Toronto Biennial of Art presents Judy Chicago Smoke Sculpture on June 4

  • TORONTO, Canada
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  • April 26, 2022

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Judy Chicago in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, Diamonds in the Sky, 2021. Fireworks performance Belen, NM © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York.




JUNE 4, 2022 

Colourful large-scale Smoke Sculpture will be released on the city’s waterfront

Toronto, ON… A Tribute to Toronto, 2022, Judy Chicago’s latest site-specific pyrotechnic display, will take place on June 4, 2022 at Sugar Beach on Toronto’s waterfront as the grand finale celebrating the conclusion of the second edition of the Toronto Biennial of Art (the Biennial/TBA). The renowned American artist will create her first Smoke Sculpture™ on Lake Ontario, releasing white, yellow, green, blue, and purple pigments from a structure on a barge. In the air, the pigments mix with the wind and sunset light to create a myriad of changing colourful effects until dissipating. In line with the artist’s long history of being a passionate advocate for the environment, Chicago and her collaborators—husband and photographer Donald Woodman, Chris Souza of Pyro Spectaculars and Maude Furtado of GFA PYRO—only use non-toxic materials that meet environmental safety standards to create temporary forms that, for several minutes, transform sites into an immersive experience for viewers. The electronic ignition that sets off the smoke emits little or no sound during the presentation.

Judy Chicago, 2020. © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York.

“The Toronto Biennial of Art is thrilled to present A Tribute to Toronto by Judy Chicago, the legendary feminist artist, art educator, and writer who will create her first project on water and her first Smoke Sculpture™ presentation in Canada. Judy has been a long-time fan of our city having first exhibited her iconic The Dinner Party installation at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the 1980s. Her return to Toronto with this work provides an exciting opportunity for our community and the art world to experience art history in the making,” said Patrizia Libralato, Executive Director of the Toronto Biennial of Art.

A Tribute to Toronto is commissioned by TBA and made possible with the generous support of Menkes Developments, ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022, the Delaney Family Foundation, Waterfront Toronto, the Waterfront BIA, and the Women Leading Initiative.

Chicago first turned to pyrotechnics as an artistic material in the late 1960s in an effort to feminize the atmosphere at a time when the California art scene, where she was active, was male-dominated. Between 1968 and 1974, she executed a series of increasingly complex firework pieces that involved site-specific performances around California. Chicago began to create more ambitious projects and, over time, has created over fifty such works to impermanently transform beaches, parks, forests, deserts, construction sites, and museum exteriors with whirling plumes of brilliant pigments, guided by her principle that colour is a metaphor for emotive states. “Colour is the through line in my work, whether ephemeral or explored in more tangible forms such as paintings or sculpture. Colour is a doorway to many aspects of the human condition,” said Chicago.

Chicago’s experiments with pyrotechnics emerged in parallel with the rise of Land Art in the 1960s and 1970s, a movement that the artist’s work implicitly critiqued as being hyper-masculine and founded on large-scale interventions into the earth. Her fireworks archive is now housed at the Nevada Museum of Art which has resulted in exhibitions and presentations on her unique form of Land Art.


A Tribute to Toronto, by Judy Chicago

Toronto Biennial of Art



Saturday, June 4 | Time: 8:00pm to 8:45pm

Sunday, June 5, Rain Date | Time: 8:00pm to 8:45pm

Time subject to change. Please visit our website here for the most up to date information.



Sugar Beach

The Water’s Edge Promenade

11 Dockside Drive, Toronto

Click here for location details


Chicago and TBA curator, Candice Hopkins, will present a conversation about the artist’s practice and A Tribute to Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 7:00 pm at Baillie Court. The talk, moderated by AGO Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Xiaoyu Weng, is free and open to the public, however registration is required. Please visit the AGO website for further details.

TBA Donors and Supporters

The Toronto Biennial of Art is grateful to all 2022 contributing donors for their generous support. Major funders to-date include: The Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation; Scotia Wealth Management; The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation; RBC Foundation; Polar Foundation; Menkes Developments; Castlepoint Numa; Michelle Koerner & Kevin Doyle; Kilmer Mattamy Tricon; Newpoint Developments Inc.; the Delaney Family Foundation; The Rossy Foundation; Age of Union Alliance; The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation; TD Bank Group; Partners in Art; CIBC; The Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation; Woodbridge Investments Corporation; Ron Kimel and Family; Eleanor and Francis Shen; The Hal Jackman Foundation; Miranda Hubbs; Nutrien; Yamana Gold Inc.; Waterfront BIA; Waterfront Toronto; Stratus Vineyards; Teknion Corporation; Cadillac Fairview Corporation; and the Daniels Corporation with W.J. Properties. Much gratitude and thanks to our many other generous donors, including our Founding Supporters.

TBA is also grateful for our government supporters: Government of Canada; Government of Ontario; City of Toronto; Canada Council for the Arts; Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation; ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022; Ontario Arts Council; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; the Toronto Arts Council; City of Mississauga; the Institut Français, French Consulate in Toronto, with the support of the Consulate General of France in Toronto; Japan Foundation; SAHA Association; and the Council for Canadian American Relations.

TBA acknowledges the support of our media partners to-date: Akimbo; blogTO, Cineplex Media; NOW Magazine; Pattison Outdoor Advertising; St. Joseph Communications; Toronto Star; West End Phoenix; the Toronto Transit Commission; and Yonge-Dundas Square.

About the Toronto Biennial of Art

The Toronto Biennial of Art is Canada’s leading visual arts event focused exclusively on contemporary art from around the world. For 10 weeks every two years, local, national, and international Biennial artists transform Toronto and its partner regions with free exhibitions, performances, and learning opportunities. Grounded in diverse local contexts, the Biennial’s city-wide programming aims to inspire individuals, engage communities, and contribute to global conversations.

The Toronto Biennial of Art launched in 2019 and was a popular and critical success. The Biennial provides expanded understandings of contemporary art practices and is building a legacy of free, inclusive, and accessible contemporary arts programming in Toronto, Mississauga, and their surrounding communities.

For more information, visit:, @torontobiennial, and #TOBiennial22 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer
Bow Bridge Communications
Toronto: +1 647-544-8441, New York City: + 917-968-5567

Toronto Biennial of Art

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