AGO Announces More Details For The Guillermo del Toro Exhibit

Lead PhotoGuillermo del Toro’s Bleak House. © Josh White/

This September, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is home to the only Canadian stop of an exhibition that offers a rare glimpse into the creative process of famed and fascinating filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Organized by the AGO in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters opens on Sept. 30, 2017 and runs to Jan. 7, 2018.

Timed-entry tickets go on sale to the public on Sept. 15, 2017 and are $16.50 for post-secondary students and youth ages 17 and under, $21.50 for seniors and $25 for adults. Tickets will be available online at, in person and by phone. Admission is free for AGO Members and for children five and under. AGO Members have access to an exclusive preview before the exhibition opens to the public. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

This fanatically detailed exhibition explores the creative mind of del Toro and his love of monsters of all kinds, with objects including sculpture, paintings, prints, photography, costumes, ancient artifacts, books, maquettes and film, all organized in eight thematic sections.

“By bringing del Toro’s notebooks, collections, and film art into museum galleries, we can explore the curatorial aspects of his approach to filmmaking,” says Jim Shedden, co-curator of the exhibition and the AGO’s Manager of Publishing. “For del Toro, collecting is a fruitful creative activity, one he pursues with his own personal purposes while paying homage to this histories and legacies of those who came before him. In this exhibition, as in his filmography, del Toro shows how mixing among genres, categories and disciplines can be incredibly energizing.”

The AGO is the place to be this fall, with a full slate of exhibition-related programming to be announced shortly. Join the conversation online using #GDTAGO.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Minneapolis Institute of Art.

About the exhibition:

The exhibition features approximately 4,150 objects, including:

  • over 450 items del Toro accumulated over many years, usually contained in Bleak House;
  • 95 items from the AGO, Toronto artists, collectors and industry colleagues of del Toro;
  • over 1,600 comics on loan from local comic retailer The Beguiling; and
  • over 2,000 rarely seen books from the AGO’s historic Grange House library.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters is one of the AGO’s most immersive exhibition experiences to date. Highlights include:

  • life-sized figures of del Toro’s most visually striking monsters, such as The Faun and Pale Man (Pan’s Labyrinth), the Angel of Death (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) and Santi’s Ghost (The Devil’s Backbone);
  • four of del Toro’s original, personal notebooks (and their digitized forms) which he used to sketch monsters, ideas for films, lists and phrases;
  • a seven-foot bust of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster as well as figures recreating key scenes from the classic film by artist Mike Hill;
  • eleven silicone figures of characters from films and real life, some commissioned by del Toro specifically for the AGO exhibition;
  • objects from the AGO Collection selected by del Toro himself, some of which have never been displayed before;
  • notable costumes from Crimson Peak worn by Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska;
  • reproductions of over 700 different book covers for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, along with over 100 different copies of the book itself, sourced by curator Jim Shedden and which are unique to the AGO’s presentation of the exhibition;
  • gallery design and decor that simulates the ambience of the original Bleak House;
  • an original musical experience featuring music from del Toro’s films and 19th century composers, performed live during Gallery hours by several local pianists; and
  • two free audio tracks available for download on your smartphone or tablet: one featuring del Toro himself speaking on several exhibition highlights, and one with an atmospheric score composed by Gustavo Santaolalla specifically for At Home with Monsters.

The exhibition’s eight thematic sections are:

  • Childhood and Innocence, exploring the central role children often play in del Toro’s films and in the art and literature that have inspired him, ranging from traditional fairytales to Disney films;
  • Victoriana, loosely referencing the Romantic, Victorian and Edwardian ages and latter-day interpretation of the Victorian era, which provides del Toro with great visual and narrative inspiration;
  • Death and the Afterlife, speaking to the del Toro’s contemplations of these themes including references to Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, which influenced him while growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico in the late 1960s and ’70s;
  • Magic, Alchemy and the Occult, exploring the many puzzles, talismans, secret keys and quests for forbidden knowledge that figure in the art and literature that inspire del Toro;
  • Outsidersconsidering del Toro’s fascination with those relegated to the fringes of society throughout various eras, from those found in horror movies to those in nature, literature, myth and art;
  • Movies, Comics and Pop Culture, mining del Toro’s obsession with cinema, from B-movies and horror films to Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel, as well comic books and a wide range of illustrators;
  • Frankenstein and Horror, revealing del Toro’s lifelong love affair with the tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster; and
  • Rain Room, a recreation of a favourite spot in Bleak House where he installed a false window to simulate a perpetual thunderstorm.


Lead Supporters:  Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner
Supporting Sponsor:  AeroMexico
Government Partner:  Canada Council for the Arts

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is one of the most inventive filmmakers of his generation. Beginning with the film Cronos (1993) and continuing with The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), Crimson Peak (2015), The Strain (2014-2017) and most recently The Shape of Water (2017), del Toro has reinvented the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction with his various film, television and book projects. Working with a team of craftsmen, artists and actors—and referencing a wide range of cinematic, pop-culture and art-historical sources—del Toro re-creates the lucid dreams he experienced as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. He now works internationally with a cherished home base he calls Bleak House in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

With a collection of close to 95,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002, Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to learn more.

Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters

Mar. 3 – May 27, 2018Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.

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