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AGO set to reopen with long-awaited Andy Warhol exhibit

Both the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum are set to welcome back visitors later this month — planning on unveiling new exhibitions, such as the AGO's long-awaited showcase of work by pop-art phenom Andy Warhol.

Royal Ontario Museum also announces it will reopen in late July

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans, seen here at Sotheby's Auction House in 2013, will be one of the pieces of art featured when the Art Gallery of Ontario welcomes back visitors this month with an exhibition of Warhol's work. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

Both the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are set to welcome back visitors later this month. Both are planning on unveiling new exhibitions, such as the AGO's long-awaited showcase of work by pop-art phenom Andy Warhol.

The Toronto gallery says it's preparing to reopen on July 21, pending final confirmation from provincial and local authorities.

Art lovers can purchase tickets to see more than 250 of Warhol's works, including such iconic images as Campbell's Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych. The exhibition was first announced in January 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

AGO members will be first in line for access to the exhibition between July 21 and 25. Annual pass-holders will be welcomed as of July 24, followed by single-ticket visitors on July 27.

Other new exhibitions include showcases of Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona and Canadian painter Ben Woolfitt, as well as a collection of medieval religious relics.

All visitors to the AGO must book their tickets in advance and arrive within a 15-minute time-slot.

"After eight months, we are absolutely thrilled to reopen our doors," Stephan Jost, the AGO's director and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

"This time has served as a powerful reminder that art and culture are vital to our collective sense of well-being."

The ROM is projecting a similar opening date of July 22, though museum organizers noted that is contingent upon when Ontario reaches Step 3 of its reopening plan. If the province sticks to that schedule, the museum will also offer advance access to members on July 21.

A worker readies the Royal Ontario Museum's upcoming Great Whales exhibit ahead of the museum's planned reopening in late July. (Paul Eekhoff/ROM)

The ROM's "large physical footprint and wide-open spaces, combined with timed ticketing, limited capacity, and comprehensive safety measures, offer a safe and welcoming place for people to reconnect and re-engage with culture this summer," the museum said in a news release.

New exhibits on Canada's great whales and Indian textiles will be available to patrons on the museum's opening day, while two other exhibits — specifically focused on the pandemic — are scheduled to open in the fall. 

#MyPandemicStory is slated to open on Oct.9, and will showcase the effect COVID-19 has had on how children learn, play and create. Unmasking the Pandemic, which is scheduled to open Sept. 18, will use over 60 masks to look into "the power of artistic ingenuity and human creativity that emerged in the face of a global crisis."

With files from The Canadian Press

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