Sunday, November 6, 2016

AGO-ROM swap

I'm not sure when the tradition started, but once a year (generally in the fall), the AGO and ROM have a weekend where a member of one museum can go to the other museum.  I have to admit, I basically wait up for this weekend, since I don't go to the ROM all that often.

What was a bit strange this year is that both museums had major exhibits (Mystical Landscapes at the AGO and Dale Chihuly at the ROM).  The Chihuly has been open a bit longer.  We also got to the ROM considerably earlier on Sunday than when we visited the AGO on Saturday.  The lines at the AGO were quite long and the exhibit was very crowded.  So while we enjoyed it, we went through extremely quickly and will plan on coming back another time in late Nov. or mid. Dec. when the crowds are likely to be more manageable.

In this exhibit, you aren't supposed to take photos, and the guards are being fairly vigilant, but I can still give a flavour of the exhibit.  It opens with a bit of a bang -- three Gauguins all together -- one from National Gallery of Scotland and one from the Albright-Knox and then one from a museum in Florida.  I'd seen the first two, but never the third, so on the next visit I'll try to make more of a point of studying it.  Apparently, this exhibit moves to the Musee d'Orsay, but one of the Gauguins won't make the trip.

Then there is a room with landscapes of war, particularly WWI, though it also includes this Paul Nash painting from the National Gallery of Canada, which I don't recall seeing previously.

Paul Nash, Chestnut Waters, 1923-27

There are a fair number of Group of Seven paintings, as well as Tom Thomson and Emily Carr.  So in a way it is a good opportunity for these painters to get more exposure in Paris.  Probably the most iconic of these is Thomson's West Wind, which is in the AGO's collection.

Tom Thomson, The West Wind, 1917

My son particularly liked the Eugène Jansson landscapes and one of the Whistler nocturnes.  I'm pretty sure the Detroit Institute of Art has an impressive Whistler (and we might manage to make it there in the next year or two) as well as the Freer Gallery (part of the Smithsonian).  Though I see that the Freer is going to be closed until Oct. 2017(!), which is extremely unfortunate.

The last room is kept considerably darker and is mostly comprised of landscapes at dusk or at night.  Naturally the lines to see the van Gogh are quite long, and this is another one we'll spend more time on when the crowds thin out a bit.

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles, 1888

Anyway, it is certainly an interesting exhibit.  The AGO has really come up with some incredible visiting exhibits over the last few years, and the upcoming Georgia O'Keeffe is likely to be another great show.

At the ROM, the crowds were healthy but nowhere near as overwhelming.  The exhibit opens with two boats, one full of oversized glass marbles and the other one with a weird bluish glass thing with multiple appendages apparently trying to get out of the boat.

Then you move into a space with an oversized glass garden.

Then there is what appears to be a representation of the neurons in your brain.

Then you go through a shell of a house covered with his oversize plates.

Finally, there is a small area where the wall text indicates that Chihuly has said many of his works were inspired by Native American baskets and rugs, and then there are some paired works.

So it was definitely an interesting and very colourful exhibit.  I came close to buying a magnet, but they were just too expensive.  I settled on a 2017 calendar instead, which I should find a bit more useful (at least for a year).

We spent probably another hour going through the other parts of the ROM, especially checking out the dinosaurs, but I've put up enough photos for one post.

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