AGO – an embarassment


After several misfires I managed to get down to Toronto for a followup eye test and got finished early enough to get over to the Art Gallery of Ontario.  My first visit since it has been reconstructed.

I was lucky enough to get a tip to grab a 20% off coupon for admission and chose to go whole hog and see the special exhibition, Drama and Desire about the cross pollination of art and theatre in the period 1789 – 1910.  I enjoyed that.

I also went looking for the photography section and had to ask a security guard if I was in the right neck of the woods.  I was right, but it was closed and empty.  He remarked that they were not sure it was going to come back, that photography would not be re-exhibited.  I found that surprising.  I have over the years made an effort to get down to see some of their special photography exhibits.

The Embarassment

I pored over my multipage guide to the AGO and noticed something called the Thomson Collection of Ship Models.  I went down to see what that might be.   There are some 130 large ship models.  Thomson’s personal collection.   He donated a lot of other art.  In fact, in a sense it is no longer the Art Gallery of Ontario but the Thomson Gallery of Art and Ship Models.   If Toronto was a maritime city, I might be able to buy this central display of stuff, but it is not Halifax of Vancouver.  I looked at a lot of the models and few seemed to have any connection to Canada.   I had to puzzle over the loss of the photographic art display and the gain of the ship models.  I am still trying to figure that out.

One thing is real clear.  I won’t be rushing back to Thomson’s hobby shop any time soon.

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Author: William J. Gibson

62 year old - writer/photographer Canadian, survived open heart surgery, received kidney transplant, sometimes dour, sometimes amusing, over six feet in height, severely follicle challemged

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