Director's Welcome

from Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery

Photo: Pardeep Singh

Welcome to another exciting new year of art and inspiration at the Vancouver Art Gallery! As we celebrate the 85th anniversary of this great institution, we are preparing for an extraordinary 2016 when we will continue to push boundaries as we strive to stimulate your mind and excite your imagination.

This year begins with our largest exhibition yet: MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture. This groundbreaking project is the first international survey on mashup culture, exploring how artists, beginning with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, incorporate found images, objects, sounds and words into their multidisciplinary work. It examines the century-long development of the now- ubiquitous mode of art production known as “mashup”, collage or remix. Three years in the making with 30 contributing curators from around the globe, this is the most ambitious exhibition in the history of the Gallery, occupying 35,000 square feet of exhibition space on all four floors, featuring 371 artworks by 156 artists.

This summer, we look forward with great anticipation to presenting Picasso: The Artist and His Muses, an extraordinary exhibition that will examine how six women who were central figures in Picasso’s life inspired the artistic development of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and influential artists. We will also continue the ambitious programming initiatives of the Institute of Asian Art with BHARTI KHER Matter, the first major retrospective of this New Delhi–based artist in North America. Later this year, we will be presenting three highly anticipated photography exhibitions showcasing important new work by outstanding Vancouver artist Stephen Waddell; the street photographs of Harry Callahan, one of the most influential figures in post-war photography; and a comprehensive survey of the work of Walker Evans, whose precisely detailed depictions of modern America have profoundly influenced successive generations of artists. The Walker Evans: Depth of Field exhibition will be co-presented with Josef Albers Museum (Bottrop, Germany) and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, USA). These are just a few highlights of what promises to be a most memorable year of exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Since unveiling the conceptual design by Herzog & de Meuron for the new Vancouver Art Gallery last September, we have been gratified by tremendous feedback and excitement from our members, the broader community, civic leaders, artists, architectural critics and design journals in Canada and around the world. As part of this, the Gallery welcomed more than 50,000 members of the public to a special conceptual design exhibit at the Gallery (September 30, 2015, to January 24, 2016), where our team of educators answered questions and listened to feedback. This spring, the Gallery will be taking this presentation across the province, from Prince George to Victoria and many stops in between. Over the coming months we will also be focused on the schematic phase of the design process which will further articulate the concepts that were presented last fall. We look forward to sharing the updated plans with you after we have completed this critical stage of design development.

All of our work leads back to the fundamental principle underlying everything we do – Art Makes Us. Art Makes Us proud of who we are. Art Makes Us connect with one another. Art Makes Us see the world through new perspectives, critical lenses and inspiring ideas. Thank you, our valued members, donors and sponsors, for your vital support. We send you best wishes for an art-filled 2016 and look forward to welcoming you very soon to the Vancouver Art Gallery!

Kathleen S. Bartels