Toronto Through My Lens

Category: Museums

Curves At The AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) at 317 Dundas Street West is a near-limitless photography source of beautiful curves, gentle angles and spirals.

The building complex takes up 45,000 square metres of physical space, making it one of the largest art museums in North America and the second-largest art museum in Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) being the largest.

The gallery was established in 1900 as the Art Museum of Toronto and formally incorporated in 1903. The museum was renamed the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1919, before it adopted its present name, the Art Gallery of Ontario, in 1966.

The museum’s permanent collection includes over 120,000 works spanning the first century to the present day. The museum collection includes a number of works from Canadian, First Nations, Inuit, African, European, and Oceanic artists. In addition to exhibits for its collection, the museum has organized and hosted a number of travelling art exhibitions.

If you’d like to check out the latest exhibitions at the AGO, click here.

“Cracked Wheat”

Sitting in front of the Gardiner Museum at 111 Queen’s Park is a curious ceramic and bronze sculpture entitled Cracked Wheat. Created by artist Shary Boyle in 2018, this quirky and cracked flask-shaped vase stands tenuously on two little gold legs.

The gold cracks serve as an homage to the 16th century Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The tradition celebrates breakage and repair as part of an object’s history. This detail is a tribute to the Kintsugi collection at the Gardiner Museum, a place that is known for showcasing craftsmanship and quality from all over the world, in addition to commenting on colonialism and object valuation.

In contrast, the Canadian Wheat pattern on the front of the vase is a nod to mass-produced tableware designs that were made popular in the 1960s, work that would not likely be on display at the Gardiner Museum. Here, Shary Boyle has aspired to create a work that speaks to the universality of ceramics and show us what they can teach us about our history.1

1 Buzz Buzz Home

The Aga Khan Museum

For some time I had heard the buzz about the Aga Khan Museum in Don Mills at 77 Wynford Drive, and decided to check it out one sunny afternoon. For those not familiar with it, the Aga Khan is a Toronto museum of Islamic and Iranian art and Muslim culture.

The minimalist-style formal gardens and surrounding park are quite calming and serene:

The Aga Khan Museum was opened to the public on September 18, 2014 and houses approximately 1,200 rare objects assembled by His Highness the Aga Khan and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan.

According to the blurb on Wikipedia, the Aga Khan Museum was recognized as one of the best museums in Toronto by Condé Nast Traveler in 2018.

… and lots of sharp angles

The Interior Courtyard

The interior courtyard of the museum is surrounded by glass walls imprinted with patterns resembling traditional Islamic Jali (lattice) screens:

“In a personal letter to architect Fumihiko Maki, His Highness the Aga Khan suggested the Museum be designed around the concept of light. Light, His Highness noted, has been an enduring inspiration for the world’s religions and civilizations since earliest times. Maki responded with a design that invites direct and diffuse light into the building in ingenious ways. The building is positioned 45 degrees to solar north to ensure that all exterior surfaces receive natural light over the course of the day. Angular walls of white Brazilian granite, a material chosen for its resilience and luminosity, enhance the play of light across building surfaces.” – AKDN Website

The Ismaili Centre

The second building on the site, The Ismaili Centre, is a religious, social and spiritual building for the Ismaili Community. Designed by architect Charles Correa, the building is oriented toward Mecca.

Crashing A Wedding Photo Shoot

During my visit I also happened upon a wedding photography session that was going on…

On The Way Out…

Leaving the grounds I noticed this unusual piece. Unveiled in 2016, the bronze piece is called “Horizontal Lovers” by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli.

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