Guillermo del Toro Toronto – Sep 30 to Jan 7

AGO to present first museum retrospective of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro in September 2017

Major exhibition organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Minneapolis Institute of Art to make its only Canadian appearance next year

TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will present the only Canadian appearance of a new exhibition that offers a rare glimpse into the creative process of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Organized by the AGO in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters makes its Canadian debut at the AGO on Sept. 30, 2017and runs to Jan. 7, 2018.

Co-curated by Britt Salvesen of LACMA, Jim Shedden of the AGO, and Matthew Welch of Mia, Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters brings together elements from del Toro’s films, objects from his vast personal collections and objects from the permanent collections of all three institutions. The diverse range of media featured in this exhibition—including sculpture, paintings, prints, photography, costumes, ancient artifacts, books, maquettes and film—totals approximately 500 objects and reflects the broad and alluring scope of del Toro’s inspirations.

“This exhibition embodies the AGO’s commitment to timely projects that explore the creative imagination in its many forms, across time and place, and will immerse visitors in the fantastic spaces of Guillermo del Toro’s mind,” says Stephanie Smith, the AGO’s Chief Curator. “We are delighted to be organizing this important project and bringing it to our audiences as part of a dynamic exhibition schedule over the coming years.”

“Guillermo del Toro believes that we need monsters,” says Jim Shedden, co-curator and the AGO’s Manager of Publishing. “To him, the imperfections of monsters are found in all of us, whether we see them or not. At the same time, despite his empathy for the tragic monster, del Toro is fascinated with truly terrifying and invulnerable monsters. By witnessing his incredible creative process, we can make unexpected connections among different genres and narratives, high art and pop culture, and blur boundaries between fantasy and reality.”

“To find beauty in the profane. To elevate the banal. To be moved by genre. These things are vital for my storytelling,” says Guillermo del Toro. “This exhibition presents a small fraction of the things that have moved me, inspired me, and consoled me as I transit through life. It’s a devotional sampling of the enormous love that is required to create, maintain, and love monsters in our lives.”

The exhibition is organized into eight thematic sections, including:

  • Childhood and Innocence, exploring the central role children often play in del Toro’s films;
  • Victoriana, loosely referencing the Romantic, Victorian, and Edwardian ages and latter-day interpretation of the Victorian era;
  • Rain Room, a recreation of a favourite spot in del Toro’s personal residence (“Bleak House”) where he installed a false window with special effects to simulate a perpetual thunderstorm;

  • Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult, exploring the many puzzles, talismans, secret keys and quests for forbidden knowledge that appear in del Toro’s films;
  • Movies, Comics and Pop Culture, delving into the scope of his obsession with cinema, from B-movies and horror films to Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel;
  • Frankenstein and Horror, revealing del Toro’s lifelong love affair with the tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster;
  • Freaks and Monsters, considering del Toro’s fascination with monsters of all types, from those found in horror movies to those in nature, literature, myth and art; and finally
  • Death and the Afterlife, which speaks to the disturbing confrontations with death that del Toro experienced growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the late 1960s and ’70s.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Insight Editions. The 144-page volume is edited by Britt Salvesen, Jim Shedden, and Matthew Welch, with contributions by Guillermo del Toro, Keith McDonald, Roger Clark, and Paul Koudounaris. The hardcover catalogue will be available in shopAGO upon the exhibition’s opening.

AGO members receive free admission to this time-ticketed exhibition. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

This exhibition was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It will open in Los Angeles on July 31, 2016 and in Minneapolis on Feb. 26, 2017.

Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is one of the most inventive filmmakers of his generation. Beginning with Cronos(1993) and continuing through The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015), among many other film, television, and book projects, del Toro has reinvented the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Working with a team of craftsmen, artists, and actors—and referencing a wide range of cinematic, pop-culture, and art-historical sources—del Toro recreates the lucid dreams he experienced as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. He now works internationally with a cherished home base he calls “Bleak House” in the suburbs of Los Angeles.


Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

Event Location

317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1G4, Canada

Event Date

Sat, 30 September, 2017, 10:00 am

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