Our Exhibits

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents exhibitions of work by artists ranging from historic masters to leading-edge contemporaries. These include major thematic exhibitions, presentations of solo artists and smaller, more focused showcases. In a typical year, 2 to 3 exhibitions are borrowed from other institutions and 10 to 12 exhibitions are developed in-house, drawing on our permanent collection and loans of works from around the world. In addition, the Gallery tours a few of its exhibitions each year.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Kevin Schmidt

July 14 to October 28, 2018

Kevin Schmidt
DIY HIFI, 2014–16
wood, Lowther DX55 speakers, DIY kit tube amplifier, cables, hardware
Courtesy of the Artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

Kevin Schmidt is a Vancouver-based artist whose practice blurs the boundaries between performance, document and product and this exhibition will feature works that refers to tropes—the remote cabin, the far North, the wilderness landscape—that are embedded in Canadian culture. Schmidt first drew widespread attention in 2002 for his single channel video Long Beach Led Zep in which he plays the guitar part from Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” using a gasoline powered generator and Marshall amplifier situated against the dramatic background of a sunset on Vancouver Island’s Long Beach. Since that time, sublime settings, amateur quests and DIY constructions have played a central role in his work. Incorporating other iconic cultural references that include J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and electronic dance music, Schmidt’s interest in re-enacting epic quests in the most provisional of terms addresses a widespread desire to move beyond the rational logic of the everyday and find transcendence in the sublime. At the same time he counters the manufactured spectacle that pervades contemporary life with the perception of the natural world on which it often relies by giving the means through which its affect enacts a visible presence in the work.

The exhibition will take its focus from Schmidt’s DIY Hifi, 2014, a work which has not been previously exhibited in North America. DIY Hifi is a sculptural work based on a plan used by 1970s audiophiles to build their own hi-fidelity stereo speakers in their quest for perfect audio reproduction. Schmidt’s oversized version of the speakers emphasizes the strangely organic forms common in 1970s design and will be used to reproduce audio recordings of cover bands performing in small town carnivals. The exhibition will include several works like Long Beach Led Zep, which is now in the gallery’s collection, and A Sign in the Northwest PassageEDM House, 2013, comprising RGB lighting strips that change colour in synchronization with a musique concrète sound track with audio recordings of Vancouver neighbourhoods in the process of redevelopment.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art

Major support generously provided by:
Jane Irwin and Ross Hill