The Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life exhibitionopens tomorrow at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The show “charts the evolution of the hotel from an isolated and utilitarian structure to a cultural phenomenon that figures prominently around the world.”
The scope of the project is global, an acknowledgement of the pervasive presence of a commercial network that is architecturally formed, geographically distributed and socially defined. The title of the exhibition is in part a reference to the influential 1932 Hollywood film Grand Hotel, in which the lives of individual guests interweave during a brief hotel stay. The film depicts a thoroughly modern condition and demonstrates the potency of the hotel as both a real and symbolic nexus of human movement, interaction and ideas. The exhibition’s four main themes—travel, design, the social and culture—consider the vital role of travel and design in the development of the hotel, as well as the hotel’s important role as a site of social interaction and cultural production. Each theme speaks to a critical force that has given shape and meaning to the hotel. Together they tell the collective story of this important built form, elucidating its prominence in the public consciousness and reflecting the nature of the hotel itself: engaging, innovative, provocative, ephemeral. Quite simply, the hotel is a veritable laboratory of modern life.
We were given a sneak peek at the exhibition yesterday and it was amazing. So many layers. So much going on! Equally impressive are the companion website, blog, and publicationof 336 pages and 452 illustrations edited by Jennifer M. Volland and Bruce Grenville with Stephanie Rebick. Since the only feasible takeaway is the book (and it’s a beautifully put together tome), we wants it.
Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life | Publisher: Hatje Cantz | Available in the VAG Store | $60
If more people put their money where there mouths were, we wouldn’t have to listen to wankers whining about cuts to public arts funding. Scott Hawthorn and Todd Falkowsky have put together something that might help to drown the din: PennySmash. For $2.01, you can can produce a squished penny with your choice of four motifs. I like the design by Natalie Purschwitz. Essentially a button kit, with instructions clearly defining where you need to drill the holes. You can also get “The East Van Cross”, which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. PennySmash is currently on display in the Vancouver Art Gallery, generating funds to help foster creative projects in Vancouver (a capital notion, indeed).
The GOODS from Catalog Gallery
Vancouver, BC | Catalog Gallery and Anteism Publishing are proud to present a collection of new work (paintings, prints, drawings and a new book launch) by Other / Troy Lovegates. The show runs April 1st to the 24th. The gallery is also featuring an Anteism Publishing pop-up shop (with books and prints) for the month. Private showings are available outside gallery hours. Fee free to contact Robert Squire at 604-721-4266 to set up an appointment. Read more
From VAG: “FUSE goes lo-fi with a series of performances and environments designed to let you chill out, get down and take it easy. Get to know your neighbour by sending postcards to a stranger, enjoy free gifts by Natalie Purschwitz, performances by Carol Sawyer, Hello, Blue Roses and more. For more information on the series, visit the FUSE page.” This seriously sounds like one of the better FUSE evenings that the VAG has put on yet – or maybe we’re just all about chilling out these days after our move. Also keep in mind that this will be one of your last chances to catch Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man. We hear the guy was pretty good.
March 19 | 6pm – midnight | VAG | $19.50
In the past month, I visited three art galleries, where I…
- spilled coffee,
- danced all over the gallery floor, and
- drew on a man. In crayon.
I really should have been kicked out. But they all loved it and invited us all to come back for more.
Let me tell you more about these gallery visits and each of their quirky departures from the usual style of art appreciation…
Drink coffee, digest art
at Harrison Galleries
As much as I loved their window displays, I walked by the handsome brick of Yaletown’s Harrison Galleries almost every day for 4 years without daring to step inside. A few weeks ago, I did a double-take at the makeover of its corner window:
Intrigued, I paid a visit to their new cafe, The Buzz, for a cup of 49th Parallel brew and a lovely wild salmon panini (rife with capers, yum). The cafe storefront did much to lure me in. Inside, gallery owner Chris and cafe proprietor Terry made me feel even more welcome.
I strolled through the rest of the space and picked out my fave artists after my meal. It was surprising how inviting and accessible this gallery is–so different from my initial impressions. Lots of seating available to reflect on local works at your leisure.
Got kids? Let them sit and colour in the family room.
FUSE at the VAG
Playing with crayons isn’t just for kids, it seems. As part of the late-night festivities at FUSE, held every few months at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I recently scribbled over a man’s coveralls for what I assume to be a display of (very) interactive art. The rest of the gallery pulsed with electronic beats, dramatic performances, and some of the best contemporary works I’ve seen out of Vancouver in recent years. I didn’t have time to see it all so I’m tempted to renew my membership.
My voyeurism was slaked as much by the artwork as the sea of young, beautiful people that FUSE draws out. A recommended destination for a cool date or where to find a candidate for your next one.
Salsa Sundays at
Autumn Brook Gallery
My visit to Autumn Brook Gallery wasn’t for the art at all. Every other Sunday, the gallery is venue to a hopping salsa dance party held by organizers Jennifer and Stephen of SalsaVancouver.net. As an avid salsa dancer, I can attest to the unique exposure that the salsa crowd gets to local artists as they whirl and dip to Latin rhythms. They also have a fantastic floor for spinning.
If dance isn’t your thing, I’ve also heard good things about their gourmet weekend brunches.
As for me, my feet are having a hard time sitting still until the next Autumn Brook salsa party, which happens to be tomorrow.
So. Are you going to a plain ol’ gallery next time around, or one where you can eat, dance, or doodle your own works of art?
Karen Hamilton is a writer, photographer, and maker of websites. Her exploration of all things edible in the Lower Mainland is diarized at tinybites.ca.