Thursday, August 30, 2012

AGO Again

I go downtown to get my hair cut so when I made my appointment this week, I scheduled it for yesterday after work so I could head back to the AGO to take advantage of their free admission from 6 to 8:30 pm on Wednesdays. 

It was much more crowded than when I went on Sunday morning with Irene and Bob but I wanted to have a look at some of the things we had missed and see some things at a slower pace.  Don't get me wrong, our visit on Sunday was just right. We weren't there for more than 2 hours, which is just long enough for any museum visit as far as I am concerned.  Anything longer and my brain turns to mush, I simply can't absorb any more information.  They call it "museum fatigue".  But I do enjoy seeing new things and wandering about in museums and art galleries so why not do it for free?

I spoke to one of the staff who told me that you're not supposed to take pictures of the actual paintings, the only photos they allow to be taken inside are those of the architecture of the building itself so this one is okay:
The main floor lobby, with Rodin
statues and Frank Gehry staircase.
However, I saw several people taking photos anyway and so I snuck this one of my favourite room from a viewing alcove looking out over the room.  (Just this one, honest!)

This room is apparently set up to show how pictures used to be displayed in galleries and museums in days gone by.  Lots of paintings of various sizes by numerous artists, stuck all over the walls in a random fashion.  I can see why it might not be the best way to display valuable works of art but at the same time, I really like the feel of this room.  It could be the purple walls, I have the same shade on one of the walls in my living room, but I think it's just the cozy feel of it.  The other rooms in the gallery tend to be larger and brighter (mostly white walls) and feel a little more...hmm, what's the word I'm looking for? Austere maybe? Detached? Stark? Not all the rooms, just some of them.

One thing I find challenging about the AGO's set up is that they don't have anything near the paintings to identify the name or artist.  No little signs or plaques beside each frame.  Instead, they have some signs listing details about groups of pictures attached to walls in the general vicinity (although in one case, the sign was on one side of a doorway directly beside several other paintings that were not the subject of the sign and the actual paintings being described were on the other side of the open doorway, which was very confusing, especially since all you have is the title of the painting to identify by!)  In the other cases, they have laminated or printed forms tucked into holders in one corner of the usually large room, which you are meant to pull out and carry around with you while you look at the paintings.  Which wouldn't be the worst thing except that in some rooms, the English versions are missing completely or have pages removed.  The French versions seem to be intact and in good condition but even with my moderate knowledge of the language, I found some of the titles and/or descriptions of the paintings difficult to translate ("oil painted on canvas" not being a typical phrase you learn in high school French class!)  Then again, I might already have been suffering from museum fatigue while trying to figure out what was what and that might have been why it seemed so challenging to determine which painting was which and by whom it had been painted!

Still, I enjoyed my 2nd visit in 4 days and look forward to going back again some day soon!

1 comment:

LaurieJay said...

That arrangement of paintings sounds a little disconcerting, especially since they're not readily identifiable. I believe the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia displays paintings randomly, too, as was the wont of its founder.