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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.

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Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet - Scholar's Rock


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.

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Jill Henderson - Highwideshallow


A guided visit of the exhibitions on display in French led by UBC Theatre Studies PhD student Lindsay Lachance.

please note new date: Sunday Sept 28, 3pm, thank you!

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Guided Visit in French | Lindsay Lachance


Jaclyn Bruneau

CAG Visitor Assistant, Jaclyn Bruneau leads a tour of current exhibitions.

 

 

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Guided Visit | Jaclyn Bruneau


Olivia Qiu gives a tour in Mandarin of the current exhibitions on display.

 

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Guided Visit in Mandarin | Olivia Qiu


CAG Communications Coordinator Jill Henderson tours the exhibitions and explores the history of the CAG.

 

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Guided Visit | Jill Henderson


A tour of the exhibitions on display in Spanish led by photographer Avelina Crespo.

 

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Guided Visit in Spanish | Avelina Crespo


CAG Curator of Learning and Public Programs Shaun Dacey will lead a tour of current exhibitions on display.

 

 

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Guided Visit | Shaun Dacey


CAG Curator, Jenifer Papararo gives a tour of current exhibitions.

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 learning@contemporaryartgallery.ca or telephone 604 681 2700.

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Guided Visit | Jenifer Papararo


CAG volunteer Kay Slater gives a tour in French of the current exhibitions on display.

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Downtown Gallery Tours: Audain Gallery, Satellite Gallery & Contemporary Art Gallery


Canadian Art Magazine Spring Launch
Saturday, April 12, 6–8pm
Join us for the launch of the new edition of the magazine.

Kevin Schmidt
Saturday, April 12, 5.15pm
As part of our contribution to the city wide Canadian Art Gallery Hop, this year artist Kevin Schmidt will lead a walking tour and discussion of the ideas and themes present in his exhibition.

In 2013, the CAG took  part in a schedule of events throughout the city. CAG Director, Nigel Prince gave a talk about our current exhibitions on display including works by Erin Shirreff, Nancy Holt and Raymond Boisjoly.

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Gallery Hop Vancouver 2014 | Talk by Kevin Schmidt & Magazine Launch


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.

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Interview | Hiba Abdallah, Broken City Lab - Part 1 of 2


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!

Lindsay Lachance

 

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Lindsay Lachance Signing Off!


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.

Let’s begin!

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.

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Hello from Chloe: New Blogger, New Exhibition Opens!


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 Sturkenboom

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Communicating Creativity: My CAG Experience


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

 

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Indigenous Acts: Art and Activism Proposal Sharing


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.

 

Catalogue
Ron Terada
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
Christopher Williams
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.

 

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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.

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Nigel Prince recommends…three CAG publications


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.

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Marcella Munro, Art is a Gift


“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 Lachance

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Keeping ‘one eye in’ and ‘one eye out’ at Christopher House’s Dance Workshop


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

 

 

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Brendan Fernandes and ‘The Foot Stretcher’


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 Fleuriot

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Hello from Olivia de Fleuriot!


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!

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Hello from Kelli!


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!

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Hello from Lindsay Lachance!


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.

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A big hello from Sofia and Eva – CAG Curatorial Interns


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!

Sojin

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First week on the job!


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

 

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Vancouver Art/Book Fair 2013


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.

- Jaclyn

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Field House Meet-up Day


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.

- Brenna

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Reasons why I love being a library volunteer


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.

If you are unable to make it today to the gallery, be sure to visit us on our forthcoming English, French, and Spanish tours of the current CAG exhibitions.

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!)

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Happy Nunavut Day | Joyeuse journée du Nunavut


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.

- Jaclyn, whose writing and photos you can check out here, and tweets over here.

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.

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News from the Field House & fun with Draw Down!


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.

Dan Potter

This program was made in collaboration with Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, VIVO Media Arts Centre and Slow Boat, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK.

Always Waiting for Words – Corey Ratch

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When you become the Scarce!


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.

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CAG at the New York Art Book Fair, Opens Tonight!


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.

Jenifer Papararo
CAG Curator

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A recent trip to Belgium and Germany, starting in Genk at Manifesta 9 and ending in Kassel for Documenta 13.


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”
Daniel Potter

pictures by Hannah Hughes

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Take the Volunteers bowling, take them bowling….


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