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The Green Blackboard April 27, 2010

Posted by Maxyne Baker in : Check it out , add a comment

beyond the cavemanObsessed admittedly, I returned to the AGO to take a photo of the piece that has stayed in my mind since our visit. Of course, I didn’t think I was responding to this assignment,  hence I had no camera, and made no notes friday before last.
I refer to the green chalkboard on the 4th floor. It  was a preservation  of  the lecture notes from a visiting artist at NASCAD. NASCAD had the vision to cover it and call it art. Without notes I hesitate to say it was made in the 80’s.  I found it interesting that it reflected the format and purpose of our Chaortic Collaboratorium. Beyond this, the content  brought to mind cave drawings, or battle strategy  plans  in particular.
I have recently been reading a wonderful book about Asian Art titled ” The Unknown Craftsman” written by Soetsu Yanagi. In this book of essays Yanagi expands on the simple happiness in “doing” without seeking perfection and expands on how some of the finest Asian Art was made in this manner. One story in particular stands out as he describes how Korean children , illiterate, would be employed in the making of tea cups. Although they couldn’t even read the characters on the cups they where painting these cups are esteemed as some of the best examples of Asian art simply because of the children’s purity within the simple act of “doing”.

The green chalkboard was covered with a combination of words, gestures and shapes used to communicate, hurried and efficient, implying movement, hierarchy, concepts. Perhaps not unlike an ancient cave or cliff drawing, our simple drawings made with sticks in the sand, similar in that they are all  a diagram/storyboard,  and like the tea cups mentioned above, the maker was passionately distracted by the auditory accompaniment of their own voice, therefore using simple imperfect marks and gestures. The strategies of a hunt, or the plan of a village have been eternally defined and explored in the same way since time began. Still used essentially  in the way we design today. And that is really, exciting. Technology and time have brought us many more tools to use as well , and they are greatly appreciated, yet this simple mark making  seems to be part of our fundamental, eternal needs as humans.

Consciously, un-consciously I could look at cryptic ambiguous images such as these forever. The Chalkboards mysterious nature me has completely sucked in .  What was said in that lecture.? Again admittedly obsessed, reflectively processing.
Observing this piece and it’s initially unconscious act of mark making by the lecturer, followed by a very self conscious elaboration by the good folks at NASCAD does make it conceptual art. Yet I can’t think of another piece in the gallery that began with the unconcious act of mark making as the chalkboard did . Mark making used to expand the art of communication.

I think I prefer in some ways not knowing the name of the person who initially made the marks on that chalkboard at NASCAD. It seems fitting that the “Unknown Craftsman” helped me see the beauty in a contemporary Western piece of art, a simple green chalkboard that I will personally always refer to as  “The Unknown Designer”.

AGO’s Best & Worst April 20, 2010

Posted by Magdalena Malik in : Check it out, Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

The Toronto AGO gallery attracts many people around the globe every day. The subject matter distributed within its walls carries history and foretells wisdom by the work of unique artists. More than 79,000 creations of artwork are kept and viewed by various collections. These collections range from pieces of European Art to Contemporary, Canadian, British, American, and French work. This list is endless and grows quite rapidly. There is a grand diversity in which people are naturally drawn to. No wonder AGO is so popular!

I have had the pleasure to visit the AGO gallery many times throughout my first year at OCAD. I have studied its paintings, photos, sculptures, styles and various mediums used throughout the artist’s collections. In doing so, I have learned plenty of information and come to establish my opinions as to what I like and dislike about the AGO gallery.

In my point of view, the best aspects of AGO must include the following: magnificent architecture, spacious rooms, classy décor, and of course the artwork itself. The architecture is very intriguing and creative such as one of the staircases located in the center of the gallery. The staircase spins towards the top as a cyclone. Very cool! Majority of the rooms that hold artwork are very grand in scale and create a very airy atmosphere. The gallery itself is very taken care of and clean. Visitors appreciate cleanliness. I admire the fact that multiculturalism is respected. The art stored in this gallery is made from many aspiring and talented artists all around the world! I adore looking at it. The social and cultural diversity amongst visitors is also perceived.

In the contrary, an issue I do have is that many artworks do not exemplify an explanation as to what a certain object, painting or picture are presenting. The deep meaning or message is probably the viewer’s obligation to figure out or think about using personal knowledge. But honestly speaking, some artworks are really tough to figure out. An example would be a metal spoon and chair I viewed at the AGO a couple days ago at the structure department. I really had no clue as to what the display meant. A handy solution would be to place a small description as to what the artist was trying to convey in their art piece. With such statement the viewer can think about what they themselves thought, the artist’s message and the public’s opinion.

