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Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver)

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Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver)

Contemporary Art Gallery
Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) is located in Vancouver
Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver)
Location in Vancouver
Established 1971
Location Yaletown in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Type art gallery
Director Nigel Prince
Curator Jenifer Papararo[1]
Website Contemporary Art Gallery

The Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) is a non-collecting public art gallery in downtown Vancouver, focused on contemporary art. The CAG exhibits local, national, and international artists, primarily featuring emerging local artists producing Canadian contemporary art. It has exhibited work by many of Vancouver's most acclaimed artists, including Stan Douglas, Ian Wallace, Rodney Graham, Liz Magor, and Brian Jungen, and it continues to feature local artists such as Damian Moppett, Shannon Oksanen, Elspeth Pratt, Myfanwy MacLeod, and many others. International artists who have had exhibitions at the CAG include Dan Graham, Christopher Williams, Rachel Harrison, Hans-Peter Feldmann and Ceal Floyer. Other notable people that have curated or written for the CAG include Douglas Coupland, Beatriz Colomina, Roy Arden, and John Welchman. In January 2011, Nigel Prince, former curator of the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham U.K., was appointed executive director of the CAG. Apart from the exhibition of visual art, the Contemporary Art Gallery produces publications, facilitates education and outreach programs, public talks, and visiting artist/curator programs, and maintains a library.


Established in 1971, the Contemporary Art Gallery (originally called the Greater Vancouver Artist's Gallery) began as an outgrowth of the Social Planning Department of the City of Vancouver, in which Vancouver artists were hired for a six-month period to produce art for exhibition at the gallery, and for inclusion in the City of Vancouver Art Collection. In 1976, the CAG was incorporated as a registered federal charity and a non-profit society under the Societies Act of British Columbia. In 1984, the Contemporary Art Gallery became an artist-run centre. It was widely recognized for providing initial solo exhibitions and catalogues for many of Vancouver's now well-known artists.[2] By the early 1990s, the exhibition program had expanded to include artists of national and international origin. In 1996, the Contemporary Art Gallery was transformed from an artist-run centre into an independent public art gallery, fulfilling the need for a contemporary visual arts institution with programming positioned between the vibrant experimentalism of Vancouver's artist-run centres and the more popular programs of large general-interest institutions. In May 2001, the Contemporary Art Gallery moved to a new purpose-built facility.[1]


Shannon Oksanen's exhibit Summerland
The Contemporary Art Gallery is located in the ground floor and mezzanine of a residential condominium building at 555 Nelson Street, at the corner of Nelson and Richards, just on the edge of Yaletown, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 2001, architects Martin Lewis and Noel Best designed the facility the CAG now occupies. The exhibition facility consists of two galleries and a series of window vitrines on the façade that provide an additional opportunity for exhibition. The B.C. Binning Gallery is 1,040 square feet (97 m2) and the Alvin Balkind Gallery is 676 square feet (62.8 m2). A reception area adjoins the reading room, in which visitors can access information on current and past exhibitions. The Abraham Rogatnick Library, which participates in an international catalogue exchange with other galleries and museums, is located on the second floor and is open to the public by appointment. The gallery space has "earned a Lieutenant-Governor's medal and an AIBC Award."[3]

Notable exhibitions

Journey into Fear – September 12 to November 3, 2002 – Stan Douglas – Staging an antagonistic exchange between a woman and man in a cyclical, ever mutating loop, Stan Douglas' video work examined the 1970s as an historical moment of flux between internationalism and globalism. The DVD was accompanied by a suite of photographs of Vancouver set locations, including Douglas' 16-foot-long (4.9 m) depiction of the 100 Block of West Hastings Street.

Steven Shearer – November 19, 2004 to January 2, 2005 – Steven Shearer – Working in a variety of forms, including painting and collage, Vancouver-based artist Steven Shearer often investigates the aesthetics of the 1970s as a site for looking at the energy and revolutionary potential of teens and youth. This solo exhibition assembled a wide spectrum of Shearer’s recent work with the aim of profiling its many convergent strains. The centerpiece for the show was a recent sculptural installation: a steel garden shed inside of which a guitar P/A system played a heavy metal guitar solo, amplified and distorted by the metal of the shed, creating a shrine to angry, cloistered youth.

