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.

JAN 26
-MAR 30
Emily Carr University, South Building
Room 301
Directions »

(Note: No lecture during reading week, February 15)

Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Curatorial Lectures Series
Topics in Global Art: Call-Convene-Collect

Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures

In this weekly open course, international curators from renowned cultural institutions share their curatorial research and vision in the context of globalization. In collaboration with Gallery 221A, Vancouver Art Gallery, and supported by the Province of British Columbia’s Creative Economy Strategy, Emily Carr University of Art + Design hosts this curatorial lectures series as part of Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures International Visitors Program.

  • January 26 – Hafthor Yngvason, Director, Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
  • February 2 – Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, Curator, Asia, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC
  • February 9 – Stephanie Smith, Chief Curator, Institute for Contemporary Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  • February 23 – Sohrab Mohebbi, Associate Curator, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA
  • March 2 – Richard Birkett, Curator, Yale Union, Portland, OR
  • March 9 – Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, International Studio & Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY
  • March 16 – TBA
  • March 23 – Alexandra Klein, Curator, Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • March 30 – Dorothée Dupuis, writer and curator, Terremoto Magazine, Mexico City

Free. Seating is limited and first come, first served.


We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.

FEB 25
UBC Robson Square
Theatre C300
Directions »

Vancouver Special Forum
Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures

Vancouver Special includes work by forty visual artists, as a survey of the contemporary art activity in the city over the last five years. The featured works of art do not adhere to a singular subject or style but instead point to overlapping and ongoing conversations about abstraction, Surrealism and conceptual practice. In this afternoon of talks, artists and writers offer perspectives on these aspects of the exhibition and highlight the nuanced and stimulating spaces in-between definitions.

1pm: Two perspectives on Surrealism presented by catalogue contributor Steffanie Ling & artist Rachelle Sawatsky with further reflections by artists Julia Feyrer & Rebecca Brewer

2:20pm: Two perspectives on Abstraction presented by artists Mina Totino & Eli Bornowsky with further reflections by artists Colleen Heslin & Sylvain Sailly

3:45pm: Two perspectives on Conceptual Practice presented by Raymond Boisjoly & Gareth James with further reflections by artists Matt Browning & Krista Belle Stewart

Free. Seating is first come, first seated for an audience of 170.
Presented in collaboration with 221A, supported by the British Columbia Arts Council

Following the forum please join us at 221A for Walter Scott's book launch of Wendy's Revenge (Toronto: Koyama Press, 2016) with reading from 7–9pm.

Doors: 6pm
Program: 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
630 Hamilton Street
at Georgia Street
Directions »

Culture / Diplomacy
SFU Public Square & Vancouver Art Gallery

On Wednesday, March 1, SFU Public Square in partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery will present an evening showcase at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre that will interrogate the vital role that the arts play in connecting Canada with the Greater China area. Join us in this in-depth discussion and examine how art has served purposes for politics, foreign policy and diplomacy.

Special guests will include Mark Rowswell (Dashan/大山), Zheng Shengtian, Hank Bull, and Howie Tsui.

Adult: $32.75
Student: $20 (with Valid ID)
Senior: $20
Vancouver Art Gallery Member:
$26.50 (with Promo code, available here»)

TUE 7pm
in the Gallery
Room 4East

Curator’s Talk / Wanda Nanibush
Marking Place Speaker Series

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer. In this talk, Nanibush discusses the power and place of Indigenous artists and art in shaping the country now called Canada. Nanibush shares her knowledge of contemporary Indigenous art practices, as well as how Indigenous resurgence and resistance, both historic and contemporary, has shaped the conversation of cultural artistic production across Turtle Island.

Nanibush is Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her recent projects include the exhibitions Sovereign Acts II (Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal), Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto) and The Fifth World (Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener), a film called A Love Letter to My People, a documentary on Gerald Vizenor, a book called Violence No More (Arp Press), as well as an anthology of Indigenous Curatorial Writing and more. She has a Masters Degree in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught doctoral courses on Indigenous history and politics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.

About the Marking Place Speaker Series:
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Across Canada individuals and institutions are asking what the sesquicentennial means for this country and are examining our understanding of nationhood. This year-long speaker series looks at visual art, design and art institutions in relation to ideas concerning indigeneity, colonialism, immigration and national identity. Four prominent Canadians­—curator Wanda Nanibush, artist Jin-me Yoon, curator Michelle Jacques and cultural historian Michael Prokopow—share their thoughts on these connections and our evolving sense of place.

MAR 21
TUE 7pm
in the Gallery
Room 4East

Curator’s Talk / Ian Thom
Susan Point: Spindle Whorl (2017) & Arts of the Raven (1967)
Work in Progress Curators’ Talks

Ian Thom, Senior Curator – Historical, will discuss the exhibition Susan Point: Spindle Whorl (2017) in relation to the exhibition Arts of the Raven (1967). Arts of the raven: masterworks by the Northwest Coast Indian [sic]* was an exhibition in honour of the one hundredth anniversary of Canadian Confederation, which included Tsimshian, Tlingit, Haida and Kwakwaka'wakw art.

* The exhibition title, which includes the term “Indian,” is reproduced as it was originally published in the interest of historical accuracy. Its use in this description is not intended to be disrespectful.

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.

Work in Progress Curators’ Talks:
In this series, five Vancouver Art Gallery curators each discuss an exhibition they have organized this year in relationship to a project from the Gallery’s history. By coupling exhibitions from past and present, these talks are intended to map various trajectories of the Gallery and to highlight some of the ways that visual art has developed in Western Canada. At an important moment when the country reflects on its complex history, this is an opportunity to consider our own institutional history by assessing exhibition-making at the 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.