Photo courtesy City of Toronto Archives, Series 1300, Sub Series 2, File 235.
Founded in 1987, The Power Plant is Canada’s leading public art gallery devoted to the presentation of contemporary art, artists and ideas through exhibitions, publications, talks, and events. Initially established in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront, the gallery moved to a repurposed 1920’s powerhouse located on Toronto’s waterfront in the late 1980s. The Power Plant is recognizable by its smokestack and exterior façade which have been restored to maintain reference to its history.
Since its earliest programming, The Power Plant has been dedicated to presenting new and recent work by Canadian artists along with their international peers. Over its history, the program has included ambitious thematic exhibitions and major solo exhibitions by Canadians Colin Campbell, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Peter Doig, Stan Douglas, Geoffrey Farmer, Rodney Graham, Annie Pootoogook, Steven Shearer, and Michael Snow. Solo exhibitions by international artists include those by Fiona Banner, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Ryan Trecartin, Francesco Vezzoli, and Carey Young. In 2006 The Power Plant inaugurated an annual commissioning program which includes the presentation of new works by Candice Breitz, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Scott Lyall, Simon Starling, Ian Wallace, Lawrence Weiner, and Pae White. Over the last twenty-five years, The Power Plant has produced over forty influential and award-winning publications, as well as a wide array of public programming such as symposia, performances, screenings, and the acclaimed International Lecture Series that further the dialogue around contemporary practices.
Ahead of its twenty-fifth anniversary, The Power Plant redesigned its visual identity and added a new lobby, retail space and website. This not only strengthens its position locally and internationally, but allows audiences to further engage with the rich and rewarding work of contemporary artists and thinkers. Throughout its history, The Power Plant has been committed to creating an environment in which diverse audiences can access contemporary art through educational programs and special events such as the Power Ball.