Art & Culture
September 28, 2020

Vancouver Biennale Celebrates BC Culture Days

The Biennale has several events for people to take part in.

During a year that has been unlike any other, we’ve been inspired to see how artists, festivals, arts organizations, and cultural institutions are continually adapting. Here in Vancouver and around the world, we’ve found new ways to continue creating and connecting (safely) together. We are taking part in Culture Days 2020 this month, the nation-wide celebration of Canadian arts and culture indoors, outdoors, and online. Visit their website to find dozens of local experiences you can explore in person or online from September 25 – October 25th!

Ride Through Time
We’ve designed this self-guided bicycle ride (it’s walkable, too) to take you through the transformation of Vancouver’s waterfront as it developed from the 1860s to present day. Check out the three museums at Vanier Park and learn about the 12,000 years of history of Sen̓áḵw.

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From Paul Caune~What about a moving theatre project that centres on a train? That’s exactly what this project from Jörn Hintzer and Jacob Hüfner,  who are both media artists and professors at the Bauhaus University in Weimar Germany provides.

With a direct allegory to the every present changing visual media screens online, these two artists reverse the stationary and moving images, providing vignettes of art performance to train passengers along a 30 kilometer route. The train public art is set  through the Saal Valley in Germany where fifty live art performances were repeated for 26 trains over two days.

The Bewegtes Land project incorporates live performances from four hundred residents who live along the route. A couple fishing in a lake tip over in a canoe when a shark “attacks”. There is a burning tree and running bushes.  There is a group of east German produced cars (which were completely unreliable) chasing a new Volkswagen. And there is a runner who paces along the train, rides a horse, and somehow ends up at the train station terminus ahead of the train.

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Vancouver Heritage Foundation – Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow

 

FALL 2020 VIRTUAL LECTURES
VHF’s Evening Lecture series continues this fall in a new virtual format. Join us from the comfort of home to enjoy fascinating pieces of Vancouver’s history from a selection of speakers. If you are unable to attend the scheduled lecture time, you may register ahead of time and a link to access the recording will be sent to you. Please note the link is only active for a specific period of time.

Vancouver’s first and most prolific Chinese photographer, Yucho Chow, operated a commercial studio in the heart of Chinatown from 1907–1949. He chronicled life during a tumultuous and transformative time in Canadian history and captured the faces of early marginalized communities including South Asians, Black Canadians, Indigenous residents, mixed-race families and Eastern European immigrants. For some communities, he was the only photographer willing to take their portraits. Sadly, his negatives – and the individual stories and history they chronicled – were all discarded when his studio closed. Chinatown curator Catherine Clement spent over eight years uncovering Yucho Chow’s photographs – one family at a time, one photo at a time, one story at a time.

In 2019, Catherine mounted the first-ever solo exhibition of Chow’s work. That exhibit created a flood of new submissions which are now in a book. She will share the story of Yucho Chow and show some of these remarkable never-before-seen private photographs and stories of diverse, early communities. She will also explore what these images tell us about Vancouver’s history and the role Chinatown played in the lives of so many groups.

Date:Tuesday, October 27th
Time: 7pm – 8:30pm
Registration charge: $16 / $10 (incl. tax)

Please note: This lecture will be offered online. Information on how to attend will be emailed to registrants.

To register, click here for further information.

Images: YuchoChow

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Word Vancouver is back from September 19th to the 27th and this year they have virtual offerings which can be viewed here.

The purpose of the festival is to “foster the joy of the written word and inspire creativity by bringing together readers and writers from all backgrounds in an annual, inclusive and free literary arts festival, connecting local communities and celebrating literary arts through the collective experience.”

There’s one event that will be of particular interest to readers, and that is “Where History is Headed” with four well known Vancouver authors.

“Vancouver has changed and grown so much in the recent years, that today, books published on the history of Vancouver it seems have never been more popular. But so has the spectrum of the histories presented, with a broader look at the people, events, and social histories of different cultures in Vancouver, and even before the city was here.

Crime histories, entertainment and business histories of the city add to the array and mythology of the city and Photography books on Vancouver from Herzog to Girard have come bestsellers: Vancouver history has never been more popular—and with a wide age group of readers.

How did it happen—and more importantly, where is it all headed? Will books remain the most popular medium, or will other formats of media take a greater role? With a panel of Vancouver history authors and writers, and guests, join what will be a engaging and revealing discussion: Where History is Headed.”

Moderator: Aaron Chapman, Vancouver After Dark (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver’s entertainment history. He is the author of The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver’s Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Panelists:

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Hank Robar lives in Potsdam, Upper New York State, a town with about 15,000 people. The main claim to fame for Potsdam is Potsdam sandstone  which  was widely used as a building material in the 1800’s.

Mr. Robar asked the town to rezone his property in the downtown of Potsdam in 2004 for a “Dunkin’ Donuts” location. That request was denied by the village, and Mr. Robar’s began his collection of porcelain toilets and urinals on three of the seven properties he owns in Potsdam, including of course the spurned site for the doughnut shop.

Of course the town tried to have the toilet bowls on the properties removed, claiming they were unsightly, a hazard, and not well maintained. Mr. Robar has argued that his toilet bowls are public art and free speech, and pointed out that he immediately replaces one of the toilet displays if they become cracked, and that he mows and takes care of the grass around his display.

