Opinions About the New Art Gallery of Ontario

I’m not sure how the new AGO reads visually but judging from the photos I’ve seen it is probably better to experience it rather than gawk at it via Flickr.

The streetscape on Dundas Street appears rather corporate and dull but the interiors seem alive. The only really odd decision, from what I can tell, is the use of blue on the building that overshadows the historic Grange mansion behind the museum…it simply looks out of place and unfinished (am I reading this wrong?).

  • AFC has already given us crumbs about her visit (though Paddy promises a more extensive piece soon) via Twitter here, here, here & here.
  • Newsgrist posted about her experience.
  • We also have the rundown from the Toronto Star via Slow Painting, and some luscious pics via Daily Dose of Imagery here.
  • Critic Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star wrote an insightful piece about the revamp which includes the following lines: “The Art Gallery of Ontario may not be one of Frank Gehry’s biggest projects, but it is one of his best…Nothing about the new AGO smacks of being arbitrary, eccentric or driven by vanity, the desire to shock, or, for that matter, please. This is a building that takes its every cue from the program; it is a place to view art.” Hume also made a small video tour of his experience that you can watch on YouTube.
  • View on Canadian Art has two useful takes here and here.
  • One-Way Street has some good observations about the new structure that are creatively categorized as Narrative, Cheapskate, Ground & Wrapping.
  • There’s a large Flickr pool of AGO images here.
  • And there is a decent YouTube video by Digital Journal.

I personally have a special connection to this museum and can’t wait to check it out. I attribute my love of art to this place that I visited every week for two years during high school. Considering it was almost an hour trip each way that was a big commitment on my part and a relationship I never regretted.

I’m eager to see some of my favorite works in the AGO’s collection (Frans Hals, De La Tour, Chardin, J.M.W. Morrice, Emily Carr, Gorky, Rothko, Mario Merz & General Idea) within this new context. Though I have to say that the AGO’s new website bites hard and is actually worse than it was six or seven years ago when you could actually see more images from its collection online.

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