Lectures and Talks

The Gallery's public lectures, classes and discussion groups presented by artists, curators, art historians, critics and collectors are springboards for understanding and appreciating the world of art and visual culture, for exchanging ideas and for debating issues. These events take many forms, ranging from traditional slide presentations to informal artists' talks in the galleries. They bring renowned scholars, critics and artists to Vancouver, setting local art and artists in an international framework and drawing together some of the brightest minds of our time.

For more information please call 604.662.4700

Visionary Partner for Art Education:
Ji Ping Bai

Video Documentation

Visit the Gallery's video page, to view documentation of lectures and talks.

Vimeo - Vancouver Art Gallery

*TICKETED EVENT | All programming is in the Gallery and free with Gallery Admission unless otherwise indicated (*).
Dates and times are subject to change. Please check back for complete up-to-date listings.

Image credit: Anne and Rose Williams "punish" Mattie Gunterman on the dining room heater at the Nettie-L, 1902–03, silver gelatin print, printed by Henri Robideau, c. 1980–83, Collection of Henri Robideau
MAY 31

Curator's Tour with Ian Thom and Henri Robideau
Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman

Join Curator Ian Thom as he discusses the paintings of Emily Carr alongside local artist Henri Robideau, who will illuminate the photographic practice of Mattie Gunterman.

Ian Thom was educated at the University of British Columbia, graduating with a Masters of Fine Arts in 1976. He is widely recognized as an authority on BC art and has written and lectured widely. His professional career, which began at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1975, has seen him occupy senior curatorial positions at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Vancouver Art Gallery. He has organized over one hundred exhibitions and is the author of numerous publications. He has been Senior Curator, Historical, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, since 1988 and has been actively involved in building the historical collections of the Gallery. Thom was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009.

Henri Robideau is a photographer and cultural narrator whose practice is grounded in history and animated by the politics of our times. His lifelong involvement in photography incorporates more than fifty years of teaching, professional production for many of Canada’s leading artists and personal art creation incorporating photographic imagery with narrative handwritten text. From French Canadian and Native American heritage, he grew up in Connecticut, North Carolina and California. He trained as a commercial photographer at Laney College in Oakland, California, before coming to Vancouver in 1970.

His photo-technician job at the Vancouver Public Library Historical Photograph Section, provided an introduction to the work of photographer Mattie Gunterman. In 1976 he left the world of archives and researched Mattie Gunterman’s life, producing an exhibition of herwork that toured 26 venues and led to the 1995 publication of her biography, Flapjacks & Photographs.


Image credit: Cover spread of Cabin Fever designed by Derek Barnett, Information Office
JUN 12
TUES 6:30pm

Gallery Rotunda
Free for members or with Gallery admission
Catalogue Launch
Cabin Fever

Join us for a discussion with Stephanie Rebick and Rachel Topham of the Vancovuer Art Gallery, as well as Derek Barnett of Information Office, to celebrate the launch of the Cabin Fever exhibition catalogue. The conversation will center on how exhibitions produce publications that extend the concept and scholarship of visual art and printed matter, and will foreground novel ways of approaching collaboration and collective thinking.

Heavily illustrated, the catalogue is composed of a selection of notable literature, excerpted texts and iconic images that chronicle the long history of writing and visual documentation of the cabin. Highlights of Cabin Fever catalogue include the work and writings of Edward Abbey, Margaret Atwood, James Benning, W.E.B. DuBois, Walker Evans, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorothea Lange, Michael Pollan, Rudolph Schindler, Julius Shulman, and Henry David Throreau, among many others.

Stephanie Rebick is Associate Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery where she has worked since 2005. She is the co-curator of Cabin Fever. She is also the curator of the Gallery’s presentation of Out of Sight (2014) as well as the touring version (2016–2017); and is co-curator of MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (2016) and Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life (2013). She has assisted with dozens of other exhibitions, publications and digital initiatives at the Gallery, including contributions to numerous publications. Her curatorial interests include visual culture, new media and performance.

Rachel Topham specializes in documenting artworks and spaces. Her varied work as a photographer also includes extensive experience in image file preparation. Topham received her BFA in Photography from Ryerson University in 2004, her MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from the George Eastman House and Ryerson University in 2006, and her MA in Graduate Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University in 2017. In 2008 she was hired as a photographer for the Vancouver Art Gallery. Since that time she has worked to make signature images of artworks with a specialization in installation photography and, with her digital image preparation work, to prepare images with a cohesive aesthetic for exhibition catalogues and artists' books.

