Based on ideas suggested in a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden in Vancouver, for their first commissioned performance in Canada, French artists Hervé and Maillet brought a humble object into the gallery — a gongshi — a form redolent of or somehow manifest as a ‘scholar’s stone’, a repository of information and knowledge. Traditionally gongshi are not very big, you can transport them easily. They are not made by man, but by natural elements, yet they can appear artificial, and at the same time sum up the passing of time and the actions of nature. They could be considered to resemble the wandering of the mind.
The performance was generated through an intensive few days of rehearsals leading up to the actual event with Hervé and Maillet working closely with a team of CAG volunteers and local participants who performed and assisted in presenting the work to the visitors and audience.
Generously supported by Institut Français and the Consulat général de France à Vancouve, and presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.MORE
In both over-sized wall-drawings and miniature sculptures, Scottish-born, New York-based artist Jill Henderson’s funky bog creatures ooze through the seams of ordinary architectural space. Her installation in the gallery’s street level windows, Highwideshallow, both described the physical dimensions of the windows and repopulated the neighborhood with her colorful homunculi.MORE
Sunday, June 19, 3pm
Join artist Tommy Ting for a tour of the current exhibition in Mandarin.
Guided visits are open to the public, providing free opportunities to engage with exhibitions and develop new skills for interpreting contemporary art. We also encourage visits from primary and secondary schools, ESL groups, university and college students and community groups. For more information or to book a guided visit for your group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 604 681 2700.MORE
Hiba Abdallah is a Senior Research Fellow at Broken City Lab and is currently an Artist in Residence at the CAG Burrard Marina Field House in Vancouver.
Broken City Lab is working on a series of installations and community projects during the residency at the field house studio site entitled Flagged for Review.
Hiba Abdallah sat down to speak with the Jaclyn Bruneau from the CAG about how Vancouver offers a different set of conditions for city-specific social practice, and how she confronts the gap between contemporary practice and socially-engaged, community practices, and what Flagged for Review might look like in action.
This is part one of a two-part interview.MORE
My first day as Curatorial Intern at the CAG consisted of, amongst other things, the meticulous repacking of fifteen rulers, two balls of string, a wooden broom, one big ball of blue tape and one pint-sized tennis court. Working along side and shadowing Assistant Curator, Jas Lally, the careful packing these objects made up the de-installation of John Wood & Paul Harrison’s I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know It.
Over the course of three days, I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know It was photographed, dusted, taken apart into its smallest components, and packed neatly away exactly as it had been received three months prior. After noting museum wax residue, dust accumulation, and any small changes made to the works in the condition reports, all the pieces were placed back in their respective packaging (with careful attention in every strip of packing tape!). Finally, I worked alongside Jas as we put our highly honed Tetris skills to work, delicately lifting and sliding the works into formation in the crate. The gallery was swept clean, and the walls painted. John Wood and Paul Harrison had officially left the building.
Being involved in my first de-installation and seeing the removal of the works from the gallery from start to finish was an eye-opening experience. Although the end of an exhibition can be bittersweet, the satisfaction of packing up the show, scrupulously recording and photographing it, and seeing the objects off to their next home proved well worth all the hard work. As the crates were wheeled out the door, the anticipation of receiving the work of upcoming artist, Jochen Lempert, settled in. Witnessing the life cycle process of an exhibition was nothing short of a cathartic experience! Don’t worry if you missed out on the exhibition as their window work Some Words Some More Words is still on display until August 28.
– Brennagh BaileyMORE
My name is Brennagh Bailey and I am very excited to be returning to the CAG this spring and summer as a curatorial intern.
I first joined the CAG team in June 2014 as Family Day coordinator; designing and directing activities for younger gallery-goers and their parents that promoted artistic engagement with the current exhibitions. Not only did this opportunity allow me to interact and share my ideas with an eclectic mix of young families and volunteers, but it also gave me a glimpse into the inner workings of a gallery space and its day-to-day operations – and created an itch to learn more.
Currently, I work closely with Assistant Curator, Jas Lally and Curator, Shaun Dacey. I am gaining an even more intimate, behind-the-scenes experience. So far, I have assisted with the de-installation of the John Wood and Paul Harrison exhibition, as well as assisted with the careful unpacking, condition reporting and installation of our current show, Field Guide, by German artist Jochen Lempert.
Having finished my undergraduate degree at UBC in Art History, primarily focusing on contemporary art, I am now looking into beginning my Masters degree in Curatorial Studies. The CAG continues to give me the invaluable opportunity to meet with contemporary artists and art-enthusiasts both local and international.
Stay tuned for more updates on my next project at the CAG.
A ‘behind the scenes’ report by CAG curatorial intern April Thompson.
Regardless of your familiarity with Ryan Gander’s work, if you have visited his current exhibition Make every show like it’s your last, you will have seen how the CAG can pull-off a show that contains an eclectic assortment of mixed mediums. A quick Google search of Gander’s practice will show you just how diverse his art ‘objects’ can be – ‘fictional products’ that can range from an Adidas tracksuit worn by Gallery Attendants to a gallery exhibition that cannot be entered. Indeed, it is Gander’s intention to evade any kind of predictability in his work and this means avoiding the ‘sedentary’ fixation on a specific medium. But what does this eclecticism entail for behind-the-scenes operations and those who are involved with the psychical realization of a show on Gander’s work? Gander’s studio in London alone attests to the immense logistical and engineering aspects that go behind every piece. Having been present for the install of the current Ryan Gander exhibition, I thought I would write about some of the unusual things I learned long the way.
Often when I look at an object in a touring exhibition, I wonder about its past life. What has the object seen and what stories could it tell. These thoughts were accentuated upon un-packing Magnus Opus, Ryan Gander’s artwork of animatronic eyes which are installed within the gallery wall. There was an uncanny sensation to opening the crate and finding two cartoon-like eyes, rolled up as if the object had been sleeping during its trans-Atlantic voyage. Installing the work into the CAG involved the construction of an artificial box-like wall which Magnus Opus could be placed in and wired up. While the wiring of the object took some time and intricate manoeuvring, it was a success to see the piece taking viewers by surprise as it came to life in the gallery space during the opening night.
If the I is… sculptures elicit a sense of mystery by appropriating the shape of objects covered up, then their arrival to the CAG in three 8 x 5 feet wooden crates only added to this suspenseful play on obstructed representation. Receiving these artworks that were shipped from the United Kingdom felt a lot like Christmas – though you can’ t touch or play with them. Instead, one must scrutinize their appearance for any sign of deterioration. Once the crates were half-opened and placed within the gallery, a condition report was conducted prior the object being lowered to its place on the gallery floor. Adorned with our white gloves, Assistant Curator, Jas Lally and I carried out our inspection – lightly brushing the surface of these resin marble structures. There is something that occurs during this process of touch. It is as if the curiousness of wanting to touch – of wanting to obtain the knowledge of how something feels – is profoundly disappointing. I don’t mean disappointing in that it lessens the enjoyment of the art object. What I mean is that, once you acquire that knowledge as to how something feels there is no going back. One cannot imagine other possibilities for what it might feel like. The same occurs from reading the label which lists exactly what objects contributed to the sculptures formation. When I researched these structures they seemed like impermeable, heavy classical marble things that would be cold and solid to touch. Yet, even in my white gloves, I felt that the material was lighter than I expected, hollow and less impenetrable. Thinking about this contrast between my expectations and my actual handling of the work, I began to appreciate even more the ways in which Gander plays with suspending our knowledge. The I is … series is powerful in that it juxtaposes what began as light playful creativity in order for these structures to be conceived and built by his daughter, with the ‘serious’ classical, high art materials and appearance of the marble sculpture object.