Also, I agree with Christina Dery, the gift shop is way too expensive!

The AGO gallery holds many memories and future experiences that are very important to me. It’s a place of history, education, tradition, confession, story-telling, survival and most important, adventure!

Written by Mag M.

Best and Worst of the AGO April 20, 2010

Posted by Christina Mary Dery in : Check it out, Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

AGO logo

Having been to the AGO many times, this trip in particular opened my eyes to the positive areas of the ago as well as those that need to be improved on. My first impression when i entered the AGO (entrance) was that they have a quite attractive design in the lobby with clear signage for each area and where each thing is located. They have the signage in both English and French (which most likely excludes many people in Toronto, since it is so multicultural). The one thing that I really like about the design is that the ramp is designed in a fun, unique way (but may be annoying for people in wheel chairs because it has a winding path). Another thing i like is that they use nice bright colours for the signs above the areas. Although the lobby is always quite busy, this visit was extra busy with all the various school trips.


AGO ramp

Inside the AGO there are various architectural  elements that are really quite fascinating. The winding wooden staircase is my favorite part of the architecture. It not only looks nice but also doubles as an attraction where on the upper levels the staircase goes outside the building and offers an incredible view of Toronto and OCAD of course. This provides a reflective reaction in that the participant in the environment reflects on the view and creates an emotional reaction.


AGO staircase

The main part of the attraction to the AGO of course is the art. Art itself in a gallery form mostly provides the viewer with a reflective reaction as the viewer reflects on the meaning of the art, the reasons it was done, what the artist was thinking, how it relates to them and culture/society, etc. Many pieces also trigger visceral reactions as well because art has to do with the way we perceive things based on look, feel and sound.  Some pieces of art provide us with behavioural reactions but very few do since it has nothing to do with appearance, it has to do with function and use. Some pieces that are interactive may trigger this but it could also be applied to the elevators and listening devices and other technology that the AGO use within the building (universal design: meeting needs, providing feedback, and functional).

I think the worst  part of the AGO was that sometimes i found myself lost like i was in a maze, so it is hard to navigate especially if it is your first  time being there. The areas are kind of all over the place and sometimes you end up in areas that you have already seen. With this problem there is the possibility that you may miss some art.

Another thing i did not find particularly appealing was the gift store because everything is extremely expensive (i know this is where they make a lot of money, but many things are over priced and you can pick them up at the book store for much less.)

Going on this trip through the AGO and being more aware of my environment and experience actually was quite interesting and made me notice things that i never really thought about before. Overall I think the experience is quite good and provides a positive learning experience as well. 🙂


AGO building

BEST AND WORSE: AGO April 20, 2010

Posted by Jacob Alexander Prapavessis in : Check it out , add a comment

Having visited the AGO before, I had clear idea of what to expect. Upon arrival however there were various schools trips going on and the lobby of the building was quite busy and appeared unorganized. The addition of King Tut I feel has attracted many more visitors to the normally quieter AGO. If I was to talk about the Gallery in terms of best and worse aspects to the experience I would have to say that the worse experience for me isn’t the art work itself, its Frank Gehrys Architecture.

I Find the New renovation of the AGO to be extremely confusing and not necessarily even aesthetically good-looking. Sure there are some Beautiful parts; standing in the front wooden glass room for example is quite amazing, however, I feel like the rest of the gallery was almost an after thought. Due to having viewed much of the artwork before, during our visit I found myself looking at the architecture more inquisitively. Upon further investigation one can easily find unfinished corners and weird, awkward angles and connections. The whole building to me seems cheap…maybe due do the type of laminate and the colour used for much of the wood. I also find the actual lay out of the building quite poor. The different spaces aren’t cohesive and one is forced to concentrate while moving the various displays.

Not one of Gehrys finest…..

As for the actual Displays I feel this is the AGOs strongest attribute. The diversity among the type of art displayed is quite evident. For the casual art enthusiast I feel the Ago is perfect as im sure everyone can find something they really enjoy. The contemporary Sections especially are actually quite good and have some big name (and current) artists displayed. For the person who wants to look deeper the AGO also has a great collection of prints and other pieces in the basement and if you ask nicely they will even let you hold them like I did! With the addition of the recent King Tut exhibit (unfortunately I haven’t seen it) I feel the AGO is doing a great job marketing to a wide audience…..Its just too bad about the architecture!

