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2008 02 19
AGO Aims To Reinvent Gallery Experience

AGO CEO (and early Reading Toronto contributor) Matthew Teitelbaum announced last week that the AGO wants to offer patrons a "Different kind of visitor experience." Rather than a top down approach where art experts determine what the rest of us should look at, staff at Toronto's venerable arts institution want to let user input guide their curatorial choices. Call it the "Wisdom of Crowds" approach to art.

Now, we've all heard this kind of talk before from Canada's cultural sector, but this time the gallery is up against profound changes in the way people access culture. In other words, they have to adapt or be left behind. Given that the new, Gehry-designed gallery has the potential to be Canada's arts crown, well, that would be a shame.

To achieve their goal of cultural relevance, the AGO's staff set out a conceptual armature to support this innovative approach. Their plan? Six key principles to keep all this user-generated feedback under control. Those principles are: 1. Creativity (well, it's an art gallery after all). 2. Forum (the new gallery will be a platform for the exchange of ideas). 3. Transparency (the gallery will make its deepest, darkest functions visible--think conservation of art as an example). 4. Diversity (the gallery exists in a global stream-of-consciousness after all) 5. Responsiveness (where societal trends will be used to influence how visitors understand the arts experience). 6. Relevance (a subtle shift away from big curatorial themes to issue-based arts).

The rebuilt AGO opens later his year.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 02/19 at 03:19 PM

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