Information Office is a collaborative design and publishing studio lead by Derek Barnett and Jonathan Middleton, specializing in work for the cultural sector. Barnett has over twenty years of experience as a graphic designer and art director working in London, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. Barnett’s investigative approach utilizes varied strategies of communication and visual design to foster an evocative and conceptually rigorous practice. Middleton has worked extensively in the contemporary visual arts, including nineteen years experience as a contemporary art curator, organizing exhibitions and projects in Vancouver, Berlin, Montreal, Seattle and Melbourne. Middleton served as director/curator of the Western Front (1999–2005) and Or Gallery (2007–2017) and was the founding publisher of the contemporary art journal Fillip.

JUN 16
SAT 3pm

UBC Robson Square
Theatre C300
800 Robson

Heller Lecture
Sarah Milroy: Frontier Moderism

$35 General Admission | $25 Members | $20 students


In the crucible of New York City from 1903 to 1916, David Milne absorbed the lessons of modern painting from the examples of Matisse, Monet, Bonnard, Cézanne and Brancusi. In 1919, Milne was also exposed to the harsher truths of modern life as a commissioned artist on the emptied battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. But, like American artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, Milne ultimately retreated to a life close to nature, first in the US and then back in Canada, crafting a sophisticated, distinctly North American response to landscape that was infused with the cutting-edge ideas of the day. How can we best understand Milne’s quest for solitude and his rigorous approach to modern painting? At odds with the prevailing nationalistic rhetoric of the Group of Seven, and wary of collective art movements more generally, Milne went his own way. Presented in dialogue with the exhibition David Milne: Modern Painting, which is on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 16 June to 9 September 2018, co-curator Sarah Milroy will provide insight into the artist’s psyche and artistic processes, exploring his distinctive and seemingly contradictory identity as a reclusive cosmopolitan.

The Heller Lecture is one of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s most important public events. In 2002, Paul and Edwina Heller graciously committed to supporting an annual lecture series at the Gallery, a program that has enabled us to bring some of the world’s most renowned cultural thinkers to Vancouver. Past speakers include Edward Burtynsky, Art Spiegelman and Eugene Wang.

Sarah Milroy is a Toronto-based writer and curator, and recently named as Chief Curator, McMichael Canadian Art Collection. She served as chief art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001–2011, and as editor of Canadian Art from 1991–1996. In recent years, she has been curating exhibitions, including From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia (2014), Vanessa Bell (2017) and David Milne: Modern Painting (2018), all with Ian A. C. Dejardin. Milroy has published her writing with leading Canadian periodicals, including The Walrus, Canadian Art and the Literary Review of Canada. As well, she has contributed essays to many scholarly catalogues, among them publications on Gathie Falk, Jack Chambers, Fred Herzog, Mary Pratt, Greg Curnoe and Jason McLean.

Generously supported by Paul and Edwina Heller in memory of Kitty Heller 

Image credit: David Milne, Billboards, c. 1912, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Gift of Douglas M. Duncan, Toronto, 1962, Photo: National Gallery of Canada
JUN 17
SUN 3pm

1st Floor Galleries
Free for Members or with Gallery Admission
Curator's Tour
with Ian A. C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy
David Milne: Modern Painting

Join curators Ian A.C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy for a tour of David Milne: Modern Painting. Through periods of intense experimentation, often working in solitude in the wild, Milne developed an extraordinary body of landscapes and developed a practice that could be thought of as an antithesis to the way we live today in a world of hyper distraction. Whether he was depicting the bustling sidewalks of Manhattan or the eerie quiet of a remote lake in the lonely off season, Milne displayed a style distinctly his own—a grasp of tone, colour and composition that gives his work a remarkable visual integrity. The curators will trace how Milne's movements are reflected in his work and in the framing of the exhibition here at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Ian A. C. Dejardin is an art historian, exhibition curator and museum professional. From April 2017 Dejardin has held the position of Executive Director for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. In 2005 he succeeded Desmond Shawe-Taylor as Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, having held the position of Curator of that Gallery’s permanent collection of European Old Master paintings from 1998. While at Dulwich, Dejardin co-curated Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery (2004); Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven (2011); Emily Carr: From the Forest to the Sea (2014); and Vanessa Bell (2017), the latter two exhibitions in collaboration with Sarah Milroy.

