Nigel Prince recommends…three CAG publications

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Nigel Prince recommends…three CAG publications

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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.


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.



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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Related Exhibitions

In Catalogue, Terada occupies and exaggerates the means by which an institution such as the Contemporary Art Gallery exists by making private patronage the content of an artwork. In the artist’s words: “Public institutions devoted to contemporary visual art maintain themselves through public and private philanthropy—granting organizations, members of the gallery, volunteers, and other donors being but a few—which necessitate relationships that are in need of renewal and upkeep. With the support of a number of contributors, I wish to expose and alter the mandate of such an institution—and the mechanisms by which it realizes this mandate—within the context of an exhibition.” To realize this goal, Terada sought the participation of patrons to support and facilitate the cost of producing an artist’s catalogue.

The exhibition had two distinct public components, the first mounted within the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Alvin Balkind Gallery and its street front window vitrines. Here, vinyl signage acknowledges the support of those who contributed to the project. The names and company logos, as a result, comprise the visual component, the “art” as it were, of the gallery’s display.

The second component is the accompanying exhibition publication, which was  for sale at the gallery’s reception desk. Rather than assume a supplementary, explanatory or documentary role to work displayed in the gallery, the production of this catalogue is an artwork. The catalogue looks and functions like any other publication would within the typical frame of an exhibition, but by highlighting patronage of the exhibition it hopes to expose and exploit the conventions such promotional and explanatory vehicles rely upon in their efforts to contextualize and legitimize artist’s work. Despite appearances to the contrary, then, Terada intends to cast suspicion on the catalogue (and with it himself and the gallery), and in doing so raise questions about the objectivity and truth value such publications engender and maintain.


Ron Terada - Catalogue


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