The Idiots of Art (Gallery of Ontario)

Today I went to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario’s exhibit Drama and Desire. I had a very bad experience with the security staff there. The whole reason I went to see this exhibit is because

the exhibition includes over 100 paintings, drawings and theatrical maquettes, by masters such as Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Jacques-Louis David, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, William Blake

However, there is only one print by Blake, titled: Hamlet and the Ghost of His Father. I mean really, advertising that you have over “100 paintings by masters such as … Blake,” and then only displaying one work by him!? What is that.

The problem with the staff security was thus, and this is what ruined my time there. Upon arriving (by bicycle) and procuring my ticket, I was asked to check my saddle bag at the coat check (free of charge). So, I checked my bag. Once in the gallery, I see numerous people walking around with bags! I guess the “no bags” rule only applies to me — for once I constitute an exception.

I brought my water bottle in, which is normally not allowed for fear someone will splash one of the paintings, or someone has used a water bottle to store acid to splash paintings. I obtained an “exemption” sticker from the staff at the front, as the water is supposed to be for medicinal purposes. No less than a half-dozen security guards harassed me about the bottle, saying, “We don’t allow water bottles in here …” Even when I showed them the exemption sticker I obtained, they still wanted to give me a hard time about it. One staff member even started telling a story about how, in the Netherlands, someone actually had splashed a painting …

I asked them if they really thought I had stored acid in the bottle, and if they really thought I intended to splash their paintings with it. They said, “yes, maybe, we don’t know.” My solution for them is to ask everyone with a bottle, “Do you intend to splash any of our paintings with the content of that container?” If they answer “Yes” — then take away their water bottle; if “No” — please just let it be. Being bothered every 5-10 minutes while at an art gallery is really too much! And, to top it all off, Blake only had one small print in the entire exhibit.

I went to the Art Gallery to view artifacts and appreciate an artist that I revere. The Idiocy of the Art Gallery of Ontario prevented me from doing either.

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