The Royal Ontario Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by JoelA-K on December 14, 2003

Oh the choices! Outside the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) we're already considering the options for dining - as Zero Mostel said in "The Producers" - 'al fresco'. But as we've only just finished breakfast, it can wait.

What really brings us to the ROM is tickets to see their featured exhibit Art Deco 1910-1939 curated by London's Victoria & Albert Museum on display through 1/4/2003.

Art Deco - it eats the future and excretes the past. It is prelude and prologue simultaneously in a way that only Dada and Cubism ever achieved. But it is more feminine despite it's Machine Age pedigree, and it is perhaps that feminism that makes it so accessible.

This show's brilliance is its melding of influences and derivatives - here a 17th century Japanese panel, there a Japanese inspired 1920's laquered screen. This type of relationship occurs over and over again, and it works masterfully. Egyptian papyrus is played off Cartier's King Tut cosmetic cases. Greek amphorae are contrasted with Swedish tea urns. The effect is powerful when we see how much we reach to the past for inspiration.

Highlights include posters designed by Cassandre, a flowing red jacket designed by Schiaparelli, an RCA Bluebird floor radio and the architects model of Rockefeller Center. The show is whimsical, visceral and delightful overall.

Time for lunch yet? No. We press on.

Look! Something a little less cerebral - so we thought....Beatrix Potter and her little friend, Peter Rabbit! Geared for children but more for those who read the books as children, this show follows Potter's life not only as an author, but also as an observer and documenter of nature, qualities that obviously fed into her published stories for children.

50+ of Beatrix Potter's drawings line the walls from bat skeletons to Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregors's garden - enchanting for adults, but the children seemed far more riveted by the animated films running continuously. I understand the addition, but it seemed an unnecessary intrusion. However I certainly was not the audience they were shooting for.

Hungry ... we're very hungry...

Frankly, the Druxy's Deli in the basement was a poor excuse for lunch (unless salt & vinegar chips and Diet Pepsi is your idea of lunch) so we head outside to the hot dogs we've been dreaming of since we went in. Sure, they're not really part of the ROM, but it's like going to the Met in NY - it's just not a complete visit until you sit on the steps with a dog and a pop to reflect on your visit.

In this case, it was a great visit. And a great hot dog. More mustard please!

Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6
(416) 586-8000

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