Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Tuesday, July 17


Below the Frank Gehry spiral staircase bursting from the Art Gallery of Ontario's south face, and under the elegant Georgian lines of the Grange house, is a frozen moment in time.  No longer open to the public as a historic house, the basement of the Grange is still maintained as if the original family's servant were still hard at work.  Upstairs time has moved forward, the house has been transformed into an pleasant members lounge, but downstairs you can really go back to 1835 (the year chosen by the 1970s restoration committee).

The Grange House has worn many hats in its life.  Built in 1817 for D'Arcy Boulton Jr, it was to remain a home for only two generations as Boulton's son William's wife Harriet bequeathed it to be the first location of the Art Gallery of Toronto (changed to AGO in 1966). The first exhibit was held in 1913; as the building has been a gallery for longer than a home I can't begrudge it's new purpose as a tea room.  In 2008, the Grange basement acted as the framework for Iris Häussler's installation He Named Her Amber. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, the space questioned pre-existing exhibition practices and fooled many visitors in the process.  

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