Monday, November 08, 2010

Art Gallery of Ontario Membership

Rich and I became members of the Art Gallery of Ontario at the end of last year since it seemed like the most economical way to see the King Tut exhibit. Having the membership allows us to drop in regularly for a few hours to see the new exhibits, without having to feel like we need to spend the entire day there to make the admission worthwhile. You also get 10% off at the gift shop, the Frank restaurant and the excellent cafeteria in the basement that serves the most delicious soups.

We've taken all the regular guided tours, such as the architectural tour of the newly renovated Frank Gehry design featuring the Galleria Italia, and the tour of the AGO's most prize possessions, highlighted by Ken Thompson's donation of Peter Paul Rubens masterpiece "Massacre of the Innocents" as well as an over-abundance of Krieghoff paintings which all start to look the same after wandering through 4 huge rooms full of them. There are also great "mini-tours" that focus on either the Canadian, African, European or Contemporary collections.

Taking a tour of the Contemporary collection (which changes quite frequently) is the most fun, since you have someone explain to you why you are admiring a pile of rocks or a totally black canvas with a single dot just off centre. We witnessed quite a surreal scene at our visit this weekend. There were a group of "paintings" by Agnes Martin on the wall, each one basically a white canvas with horizontal lines of varying thickness running across them. Seated in folding chairs were a group of art students(?) sketching these paintings. I stared at them, and then back at the paintings for a while wondering if I was missing something. Perhaps they saw something deeper and more meaningful that what I did? Perhaps the point was to imagine what could have been? I sneaked up to one of the sketchers and peeked over his shoulder at his pad, and there was a drawn a rectangle and some carefully shaded horizontal lines. I still don't get it...

1 comment:

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