In recent years, though, things have changed for Luis Jacob, and quickly. A few days earlier, he had just finished showing in the distinctly less gritty, gracefully curling rotunda of the fabled Guggenheim Museum uptown. One of his Album series — carefully arrayed selections of found images grouped to build what appear to be highly personal narratives using mass media — was shown there in a sprawling, superstar-laden show called Haunted, alongside work by such icons as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
It was just the most recent signal that, in the fast-paced churn of the international art world, Jacob has become perhaps Toronto's most notable export. In 2007, he was invited to show at Documenta 12, a sprawling, prestige-laden international exhibition in Kassel, Germany that takes place only once every five years.
Some 750,000 people saw his work there, a video piece and Album III, including an elite of international curators; since then, Jacob's rise has been steadily stratospheric, from solo shows in European museums to his work being acquired by important museum collections — like the Guggenheim — all over the world. “It changed everything,” Jacob says, still a little incredulous.