These vignettes behind the CAG install are only a snippet of the expansive organizational systems in place in order for Gander’s work to operate the way it does. Having witnessed first-hand the communications, interchanges and logistics that go behind putting on a show of Gander’s work, I have new found appreciation for what his work achieves. Gander’s work enables us to exist within a temporary moment of suspended knowledge, and in that moment we catch a glimpse of what it was like to be a child. The fact that so much organization and planning goes behind making this occur gives his work a special quality. It is at once intricate and complex, while also sweeping us up in what is often a simple curiosity.
– April ThompsonMORE
I’m Maddy Tranter, one of two new Visitor Coordinators at the CAG!
My interest in the CAG developed over my two years as a front desk and events volunteer, but my initial interest in art began much earlier! I took my first art history and costume history courses when I attended the National Ballet School in Toronto between 2004 and 2006. Ever since, art has become an integral part of my everyday life from my education and work to my time spent travelling.
So far, my first two months at the gallery have been very exciting hiring and managing volunteers, planning events and maintaining front of house operations with my coworker Jocelyn Statia. Together, we are busy helping Curator Shaun Dacey with the reading room and Programs Assistant Jas Lally with installation management.
This is a nice change of pace after recently graduating from UBC’s Art History program where I primarily focused on indigenous arts of the Northwest Coast and Asian Studies. At the CAG I am able to broaden my areas of interest as we intimately work with artists both locally and abroad!
– Maddy TranterMORE
Hello! My name is Shalon Webber-Heffernan, and this Summer I am super excited to be working and learning at the CAG!
I’m very happy to be working alongside CAG Curator Shaun Dacey in the role of Summer Learning Assistant, and I look forward to getting to know all the staff and volunteers at the gallery. I’m equally excited to be working with some of this Summer’s amazing Burrard Marina Field House Studio residency artists, including Maddie Leach, Keg de Souza, Walter Scott, Sameer Farooq, Harrell Fletcher and Marie Lorenz. Aside from the CAG, I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University where I focus on embodied and affective knowledge, performance studies, and the so-called “pedagogical turn” in contemporary art practices.
My background is in performance, dance and theatre paired with years of experience working within community outreach settings has me thinking deeply about genuinely engaged arts praxis—what that means, and what are the implications—as well as experiential and alternate (un)learning processes and methodologies.
At the summer’s end I am lucky also to be working with international performance troupe La Pocha Nostra, where I will deepen my studies of radical performance pedagogy during an immersive training program in Tijuana, Mexico.
I look forward to seeing you around the CAG this summer!
Hello! My name is Helen Wong and I am the Summer Development Assistant here at the CAG. I’m very excited to start working at the CAG where I will be helping out with the Annual Gala and Art Auction alongside Development Officer, Kristin Cheung.
I’m currently in my last year of undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia with a major in Art History. With this looming ahead of me, it’s nice to be surrounded by individuals who are able to impart some knowledge and experience as to their post-undergraduate lives. I’ve done a lot of travelling through UBC, I have taken a 15th Century Art History course in Venice and I have studied abroad in Bristol, UK. Through my time abroad, I was exposed to so many different cultures and types of art that it has really expanded my areas of interest.
My interest in Art History was sparked during a 200 level Renaissance art class at UBC, and from then on I haven’t looked back. I think art becomes a way in which we can speak about so many contemporary issues and subjects because of its interdisciplinary nature, plus I feel like a detective when I’m analyzing a piece of work which is another reason why I love it!
My interest in the CAG began when I wanted to learn more about local art and artists. I think that the CAG is a natural hub for dialogue and I wanted to be a part of that. I look forward to the rest of my summer here and learning more about ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘what it takes’ to plan a grand Gala and Auction event like this! Stay tuned for more Gala and Auction news as the summer progresses…
– Helen WongMORE
Patrick O’Neill is a UBC Art History student who has come on board as an intern at CAG to assist with the research connected to our Reading Room. While Jeremy Shaw was in town, they took some time to discuss the three works that are currently on display. This post focuses on the work Quickeners (2014).
Patrick O’Neill: What inspired you to create Degenerative Imaging (In the Dark) (2015) as a glow-in-the-dark, light-sensitive piece?
Jeremy Shaw: Degenerative Imaging is continuation of work I’ve done in the past (Representative Measurements) where I reformatted fMRI brain scans of subjects after cumulative use of MDMA as black light silkscreen posters. This time I’ve used SPECT scans of the cumulative effects of various mind altering drugs on blood flow in the brain and transferred them to the same material that is used to make glow-in-the-dark constellation stickers that adorn bedroom ceilings. It is a bringing together of these two very disparate drug experiences – one which is attempting to map and explain, the other attempting to enhance or further the experience itself. This pushes the 80’s “this is your brain on drugs” propaganda with the idea of looking at a scientific representation of what something has done/could do to your brain via the experience you are currently having. The representation is aiding in positively enhancing yet presumably seen as a negative when considered in its cumulative context.
PO: What inspired you to start working within a more explicitly narrative structure for Quickeners (2014) and what did this juxtaposition allow for in your exploration of themes which are familiar in your practice?
JS: The decision to work with a narrative was due to my desire to be able to talk about all these seemingly disparate interests in a more cohesive or straightforward way. It is the first time I was explicitly able to address a lot of these things – ideas around scientific rationalization of transcendental experience, parallel realities, belief systems of many degrees, etc. The creation of a narrative in which a new, entirely rational species was experiencing a degenerative syndrome that incited reversionary, irrational behaviour allowed me to create characters in varying states of decline from which I could address many different perspectives on said topics. Here I was able to explicitly vocalize via these characters speech/subtitles rather than submerging the ideas into a nonlinear or abstract piece. I had the footage for Quickeners for years and knew that I wanted to work with it, but hadn’t quite figured out how. It ended up being a logical progression in my practice – specifically after Introduction to The Memory Personality – where I felt the desire to push further with linear structure. I still did end up with an immersive, experiential section within this that reads like previous works – but it is submerged within the narrative form. I liked the idea of almost pushing the viewer into submission or a kind of exhaustion before introducing this cathartic release in the narrative aspect of the work and for the audience as well.MORE
Hello! My name is Nicola Krohman and over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to work with Shaun Dacey, Curator of Learning and Public Programs, and Jill Henderson, Communications Coordinator, as a volunteer and now in my new role as Communications Intern. I first met Jill four years ago when I started as a volunteer in the CAG’s Abraham Rogatnick Library, where I was introduced to many CAG publications in addition to the various other resources the library holds. Since then I moved to London to complete my MA in Fine and Decorative Art. My dissertation examined the evolution of, architect and designer, Eileen Gray’s furniture designs, considered through her innovative use of materials. This experience led me to New York, where I worked for a furniture dealer and restorer, and continued to explore my interests in art and design. Last fall when I decided to spend the year back home in Vancouver, I wanted to return to the CAG to learn from and participate in the workings of such an exciting Canadian art institution. It’s been nice to see familiar faces again and to meet many new ones, as well as, interesting to see how the CAG has continued to grow and evolve. During the next few months I hope to share with you through the blog some of the CAG’s upcoming exhibitions and events.
I also wanted to mention that Berlin-based Canadian artist Jeremy Shaw’s exhibition Medium-Based Time opened at the CAG last week. We are very happy to see that the exhibition was included in both The Vancouver Sun and The Georgia Straight’s art features (see here and here), as well as, with a great review of the exhibition by Marsha Lederman in The Globe and Mail.
Come by the gallery to see Jeremy Shaw – Medium-Based Time, which runs through to April 19th!MORE
What brought you to volunteer at the CAG?
