Toronto Opens Gehry's Sober Masterpiece

Art Gallery of Ontario eschews wild curves for spare, light-filled spaces
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2008 9:28 AM CST
This Nov. 13, 2008 file photo shows the newly renovated and redesigned Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette, File)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Frank Gehry has lived in Los Angeles for decades, but the celebrity architect was born and raised in Toronto. On the eve of his 80th birthday, his hometown has opened its first Gehry building: the new Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto's Chinatown. Gehry's renovated museum, which displays a major bequest from media baron Kenneth Thomson, is successful and "refreshingly discreet," writes a critic David D'Arcy for the Wall Street Journal.

Gehry has faced criticism in recent years for endlessly repeating his sinewy titanium curves in a kind of "logo-tecture." But the new AGO takes another route, writes D'Arcy: the architect has broken down the walls of the old space, using sober glass walls and light wood to flood the museum with light. It's proof that Gehry "can work as effectively with restraint as he can with his flourishes. Airy and majestic, it is Toronto's finest indoor space."