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

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.

OCT 18
WED 3pm
Courtroom 302
in the Gallery

Lecture and Book Launch / Jalal Toufic’s What Was I Thinking?

The Vancouver Art Gallery is excited to host a lecture and book launch with Jalal Toufic, celebrating the release of his newest publication, What Was I Thinking? (e-flux journal–Sternberg Press, 2017). This event is presented in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s School for Contemporary Arts Audain Visiting Artist in Residence Program and Audain Gallery.
What is the most appropriate question to ask a thinker? Is it not: “What were you thinking?” (the title of one of my previous books). What is a common response to a thinker’s answer to that question? Is it not: “What were you thinking?”—an exclamation echoed at times by his or her own “What was I thinking?” Yes, it is not only (rare) others who ask a thinker, “What were you thinking?”; it is also the thinker who asks himself or herself, “What was I thinking?” (someone who never asks himself or herself this question is not a thinker). Why would a thinker ask himself or herself this question? He or she could ask it after undergoing memory loss as a result of attempting to think another’s/others’ thought-provoking trauma or something thought-provoking that ends up, through a series of associations, linking with a personal trauma; or coming up with an ostensibly counterintuitive rigorous concept that takes him or her aback, especially in moments of weakness, when he or she resumes being exoterically human, all too human—what was I thinking when I considered that Oedipus gave ground on his desire; that the visionary is faceless; that the resurrected brother of Mary and Martha resurrected God; et cetera?
—Jalal Toufic
Jalal Toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. He was born in 1962 in Beirut or Baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in Evanston, Illinois. His books, a number of which were published by Forthcoming Books, are available for download at his website. His videos are also available for viewing online, here. He, along with artists and pretend artists, participated in the Sharjah Biennials 6, 10 and 11, the 9th Shanghai Biennale, the 3rd Athens Biennale, and the exhibition A History: Art, Architecture, and Design, from the 1980s Until Today at the Centre Pompidou.

Free, no Gallery admission required. Seating is first come, first served.

OCT 24
TUE 7pm
Room 4East
in the Gallery

Marking Place Speakers Series: Michael Prokopow
Marking Place Speaker Series

Cultural historian and curator Dr. Michael Prokopow looks at the design history of Canada as it relates to the cultural and material effects of immigration. In this lecture, he will discuss how design has long been seen as an effective mechanism in the construction of national identity and how contemporary design practices present an opportunity to consider and question the values of nationhood and nationality. Find out more »

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.

OCT 28
SAT 3pm
3rd floor
in the Gallery

Curator's Tour
Rachel Gotlieb & Michael Prokopow

True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada

Tour the exhibition True Nordic with Dr. Rachel Gotlieb and Michael Prokopow, co-curators of the exhibition.

Gotlieb is a ceramic, craft, and design historian who has curated over twenty exhibitions and published extensively on the subject. She is the 2017 Theodore Randall International Chair in Art and Design at Alfred University. Gotlieb is also Adjunct Curator at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. She was previously the Gardiner’s Chief Curator and Interim Executive Director. She served as the founding curator of the Design Exchange in Toronto.

Prokopow's areas of expertise include material culture, critical and aesthetic theory and design history. He has written widely about material life and domesticity and is currently working on a project on middle class taste in North America between 1940 and 1975. He sits on the boards of the Arthur Erickson Foundation, Craft Ontario and C Magazine. Dr. Prokopow is a faculty member at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario.

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.

OCT 29
Art Toronto
October 27-30, 2017

Panel Discussion: Making the Beyond / Patrick Cruz, Magalie Guérin and Walter Scott
Moderated by cheyanne turions

The conversation will be moderated by cheyanne turions, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and will include perspectives from artists who share concerns for interrupting inherited histories and conjuring the beyond, through content, materials and form. In particular, these artists’ practices differently utilize painting—that paradigmatic art form—as a means of making connection and generating new proposals for what art can show us about how to be in relation. Full details ».

Presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery

TUE 7pm
Room 4East
in the Gallery

Work in Progress Speaker Series: Bruce Grenville
Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting (2017) & weak thought (1998/1999)
Work in Progress Curators' Talks

Senior Curator Bruce Grenville will discuss Entangled: Two Views on Contemporary Canadian Painting (2017), which he co-curated with David MacWilliam, and the exhibition weak thought (1998/1999), which he co-curated with Grant Arnold. These examples of collaborative projects offer diverse and sometimes contradictory models for examining the production of contemporary abstract art from Canada and Vancouver respectively. Find out more ».

NOV 14
TUE 7pm
Room 4East
in the Gallery

Marking Place Speakers Series: Michelle Jacques
Marking Place Speaker Series

In her talk, curator Michelle Jacques explores how her personal identity as an individual of Afro-Caribbean descent has shaped her relationship to Canadian art and art history. She will also consider what a mainstream art institution needs to look like if it intends to both work meaningfully with Indigenous artists and communities, and to embrace the increasing diversity of this country's citizenry. Find out more ».

NOV 18
SAT 3pm
UBC Robson Square, Theatre C300
800 Robson Street
Directions »

Curator's Lecture:
Anna Reynolds

Portrait of the Artist: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection

In this lecture Anna Reynolds, Senior Curator of Paintings at Royal Collection Trust, will look at the varied ways in which artists have been depicted in artworks over time. She proposes that the rise in images of artists is linked to broader changes in attitudes about the role of art and artists in society, and this lecture will examine what motivates an artist to represent themselves or each other. Reynolds will also consider the role of collectors and biographers in shaping an artist's reputation and legacy. Find out more ».

Ticketing information coming soon.

*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.