January 7, 2010

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum the other day and none of my photos do the place justice. But, then again, I don’t think the crystalization of the ROM has done it justice, either. We folk in Toronto, and visitors alike, I assume, fall into two categories. The I-love-the-new-look-of-the-ROM types, or, the I-hate-its. Can one be an undecided for a vision so dramatic to behold? To me, the ROM’s appearance feels abrupt and jarring to the senses. As if the people involved in the design forgot, or didn’t care, to take into consideration where this mass of jaggedy edges was going to reside. It does not sit comfortably for me. It’s disruptive and makes me feel (a-hem) edgy. I’m not saying the place isn’t interesting. But more in a wow-I-can’t-believe-they-had-the-balls-to-allow-this-to-happen kind of way.  Up until the other day, though, my impression of the ROM was limited to the outside of the building, save for the mini-peeks I’d taken of the gift shop and main entrance. My first nip of disappointment came when I tried locating the Vanity Fair Photographs exhibit that lured me there in the first place. Once I finally discovered where it was (supposed to be) hiding itself (not easy for me to find) I realized the exhibit had closed. (Insert sound of balloon deflating here.) I missed it by a couple of days. Dang. This didn’t stop me from wandering around the vast and various rooms packed with interesting findings. Architecturally, though, for the most part the renovation felt lackluster. I don’t mind how it looks as you enter the building on the main level but here I can’t help bringing up the AGO. I hate to make comparisons, however, I’m going to anyway because the AGO and the ROM were two massive renovations in Toronto that happened at pretty much the same time. The two buildings could not be any different from each other which is why making comparisons is kinda dumb. But, I will say that walking through the AGO felt open to me and inviting, as if the place could actually breathe and had a pulse of its own. It felt alive. The AGO was jammed with people on the day I went, which is pretty much my least favourite way take in that kind environment. Although the ROM wasn’t exactly empty, it was pretty quiet. Not great for business but perfect for me and my selfish artifact gazing needs. The place is huge and crammed with varying  points of interest which definitely makes a visit to the ROM worthwhile. But, it felt so lifeless on the Crystal side where, I have to say, I was really hoping it would sparkle.


One Response to “ROM-u-less”

  1. Alan said

    Kimca! — Happy 2010! to you ….

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