In much the same way as Bill Heine argued for an art form when he stuck a shark on the roof of his townhouse in Oxford England Mr. Robar argued for his right for free expression and said he would take the town to trial if necessary.He then launched a lawsuit.

The story was subsequently picked up by Edward Helmore with The Guardian that provides some assistance to Mr. Robar’s art and free expression claim.”

As his attorney stated “Mr Robar’s art started as a political protest but it has expanded now into artistic expression. He still values the political protest nature of the art but it’s evolved into one of artistic expression.”


Journalist Edward Helmore points out that there’s a long history of toilets as sculpture commencing with Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain” which was part of the avant garde movement, and even Maurizio Cattelan’s 18 karat gold toilet. Produced in 2016, this American made toilet has had critical acclaim, and was recently stolen. It still has not been found.

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The reviews are coming in and they are very positive for the Vancouver Biennale 2020.

If you like public art, learning about public art, or exploring the city check out the walking and cycling tours available here.

For a one-time $5 registration, get access to 18 art-inspired, self-paced GPS-guided cycling and walking tours that offer Covid-safe, outdoor fun. Designed for people wanting laid-back short tours as well as those looking for longer challenges, we guarantee that even the most avid cyclist and urban adventurist will discover something new!

Registration at VBBIKE.ca ends August 30th but all tours remain available on the GPS app through 2020. Ride as often as you like and take as many different tours as you want. Feel good knowing that funds raised support the Vancouver Biennale public art exhibitions, artist residencies and BIG IDEAS education program.

Images: 2020Biennale

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Here’s why the Spinning Chandelier as an accessible work of public art will be one of the most loved in the city – rather like “A-mazing Laughter” at English Bay.

Sure, “most loved” does not mean “best,” depending on your criteria, but those who dismiss it because of how it signifies class, or is an obscene expenditure when we have so many other priorities, or is just a marketing device, etc, will only annoy themselves when seeing how people engage with it.

Like this:

Nominations open for any more engaging works in the city.

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Every two years, Vancouver has been blessed with the sculpture Biennale – a celebration of art in public space.  And Price Tags has been documenting the Biennale since 2006, when we were still producing a magazine-style documentation of urbanism in the city.

Credit goes primarily to entrepreneur and philanthropist Barrie Mowatt, who has a long and accomplished history supporting the visual arts in this city, beginning with the establishment of the Buschlen Mowatt fine art gallery in 1979, and then the Biennale in 1998.  The latter would just be a good idea or a one-off without Mowatt’s ability to deal with the astounding logistics required to organize an international exhibition of this quality – especially one that takes place in some of our most prized public spaces, the waterfront parks of Vancouver, cautiously protected by layers of discretionary approvals.

But Mowatt has been aiming to do something more than just plop down big chunks of art on goose-strewn grass (or more politely, “transforming the urban landscape into an Open Air Museum.”)  He has expanded the scope of the exhibition to transform some of our leftover urban spaces into true gathering places for community – most notably “A-Mazing Laughter” (right) at English Bay.  The art truly does change how people see and use our public spaces.

He has also found a way to unite scattered pieces into something cohesive (that ‘outdoor museum’) by sponsoring the ‘Bikennale’ – so that numerous pieces can be viewed, appreciated and comprehended in a day.  With the pandemic making a single crowded event impossible, he has adapted the Bikennale (and Walkennale) into a month-long sequence of experiences – “SIX SUNDAYS THIS SUMMER” – that take cyclists not only along a route that connects the art but also brings in past pieces, the history of particular neighbourhoods and anecdotes about us as a people.

If you like to cycle or walk, sign up for the 2020 BIKEnnale/WALKennale Six Sundays (July 26 through August 30), check out www.vbbike.ca to learn more – a great chance to get outdoors (with appropriate physical distancing) and explore the history, architecture, and culture of a neighbourhood or two.

 

 

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Banksy is a British artist who has achieved fame by leaving public statements of art in the public realm in many countries. Yesterday he released an instagram video of his latest installation on one of London’s iconic subway train cars.

Banksy dresses as a maintenance worker as he gets down to prepping the walls with stencils of rats after shooing transit riders away. It’s all an allegory of what happens when you don’t use masks in public places during Covid times, and a bit of a directed  comment on the debate over mask wearing in public that is raging on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The artwork “If you Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get” shows a rat that is sneezing, and another rat spraying anti-bacterial soap. Banksy even signed his name on the train door.

Sadly and I hope it’s not really true, BBC News reports that Transport for London was not amused and has already removed the art because of their strict anti-graffiti policy.

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Have you heard of Switzerland’s novel zero star hotels? They are not what you think they are~they actually are starry hotels, a hotel room without walls, light switches or television, outside under the night sky.

You can take a look at Selina Berner’s experience sleeping in a zero hotel which has opened in neighbouring Liechtenstein. Spoiler-it rained, they had to cover the bed in plastic, and she retreated to a shed.

This concept originally started as an art project by two brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin and partner Daniel Charbonnier in the Appenzell region of Switzerland to take away the formality of a hotel and engage visitors directly with nature. Surprisingly even the original concept comes with a well trained butler that provides concierge services and brings “room service” to the zero star hotel.

And here’s what you get~a double bed suite in a pasture is $420 Canadian dollars a night with a welcome drink, breakfast and the butler, usually the local farmer. The farmer brings guests to the “suite” and provides local news and jokes.

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