The New AGO

AGO© Eugen Sakhnenko 2009

Last weekend I finally made it to the redesigned AGO. I have been very interested in architecture lately, so I have been anxious to see  the much hyped Frank Gehry creation. Also I’ve never been to the AGO while it was fully open, so seeing more of their collection was a bonus.

First of all the outside of the AGO is hit and miss in my opinion. The front is gorgeous; I love the glass and the street level area. The area surrounding it however doesn’t allow for a full view of the building; no vantage point lets one admire the whole building as a single object. One is left to viewing cropped version, which are none the less beautiful on their own, of the the building. 

I simply can’t stand the back of the building (the large blue portion), perhaps because it fills up my entire window and I wake up to it everyday, regardless I think it’s ugly. That colour has forever been dubbed “AGO Blue”.

The inside of the building is my favourite part. The main hall is a perfect balance between contemporary awesomeness without going overboard. The juxtaposing of various elements and shapes helps them reinforce each other and ultimately give the interior a clean finished look. The gallery areas are more subdued giving way to the art work, which is exactly how a gallery should be.

The AGO’s collection has several works that caught my interest. There are pieces by Jeff Wall,  Andreas Gursky, Warhol’s Elvis print, and a sculpture by Evan Penny. I somehow missed the free exhibition of Burtynsky’s commissioned photographs of the AGO construction, so I’ll be by to check that out. Also I am supposed to visit the AGO again with one of my classes and get a tour by the Curator of Photography, which will no doubt be exciting.

If you haven’t yet been go and bring your student ID if you have one, you’ll get a discount.

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3 Responses to “The New AGO”

  1. Mike Haddad Says:

    I’m going to skip past the “your window” part (although I chuckled) and share how I fell in love with with the metallic blue.

    I was sitting in the park with Erik, trying to unwind after what had been a particularly stressful day out of a string of stressful days. The topic of conversation was how much I didn’t like the metallic blue, and how I didn’t understand why they didn’t just use the green-blue glass that they’ve been using everywhere now (ie Four Seasons Centre, Bay Adelaide Centre, the new RBC building on Wellington).

    After looking at the buildings downtown, I glanced back at the AGO and noticed two things. First, it was so nice to see the bright blue in contrast to everything else around it. Second, if they had used something like every other building, it would be just that: like every other building. And what would the point of that had been?

    Our city is dull enough as it is. Enjoy the little bit of colour that made it through.

  2. Eugen Says:

    The point is not to be different but to be good. Now Frank Gehry is good, there is no question about that. The concept behind the blue was good; to make it blend with the sky. If this had even remotely worked it would have been great. The problem is that it didn’t, someone picked the wrong colour. Now instead of blending in sticks out like a sore thumb.

  3. Mike Haddad Says:

    Do you have a suggestion for a better blue? I thought it worked well, but I’m open to suggestions as I’m a programmer and an economist, not an artist.

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