Sunday, November 5, 2017

Monsters at Home - Del Toro at AGO

Sort of a continuation of the last post, Toronto was relatively fortunate in that our turn to see the Guillermo del Toro exhibit coincided with Halloween.  I have plenty of misgivings about this exhibit (feeling that it really has no business being in the AGO and should have been at the ROM -- like the Cronenberg exhibit all the way back in 1993!), but if it is on display, then Halloween is the right time.

There were a few interesting tidbits that I wasn't aware of.  He has named his house/estate Bleak House, after the Dickens's novel (and he had some interesting observations on Bleak House and Great Expectations being essentially Gothic novels).  He has a small shrine to Dickens in his house.

He seems to have a really creepy obsession with putting waxwork figures of authors in his house.  In addition to Lovecraft, he has Edgar Allan Poe, though I will say that the whole idea of a rain room is pretty cool.  He says it is one of the rooms in which he is most productive.

Still, mostly the exhibit is a weird grab bag of props from his movies, plus a wall of comics he has collected and a bunch of books he has been inspired by.  One of the few things that actually looked "artistic" was actually a poster for his upcoming movie, The Shape of Water.

Still, I am sure this will be considered a big success as it is bringing relatively large crowds of folks, who also buy the trinkets on sale at the gift shop.  I'm well aware that the high/low art is fairly arbitrary, but these are really movie artifacts and are just not what I consider art, since they weren't made to stand on their own.  Anyway, I was glad that the crowds had died down a bit, so it wasn't painful going through the exhibit, but there were a few parents who had disregarded the warning signs and brought small children who were not ready for this exhibit.  I would generally avoid bringing impressionable children along.  More info here if interested.

I briefly checked out the Florine Stettheimer exhibit, but I have to say I thought it was pretty weak.  She has almost no ability to give depth to her paintings, and everything sort of floats all on the surface.  Some of her larger (and marginally more interesting) paintings are often on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but these didn't make the trip.  I do see some connections with the work of Hollis Sigler, who may well have been inspired by Stettheimer, but I personally much prefer Sigler's work.

I still had time to check out the antiquarian book sale on the 3rd floor, but there wasn't anything even remotely in my price range.  I really don't have any interest in collecting used books; I only like used books when they are cheap and thus I have no qualms about reading them.

Then I biked over to the movie theatre to see Blade Runner 2049.  The visuals are pretty awesome.  The story was pretty good, with some significant plot holes, but I'll write about this in a separate post.  Biking home, I faced a major headwind (it's not just that it is the cold that makes it harder to cycle, but somehow the wind usually does seem stronger as we head into winter).  Still, it was good to be biking (it's really the first major biking I've done in two weeks, and I also avoided the gym while I was so sick these past two weeks).  That was pretty much all I accomplished yesterday.  Now I will have to get the groceries and cook and probably do laundry just to feel I have caught up. 

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