Art Gallery of Ontario
"Freedom and discipline are two sides of the same coin." -Madan Kataria
Toronto is not only a comfortable city to visit but also a cultural one with its various inspirational public art centers. After numerous visits to Toronto, I have yet to share my cherished experiences at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Perhaps its subtle characteristics kept me quiet. As the renovation successfully master-designed by superstar architect Mr. Frank Gehry is complete, I would finally like to celebrate its gracefulness.
I love visiting art museums and learning from their architectural details-read my blog on Renzo Piano's new wing at the Art institute of Chicago. AGO is a subtle and comfortable place to visit time after time, despite the possibility of being upstaged by its famous architect. Many times I've forgotten about Frank Gehry when walking through the galleries of AGO.
The museum was founded in 1900 as the Art Museum of Toronto and renamed the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1966. Since then, the museum has grown and gained its credible collections and entertained millions of visitors. Mr. Gehry, a native of Toronto, beautifully attached the front façade with layered glass panels in voluminous curves. The façade acts as an extended awning and a proper front entrance. Once inside, one is immediately greeted with a bright inner courtyard containing one of the most amazing sculptured wood paneled stairways in Mr. Gehry's signature style: simple but sensuous. Circulation is embraced, and finishes are warm and contrast well with the contemporary pre-fabricated building materials.
I have visited a few of Mr. Gehry's award winning projects, but this museum must be my favorite of his. I find the interior objects work well with his plans, including his own designs of museum furniture.
I am delighted to enter a museum without being seduced by Mr. Gehry's signature. Simply put, I am walking through intimately arranged galleries. One might describe the museum as a "restrained masterpiece" from the noticeable lack of the architect's flamboyant style. I for one find it refreshing to experience the museum without being reminded of the one in Bilbao, Spain. After all, don't you find that the elegant museum echoes the humble qualities of Toronto?