I’ve always had an interest working in an art gallery, and I discovered the CAG last summer while exploring. I began chatting with Jocelyn at the front desk, picking her brain regarding her journey on how she got to work there, and she recommended I submit my resume to volunteer. I believe that volunteering at a place you are passionate about alters the perspective you have on yourself as well as how you are spending your time. It is not only a great experience, but you single-handedly place yourself in a position where opportunities that pertain to your interests or career path are presented to you. I wanted to work and learn from curators, artists and other fellow volunteers, as this was my first time working in a gallery. Now, being at the CAG since May, I’ve made new friends and have learned a great deal about the art world and all its facets!
What is your favorite thing about your volunteer position at the CAG?
Currently I help at the front desk, and being able to answer any questions that visitors may have I find really rewarding, as it aids in their exploration of artwork that the CAG exhibits. Opening nights are always great as well, since I get to check out the new exhibitions the day of, and mingle with like-minded individuals as well as the artist(s).
What and where was the first Contemporary Art work that you experienced?
Some of the first Contemporary artworks I experienced were probably back when I was living in Amsterdam as a teen.
What other creative activities do you do?
I have been sketching since childhood, and have just begun teaching myself how to paint this year! I’m very much enjoying the process. I have also been drumming since I was a teen, and I also edit films on the side, as it is part of my job in the film/TV industry.MORE
What brought you to volunteer at the CAG?
I finished my BFA degree from Lahore, Pakistan, six years ago and have been painting and showing ever since. When I moved to Vancouver at the beginning of this year, I wanted to figure out how the art world functions here. I did a lot of gallery hopping through the summer, I was still thinking about where to volunteer when I came across the design fiction workshop being held at the Contemporary Art Gallery in September. The workshop was very interesting and the people at the gallery were welcoming and friendly. It felt like the right place for exposure to contemporary art, not only in Canada but also around the world. I am glad I started volunteering at CAG because the past few months have confirmed that it most certainly is a hotbed for the exchange of new ideas and information, holding immense potential for growth, and innovation.
What is your favorite thing about your volunteer position at the CAG?
I love the flexibility of being a front desker- thats not a word- being at the front desk? You can check out books available at the lovely shop, even read, if it is a quieter day. If there’s a lot of people coming in, you might have a chat with someone about the ongoing exhibition; sometimes you find they have a completely different take on it. If help is needed for an upcoming show or project you might be asked to do that. I like that I come every week, I am in touch with everything that is going on at the gallery and I get to do different things.
What and where was the first Contemporary Art work that you experienced?
I can’t remember when I experienced my first contemporary art work, it was probably at the Alhamra Arts Complex, Lahore. I do remember when I first fell in love with a contemporary art work, it was “The Painter” by Marlene Dumas.
What other creative activities do you do?
I enjoy photography. I love illustration; I do it for my blog and freelance for childrens books and magazines. Refurbishing and painting old furniture is a lot of fun. Travelling. Walking around, discovering new cities.MORE
What brought you to volunteer at the CAG?
I am a student studying art history and was looking to gain experience in the field of art. I chose to volunteer with the CAG because it provides an intimate platform where people have the chance to meet and interact with artists and others in the art scene.
What is your favorite thing about your volunteer position at the CAG?
Meeting people and hearing their opinion on the artworks being exhibited.
What and where was the first Contemporary Art work that you experienced?
I have always paid attention to public art around the city, but my first really great experience of interactive contemporary art was at the one night festival Nuit Blanche in Toronto in 2013.
What other creative activities do you do?
Painting, photography and creative writing.
Hello all! My name is Jas Lally and for the next 10 months I will be working as the Programs Assistant. I am excited to work with Shaun Dacey, Curator of Learning and Public Programs, the staff and volunteers at the CAG. I have been working and volunteering in the arts for the past few years and some of you may have seen me at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Access. I worked a the Vancouver Art Gallery for 5 years in Visitor Services and Administration where I was able to meet local and international artists. At Access, where I first met and worked with Shaun, I was able to work one-on-one with the Director/Curator and artists. I really enjoyed this more intimate level of work.
My experiences at both galleries solidified my choice in pursing my Masters in the History of Art which I recently completed at the University of Birmingham, UK. I studied at the Barber Institute of Fine Art where I co-curated an exhibition on portraiture with the Barber and the National Portrait Gallery. I also completed my dissertation on exhibition practices where I examined why textiles change meaning when exhibited. I was able to use Lady Barber’s lace collection as my case study. My time at the Barber gave me perspective and hands on experiences into the multidisciplinary world of curatorial.
My first introduction to the CAG came only three days after starting when I helped set up and greet guests at the CAG’s annual Art Auction. The auction went really well and it was such an exciting way to start a new job! My new role will allow me to help coordinate some interesting learning programs. For example, we recently launched the Telus Garden project, The City in Motion, where 11 young emerging artists are creating an original film to be permanently installed at the new Telus building. Look out for my blog on this project where you can follow along on the progress. I have also started to work with the artist in residence at the Burrard Marina Field House. The CAG recently hosted Fluid Frames: Filmmakers Series with Ben Russell. We hosted a film social at the Field House.
Look back to the CAG’s Blog for exciting updates about what I’m getting up to!
PS: if you haven’t already seen When Sky was Sea by Shimabuku drop by and say hello and sign up to attend one of the talks on the exhibition!
PSS: Did you hear about our exciting new project in partnership with Ballet BC? and in association with the Art|Basel Crowdfunding Initiative and commissioning artists John Wood and Paul Harrison? to find out more click here: http://bit.ly/cagXbbc
See you at the CAG soon! – Jas LallyMORE
My name is Sally, I’m a temporary addition here, volunteering at the CAG, and with my time here hurrying by I wanted to fill you in on how I got here and all the cool stuff I’ve been doing at the CAG.
I’m from the UK and have come to Vancouver for six weeks as part of a four month adventure that has been the most memorable of my life.
My time here is part of a plan that involved leaving all the sensible things in my life, like a job and a flat so that I could stretch my legs over to the West Coast …or I should say, the ‘Best Coast.’
Things took shape after I sent some emails, one to Anchorage Museum in Alaska and the other to the CAG. I have been involved in arts and museum education since University, volunteering or working for different organizations and so I thought it would be brilliant to gain some experience overseas. The reply emails were nerve racking to open but I received, to my delight, welcoming replies. So it was decided and before I knew it I was Alaska bound, looking at the glaciers below wondering what the next four months would bring.
I spent seven weeks in Anchorage, with six of those as a volunteer at the museum getting to develop informal learning activities and facilitate family events. The photo below was taken on my phone in Sitka, onboard a little boat as I looked out for and encountered humpback whales. For me it captures how I feel about my time in Alaska.
After Anchorage I spent a couple of weeks exploring South East Alaska, Seattle and San Francisco before arriving here! My time in Vancouver keeps getting better. At the CAG I have been helping Shaun Dacey and Jas Lally with exciting projects that are teaching me loads. I have been developing learning resources for teachers to accompany the current exhibition, Shimabuku, When Sky Was Sea, helping with the CAGs first Teachers Social as well as the monthly Free Family Day (I am now an Octopus expert… ask me anything!). I have also had the opportunity to get to know the talented team selected for The City in Motion – CAG/TELUS Garden Public Art project, I’ll have to come back to see the final installation!
I have been supported and welcomed by the CAG team, they have made sure that I eat at yummy places, find the best coffee and of course see loads of exciting art. And so I can’t say thank you enough, I’m sure my last week here will be a brilliant conclusion.
