Art Gallery of Ontario, Aga Khan Museum announce reopening plans

Face masks are mandatory at the AGO and both galleries are using timed-entry ticketing systems to ensure physical distancing among visitors

The Art Gallery of Ontario and Aga Khan Museum have announced reopening dates and details.

Museums and galleries are allowed to restart operations with health and safety restrictions in place under stage 2 of the provincial reopening plan. Toronto and Peel Region will move into stage 2 on June 24.

The Aga Khan Museum will open on Saturday, June 27 and the Art Gallery of Ontario will reopen the following week on July 2.

Both museums will have new protocols for visitors to follow as per provincial public health guidelines.

At the AGO, everyone entering the gallery over the age of four must wear a face mask and practise physical distancing. Limited tickets will be sold for 30-minute time slots to control the flow of visitors.

AGO members can book tickets starting June 25 and annual pass holders can book starting June 26. The general public can start purchasing advance timed-entry single tickets on July 16 and start visiting on July 23.

Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, from 10:30 am to 5 pm.  

“The AGO’s reopening plans are guided by government and public health officials and are designed to remain responsive,” the gallery said in a statement. “Decisions about when and how the AGO will welcome more visitors, and resume its popular free Wednesday nights, will be made in the coming weeks.”

With the pandemic disrupting and complicating touring art exhibitions, the AGO has rescheduled or adjusted major upcoming shows devoted to Haegue Yang, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

The winter shows Diane Arbus, Photographs: 1956-1971 and Illusions: The Art Of Magic, which were due to close in May, will now run until November 8.

Due to open in the spring, the first North American survey of South Korean artist Haegue Yang’s work, Emergence, will now open in September. The show will feature two new installations commissioned by the gallery: a large-scale venetian blind work in the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium and a mural-like wallpaper at the AGO’s south entrance. 

The major retrospective devoted to pop artist Andy Warhol has been pushed from March 2021 to spring 2021 and Picasso: Painting The Blue Period, which covers a defining time in the Spanish painter’s career, has been bumped from summer to a fall opening.

I am Here: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces, a show all about self-portraiture, has been delayed from fall 2020 to spring 2021.

Group courses, tours and programs are suspended, but the AGO will continue hosting free talks, performances and tours online.

Aga Khan Museum goes pwyc

The Aga Khan Museum will also control visitor flow through timed-entry ticketing and admission will be pay-what-you-can until July 26. Physical distancing rules will be in effect, as are enhanced cleaning protocols. The museum has also installed new touch-free automatic doors and added hand-sanitizing stations.

Programming has also been redeveloped. The show Rebuild 2020 will focus on the reconnecting communities through arts.

“Awaiting visitors will be three art exhibitions focused on the human drive to find sanctuary, make connections, and express themselves creatively in the face of upheaval and adversity,” the museum said in a press release.

The summer/fall program shows include Sanctuary, a group exhibition featuring woven rugs by 36 contemporary artists, including Mona Hatoum and Canadian Brendan Fernandes the portrait series Crystalis, featuring photographs of refugee women living in Greece by artist Olga Stefatou Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, a show featuring work by 15 artists that meditate on blended identities through textiles, painting, conceptual art and more and Wagner Garden Carpet, “one of the oldest and grandest Persian carpets of its kind still in existence,” according to the gallery.

The Aga Khan is also mounting a COVID-themed show featuring work submitted by people from Toronto and globally that represent “how and with whom they have found sanctuary during the COVID-19 lockdown.” The deadline to submit original photos and short videos is June 30. More details here.

Talks, performances, and other events will comply with physical-distancing guidelines. The annual fundraising event Lapis Benefit will take place on September 25 and include both in-person and virtual elements.

“This year’s event will incorporate all the enhanced safety measures we have enacted Museum-wide, while still delivering the intimacy and the emotional connection people expect from a fundraising gala,” Robert Baker, the museum’s chief development officer said in a statement. “Connecting cultures through the arts starts with building and nurturing relationships, which is what Lapis is all about.”


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