The question of what makes a museum a truly democratic space is one that Heidi Reitmaier, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MoCA), wants to make central to the institution’s new home. After a successful decade on Queen Street, MoCA is reopening on 22 September across the bottom five floors of the Tower Automotive Building, an early 20th-century industrial high-rise in the vibrant Lower Junction neighbourhood.
Reitmaier wants to create a “welcoming museum”, though she is keen to counter the assumption that accessible means simple. “Hard is OK, as long as you’re in a space where you’re comfortable with the unknown,” she says.
The inaugural show BELIEVE will put 16 local and international artists, including Barbara Kruger and Matilda Aslizadeh, on the same stage to “explore the complexity of truths and beliefs in our current moment”.
Andreas Angelidakis’s entrance-floor commission, comprising 74 foam blocks that can be moved around by visitors, demonstrates the “lack of preciousness” that Reitmaier wishes to foster. Free entry to the first floor and a modest $20 annual membership fee will help the museum retain its reputation for bringing boundary-pushing art to a wide audience.