Sarah Milroy is a Toronto-based writer and curator. She served as chief art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001–2011, and as editor of Canadian Art from 1991–1996. In recent years, she has been curating exhibitions, including From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia (2014), Vanessa Bell (2017) and David Milne: Modern Painting (2018), all with Ian A. C. Dejardin. Milroy has published her writing with leading Canadian periodicals, including The Walrus, Canadian Art and the Literary Review of Canada. As well, she has contributed essays to many scholarly catalogues, among them publications on Gathie Falk, Jack Chambers, Fred Herzog, Mary Pratt, Greg Curnoe and Jason McLean.

Image credit: Walden Pond, Concord, MA, Photo: jcsullivan24, CC BY-NC 2.0
JUN 19
TUES 6:30pm
1st and 2nd Floor Galleries
Reclusive Cosmopolitans:
A Series of Poetry Activations

David Milne: Modern Painting and Cabin Fever

In conjunction with the exhibitions David Milne: Modern Painting and Cabin Fever, join us for a series of poetry interventions in the galleries, taking place on selected Tuesday evenings through June and July. This series of programs will provide a space for the literary and visual arts to convene and find new ways of relating to each other.

Poems will be selected and performed throughout these exhibitions by Danielle LaFrance, Colin Browne, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Kerriann Cardinal, Steffanie Ling and Stacey Ho, among others. Using the ideas of retreat and solitude as a starting point, texts selected will be read, sung or otherwise offer different kinds of encounters with the work on view at the Gallery. The texts recited by the poets represent a dialogue with the exhibitions and their concerns—be it an interrogation, an argument, an appreciation, a love letter, a question, a complaint, a commentary, a contextualization—performing myriad ways of engaging.

STACEY HO lives on the unceded territories of the x?m??k??y??m (Musqueam), S?wx?wú7mesh (Squamish), and s?l?ílw?ta?? (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Her practice considers intersections of culture, history, and embodiment from a feminist perspective. With a background in photography and performance, her art often incorporates language, sound, gesture, and everyday objects. She has recently presented her work through Art Metropole (Toronto), Galerie oqbo (Berlin), Artcite (Windsor), RAM Galleri (Oslo), and Or Gallery (Vancouver). Her writing has been published through the Organism for Poetic Research, VIVO Media Arts, The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Palimpsest, as well as in c magazine, Modern Painters, The Capilano Review, West Coast Line, and INTER: art actuel. She was the associate director of LIVE Biennale Performance Art Festival (2013–2016) and recently participated in a residency at The Mountain School of Arts.

STEFFANIE LING is a producer of criticism, pamphlets, stories, essays, exhibitions, reviews, bluntness, anecdotes, shout outs, wrestling storylines, proposals, applications, jokes, readings, minimal poems, poems, dinner, compliments, and diatribes. She lives in Vancouver (unceded territories), frequenting The Cinematheque and other air conditioned spaces. She is a curator at VIVO Media Arts Centre and an editor of Charcuterie. Her books are NASCAR (Blank Cheque, 2016) and CUTS OF THIN MEAT (Spare Room, 2015).

COLIN BROWNE’s most recent collection, The Hatch, was published by Talonbooks in 2015. Entering Time: The Fungus Man Platters of Charles Edenshaw, a book-length essay exploring three argillite platters carved by Haida artist Charles Edenshaw, appeared in 2016, also from Talonbooks. His most recent project, Music for a Night in May, a collaboration with composer Alfredo Santa Ana for soprano and string quartet, was premiered at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre in May 2018. “Unfinished Business,” an essay about the Nisga’a song at the heart of the Canadian opera Louis Riel was published online by The Capilano Review in spring 2018. Browne was guest curator for the Vancouver Art Gallery’s 2016 exhibition, I Had an Interesting French Artist to See Me this Summer: Emily Carr and Wolfgang Paalen in British Columbia. He was a founder of the Kootenay School of Writing and taught in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. He is currently working on a new collection of poetry, The Here, which will appear in 2019.

SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry for Port of Being, forthcoming with Invisible Publishing in fall 2018. She was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards and Alberta Magazine Awards. Her fiction has been longlisted for the Fiddlehead's 2018 fiction prize and received an honourable mention for The Humber Literary Review’s 2018 Emerging Writers Fiction Contest. Her poetry is forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2018.

