- Address: 1445 Dundas St. W. Toronto ON M6J 1Y7
- Owner/Director: Michael Klein
Michael Klein (M): MKG127 occupies a storefront on a busy street on the west side of downtown Toronto. The neighbourhood is Portugese and Brazilian but like a lot of the city, it is rapidly changing.
I like the pedestrian traffic (a lot of artists live nearby), the variety of businesses around (many restaurants & bars), I like my landlord and my lease.
I pretty much gutted the whole place and worked with an architect to transform the space. There is quite a bit of storage in the basement, a front space (31.5′ of wall space) that sometimes hosts guest artist projects, a reception desk with a bit of a “shop” – shelves displaying small objects, multiples, artists’ books and catalogues, etc.
The main gallery space has a bout 95′ of available wall space and there is a nice roomy office in back where I can work and meet with artists and collectors, etc.
One nice feature is a 15′ light box that was signage for the previous tenant. I have used this space to commission artists’ projects. The current project is “Hashtag” by Ken Lum.
M: I’m an artist who worked in the Canadian Artist-run network. I was primary caregiver for a couple of children for a number of years which limited my activity. As my children grew up and I had more time for my own art practice (michaelkleinprojects.com), it was suggested that open a gallery as well. When I discussed the idea with family and friends they also encouraged me. I knew a lot of great artists without representation so once a bunch of them agreed to be part of the gallery, I found a space, renovated it and opened it. From suggestion to opening took about 8 months.
M: That’s a tough one to answer. People tell me that I’m doing something that no one else is doing. That they see a very specific “vision” in the work I show but I am often going on gut instinct without overthinking what I’m doing. I’m interested in conceptual art & photography but I have opened my mind up to sculpture & painting since opening the gallery. As an artist myself, I’m willing to put a lot of trust into what the artists I’m working with are doing. They are my peers.
Is there any consistent message, regardless of different shows, that you want your gallery to deliver to visitors?
M: Not really a consistent message but to open up, let the work speak, spend some time, maybe come back to it again.
How would you describe Toronto, as an art/gallery city, compared to other major cities in Canada e.g. Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver, Halifax etc.?
M: Toronto is a hidden gem, Canada’s biggest city, fourth biggest in North America after Mexico City, NYC and L.A. There are a lot of galleries, artists and festivals. It is also one of if not the most diverse city in the world so it’s hard to define. Art Toronto, the fair that happens here every fall is incredibly well attended.
M: Friendly, Smart, Fun
M: The thing I always say is “get out while you still can!”. Keep working and don’t expect overnight success.
M: One of the smartest artists I show never spent a day in art school yet teaches it at a university.
M: That we’re in it for the money.
M: The current exhibition by Vancouver based Jayce Salloum includes hundreds of photographs, many are pinned to the wall. His last exhibition at the gallery included thousands of photographs, all pinned to the wall.
M: Every client is interesting in their own way. I love meeting new people and I love selling people their first art work.
M: Something that moves you, transforms you. Something that you can keep returning to and seeing in different ways.