– Sally PageMORE
Over the course of ten weeks, the Contemporary Art Gallery brought together eleven emerging artists: Anne Riley, Charlotte Newman, Hannah Axen, Kelly McInnes, Kristina Jaggard, Lexi Vajda, Maia Nichols, Matilda Cobanli, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Ryan Genoe, Sophia Wolfe to explore the intersection between dance, choreography and visual art in our inaugural Summer Intensive. Working with mentors: Justine Chambers, Delia Brett, Daelik and Burrard Marina Field House Studio resident Brendan Fernandes the group participated in studio visits, gallery tours, performance workshops and seminars throughout the summer. This culminated in the production of a one evening installation/durational performance work titled 600 Campbell, at the Russian Hall on September 10.
Considering the absence and presence of objects and bodies, the group developed a series of performances and installations examining ways in which each piece intersects with another, connecting the work, the audience and the space. The artists collaborate to presented the viewer with an invitation for interaction, allowing them to influence the work and the space both as observers and active contributors. The evening was a huge success with well over a hundred people stopping by throughout the night participating in the various performances ranging from audio works and overhead projector performance to a durational chair performance in the main auditorium. Check out the pics!
We are working on a video of the evening we will be posting soon!
We acknowledge the generous support of the British Columbia Arts Council Council Youth Engagement Program.
As our contribution to Vancouver Design Week, the CAG worked with James Langdon, recipient of the 2012 Inform Award for Conceptual Design, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, Germany. Langdon presented a short course and workshop in reading objects, environments and messages. Stimulated by the curious genre of design fiction, the programme asserts storytelling as the primary function of design. Langdon conducted a three day workshop on September 16–18 exploring narrative approaches to design, a series of connected exercises subjecting a collection of found materials to various manual and conceptual processes.
CAG volunteer Sara Khan writes about her experiences taking part in the three day workshop:
As an artist who enjoys telling stories through two dimensional media, the School for Design fiction workshop caught my attention; I was curious about what fiction through design could entail. On our first day we were asked to bring in three objects, organic or designed. People brought along things ranging from eggshells and apples to metal birds, buttons, bottles, and moth traps.
Before we started working on the activity set for the day James Langdon had us watch a short film. It replayed the same event but with slight variations with each iteration. A human figure used different objects in unconventional ways, from dumping food on a laptop to sitting on a book instead of reading it. At a glance the human figure came across a sort of a machine that had malfunctioned. Mulling over the film afterward made me wonder about why objects around us are operated the way they are and have a specific function or name, how come we almost use them like robots not really questioning their history, form or task.
Once we started talking about the objects we’d brought along and the workshop progressed; I realised more and more that in the everyday structure and organization of things and lives, we had forgotten to ponder the existence of what surrounds us. It reminded me of Sartre’s Antoine in “Nausea” and how he wonders about the bark of a tree and why it is considered to be black.
As we arranged and rearranged the items with each other, we saw how meaning was added to or subtracted from them. One of the last exercises led some of us to completely deconstruct the objects we were working with; which resulted in a lot of them either being completely stripped off their meaning or not changing at all, which was interesting to see.
By the end of the workshop though, I think, perhaps we were reading too much into everything, as humans often do; put anything before us and we’ll make up a story. At this point we watched a documentary about the Piltdown man. The film reminded me of the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.
It is amazing how if you put forth a thought with enough conviction and confidence most people will believe it as the truth. It makes me wonder what falsehoods lurk in our histories.
So, as we wonder in awe at the totality of this existence, it is important to question the things we experience.
– Sara Khan
Check out a selection of books by James Langdon in the CAG book shop, on a specially dedicated shelf.
A School for Design Fiction – workshop
16-18 September 2014, 6pm-9pm
As well as the opening of the CAG’s new exhibition: Jürgen Partenheimer, The Archive – The Raven Diaries comes a new voice for the gallery’s blog!
Hello there I’m Chloe and though I’m new to you, I am not new to the gallery. In fact I’ve been here since 2012, when I first nervously stumbled through the Gallery doors in hopes of becoming a volunteer. Now almost 3 years later I’ve served not only as a volunteer, but as the gallery’s publicity intern and presently as communications intern where they’ve bestowed upon me enough trust to let me talk to you (via the blog of course). If you’re still a little apprehensive about the change, I’ll appease you by also letting you know that I’m studying in the arts field as a Critical and Cultural Practices major at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and that I’m about to graduate, which means I must be doing something right!
I’m very excited for you and I to start this journey together! Over the next few months we’ll be delving into the works of German artist Jürgen Partenheimer and Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg. We’ll also be going back into the CAG’s archives to take a look back on past exhibitions and how they play out in contemporary art today.
As it goes for most exhibition openings, you can feel the buzz of energy as you make your way into the gallery and through the crowds,walking past half empty catering trays and groups of art enthusiasts eagerly chatting away about what they’ve come to see. Partenheimer’s work presents itself ideal to this environment as, with the exception of a small sculptural piece and a plinth or two, his work takes the form of coffee book sized pieces of paper pinned to the wall.
Though the pieces are made out of a common material, it is what Partenheimer has added to the pages which draws you in. The works are full of abstract forms which, on their own seem to have very little context, yet once placed together within the same gallery space seem to play off one and other in a way that just makes sense. The artist has also been able to take his two dimensional paper canvases and bring them into the third dimension through his use of colour. The dark blacks pull the viewer into the piece, just as the neon oranges they are paired with pop right back out.
Along the wall, accompanying the pieces composed of abstracted painted lines, notes, from what seems to be a journal, are hung. What is interesting in their proximity is that, for viewers who are less familiar with the artists native language of German, these notes quickly begin to meld themselves to the pieces made up of abstract lines, becoming a sort of abstract composition themselves.
Partenheimer’s show is a great introduction to abstract art for those who are newer to the art scene, whilst also being of great interest for the veterans of the art world. A show which presents pleasantly curated pieces of which one can chose to enjoy for what they are as objects or get carried away into the role the play within contemporary art today.MORE
All good things must come to an end- and this marks the end of my summer position as Learning and Public Programmes Assistant. I’m honoured and so grateful to have spent the past four months at the Contemporary Art Gallery learning from, and working with, a multitude of talented artists, curators and programmers!
I loved working with Brendan Fernandes this summer, and watching him create his solo performance piece. I learned a lot from his approach to movement, stillness and embodiment and was very happy to participate in the dramaturgical and creation processes. Attending Lee Plested’s seminars, the artist talks and the studio visits affiliated with the CAG’s Night School Program reminded me to think critically about art, what is being presented or discussed, and to consider why the particular artistic choices were made.
Shaun Dacey, the Learning and Public Programs Curator, is such a genuinely interested and forward-looking artist and programmer, that he welcomed any, and all, of my suggestions to be heard and considered over the summer. We were so happy to have been able to participate in Dylan Robinson and Candice Hopkins’ Indigenous Acts Gathering, as we learned and shared with all those involved.
It was a great summer and I’m sad to see it come to an end! However, I will be back Sunday, September 28th at 3 pm to lead a Guided Visit of Jurgen Partenheimer’s upcoming exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Alors, venir par la galerie le 20 septembre si vous voulez participer à la visite!
Merci Bien, et à bientôt!
This summer I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to intern at the Contemporary Art Gallery as the Communications Assistant. This was my first internship in the industry, so I did not really know what to expect, but it ended up being an incredibly insightful and motivating experience for me.
If you are familiar with the CAG blog, you have likely seen my “From the Archives” series, in which I discussed past exhibitions at the gallery and their relationships to themes of current exhibitions or other current issues in contemporary art. This gave me the chance to research and learn more about emerging and established artists, and was a great chance to use my academic knowledge in a real-world situation. It was pretty awesome to be able to write about an artist who’s work I had seen a few months ago while on exchange in Scotland (Nathan Coley!) on a gallery’s website in Vancouver.
I was excited to use my marketing and communications knowledge to assist with research into the marketing of art institutions and how non-profit galleries can reach a wider audience, especially in Vancouver. It was also eye-opening to be given the chance to attend Brendan Fernandes‘ interim performance and help with the gallery’s Family Day events; seeing and being a part of the processes of the gallery’s programs allowed me to experience what a career in the arts really entails.
