It seems I was a little hasty to suggest the National Gallery and Art Gallery of Ontario weren't good collaborators, and as always, I'm perfectly happy to come clean with an appropriate mea culpa to set the record straight: Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's director, tells me that the two museums have worked together on three shows in the past eight years (which, given institutional timelines, is quite a lot, though I don't know the scale of the exhibitions, other than the Burtynsky).
He also has a good many other words regarding the issue I recently rambled about, which I've asked if he's willing to share with you here (and for the record, I certainly meant no discredit to the work AGO curators do, which I've been overtly gushy about in more than one occasion in the past year). Conversation is good ... and Matthew agrees. He's allowed me to post his comments here for all to see. Thanks to him for that. His response follows:
As you know I make a point of reading your blog often with much interest and engagement. However, yesterday’s posting confuses me, and makes me wonder about the point you are trying to make. The AGO and the NGC have collaborated on 5 shows in the last 8 years. We are partners in many ways; our relations are strong and conversations on a range of issues vary -- everything from insurance to contracts to international benchmarks. “Famously poor collaborators” is a rather bold and unfair statement that needs revisiting.
Yes, your blog is your opinion, and I respect, as do your followers, the thoughtfulness with which you approach issues. And yet, I wouldn’t compare our programming as unfavourably as you do, particularly at a moment when Shary Boyle (just closed), Agnes Martin, Betty Goodwin, Eva Hesse, Julian Schnabel, Kristan Horton, Josh Brand, Leslie Hewitt, Moyra Davey and Henry Moore, not to mention the Maharaja exhibition (which you seemed to like three weeks ago) are giving pleasure to so many. Despite your personal feelings about our exhibitions, I would hope you would agree that the work of the curators in their presentation and reflection is at the highest level.
It strikes me as strange that in the spirit of encouraging collaboration, you rather compare too easily. I believe in collaboration. The NGC is a national treasure and we are lucky to have Marc leading the charge.