A First Look at the New AGO
Frank Gehry's re-imagined AGO officially opens today at 4pm with free admission all weekend, but yesterday hundreds of local and international media were welcomed for a chance to hear the star architect speak as well as tour the new space.
Initial reviews of the AGO have been very positive (the AGO Art Matters blog has a full round up of coverage) and the Toronto Star's Christopher Hume has gone as far as to call the building profoundly brilliant and a magnificent home for art.
With the positive buzz as a prelude it was difficult not to walk through the new front doors on Dundas West yesterday with some high expectations.
While I definitely agree the changes that have been made are stunning, what surprised me most was the extent to which so many areas of the AGO haven't changed. Many of the galleries in the middle showcasing art that predates the 20th century have only received minor upgrades leaving most of the wow moments to the front and rear of the revamped building.
The Dundas West facade is the part of the reno showing up in most of the initial media coverage. Here's a raw video I took as I walked from the Beverly St. end to the McCaul St. side that's home to the works of Henry Moore.
Much has also been written of the new tinted titanium and glass-faced five-story south wing that overlooks OCAD and Grange Park. When it comes to experiencing the art, this was my favourite addition to the AGO, especially the 5th floor which contains some wonderful work from the likes of Robert Indiana and Andreas Gursky. Here's a brief look at that space as well:
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