I am now back in Montréal to complete my final year as an undergraduate Art History student at McGill University. After my internship this summer, I am looking forward to undertaking independent research concerning issues in contemporary art, something I had never studied heavily before this experience.
I want to thank the staff at the CAG for encouraging my creativity during this internship and giving me an authentic experience at the gallery. I hope to continue to contribute to the gallery in the future and am now even more thrilled to pursue a career in the arts industry!
– Kelli SturkenboomMORE
After an amazing week of talking, sharing, conceptualizing and relationship building- the Indigenous Acts Gathering has come to an end. On Friday, August 8th we hosted the participants at the Contemporary Art Gallery for a chance to share and exchange experiences, and potential “next steps” from their week together. Vancouver-based curators, directors and artists were invited to listen, share and respond to the topics and themes that surfaced over the week.
It was an opportunity for the participants to meet and hear from those involved in Vancouver galleries and urban/artistic planners from around the city and artistic community at large. Dylan Robinson and Candice Hopkins facilitated an engaging and thought provoking closing discussion that allowed for the participates to engage with each other and begin dialogues with the invited guests.
It was an honour to have been able to participate and work through topics that are owed so much attention. I look forward to seeing all of you again, and to continue to learn from your works and teachings!
– Lindsay Lachance
Continuing our Summer series of book recommendations from CAG staff, volunteers, interns and board members, CAG Director Nigel Prince highlights three publications from the CAG’s thirty year publishing history:
Some Detached Houses
Robin Collyer, Todd A Davis, Dan Graham, Amy Jones, Bill Jones, Robert Linsley, Warren Murfitt, Margaret Naylor, Ed Ruscha, Nancy Shaw, Greg Snider
Contemporary Art Gallery
March 29 – April 1989
This was a crucial exhibition and publication linking West and East Coast conceptual practices, including a number of key artists. The photograph on the cover is an aerial view of the Eastside of Vancouver circa 1960. Included in the exhibition were Dan Graham’s New Balloon Houses, Surrey made in the then suburb of Vancouver. It was one of the first CAG publications I purchased on my initial visit to Vancouver in 2000.
Contemporary Art Gallery
November 14, 2003 – January 4, 2004
Terada often uses the things normally thought of as ancillary to art itself as raw material for exhibitions, for example, by employing promotional and didactic material as the objects for display. Catalogue took the form of an exhibition publication but highlighted the patronage of those who collaborated with the artist in support of the show by their logos becoming the actual artwork on display on the gallery walls. The book itself becomes the exhibition representing everything that it encompasses.
For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons sur la Société Industrielle
Contemporary Art Gallery
January 14 – March 6, 2005
A key exhibition for the Contemporary Art Gallery and the artist, Christopher Williams’ work grows out of the history of conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s, which used language and photography to address issues related to painting and sculpture. The publication, beautifully designed and conceptually rigorous with the exhibition, was curated by Claudia Beck, an individual who along with husband Andrew Gruft has made a significant contribution to Vancouver’s artistic scene.
All three of these publications can be purchased, with a special discount of 40% during August, either online (click on the titles above – on check out use the coupon code CAGSUMMER) or in person at the CAG bookshop.MORE
That’s me with a little bit of a smirk bidding last year at the annual Contemporary Art Gallery auction.
I’m pretty sure that smirk was a paddle-lifting induced buzz. It’s a natural high — nerve wracking, exhilarating, nauseating, and exciting, all at once, especially when there’s something that really speaks to you. Auctions are fun, and hopefully you’ll join us November 8th for our next one.
If you follow the CAG on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll see there’s all kinds of ways – most of them free! – you can come experience the exhilaration of art. Hanging out with art is a gift, and I’m proud to be able to be a service to the CAG and in some small way help ensure this institution can continue to provide that opportunity to everyone.
It’s meant a lot to my life. Contemporary art has so much to tell us about the world, about our experiences, and how we relate to each other. The wonders of the world and the magic of our complicated relationships to each other and to the current moment.
I can see or experience something that gives me that “a ha” feeling. Where the artist is able to evoke something that maybe has crossed my often too busy brain, but that I was unable to express or quantify. An elegant representation of a feeling or a sense that I wasn’t sure I had. I’ve caught myself at times in galleries silently nodding as this thing that was on the tip of my tongue is represented to me, and there’s a kind of feeling of relief that goes with that. It’s magical to me in those moments.
Almost, dare I say, a place where I experience spirituality – my connection to the bigger we.
Sometimes it might take me to a place of sadness. Social anxiety; human suffering; the loss of love; the struggle with sorrow. Sometimes it’s joyous, or funny. Outrageously ridiculous, or ridiculously outrageous….those moments are the best! I’ve even at times been disgusted by pieces of contemporary art where I’ve walked in and turned around moments later.
But it’s all good as the saying goes…it all matters, it all sticks and swirls around inside and makes some sense of the sometimes chaotic world we live in and that lives in us. It is all worth it for the sense it provides that we are not alone in the universe. That the infinite uniqueness of our experiences can be represented and shared and we have places like the CAG where we can gather to experience, discuss, and celebrate them.
It’s pretty great.
Please keep in touch, and I hope to see you soon at a CAG event.
Marcella Munro became President of the Board of the Contemporary Art Gallery on June 19, 2014.MORE
“What if where you are right now is all you need to be?”
This was a question Christopher House repeatedly asked us during his “Dancing in the Now” workshop. The CAG’s Youth Summer Intensive participants and mentors were lucky enough to participate in a very thought-provoking, educational, and exciting two hour workshop with Toronto based choreographer, Christopher House. As a part of the 2014 Dancing on the Edge programming, Christopher House performed a piece co-choreographed by Deborah Hay entitled The Body in Question. His final performance was Friday, July 11th 2014- check the Dancing on the Edge website for more schedule and programming information.
The Contemporary Art Gallery launched their Summer Youth Intensive, a ten week course for emerging artists interested in cross-disciplinary movement-based performance last week. Led by four established artists, the 11 participants are considering the intersections between dance, choreography and visual art, culminating in the creation and production of a new work. A part of this intensive allows for the participants to attend workshops, artists talks and studio visits, and Christopher House’s workshop was one of them!
House’s workshop encouraged the participants to dance in the “now”, to really focus on the embodied present and not to second guess our actions. In encouraging us to move in the “ways that we see the space around us”, House taught us about giving our bodies agency, timing and to consider the differences between space and place.
After the workshop, House stayed to speak with our group where he answered our questions about his work and regarding our individual practices. He shared methodological and creation process tips that will be useful for the Summer Intensive group as they move into developing their own works!
This group is ambitious, talented and inspiring- I can’t wait to follow their process during this summer intensive!
– Lindsay LachanceMORE
Brendan Fernandes, the CAG’s summer artist in residence has begun the creation process for his new work! I had the pleasure to visit Brendan during one of his rehearsals earlier this week. Fernandes talked about how he will incorporate themes of labour, the duration of time, notions of self-hood and identity into the creation of this piece.
He is challenging the notion of muscle memory and exploring ideas around the foot as a fetishized object. I’m excited to see how Fernandes will integrate notions of stillness and repetition into his piece. We will be following Fernandes’ creation and rehearsal process over the next few weeks, and stay tuned to find out details regarding his open in-progress performance.
– Lindsay Lachance
As the new Development Assistant for the Contemporary Art Gallery’s 26th Annual Gala & Auction, I am so excited to be a part of the CAG’s team and to connect with the CAG’s surrounding community.
