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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 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?

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.

The Best and the Worst of Activate! April 9, 2010

Posted by Xiao Ying Ye in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

I think the balloon popping was best experience from ACTIVATE! event because of its perceptibility, operability, simplicity, and memorability. The way the whole set up approached the scene with different colours of hand-made flowers that had balloons attached to them had strong visuals, and it attracted a lot of attention from the people. The feedback of this project was the pin beside the balloon because users automatically relate it to the activity of popping balloons. It was also interesting because the project delivered a mysterious feeling to the viewer with the little paper that was inside every balloon. After user popped the balloon, he or she received a message from other people, and following this, the user was able to write something on the piece of paper and put it in to a balloon. This part allowed users to exchange information, and feel fun and excitement. The experience was simple because everyone was able to easily understand and use the designs. The instructors of the project explained the steps very well to the users just in case they didn’t understand. I had fun experiencing this project and hope other users enjoyed it as well. As a conclusion, the balloon popping project was the best project because the design for the project was suitable for users and the environment of the ACTIVATE! experience.

The worst Activate project I think was the walking on the line one that was beside the cafeteria of the coffee shop with students standing and holding a rope. I thought it is the worst because it wasn’t suitable for the environment on that day, and I didn’t really get the concept they were trying to show. Also, the overall declaration of the project was not that attractive and not many users got attracted to it. I think they should improve by making the idea simple and straight forward for the user to get it, and not make it so confusing. They should have some helpers to explain what the users do instead of letting them get confused and embarrassed. Every student should do something to attract user’s attention instead of just standing on their spot. Overall, I think the worst project was the walking on the line one and the idea of it is great, but it wasn’t thought out very well.


Posted by Magdalena Malik in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Exercises , add a comment

I found Activate! to be an event where many unique and talented people came together to establish a fun yet interesting experiment. The sense of partnership in our community brought out excitement, motivation and intrigue into the project. Support and initiative played an important role in managing such a collaborative booth which I must say looked awesome!

In my point of view, the best and not-so-good qualities of our Activate! show must have included the following…

The attractive colorful design of the Chaordic Collaboratorium booth was visually appealing. The visceral effect of the neon colored papers created interests that pulled viewers in. The cycle of the experience itself was a bit confusing. The users did not quite understand the linkage of Chaos to Order. The topics in the booths were narrow. I believe that if the topics were much grander in the sense of allure then the users would come up with stronger ideas. The magazine cut-outs were engaging and questioned the audience. Inside of our booth the components of light, sound and touch were visceral aspects that intensified the atmosphere of chaos leading to order. Attraction, engagement and creativity played an important role in making this process work. I am very proud of our booth and ambition we all contributed to making it great.

One of my favorite booths would be the one named “WTF?” The slogan or phrase was very catchy and automatically made you think and wonder what the point of this was. This was very successful in engaging an audience.  The circus-like fun colored tent consisting of red and yellow inspired me to go and check out the experience. The “What the Fact” phrase made me laugh!

The Mood- Cubed Box Booth made me a bit confused and the process was infinite. It took a while. The visceral points should have been more clarified and exciting in my opinion. The brown box underneath the die was visible and lacked a certain sense of sophistication. The design wasn’t that good. I am 5’9 and trying to get underneath the box was a bit of a struggle. It did not make me feel as excited as I probably should have been.

Generally, The Activate! project was very amusing and I had a great time working with our class. I never did this type of project before and now must say that it was a totally great experience! 🙂 🙂

The Best and the worst of Activate April 8, 2010

Posted by Junbo Dong in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

The Best and the Worst

It’s quite interesting to attend such an activating movement. We work together, practice and participate together. I have learned a lot through the practices in this process.

What’s the best?

The best for me is the project, “thought pop” that’s close to the coffee room. The reason why it succeeded is its pretty device, agreeable host and  clear concept. Firstly, the decoration of the project is very attractive and lovely. The man-made elegant flower ornaments and the painted clay pots displayed a comfortable feeling to viewers. I think that they placed the used pallets as their foundations. It is a smart idea of using wastes as it’s eco friendly. Also, it gave us a bit of taste of country style. Secondly, the host group of the project was great. They gave clear directions to the users and asked us if we wanted join the extra lucky draw. Lastly, the metaphor of the project is lucid. The user would have a random note from the broken balloon after popping one. It could be an idea, a thought or an interesting thing. You can keep the note to yourself or let the host staple the note to the board, they would then write a new note to put in a new balloon.  I lean towards seeing a thought or an idea which would put you into an unknown situation. Then your new note is the connection, relate the next user and wait him/her to find a new idea from you. The player is the part of the project. He is not only a participator, but also a connector. The interactions from the host to player and the player to the next player are fascinating.

I think our project was also one of the best. We created two rooms to represent different metaphors: chaos and solution. The closed atmosphere made it attractive to the players and filled them with curiosities, so they would want to participate. The project uses multiple media to help creating the metaphors. The interaction is meaningful to the user. I think we can improve the material and the aesthetic aspect of the project.

What’s the worst?

I think the worst is the white box near the entrance. As a matter of fact, I do not know the purpose of the white box. No host and no instruction near the box. Some sound can be heard when you pass through the box, but the sound is not very clear. I think that is another part of the project mood boxes. I found out that was an image catcher inside the box at last. However, I still have no idea what the intention was. I think it needs some instruction or host to tell user what is the purpose and how to play the project. Additional, if it would show some feedback to make a circle then it will be a better one.

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