can’t wait to see what the organizers come up with next year.

By Darina Granik
Photography by Hannah Yakobi

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