Vancouver Art Gallery’s relocation – FAQ

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last night, the Vancouver Art Gallery held at the Museum of Vancouver its last-in-a-series of Public Information Sessions about its proposed relocation . I couldn’t participate but asked Greg Johnson, PR of the relocation program, to answer a few questions. Here is what he sent me:

An enthusiastic crowd left standing room only at the Museum of Vancouver. Despite what’s been reported recently by various media outlets, people were very obviously engaged and passionate about the future of the VAG.

Before opening the floor up to questions from the public, Lance Berelowitz, Principal, Urban Forum Associates moderated a panel that included:
• Kathleen Bartels , Director, Vancouver Art Gallery
• Michael Audain , Gallery Trustee and Chair, Relocation Committee
• Andrew Pask , Vancouver Public Space Network
• Landon Mackenzie, Artist and Professor, Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Why does the VAG want to relocate?

Kathleen Bartels, Director, Vancouver Art Gallery, put it best in her opening remarks:
The VAG is “bursting at the seams” and the former courthouse is an “aging and outdated” building. The Gallery has gone through 10 years of growth, and with success comes change.

Daily challenges faced by the Gallery:

•Only 3% of the permanent collection is on view at any given time. The vault is full to overflowing. The Gallery has had to resort to costly offsite storage for part of the permanent collection.

•Line-ups and overcrowding during exhibitions. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent exhibition space is 10 times smaller than the average North American museum.

•There’s no dedicated space for educational and school programs. In fact, the VAG’s popular educational programs were booked full during the first week of school. 20,000 school kids will be turned away over the course of the year.

•There’s no theatre, lecture hall or gathering space. That means no room for family and adult programs, artist’s talks, lectures or special events.

Why can’t the VAG just expand its current site?

The Gallery’s first impulse was to look at renovating and expanding the current building. However, that option quickly proved more difficult and costly than building a new Gallery.

Here’s why:
• Higher costs. Expansion on the current site would actually cost more than constructing a new building on a new site.

• Heritage constraints on the current building. The former provincial courthouse is a designated federal National Historic Site and is an “A” listed heritage building, which would greatly limit renovation and expansion options.

• Expansion restrictions above and below the Georgia Plaza. Not everyone knows the VAG is already underground. Much of the Gallery’s archives and collections storage is below the Georgia Plaza and extends as far east as Howe Street.

• Major interruptions. Expanding the current Robson Square location would require closing the Vancouver Art Gallery for a period as long as three years. This would mean job losses for many Gallery staff as well as the costly relocation of the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Has a new location already been chosen?

No, but the Art Gallery has indicated its preference for the site at 150 Dunsmuir , otherwise known at Larwill Park (Georgia and Cambie). The site is owned by the City of Vancouver and currently a parking lot.

More than a dozen sites were carefully reviewed. Each was weighed against set criteria and the only site that was deemed suitable was 150 Dunsmuir.

Michael Audain heads up the VAG’s relocation committee. He had these words at last night’s public info session: “Yes, we considered the Post Office. Yes, the Sears Building, too. Even Deadman’s Island. Land in downtown Vancouver is among the most expensive anywhere in North America, except maybe San Francisco. I could find a site more easily in Manhattan than I could here in Vancouver.”

Artist and Emily Carr professor Langdon Mackenzie said this: “Other cities had to tear down rows and blocks of housing to create their galleries. We just want a parking lot. Our parking lot. A lot we already own.”

What is going to happen to the current site?

The old courthouse building isn’t going anywhere. It’s a cherished, historic building and well protected by heritage legislation.

The former courthouse is owned by the Province of BC and leased to the City of Vancouver. The City of Vancouver in turn leases it to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

That means the Vancouver Art Gallery has no say in who becomes the next tenant.

Some organizations have stepped forward to express an interest in moving into the former courthouse. These include the Museum of Vancouver, the University of British Columbia and the law courts.

How much will a new Gallery cost? Who will pay?

First things first, the Gallery needs to secure a site. Only once that’s done can the cost of a new Gallery be accurately estimated.

But, by looking at similar new galleries recently built across North America, the current estimate is approximately $350 million.

Once the site has been secured, the VAG will launch a fundraising campaign. Currently, even before a site has been chosen, an architect selected or a design drafted, the Gallery has already raised more than $90 million.

$50 million has come from the Province of British Columbia for the building of a new gallery. $42 million has been pledged by private donors.

Does a new, bigger gallery mean more art?

In a word, yes. How, exactly, remains to be seen once designs are put forward.

Among the ideas and possibilities floated by VAG Director Kathleen Bartels and others at the public info sessions:
• Permanent collection on permanent display
• Sculpture garden
• Free public access to the permanent collection
• A gallery dedicated to Emily Carr

Kerry James Marshall at the VAG

September 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

The grandiose and touching exhibition of Kerry James Marshall at the VAG makes it to the pages of Art Forum. Kudos to Kathleen Bartels (and our Jeff Wall) for putting together one of the most beautiful exhibitions of the year so far and for her overall brilliant work as the head of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Kerry James Marshall

Through January 3 2011
Curated by Kathleen Bartels and Jeff Wall

Kerry James Marshall’s 1993 canvas De Style, a vibrant, large-scale, multifigure painting of an African-American barbershop, was a breakthrough for the artist and set the basic parameters of his ensuing practice. In the years since, he has updated the ostensibly moribund genre of history painting with an important corpus of visually complex narrative tableaux. For the Chicago-based painter’s first solo show in Canada, De Style will join some twenty more recent works, including examples from his iconic series “Garden Project,” 1995, which richly reimagines the representation of public housing projects.(read more)

