The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opens to a crowd with architect Frank Gehry

In Photos: The New Art Gallery of Ontario

The new Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a transformed gallery abounding in organically shaped curvy staircases made of Douglas fir and the extensive use of glass, showing off the talents of architect Frank Gehry and giving the gallery a much-needed face-lift.

On Thursday I got a chance to hear Toronto-raised Gehry speak about his role in the transformation of what's sure to be one of Toronto's most talked about galleries. I also got to capture some of the spaciousness and beauty of the place in the photos that follow....

The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opens to a crowd with architect Frank Gehry

Not all the exhibits were quite yet available. So we weren't allowed to walk up the two-story spiral staircase that hung above Gehry during his talk to the media before we got to tour the museum.

The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opened, but some areas were still under construction

Some of the more interesting work has Gehry's style written all over it. The massive Ken Thomson collection of over 130 ship models was housed in more curvy, shiny showcases, some of which weren't quite ready. The displays that were finished were delicately lit, enabling me to easily appreciate the outstanding craftsmanship (evident in the other photos in the slide-show below).

The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opens with wide open spaces for art

It was good to see some of the Henry Moore works in new spaces, no longer all confined to one dingy room.

The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opened with wide open spaces, designed by Frank Gehry

I was mostly amazed by the all the high ceilings and vast space in the gallery, making the art appreciation that much more enjoyable.

If you haven't checked it out yet, the AGO is offering free admission all weekend (Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 midnight and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). If you want to avoid the inevitable lineups, you can now also get in free Wednesday evenings (from 6 to 8:30 p.m.). Or else pay the exorbitant $18 (adult) entry fee on other days.

There's also the Museum and Arts Pass that gets you in free with a valid adult Toronto Public Library card, but it's only available at 24 library branches and quantities are limited. Sounds like a lottery to me.

I wish they had put some of the $300 million they raised for the AGO's transformation into making it a more accessible place for everyone all the time.

The New Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opens, but construction crews aren't quite done

What do you think of them charging so much for regular entry to the gallery? I tend to agree with Gehry, who responded to the question by simply saying "Highway robbery."

More photos of the AGO's transformation in the slide-show below:

Photos by Roger Cullman.

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