This Is Not a Toy exhibit at Toronto’s Design Exchange (DX) has something to offer everyone at any age, but don’t expect the kids to “get it.”
DX Marketing Manager Nina Boccia says This Is Not a Toy is the world’s first exhibition of contemporary sculptures, figurines and artworks.
The show boasts many prominent artists in the field, such as Takashi Murakami, KAWS, FriendsWithYou, Coarse, Huck Gee, and Frank Kozik.
Elaborately crafted figurines with different interpretations of imagined characters, some toys even use the same base sculpture. The toys range in size and materials used, from mere inches to an eight foot tall AD-AT on display.
“The exhibition explores the conceptual toy as an art and design object, as well as a contemporary cultural signifier,” says Boccia.
Glass cases line the Exhibition Hall housing smaller pieces, while security guards monitor large freestanding sculptures.
This Is Not a Toy was conceived and co-curated by John Wee Tom, along with the DX associate curator Sara Nickleson and guest-curated by fashion icon and music mogul Pharrell Williams.
“I found This is Not a Toy to be a great curation of bridging the gap of toys as an art form. I found it very moving, and a must see for anyone interested in art or design,” says Cameron Wilson, owner of Queen Street West’s Untitled & Co, who was visiting the exhibit.
1998 is considered to be the first year toys were created for artistic and design purposes rather than for play, according to the DX press release.
These high end toys are not only aimed at toy collectors but, “the genre appeals to design enthusiasts, art aficionados, hipsters, gaming and toy fanatics, kids, their parents and the curious,” says Boccia.
Ranging from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands, these artists are proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the contemporary art world.
From Nov. 26 to Dec. 26, 2013 This Is Not a Toy utilized the funding website, Kickstarter to raise $75,000 for the exhibition. This was the first time a crowd sourcing platform was used to raise funds for a public institution in Canada, according to the DX press release.
“In the This is Not a Toy exhibition, design intersects with contemporary art and other popular contemporary signifiers. It is a true intersection of all things cultural, and a carefully layered experience of creative disciplines,” says Boccia.
The show runs Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. until May 19, 2014.