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The AGO’s secret vertical passageway

November 23rd, 2008

By: Shawn Micallef

A subtle design detail in the new AGO are the removable panels in the floor (and ceilings), allowing for large works of art to be hoisted from the main floor all the way up to the fifth floor in the tower. Placing the contemporary galleries in upper floors has some obvious challenges as the work can potentially come in just about any shape or size. These vertical slots almost turn the the building into a sort of theatrical fly tower. I anticipate that at some some point an artist will approach the AGO and want to use the slots as part of an entire-building installation or even a performance piece. Of course, AGO liability lawyers will likely have to create a litigious performance themselves if such an event ever happened. Perhaps other parts of the transformed building will become muse to artists as well — ask any OCAD instructor how many of their students have come up with “things on colourful stilts” since the Alsop addition went up.

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