Best and Worst of the AGO April 20, 2010

Posted by Ricardo Iglesias in : Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

Experiencing the contemporary exhibit of the ago was an interesting, but had a few let down. Let me explain briefly, Upon entering the AGO it makes you wonder what the AGO has in store for its viewers because the main lobby is basic and plain. This alone does not give a good impression to be honest, it made me just want to leave. When we got our tickets we were stopped by the security and they told us to leave our bags in the Drop-Off room. Why wasn’t I notified previously, this wasted our time, and was making the experience a crappy one. Sad thing is I didnt even enter the gallery yet and I am already having a bad experience… really come on! Finally after entering the gallery, it was very whimsical with its spiral staircase and weird architecture. The gallery gave a good sense of uniqueness. The best part about the AGO was an art piece that was displayed in the elevator. There was a small flat screen that was playing a video, while watching the video it was talking about, how we are made to watch things. I thought it was very creative because the artist used the elevator ( a space where you are suppose to just stand and wait, going to a desired floor) and displays it in an atmosphere where people are just standing around. It was interesting because when one enters an elevator everybody is quiet, for some strange reason, so for people to avoid this awkward situation they watch the video, Hence they are being made to watch the video to avoid an awkward experience and to avoid boredom as well. The experience was a unique one even though of my bad experience of just entering the gallery. But this really make one wonder was this purposely done?

What is experience design good for? April 16, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Official stuff from Greg , add a comment

What did we learn?
Brief notes from class-wide brainstorm to discuss outcomes/takeaway from this course.

team 1

team 2

team 3

team 4

team 5

A kiss is just a kiss – unless it’s a work of art April 16, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Readings , add a comment

Below is an excerpt from Toronto Star re: one of the mosre remarkeable pieces of art at AGO, by the young artist Tino Seghal. We’ll look for it in the 4th or 5th floor Contemporary Galleries.


March 17, 2010

Murray Whyte

{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}}Ame Henderson (left) and Mairead Filgate are facilitating Tino Seghal’s “The Kiss” at the AGO.


One blustery afternoon last weekend, Ame Henderson and Mairead Filgate sat in the Art Gallery of Ontario, watching intently as an enraptured couple groped, fondled and caressed each other, their faces drawing close now and again to share a long, tender kiss.

They were among very few here who could bear to watch so closely. In the small side gallery where these throes of publicly displayed passion were taking place, small crowds gathered at the threshold, as if held back by an invisible rope.

“We saw a woman walk through with her 5-year-old, holding a coat in front of her face,” Henderson said. “It provokes a lot of confusion for people.”

What “it” is, exactly, can be a little mind-bending. The couple – one of seven, locked in embrace in rotating shifts from the moment the gallery opens to the time it closes, every day – is embodying Tino Sehgal’s aptly-named Kiss, a 2002 work of art donated to the AGO in 2008. Henderson performed the Sehgal piece here in 2006; she’s working as Sehgal’s overseer for this installation. Filgate is one of the 14 performing it until Aug. 1.

At the AGO, Sehgal’s work shares space, if not sensibility, with a handful of tell-tale pieces: Constantin Brancusi’s stone-carved The Kiss, from 1908, and a bronze casting of Auguste Rodin’s 1889 sculpture of the same name. If you watch long enough, you’ll see the couple ape the poses from both, among others, moving from one intimate entanglement to the next.

… [continues]

Some at MoMA Show Forget ‘Look but Don’t Touch’ April 16, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Readings , add a comment
A performer in Marina Abramovic show, MoMA, NY

A performer in "Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present" at the Museum of Modern Art. Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Before our trip to AGO today I’m going to point to some interesting recent discussion on experiential dimensions in art museum setting. Here’s an excerpt from a NYTimes.com:


April 16, 2010

Some at MoMA Show Forget ‘Look but Don’t Touch’


A few Fridays ago, a young contemporary dancer named Will Rawls was working at his current production, the Marina Abramovic performance art retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Specifically, he was standing naked in a gallery entrance, facing a naked woman, as museumgoers passed through the narrow space between them. It was a re-enactment of “Imponderabilia,” a well-known piece originally performed by Ms. Abramovic and a partner in the 1970s.

Out of the corner of his eye, Mr. Rawls noticed an older man preparing to walk through.

“He proceeded to slide his hand onto my ribs and back and then touched my butt,” Mr. Rawls said. “As he was passing me he looked me in the eyes and said ‘You feel good, man.’ ”

“I just turned and looked at the security guard and said, ‘This man is touching me.’ Then I looked back at my partner and left it at that.”

