By J Caldwell
Through email and a constant stream of Google alerts we stay up-to-date with our artists. We never could have predicted that our news on the charismatic and thoughtful Toronto-based collector/dentist, Dr. Kenneth Montague, would come in the form of a architectural walk-through of his apartment in Canada for Dwell magazine.
Dr. Montague is founder and director of Wedge Curatorial Projects in Canada. Wedge is a nod to his loft-cum-gallery in Toronto that opened in 1997 and showcased his personal collection of largely photo-based work exploring black identity and the African diaspora. He says, “[Wedge] featured the work of black photographers that were wedging their way into the mainstream. It was a gallery in a home.” The Nasher Museum’s 2011-2012 show Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection was a series of portraits taken over the past 100 years by more than 60 global artists and featured more than 100 original photographic portraits of people of color on loan from Dr. Montague’s personal collection.
In Dwell, he goes on to describe his need for a more expansive space for both living and gallery space. “I started the gallery in another apartment, where I lived in the late ’90s, a really minimal loft. It was awesome, but it didn’t work for me. I’m a collector, and I’ve gotten to a certain age where I just accumulate things.” His new space functions to entertain and expose people to his collection and the stories that are contained within. He says, “Like most collectors I have a lot of stuff: photography, paintings, sculpture, design objects, my collection of salt and pepper shakers, my records. I’ve got valuable paintings and historic photos next to tears-outs of magazines. These things all together tell stories and reflect my passion about black culture and about modernism. It’s a very intimate experience, [with] art on the kitchen counter. I really want to say to people Don’t take art so seriously.”