Julian Schnabel at the AGO

September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
Julian Schnabel:  Asia, 2007 oil on map mounted on linen

Julian Schnabel: Art and Film

September 1, 2010 – January 2, 2011
Art Gallery of Ontario

American art superstar Julian Schnabel has spent his life pushing the limits of painting and crossing artistic boundaries as an award-winning filmmaker. Now, for the first time, a major retrospective examines the connections between painting and film in Schnabel’s work, tracing how his paintings exist in dialogue with the cinema and revealing the rich interplay between the two media. Julian Schnabel: Art and Film surveys Schnabel’s work as a painter from the mid-1970s to the present and features more than 25 key works. The exhibition will occupy the entire fifth floor of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art.

Jessica Stockholder at the Palacio de Cristal

July 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Born in Seattle and with an art degree from University of British Columbia, Jessica Stockholder has been exploring multi-media installations for many years. Now her work takes the Palacio de Cristal in Madrid courtesy of Museo Reina Sofia with an installation titled Peer Out to See. The work was planned for this bright space and includes several elements and many colours. I love the central column formed by shopping and waste baskets, bowls, and other objects made of plastic. Subtle and vibrant, this work reminds me of Frank Stella, Rauschenberg, Miró.
Familiar objects transformed with witty humour and a clever sense of colour.
Stockholder lives and works in New Haven and currently directs the undergraduate program in sculpture at Yale University.

Canadian Artists featured in “Haunted” at the Guggenheim

June 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

Sarah Anne Johnson’s Morning Meeting, 2003 – Photo: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Canadian artists Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas, Luis Jacob and Sarah Anne Johnson are included in Haunted, a large exhibition of video, installation and photographic imagery exploring themes of memory, trauma, and return to the past. The show can be seen at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to September 6. These contemporary obsessions are also shown in works by Marina Abramović, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol among many others.

Sarah Anne Johnson, installation work, Ms. Johnson’s “Chris and Cian”

Pop Life Hits Canada

June 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

Takashi Murakami  <i>VISVIM KEIFER Hi-Suede Multi Flower</i> 2008  © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co Ltd /  photo Masaki Sato
Takashi Murakami VISVIM KEIFER Hi-Suede Multi Flower 2008
photo Masaki Sato

Back in the Fall I was excited about this show at the Tate and now it’ s a few miles closer. The National Gallery of Canada brings to Ottawa “Pop Life – Art in a Material World” with its more than 250 art works from the likes of Keith Haring, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst,
Tracey Emin, Martin Kippenberger, Maurizio Cattelan and Takashi Murakami. Canadian Art has the story.

Andy Warhol  <i>Mick Jagger</i> 1975 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ARS/SODRAC /  photo Tate Photography
Andy Warhol Mick Jagger 1975
photo Tate Photography

The Modern Woman at Vancouver Art Gallery

May 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

Edgar Degas, Standing Nude with Left Leg Raised,
Foot Resting on a Base, 1882-85
charcoal and pastel, squared, on blue vellum

The first drawing exhibition ever to travel from the Musée d’Orsay will bring works from the world’s finest collection of 19th-century French art to the Vancouver Art Gallery starting June 5. Presented are nearly 100 works by French artists such as  Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Pissaro, Renoir, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat and others.  That’s an unique opportunity to see this amazing collection of works without hoping on a plane.

“What came together when selecting these drawings with Isabelle Julia (curator of the show) was how intimately and vividly the artists captured the complexity of the Belle Époque and the women who inhabited it,” said Thomas Padon, one of the exhibition’s three commissioners.

The exhibition hits town in time for Drawn, Vancouver’s drawing festival that opens its vast schedule of events July 17.

Camille Pissarro – Group of Bathers at Water’s Edge, 1894-96
gouache and pencil on silk with paper backing

Georges Seurat, The Black Bow, ca 1882, Conté crayon on paper

Edouard Manet, Portrait of Nina Villard (Madame Callias), 1873-74
gouache heightened with leadpoint on wood

Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum

February 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

This project is so exciting!Over 200 artists, architects and designers will be represented in this show with their visions of intervention to fill in the blank of Guggenheim Museum‘s big central rotunda, or ‘void’. The show is part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration its impressive list of participants includes names like  Anish Kapoor, Rachel Whiteread and the Campana brothers – my fellow Brazilian designers.
A website accompanies the show.

Via CH and other sources.

Marc Chagall: Life and Love

November 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Lovers in the Lilacs

After being postponed because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Pera Museum in Istanbul opened this week the exhibition Marc Chagall, Life and Love with 160 works by the Russian master. The show includes a selection of pieces that celebrates his great love for his wife, Bella, his favourite model. The theme is explored in images of the couple in each other’s arms, kissing and floating blissfully on an colourful landscape. Bella wrote two memoir books that are also on display: First Encounter and Burning Lights.

The 2009 Turner Prize

October 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

‘papier mache eggman’ by enrico david, 2009 from the installation ‘how do you love dzzzzt by mammy?

gold leaf painting by richard wright

The 2009 Turner Prize exhibition opened at Tate Britain today. Brain matter, whale skeleton, papier macher, an atomized aircraft engine, compete for this year’s 25,000 pounds prize. The result will be known on December 7th. The four shot-listed artists are Richard Wright, Enrico David, Roger Hiorns and Lucy Skaer.
Designboom has more images.

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