For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons sur la Société Industrielle (first draft) – January 14 to March 6, 2005 – Christopher Williams – The first North American exhibition of a new body of work by Los Angeles artist Christopher Williams, 'For Example' consisted of fourteen photographs – dye transfer and platinum prints – in an installation designed by the artist. Since the early 1980s, Williams has intentionally adopted production values associated with fine art or straight photography into a practice that explores sculptural ideas using photographs and installation. This exhibition would later be featured on the cover of Artforum.

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For – January 20 to March 19, 2006 – Thoreau's Walden, Scottish folklore, drug culture and vernacular representations of the otherworldly.

Jeppe Hein's exhibit Please Please Please
Concrete Language – September 8 to November 5, 2006 – Fiona Banner, Martin Creed, Ian Wallace, Lawrence Weiner, Cerith Wyn Evans and ten others – Bringing together works by 15 local and international artists, 'Concrete Language' explored the visual and spatial relations in language. Creating a contemplative moment that was outside the way we commonly use or view language, each artist built relations between text and visual material that moved beyond the typical discursive or diagrammatic functions of language.

Please Please Please – January 30 to March 29, 2009 – Jeppe Hein – For Jeppe Hein's first exhibition in Canada, he presented three works that physically addressed the viewer's relation to the art object. His two works for the gallery space challenge the convention of the sculpture as a static object, while outside the gallery, 'Please Do Not Touch the Artwork', a familiar museum rule, was rendered in glowing red neon. Each work offered an opportunity for viewers to experience art outside of the traditional passive role of the art viewer.

Notable publications

Landscape by Jenifer Papararo. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2009. (ISBN 978-1-897302-33-0)

FASTWÜRMS by Jenifer Papararo, Jenifer Fischer and Jim Drobnick. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2008. (ISBN 978-1-897302-20-0)

Birgit by Hans-Peter Feldmann and Roy Arden. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2006. (ISBN 0-920751-95-4) Christopher Williams: Archäologie Beaux Arts Ethnography Théâtre-Vérité by Claudia Beck and John Miller. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2005. (ISBN 0-920751-96-2)

Ron Terada by Reid Shier, Kelly Wood, Jens Hoffman, and Michael Darling. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2003. (ISBN 0-920751-91-1)


ARTS101 – A partnership between the CAG and Watarai Youth, Family and Community Services, ARTS101 is an independent one-to-one mentorship program that pairs established professional artists with youth between the ages of 16 to 24 years. Weekly workshop sessions culminate in a public display of the works produced. The aim of the program is "to develop their identity as an artist, expand their skills in their chosen medium, increase exposure to other ways of artistic expression, gain an understanding of the arts community, and explore the realities of choosing the arts as a career."[4]

ArtReach – A web-based education and outreach program, ArtReach is designed to assist teachers in classrooms across the province and country. Through the CAG's website, teachers have access to a variety of online learning tools: lesson plans, artist biographies, glossaries, exhibition guides, and multimedia resources including video interviews with artists. The CAG collaborates with BC Art Teachers' Association representatives to develop lesson plans that link the exhibitions with diverse subjects, engaging students of all ages with the experience of contemporary art.


Production Postings by Christian Kliegel
In 2006, Vancouver artist Christian Kliegel's exhibit, "Production Postings," featured hundreds of signs that film and television production units had used to direct their casts and crews to filming locales; "the general design and style of these brightly coloured signs are formulaic and a ubiquitous part of Vancouver's urban landscape," reads the exhibit description.[5] Film production companies claimed these signs as stolen property, the Vancouver police were contacted, and gallery officials were forced to take down some of the signs and replace them with photocopies. "If anything," Kliegel claimed, "the movie companies themselves practice location theft by setting a film in Vancouver and making it look like another city." Christina Ritchie, the gallery’s Director, posted a letter addressed to Off-Set Rentals on the gallery's front door, telling the company's officials that she found it "sad and disappointing" that they could not appreciate Kliegel's "unique and insightful image of Vancouver."[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b CAG About. Contemporary Art Gallery. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  2. ^ Poll, Rosemary. "The CAG’s First Ten Years." Ten Years Later. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 1986. (ISBN 0-920751-10-5)
  3. ^ Contemporary Art Gallery Archiseek. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  4. ^ The Program. ARTS101. Retrieved on 2009-06-10.
  5. ^ CAG Exhibitions. Contemporary Art Gallery. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  6. ^ CBC Arts (2006-06-07). Artist's use of production signs in dispute. CBC News. Retrieved 2009-06-10.

External links

  • Official Contemporary Art Gallery website
  • ARTS101
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