Saturday, May 8, 2010

The AGO Expansion

Since I didn't like the ROM expansion, I was hoping that I would like the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario Expansion), and I did like some of it, but not all of it. In fact, I must confess it reinforced the views of some Vancouverites who worry about trying to expand our existing gallery into something new. I liked the outside...why a fish? Because Frank Gehry likes fish. (Actually, I like fish too.) Although I thought the signage a bit 'cheap' and gimicky.

One of the best spaces is a wooden galleria...the Galleria Italia, which is behind the fish and financed by many of Toronto's prominent Italian families...(responsible for much of the new development in the city over the past five decades). It wasn't being used very well when I was there, but it would make a wonderful reception area, or sculptural exhibit area.(Perhaps this is a fundraising idea for our new gallery...we can have all the Persian business community in one space; the Chinese in another space; and of course the Italians in our version of the Galleria Italia. Who have I missed?

The view from the south across the Grange is a bit odd, or impressive, depending on your point of view. Why blue? I guess Frank liked blue. I found the tin-panning metal panels a bit unfortunate. However, the protruding staircases are very dramatic and offer good views of the city and the nearby Ontario College of Art.All in all, my friends think the gallery is a great success and a real improvement over the previous galleries...and it was wonderful to see so many works of art that I used to regularly visit in the 60's as a young student when Michael Snow, Michael Heydon and Graham Coughtry were all in thier prime.

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