Mission: Art for Our Sake

MOCA is motivated by our belief that museums can be culturally and socially useful. We promote exceptional artistic thinking and provide a community space for discourse and creativity.

Working across all contemporary art forms, we empower the local Toronto art scene, while informing the international. MOCA is an accessible, welcoming hub rooted and engaged in a culturally rich neighbourhood; it is here, through art, that you can feel the specialness of this invigorating and hyper-diverse city.

“In everything sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start…”

June 15, 2020

The title of Carlos Bunga’s current exhibition at MOCA, A Sudden Beginning, is appropriated from Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, particularly the passage on “Suddenness.” This title was chosen for its connection to forceful energies and the potential that Bunga observes in ruptures and ruins. As Burke writes, “In everything sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start…”

As we enter the second half of the year, we ask ourselves: where do we go from here? How do we, a museum, recognize the crises and tragedies that have unfolded and the state of uncertainty that we find ourselves in today? Can we mourn and initiate change at the same time?

July 29, 2020

We are reviewing what MOCA can do better to actively dismantle systemic racism in the institution and focus on care across all that we do.

The staff and Board of MOCA have convened an Equity Committee as an important first step. Collectively this group will review critical activities including protocols for hiring, appointment of Board members, and training. This work will prioritize meaningful ways we can move our organization forward to more adequately address anti-black racism, and provide rigor around diversity and inclusion. We have started an internal reading group and are encouraging staff to dedicate paid time each month to attend talks and seminars focused on these areas.

We continue to reflect on the diversity of our exhibitions and public programmes. In particular we are aware of the need to include more voices in the selection and commissioning of the artists and artworks shown in MOCA’s spaces. These are areas we are actively developing, and hope that our coming programming, networks, partners and approaches will speak to our commitment to effect change.

We recognize that this work requires individual and team education, training, critical thinking and the support of experts. We are approaching it mindfully and with a view to sustaining this process in the long-term. 

History

In September 2018, MOCA moved into a 55,000 square foot purpose-designed home in a former industrial space at the heart of a new neighbourhood in the Lower Junction.

MOCA (formerly known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art – MOCCA) has been celebrated for its incisive, artist-centric approach to programming, and hospitable visitor experience.

At its former location on Queen West, the museum functioned as a hub for creative exchange and played a critical role in shaping the city’s contemporary art scene. Through a commitment to collaborative partnerships with leading like-minded artists, organizations, institutions and festivals from Toronto and further afield, MOCA connected the city to a national and global network of peers.

MOCA featured the work of over 1,100 Canadian and other international artists, hosted 200+ exhibitions and welcomed 40,000 annual visitors. As the lease on Queen West wound down, the need to move provided an opportunity to seek a larger space that could accommodate the museum’s ever-growing aspirations and significance.

2018 Annual Report

Tower Automotive Building

Built in 1919, this building, designed by architect John W. Woodman of Winnipeg, was once the tallest in Toronto. Active until 2006, it was originally a factory that produced aluminium products for World War II, and later made items such as kitchen tools, bottle caps and car parts.

When it opened a hundred years ago, this building was considered innovative because it did not use beams for support. Instead, it pioneered a new approach called concrete flat slab architecture. Each floor is a slab of reinforced concrete and is supported by concrete columns – the “mushrooms” you see on each floor, which distribute the weight to the floor below.

Once an example of innovation, and now a heritage building, today it houses the most innovative ideas and art. How cool is that?

Video by Reynard LI.

Charitable Registration No. 87891 4118 RR0001