When his shift was over, Mr. Rawls said, he learned from a security official that MoMA had revoked the man’s 30-year membership and barred him from returning to the museum. (The museum would not comment on specific incidents, but issued a statement saying that “any visitor who improperly touches or disturbs” a performer will be removed.) It turns out a crowded museum, like a crowded subway, is no excuse for an improper touch — a lesson that has been learned the hard way by some visitors to the retrospective, “The Artist Is Present.”


Make Up 4 Activate – Canadian Tire Explained April 12, 2010

Posted by Jenkin Chu in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Projects , add a comment

As a Canadian living in Canada, most of us has gone to Canadian Tire for whatever reason. In terms of the building’s design for the countless locations they are placed, they all give the customer a very roomy feel. The entrances are large with products as far as you can see all lined up. This also gives the customer the impression that Canadian Tire will have what you need which is very reassuring. When there are a lot of people, most normal stores will have long line ups in the cashier areas because of the limited people or lane open. However, in Canadian Tire each major section (example: bikes/rec) has their own booth for customers to pay which reduces the crowding for people who buy the smaller things. The employees are all in uniform creating a more professional appearance even though their skills may not always be up to par. Also, when employees see someone looking for something, most of them will come up to the customer and ask if they need any assistance which can be very helpful for those who are shy to ask.
If you have been to canadiantire.ca you’ll notice the site is well organized so looking for stuff is a breeze. A great feature they have in the site is the product review and ratings. These ratings aren’t done by Canadian Tire workers but rather the customers who like to make a say about what they bought. This helps Canadian Tire to know what people liked or disliked about something and other customers can see what others thought so they can make a better decision when making a purchase.
In my personal opinion, Canadian Tire has done a great job in terms of their system but their products lack the proper maintenance. For products out of the box, it doesn’t really make a difference but for things like bikes they have room for improvement. The assembly team in the background do a very rushed meaning the bikes on the shelves are not properly tuned. Even though the quality may be decent for it, lacking the required tuning causes customers to mistaken it for bad quality/design. This applies to the Bike/Rec, Automotive, house decor and a few other sections of the store.

the long day at ACTIVATE! April 9, 2010

Posted by Lucey En Chung Kim in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Exercises , add a comment

I think it was really interesting to see what kind of ideas other classes came up with for this ACTIVATE! event.  I think ours was pretty successful, even though the morning was all rush-rush and crazy-hectic trying to set up the structure and what-not.  Going around to other classes’ projects, I think that there really wasn’t one that was “the best” or “the worst” because they were equally fun and disappointing in different aspects.  But, anyways:

“The Best”

Although I definately think others were a lot better, the “WTF” circus tent stood out to me, ONLY AFTER I saw one of its poster advertisements.  Viscerally, the structure and the contraption inside the tent was well-made.  Behaviourally, I think it was very clever with the whole “push” button and having someone hidden behind the big “thing” do everything manually.  Reflectively, when I first went in, and came out w/ that small envelope of a random fact, it WAS a put-down.  With a structure made so well and looking very pleasing, I was expecting something SPECTACULAR.  But, in the end, all I got was an envelope w/ a “WTF” stamp on it and a random, sometimes useless, fact.  But, later that day, as I was waiting for the elevator in the Grange, I saw one of their posters.  The poster read something along the lines of, “It’ll make you want to say, “WTF”?”.  Only THEN, did I realize that it was the classes intent for that big put-down after that built-up curiosity at the beginning.  Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t the BEST, but I felt that it should be recognized because it was MEANT to be a big put-down at the end.

“The Worst”

The protest would definately be somewhere I’d categorize as one of the “bad” ones.  One reason would be because I almost forgot that, that WAS one of the class projects for this ACTIVATE! event.  Viscerally, the whole protest looked very legitimate because of the picket signs, big group of people, loud, verbal protests and megaphone.  Behaviourally, that class did a good job in the beginning of marching around and chanting.  But, then I knew that they weren’t going to keep that up for the whole three hours.  So, seeing that they were just hanging around for a majority of the event until the last half hour was no surprise to me.  Reflectively, I remember seeing a facebook event for this protest and people were actually believing that there was going to be a REAL protest.  I, myself, almost believed this event until I saw the details of when this “protest” was going to take place and then thought that it was pretty clever marketing strategy.  I don’t think that this project showed a huge amount of effort in terms of preparation in comparison to other classes.  Also, shouting random chants (for a short period of time) without an ACTUAL good reason for taking art out of OCAD didn’t really show “information” to me.

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