My name is Olivia de Fleuriot de la Coliniere – I usually shorten my last name to de Fleuriot to avoid confusion or bewilderment. I was born in Durban, South Africa and moved to Toronto with my family when I was five years old. I grew up amongst creativity and colour, which encourages me to pursue my passion to create and study fine art. I recently completed my Bachelor of Art degree, majoring in Art + Design, at Trinity Western University and will be continuing this upcoming academic year as an Honours student. I aspire to pursue a career in a gallery setting and educational environment, as well as my own artistic practice.
The team here, at the CAG, has been welcoming and supportive. I work directly with Sue Lavitt, Head of Development and Communication, and also other staff and volunteers at the Contemporary Art Gallery.
It has been an exciting adventure corresponding, researching, and writing about the various artists being presented at the gala fundraiser this year. I can’t wait for you to experience the fantastic night and participate by supporting both the artists and the CAG in their role locally, nationally, and internationally. It is very tempting to blurt out the broad display of talent being presented this year, but I shall keep you in suspense a bit longer!
I am quite happy to say that my experience here at the Contemporary Art Gallery does not end this August. Before my current position, I volunteered and assisted Shaun Dacey, the Curator of Learning and Public Programs, with research and educational practices. From this experience I will be co leading the Family Day events that take place the last Saturday of every month. It would be great to see you at a Family Day event or at the Annual Gala & Auction this fall!
There will be more blogs coming up to give you a taste of this year’s Gala & Auction in retrospective of a 25 year history.
– Olivia de FleuriotMORE
My name is Kelli Sturkenboom and this summer I will be working as the Communications Intern at the Contemporary Art Gallery. I have just completed my third year of study towards a B.A.Hons. in Art History with a minor in Management at McGill University in Montreal. For the past nine months I have been on exchange at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and having returned only two weeks ago, I’m still adjusting to this completely different pace of life (and time zone).
I am really looking forward to gaining hands-on experience at the gallery this summer. I have always been interested in working in a space like this, but until now I have only been given the opportunity to experience similar institutions as a visitor. I am excited to be involved in the production of the gallery’s functions for its enthusiastic guests, as well as contribute to spreading information and creating buzz about the awesome exhibitions, programs and events that the Contemporary Art Gallery puts on for those who may be unfamiliar with it. So far, I have been working on research related to social and online media and how use of certain platforms can benefit the gallery.
Stay tuned to the CAG Blog for updates about my projects throughout the summer.
PS: I can’t wait for the upcoming exhibition at the CAG; Legion by Kelly Richardson which opens on Thursday July 10, 7-10pm. Join me for the opening!MORE
My name is Lindsay Lachance, this Summer’s Learning and Public Programs Assistant and I am excited to be working with Shaun Dacey, Curator of Learning and Public Programs and other staff and volunteers at the CAG. I’ve just completed the first year of my PhD in Theatre and First Nations Studies at the University of British Columbia. I will be contributing to the CAG blog via interviews with artists, reviews, and news on upcoming learning events and residencies. I am really looking forward to participating and helping with the education and community programs that the gallery is organizing this summer, and to engaging with Brendan Fernandes, CAG Burrard Marina Field House Summer artist-in-residence. Please stay tuned for my updates!MORE
We are very pleased to welcome Sofia and Eva as Curatorial Interns at the gallery, please read on as they introduce themselves:
Hi, my name is Eva Tweedie, the UBC CCST Curatorial Intern. I am halfway through my first year in the Curatorial and Critical Studies (CCST) program at the University of British Columbia and am looking forward to getting some hands-on gallery experience this summer. So far during my time at the CAG I have been working with artists in our upcoming summer exhibition The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes to prepare for the installation of their works. I have also been doing research on other artists who will be exhibiting here at the CAG later this year, and in 2015.
My name is Sofia Stalner and I am a Curatorial Intern and recent graduate from the Critical and Curatorial Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. I have been working on the collection which helped establish the CAG and is owned by the City of Vancouver, updating the database and registry, as well as receiving artworks from the collection that have been displayed throughout Vancouver, primarily on office walls. I am currently compiling information as research toward a hopeful and necessary move of the collection to a larger storage facility. Here is a little bit of a background on the unique collection we have:
Established in 1971 as the Greater Vancouver Artist’s Gallery, through federal employment programs for artists, the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) was incorporated as a non-profit charitable society in 1976. From 1971 to 1978, artists were hired for six month periods to produce art for exhibition which was then accessioned into the City of Vancouver Art Collection. The City of Vancouver Art Collection of 3,000 works of art which are circulated in public spaces throughout City buildings and loaned for exhibition to museums and galleries.
– Stay tuned to the CAG blog for updates from Eva and Sofia on their projects and upcoming exhibitions.MORE
Hi everyone, my name is Sojin. I’m a recent Visual Arts graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). During my studies at ECUAD I began to develop my interest in curatorial practice. I’m particularly interested in the idea of space both in its physical and metaphysical (re)presentation. Creating unity out of fractured pieces and coming up with a narrative of my own is what I enjoy the most about curating. Besides my curatorial interest, I also paint and sculpt! For the past two years, I’ve worked with Vancouver’s experimental galleries and artist run centres to study how galleries function. For this year I’ll be working at the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) as Program Assistant, assisting the CAG team with the highly anticipated public programs and further learning about galleries in depth.
My first week of work was action-packed. For the first couple of days, I studied the two current exhibitions—Aurélien Froment Fröbel Fröbeled and Tim Etchells Who Knows. I had an opportunity to glimpse at how the exhibitions are organized from scratch by being involved in the process, you will be surprised to know the amount of time and effort it takes to actualize an exhibition. In the last few days of the week I helped staff and volunteers with the packing of Mungo Thomson and Erin Shirreff publications for them to be shipped to the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, which the CAG is participating in.
There always is a bitter emptiness when art works are taken down from gallery walls. The spatial emptiness was particularly evident in the de-install of James Welling’s show since the exhibition itself was quite bodily in its presentation. As you can see from the pictures above, Welling’s works were packed up into crates, leaving only the skeletal structure of the walls that once embodied the energetic volume and rhythm of the corpus. The memory lingered on me for a while.
In no time at all the new crates arrived, walls were painted white, but more importantly, the artist Aurélien Froment arrived. During the conversation I had with Nigel Prince, the Director of the CAG, I was able to imagine the new exhibitions viscerally. For Fröbel Fröbeled, the gallery is divided into two different spaces, one for adults and the other for children; Fröbel’s Gifts will also be displayed on plinths for public interaction. Fröbel, a founder of kindergarten and an inventor of the Play Gifts, will be introduced with photographs. When you come see the show, it is important to understand that these Gifts are not just cylinders, spheres, square blocks and strings, but are creative tools to (re)imagine oneself in relation to the Universe or to something much more expansive. Meanwhile, the building’s façade features a new neon commission by British artist Tim Etchells. The façade is set up with twenty-two phrases of single line block neon letters stating ‘I KNOW, ‘YOU KNOW’, ‘WE KNOW’, ‘THEY KNOW’. The short sinister statements along with vibrant neon colours makes it seem like you are standing in front of someone who is looking deep inside you. Full of character and attitude, Etchell’s neon works bring out an eerie but comical atmosphere to the neighborhood. The display sparks with theatricality in the text with the very act of reading and further investigates the idea of surveillance with humor and wit. The works of both Aurélien Froment and Tim Etchells suggest new ways of understanding identity formation through various interactive approaches.
For this partnership with PuSh International Performing Art Festival, Etchell’s Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend to Lose First and The Quiet Volume was also available for public viewing.
I am thrilled to work on these multi-faceted exhibitions, exciting off-site programs and performances. I am sure that the dialogue they create with the public will disseminate well beyond the walls of the gallery.
I look forward to meeting you all!