DANIELLE LAFRANCE lives, writes, and works on occupied and stolen Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands. She is the author of two books of poetry, species branding (Capilano University Editions 2010) and Friendly + Fire (Talonbooks 2016). Between 2012 - 2016, she co-organized the feminist materialist collective and journal series About a Bicycle, with Anahita Jamali Rad. Recent attempts at Spanish-English poetry translations have been published on the online magazine inPeregrinos y sus Letras and in The Capilano Review. Her writing is marked with militancy, feminism, resistance, and "a cappella pornography" (Cam Scott) that relentlessly aims to look at and break apart the radical root of things. "The only way out is through" (Anita Phillips).

KERRIANN CARDINAL calls Vancouver home but is originally from Fort McMurray, Alberta. When she isn’t back packing in the mountains or practicing yoga she can be found working on various projects that encourage and create discourse on subjects that are socially relevant, educational and empowering. She is an actor, story teller and creative collaborator. Her experience working with other artists, community members, youth and the public in various capacities and in diverse settings such as festivals, special events, film/tv, theatre and music continues to inspire her to engage in relevant and meaningful work. Kerriann believes we all have stories to share whether it be on stage, on social media or over tea with a friend.

Image credit: Marten Elder, pr 45, 2016, archival pigment print on fiber-based paper. Courtesy of Equinox Gallery
JUN 26
TUES 7pm

1st Floor Galleries
Free for members or with Gallery admission
Uncanny Landscapes
Curator’s Tour with Emmy Lee Wall
Site Unseen

Join Curator Emmy Lee Wall for a tour of Site Unseen, an exhibition that addresses the veracity of the photographic. Sigmund Freud stated that “the uncanny was not to be found in the exotic but the everyday” and Site Unseen refers to the way images ask viewers to abandon perceptual habits and suggests that they look at the landscape around them with fresh eyes.

Emmy Lee Wall is Assistant Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Since 2005, she has coordinated the acquisition of more than 2500 works of art to the Gallery’s permanent collection. She curated the Gallery’s presentation of Andrew Dadson: Over the Sun (2015); co-curated The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social (2008) and The Poetics of Space (2015) with Daina Augaitis; and co-curated Michael Lin: A Modest Veil (2010) with Bruce Grenville. She also played an integral role in several other major exhibitions including Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum (2009); The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art (2011); and Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014). She oversees the Gallery’s Artist Edition Program and has created works with a wide range of local and international artists including Douglas Coupland, Ai Weiwei and Yang Fudong.

Image credit: Kevin Schmidt, DIY HIFI, 2014–16, Wood, Lowther DX55 speakers, DIY kit tube amplifier, cables, hardware.Courtesy of the Artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver
JUL 14
SAT 3pm

3rd Floor Gallery
Free for members or with Gallery admission
Utopian Possibility
Curator’s Tour with Grant Arnold
Kevin Schmidt: We Are The Robots

Join Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art, for a tour of Kevin Schmidt: We Are The Robots. The exhibition presents Schmidt’s exploration of DIY knowledge production, pointing at both the utopian aspects of wide distribution of knowledge over the Internet and the simultaneous pressures to commodify and brand knowledge that circulates through this system.  Drawing upon the origin of the Czech word ‘robota’—meaning ‘forced work’—Arnold will highlight the ways in which Schmidt asks the viewer to consider the systems and mechanisms through which popular culture is reproduced.

Grant Arnold is the Audain Curator of British Columbia Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he contributes to the exhibition program and development of the collection. Recent exhibition projects include Pictures From Here; Susan Point: Spindle Whorl (with Ian Thom); and SPIRITLANDS: (t)HERE Marian Penner Bancroft Selected Photo Works 1975–2000. Arnold has contributed essays to a number of publications and has lectured on historical and contemporary art at a variety of conferences and institutions. He received his M.A. in art history from the University of British Columbia in 1996, after studying at the University of Saskatchewan and the Banff School of Fine Arts
Image credit: Kevin Schmidt, DIY HIFI, 2014–16, Wood, Lowther DX55 speakers, DIY kit tube amplifier, cables, hardware.Courtesy of the Artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver
JUL 20
FRI 7pm

3rd Floor Gallery
Free for members or with Gallery admission

Amateur Quests
Artist Talk with Kevin Schmidt
Kevin Schmidt: We Are The Robots

Interested in the aesthetics of knowledge production by DIY communities, Kevin Schmidt replicates the processes and modes of address to manifest utopian ideas. For this conversational and participatory tour, join the artist as he invites visitors to be implicated in the processes of production, listening and learning with the interactive and instructional components of the works on display. 

*TICKETED EVENT | All programming is in the Gallery and free with Gallery Admission unless otherwise indicated.
Dates and times are subject to change. Please check back for complete up-to-date listings.