MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture opens Saturday Feb. 20th at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Taking on the formidable task of illustrating the emergence and evolution of “MashUp” culture from 1912 to the present day, this show is so big in scope that the VAG needed to bring all four floors of the gallery in to play. From collage and montage to splicing, sampling, hacking and remixing, this survey of the history of mash-up involves 371 works from 156 artists and took 3 years to pull together! Here are our top ten reasons to brave the rain to get your butt down to the gallery…
Bold | Artist Barbara Kruger’s installation in the gallery rotunda is the first thing you see when you enter the VAG and the massive back and white words adorning every square inch of the space (including the floor) set the tone for the show – bold and thought-provoking. This is an exhibition with something to say!
Spoiled for choice | With 30 guest curators from all backgrounds assisting in assembling this show, there really is something for everyone. Koons, Picasso, Gehry, Basquiat – the list feels endless, like a one-stop shop or crash course in modern art.
Innovation | Remember the satisfaction of tearing apart on old magazine as a kid in art class and creating (what you considered) to be a mind-blowing masterpiece? Well, you have Picasso to thank for that because he, apparently, invented the concept of collage around 1913. And our world has never been the same.
Rare finds | Our personal favourites are the vintage Keith Haring subway works. Before the benefit concert posters and the licensed mercy bonanza, Keith Haring was a dude roaming the subway and scribbling on empty advertising space. Some clever folks ripped these pics off the walls and some have miraculously made their way to the gallery.
Cool S&*T | It may hurt some sneaker-loving folks out there but Brian Jungen’s sliced and reassembled Nike Air Jordans (into West Coast Native style masks) are pretty freaking amazing.
Music | This exhibit is an obscure music listener’s ideal soundtrack with excerpts from reggae producer the Upsetters, hip-hop DJ Grandmaster Flash, and disco group The Salsoul Orchestra. Even British acid house band The KLF is in the house.
Spontaneous Noise | Every Tuesday in April the exhibit will feature improvised performances of Luigi Russolo’s experimental sound machines played by Martin Gotfrit and pals; something you can bet you’ve never heard before.
Game On | The MashUp process involves the appropriation, mixing, blending, and reconfiguring of things to create new outcomes. Check out Machinima (movies made using video-game animation) dispersed throughout the gallery and geek out with a cinematic collage.
Badass Chicks | Don’t miss Nina Power’s provocative reflection on the likelihood of Barbie growing a beard or Dara Birnbaum’s video still that reimagines a classic female figure of pop culture, Wonder Woman.
In Vogue | Nowhere else can you find an exhibit that displays masters like John Baldessari and Marcel Duchamp alongside a collection of pieces centred on the cultural phenomenon of Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene. (Bonus: Madonna, queen of Voguing, also makes an appearance). Strike a pose!
Sound Sculpture | Don’t miss Ujino’s plywood sound sculpture that takes up a hefty portion of the first floor. This piece uses turntables and everyday household items (think blenders, lightbulbs, T.V.s) to create an intoxicating mash-up of sound.
The photos below were taken at yesterday’s preview, so they’ll give you some idea as to what to expect. MashUp runs from February 20th to June 12, 2016 at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St.). Tickets are $24. Note that MashUp X Fuse goes down on Friday, April 15th. Fuse, of course, is Vancouver’s favourite art party, running for 10 years now!). It has always been an excellent time, but held against the backdrop of MashUp it should be especially surreal. We’ll definitely be checking it out. See you there!