June 1, 2009

A long, long time AGO

I finally got to experience the new-and-improved Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) yesterday. The reimagining of the spaces is understated, tasteful, and stunning in its overall look and feel. Frank Gehry's design, unlike the disjointed crystal over at the ROM, breathes new life into the stuffy AGO, and awakes the building and collection. As one magazine put it, the new building is not so much a redesign as a thoughtful reconception of how to hang the venerable collection. The galleries are high and airy with wonderful natural light, allowing the viewer to appreciate both space and art at once. Walker Court, pictured here, has a new scuptural staircase that goes up past the glass ceiling and into the adjoining tower. What was fascinating to see was that Gehry had throngs of people wanting to walk up these stairs, as if walking up stairs took on a new aesthetic meaning from the stairs we walk up on a daily basis. Such is the power of art.  

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