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Today’s post is about two of Toronto’s many outstanding museums.  I’m focusing on these because you may not think of these for children and also because they are the two that I happen to have visited this past weekend.

The Gardiner Museum is located directly across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).  We opted to visit the Gardiner because kids under 12 are free and adults pay half price from 4-9 on Fridays.  So for two of us to attend cost $7.50.  Unlike many other free or 1/2 price museum days, the Gardiner has never been crowded during my visits.  The Gardiner is also free on Tuesdays for post-secondary students.  The ROM is an excellent museum but unless you are a member you will want to spend at least 1/2 day, given the steep entrance fee and the wealth of material.  Venice and I were looking for a quiet way to spend an hour before heading home for the day.

Entrance hall, Gardiner Museum

Entrance hall, Gardiner Museum

What’s at the Gardiner?  It is Canada’s national ceramics museum.  You can see intriguing ceramics from all eras and from all around the world.  In the contemporary gallery, I found a shallow bowl painted with an image of Mother Teresa.  It was created in 1982 by Carl Beam, a renowned Aboriginal artist and was simply beautiful.  Who knew he had worked in clay! Not me, that’s who.  There are pieces from Italy from the 1400s.  Can you imagine?  We can’t seem to keep ceramics at our house for more than two minutes without breaking them.  For those who want some hands-on experience, there are drop-in clay classes.  All in all, there is lots to see here in a calm environment.

The technical showmanship of many of the pieces is atonishing.  If you go, you have to see the

The technical showmanship of many of the pieces is atonishing. If you go, you have to see the “leather” suitcase made entirely from clay.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is located at 317 Dundas St.  In 2008, the famous Toronto-born architect, Frank Gehry, redesigned the AGO building.  The result is a stunning art gallery, no doubt about it.  The AGO contains a lot of great pieces and that fact, coupled with the fascinating envelope of the structure will mean that you will want to spend quite some time there.  We were short on just that, time, as we had a 2:30 Greyhound to catch but we couldn’t leave without seeing the Emily Carr exhibit.  Emily Carr is one of Venice’s favourite artists.  Of course once we were there, we got sucked into looking at some Lawren Harris too.  Seemed justifiable given his influence on Carr…  Okay, okay, I also got sidetracked by a painting by Kurelek – Reminiscences of Youth (1968).

Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky by Emily Carr (photo from photodb.com)

Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky by Emily Carr (photo from photodb.com)

Today’s Quote of the Day comes from the poetic Emily Carr.  Her painting, Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky must be one of the most evocatively titled works ever.

The Indian used the cedars, shaped beautiful things from them: canoes, ropes, baskets, mats, totem poles.  It was his tree of trees.  The picknickers mutilate them with their hideous initials, light fires against them, throw tin cans and rubbish into their hollow boles, size up how many cords, etc.