The Vancouver Art/Book Fair occurred this month on Oct 5/6, 2013, drawing crowds of varying age groups from the curious to the connoisseur. Exhibitors occupied various rooms, on three different floors, within the annex area at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Exhibitors had on display zines, magazines, books about art, artist books and ephemera were on display to peruse, discuss and purchase.
Exhibitors were local, national and international in scope. Grassroots organizations; distributors and publishers; established galleries; and more set up displays to sell limited editions and/or mass produced publications. I noticed a selection of the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) publications gracing the tables of various exhibitors. The subtle salesmanship from seasoned exhibitors (with stacks of their select publications) took place alongside earnest first time exhibitors launching singular publication.
Also taking place were Fair programmed talks and workshops where publishers, galleries and artists spoke about their publishing practices and experiences. Workshops about artist books occurred, with artists and publishers outlining their processes from the initial concept to publishing options.
Artist books seemed prevalent at the fair. For those unfamiliar with the concept of an artist books, I will explain some features to differentiate this form of publication from other art books. I would describe an artist book as an artwork that is primarily conceived of and/or produced by an artist. They can be handmade (from concept to content) or produced by the artist(s) and processed as a limited edition through a printer and/or publisher. In recent months, I’ve encountered artist books at CAG exhibitions by artists such as Ciprian Muresan, Kay Rosen and currently Mike Nelson. Additionally, I’ve had the pleasure of cataloging various artist books, while volunteering at the CAG working in the Abraham Rogatnick Library collection. These art objects can have a tangible permanence in an individual’s life or literary collection beyond an exhibition time frame. By this I mean that limited editions of artist books might circulate as an art object within a collection (public or private) and be handled and seen by a wider audience, than for example, an artist’s painting or installation.
Moreover, artist books have been described as leading to new outlets of development or avenues of production for the artist(s). The work developed in an artist book might be the starting point of a project that is transformed or developed into other means of production and so forth. For example, I sat in on a presentation by a small publishing house, La Silueta Ediciones, based in Bogata, Columbia. The speaker stated that their mandate was to “publish books that [they] believe should exist.” He described how one of the artist books they produced gave rise to its development into an awards winning animated film. Here we saw a book with personal, community and political undertones depicted with the artwork engaging with individual and groups. Other artist books have been seen to have impact in terms of addressing political issues, fostering advocacy work, and more.
Artist books seem to be a sort of bridge to exhibition spaces for both producer and viewer. And according to some exhibitors producers of such work have been finding a surprisingly successful production return. Not only in terms of a viable revenue stream, but also for drawing interest that are non-arts based. One exhibitor described the art world as a “somewhat incestuous group,” but that they have seen interest for artist book from a following that was not the usual arts based suspects. Artist books are garnering interest from a diverse spectrum of the population; individuals from all walks of life and varying interests are engaging with art in their everyday lives in unexpected forms and places. Could this be the humanist perspective at work? The belief that art plays an important part in an individual’s life.
Even so, any art publications and their life beyond or instead of an exhibition, raises questions about the effects on the individual seeing original art work versus reproductions within alternative formats. This is a topic that was raised during Erin Shirreff’s recent exhibition at the CAG with respect to her engagement with the sculptures of Tony Smith in texts versus in person. Does prior knowledge about an artwork alter ones perception, in the reading or researching of work prior to seeing the work itself? I’ve been challenged by this conundrum when researching artists and artwork. Often the only means of viewing work is in some from of reproduction removed form the original form. For me it has been a question about the impact of art work and the journey one takes in engaging with artwork. I consider the possibilities of what might be overridden or misdirected in an initial processing of an artwork due to the filters of others critiques echoing through my own thoughts. However this is a larger discussion this is perhaps best saved for another time or place.
– Jocelyn Statia, CAG library volunteer
On Monday, October 7th we attended a potluck get-together for everyone involved in the City of Vancouver’s Field House Residence Program at Roundhouse Community Centre. There were heaping plates of kale, rice, beans and hummus, mini glasses of wine, and three hours worth of interesting presentations about what each group of artists are doing to make the most of their unique locations.
One of my favourites was the Loco Moto Art Collective, located in the Aberthau Mansion at West Point Grey Community Centre. Spearheaded by Laura Lee Coles but including around 20 others, the group works broadly in the realm of digital media, eco-aesthetics, and the relationships between humans, technology and nature. They are the newest Field House to have set-up shop, and they’ve already hosted a few events indoors and outdoors. They seem to have lots of wild and wonderful things coming up for the new year. They’ll be launching a new exhibition called No Memes No at Hot Art Wet City at 2206 Main Street on the spookiest day of the year–October 31st.
Another group that piqued my interest was Cloudscape Comics. They’re located at 5955 Ross Street inside the Memorial Park South Field House. The 30 of them approach the production of comics from different backgrounds, which makes their oeuvre very dynamic. There’s something for everyone and they release an anthology of comics every year. They recently posted a call-out for submissions with Sci-Fi/Fantasy comics with queer characters and themes. They offer a free drop-in comic jam every Wednesday starting at 7:30pm at their Field House.
And these are only a few examples of the 50 artists who are enlivening 13 spaces in parks around the city. It was awesome to hear about the ways that other artists are negotiating the best use of their spaces, and it’ll be great to keep an eye on all these projects that are largely community oriented and site specific.
My name is Brenna and I am a GAG Volunteer in the Abraham Rogatnick Library. It took me a while to discover the library and the great resources it holds. I’ve been volunteering in the library for about 7 months now and I think it is a great way to spend my time. Below, you will find a few of the reasons why I love being a library volunteer.
1. I get the chance to research contemporary art. This is one of the main reasons I love the library. We are constantly receiving and entering new materials, which means I get to look through them as I enter the information on the Database. We are also searching and updating the material already existing in the library and I will often come across items that I want to take a look at. Basically it is a gold mine of information on Contemporary Art.
2. It is peaceful. I love coming in after a hectic week and sitting down, cracking open a book and working away. There are of course other people to talk to, but for the most part it is a meditative task that helps me unwind and relax.
3. It helps me stay informed. The library has current periodicals and catalogues of current shows ready to be looked at right on the main table. It’s great to take a flip through these and see what’s going on.
4. The great people I’ve met. It’s great to connect with other volunteers and staff. The great atmosphere at the gallery is because of these people.
5. It’s rewarding to be a part of something that benefits the community. The materials in this Library are amazing and anyone can come in and take a look at them for free.
So there you have it, that’s why you will find me spending Sunday afternoons in the Library at the CAG. Come by and say hi sometime and check out the great resources the library has to offer. You can search the library database or book an appointment to use the library by using the CAG website.
Today, the CAG (and people across Canada) celebrate Nunavut Day, a day that commemorates the NLCA (the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement). The NLCA is the largest comprehensive claim settlement in Canada, and it marked the first time that the Canadian map has changed since 1949 (with the incorporation of Newfoundland and Labrador).
Nunavut Day is a day to celebrate arctic traditions and the northern way of life. As our current exhibition features Inuit artist Itee Pootoogook, we invite anyone interested in celebrating Nunavut Day in Vancouver to join us and experience his work.
While you might seek out Wikipediato learn more about Nunavut today, the listing doesn’t say much about their fine arts scene. There has been an accelerated change in artistic expression in the past 50 years as many modern Inuit artists react to the present and the wider, more accessible world. Today’s northern nunavut artist is not as isolated, and the work produced is more contemporary, but no less representative.
As I was researching more about Nunavut Day, I learned that while the official languages of Nunavut are English and French, 8% of the population speaks neither English, French, nor Inuktitut (the primary language of Nunavut). Unfortunately, my language skills are limited to English and French, so to those remaining 8%, I say: Nunavut Quviahugvik (Happy Times Nunavut in Inuinnagtun!)
