Picturing the Americas @AGO

The best thing about Picturing the Americas is its political bent. Curatorial text constantly reminds us that historical landscape art, when painted by colonists, is usually an act of erasure. The extremely photogenic aboriginal activist Hayden King appears in a video to explain this more fully and convincingly, along with some less magnetic academics. Such a reading makes many pleasing, anodyne works suddenly problematic and suddenly complex. It gives the viewer much more to ponder than the technical proficiency so clearly on display: usually we're just asked to consider the magnificent beauty of a landscape painting. At some institutions, we are directed to appreciate the difficult rustic circumstances in which it was created. But a charged political reading  provokes welcome conflict in the viewer; it's a gratifying art experience to judge the work both beautiful and simultaneously repulsive. Why didn't the AGO position Picturing the Americas more strongly to the public? Why do art institutions persist in their own outdated belief that audiences are their intellectual inferiors? Arts marketing should never be so bland.