The Gardiner Museum has made a break with tradition with its sensational new show 12 Trees of Christmas.
For 26 years this small jewel of a museum across Queen’s Park Cres. from the ROM — best known as the home of ceramics — had offered an annual array of decorated festive-season trees.
This year Kelvin Browne, the Gardiner’s executive director and CEO, decided to use this occasion to advance his agenda of rebranding the museum, expanding its reach, and giving it a shock-of-the-new touch.
In the past there was a different theme every year, but the constant factor was real trees.
And in the words of Dee Dee Eustace, the architect and interior designer chosen by Browne as curator of this year’s edition: “After 26 years it had lost its lustre.”
The upshot: the 2015 trees show — subtitled The Joy of Creativity — banishes all ghosts of Christmas past and presents instead a feast of contemporary art I would call (borrowing the lyrics of a Cole Porter song) delightful, delectable and de-lovely.
Instead of using actual trees, each of 12 chosen artists could create a new kind of tree.