Our visitors have spoken (loudly) and the AGO has listened and changed its policy on public photography in the building. The revised policy enables visitors to take personal, non-commercial photos in and around the iconic architectural elements of the new AGO. Based on visitor comments since opening, the most popular architectural elements include the sculptural staircase in and up from Walker Court, the entrance ramp in the main lobby, the barnacle staircase off the back of the building in the contemporary art centre and the ever popular Galleria Italia along the front of the AGO. However, we are not restricting photos to these spaces only – if visitors have a hankering to photograph friends or family elsewhere in the AGO, such as hallways or, say, in the coat check area, fine by us.
The relaxed policy on photographs cannot, however, extend to gallery spaces where artworks are installed, primarily due to copyright restrictions. While our visitors often point out that some other major art museums in the world allow photography of artwork, many of those collections are no longer subject to copyright restrictions, or are under different copyright rules than those in Canada. We didn’t set the copyright rules but we are required to respect them. However, since Walker Court and Galleria Italia are such popular photo sites and yet both have artworks in them, we have secured clearance from both artists represented in these areas for personal, non-commercial photos. So shoot away, while respecting other visitors in the process.
Photo: AGO Photographer Sean Weaver © 2008 Art Gallery of Ontario.