Aujourd’hui, le CAG (et les personnes à travers le Canada) célèbrent la journée Nunavut qui commémore l’ARTN (Accord sur les revendications territoriales du Nunavut). L’Accord est le plus important règlement de revendications territoriales au Canada, et il a marqué la première fois que le plan canadien a changé depuis 1949 (avec l’incorporation de Terre-Neuve et Labrador).
La journée du Nunavut est une journée pour célébrer les traditions arctiques et la vie nordique. Comme notre exposition actuelle présente l’artiste inuit Itee Pootoogook, nous vous invitons à célébrer la journée du Nunavut à Vancouver avec nous et à découvrir son travail.
Alors que vous pourriez rechercher Wikipedia pour en savoir plus au sujet du Nunavut aujourd’hui, l’article ne dit pas beaucoup à propos de leur beaux-arts. Il y a eu un changement accéléré dans les expressions artistiques dans les 50 dernières années et nombreux artistes inuits modernes réagissent à l’actualité et à le monde plus accessible. Ces artistes d’aujourd’hui n’est pas aussi isolé, et le travail qu’ils produisent est plus contemporain, mais non moins introspective.
Si vous n’arrivez pas à venir aujourd’hui à la galerie, n’hésitez pas à nous rendre visite à nos visites guidées à venir en anglais, français, et espagnol de les expositions au CAG.
Comme je faisais des recherches au sujet de la journée du Nunavut, j’ai appris que même si ses langues officielles sont l’anglais et le français, 8% de la population ne parle ni anglais, ni français, ni l’inuktitut (la langue principale parlé au Nunavut). Malheureusement, mes compétences linguistiques sont limitées à l’anglais et le français (rouillée), donc à ceux qui tombent au 8%, je dis: Nunavut Quviahugvik (temps heureux Nunavut!)MORE
Hello one and all,
I’m Jaclyn Bruneau, the CAG Field House intern currently working with Raymond Boisjoly during his summer artist-in-residence at the Burrard Marina Field House Studio. I’ll be keeping people in the loop about his activities, and with Field House events by reporting in this blog. Look for posts with the ‘Field House Studio’ blog category and keep your dials tuned in.
A few Saturdays ago, Raymond and I spent the afternoon at False Creek Community Centre where he led a workshop as part of the Vancouver Draw Down, that very cool single-day drawing festival that invites Vancouverites to access various types of drawing workshops for free, held in over 23 locations city wide. The workshop was titled Re-Inventing Drawing and began invitingly with tables scattered with pipe cleaners, masking tape, paper cups, tree branches, string, scissors, pieces of paper big and small, and a ton of markers all of which were used together or separately to create fantastically experimental gestural marks on paper.
Our first two visitors were a pair of twins named Alex and Liam, who seemed to have made use of all the materials. They taped felts all around the parameter of the paper cup; strung together branches, attaching a pen on each end and then twirling the contraption above paper; and stuck felts through holes in foamy paper. Their mom seemed blown away at all the things they came up with. Some others made contraptions with the branches that allowed two people to each take hold of a part of the branch, and proceed to see if they could collaboratively render an image they thought up together beforehand. Raymond even drew my attention to a mystery visitor who got carried away with their new tools on the hardwood floor (oops!). Above are some photos from the workshop.
During the afternoon’s workshop the space was flooded with natural light and we left the doors wide open, so people walking the path outside could peek in and join. We met daughters and dads, kids in strollers, couples, best friends, and even a few grandparents. It was amazing how little instruction everyone needed. They seemed full of ideas, and were very eager–especially those itching to fill their Draw Down passports with stamps. I floated around taking photos and getting people started. Raymond seemed to know exactly what to say in the way of inspiration for those stuck for an idea.
The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.MORE
CAG Volunteer Dan Potter writes about his experience participating in Scarcity Radio Vancouver a project developed with artist Sarah Browne. CAG volunteers and teens from the IGNITE! Mentorship Program at the Cultch, Vancouver, worked alongside a group from VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver as well as with individuals from Slow Boat at Ikon Gallery, UK producing a series of sound-works for broadcast on the Scarcity Radio internet channel www.scarcityradio.org/radio.
This unique project included sound artists, economists, geographers and others exploring the notion of scarity and produced a series of experiences that ask questions about the world around us. Dan Potter writes:
When I was first invited to be a part of the Scarcity Radio project I asked myself what are elements in my day to day life that are scarce? Although I came up with a few answers to this question I found it difficult to pin point any necessities I wouldn’t be able to track down and implement. Over the course of a few condensed meetings we as a group explored these concerns with various artistic and social economic practitioners.
For me, our first meeting with artist Sarah Browne provided the most guidance as we talked from many angles on what scarcity is and how this concept could be applied to a radio art project. One of the points made that I found interesting was this idea of scarcity can only exist within a value system that governs quantity. So what is scarce really depends on our perceived notion of what is desired or at least what we consider a necessity of a comfortable life. This concept fits in with the exhibit How to Use Fool’s Gold where Sarah Browne gets us as viewers to examine our economic value system in order to see it isn’t an absolute power but is built and evolves according to what we put emphasis on in regards to our shared values of wealth and prosperity.
Pretty soon we all started making audio recordings of various events with the purpose of editing them into sound pieces that would be eventually broadcast on a pirate radio station operating out of the UK. This idea of using the AM/FM band as part of public display influenced my decision on what to record. In a world full of iPods and Wi-Fi connected audio streams the word RADIO immediately brings to mind certain social phenomenon in our society that are slowly going extinct and being replaced by a new normality.
Consequently, I decided to make recordings of myself and my family sitting at the dinner table having a conversion whilst eating our evening meal. I took the mundane discussions on where the food was bought and the hysterical slightly drunk laughter and manipulated snippets of them to create a sound piece that would move in and out of reality. Some chewing sounds were looped together to create a rhythmic pattern of excessive gobbling noises and cavernous reverb effects were applied to the end points of dialogue in order to initiate a sense of disappearance.
I wanted to hit upon the scarcity of family relations especially that of a nuclear family and the luxury of easy availability of food in western society. When all was said and done it turned out to be a quick project with not a lot of time to over think which happily kept things spontaneous and unexpected. I also enjoyed hearing what other artist participates had recorded as there was a great diversity of sounds and approaches that when played together will definitely spook any unsuspecting radio listeners over in the UK.
This program was made in collaboration with Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, VIVO Media Arts Centre and Slow Boat, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK.
We are all set up and excited for tonight’s opening of the New York Art Book Fair at PS1 MoMA, come by our booth Q49 on the second floor. We are presenting CAG publications from 30 years of publishing, among them Christopher Williams, Robert Orchardson, Sarah Browne, Roy Arden, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ken Lum, Shannon Oksanen, Frances Stark and many more. We are also featuring limited edition prints by Robert Orchardson and Thomas Bewick. We will also have some rare signed copies of several of our publications as well!
See you at the fair, yours Jill and Soledad.MORE
I’ve posted a few research images from my recent trip to Belgium and Germany, starting in Genk at Manifesta 9 and ending in Kassel for Documenta 13. The slide show represents a fraction of what I saw, but here are some highlights.
Last Wednesday night we enjoyed an evening of 5 pin bowling, beer and pizza as a fun way to say thank you to our fantastic volunteers for their invaluable contributions and hardwork. A great time was had by all, judging from what our volunteers had to say:
“Who said that people in the arts are bad at sports? Well, actually, they’re probably right judging by most of our scores. Thanks CAG, it was a lot of fun.”Hannah Hughes
“We all ventured down to commodore bowling lanes, the so called mundane actually became quite interesting and everyone looked like they had an unapologetic good time, including myself”
pictures by Hannah HughesMORE