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

Visionary Partner for Art Education:
Ji Ping Bai

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.

MAY 15
TUE 7pm
The Cinémathèque
1131 Howe Street
Vancouver BC
Directions »
Nuclear Sublime
ATOMIC Study: Speaker Series

ATOMIC Study: Nuclear Sublime is the final event in the programming series related to the exhibition BOMBHEAD. This film and video programme contains works by Bonnie Devine and Rebecca Garrett, Pierre Huyghe, Bruce Conner (on 35mm!), a premiere documentary by Jesse Andrewartha and new work by Erin Siddall.

Film critic William C. Wees describes the nuclear sublime as “the astonishment amounting almost to terror, the horror and [the] sacred awe felt by those witnessing a nuclear explosion—from a safe distance, of course.” ATOMIC Study: Nuclear Sublime presents visual reproductions of the bomb and its impact, exploring myriad ways that nuclear energies have affected and will continue to affect the material and immaterial aspects of human experience throughout time.

This program of experimental film and video works is presented in partnership with Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society and will also present a selection of Jesse Andrewartha’s autoradiograms in the cinema lobby.

Doors at 6:30 PM / Program at 7 PM
Duration: 90 minutes
Free and open to the public.

Jesse Andrewartha Photography & Radiation (2018), 35mm film

Bruce Conner LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (long version: 1959–67/1996), 35mm film
Music by Terry Riley "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band"                   

Bonnie Devine and Rebecca Garrett Rooster Rock—The Story of Serpent River (2002), Betacam

Pierre Huyghe Untitled (Human Mask) (2014), film
courtesy of Hauser & Wirth New York

Erin Siddall The Pen (2015–2018), HD Video

Artist Biographies

Filmmaker and photographer Jesse Andrewartha examines the collision of humankind with the physical world, using the photographic image to reveal domains that extend beyond our senses. A Render Efficiency Supervisor with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Andrewartha is a veteran of the visual effects industry and is active in the Vancouver analog film community and has screened works at film festivals such as BLUE and SDUFEX.

Setting himself and his work in critical opposition to mainstream American society, versatile and restlessly inventive artist Bruce Conner (1933-2008) was a key part of the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950s. He first became known for his assemblages, which were crafted from an assortment of cast-off materials. He gained international admiration for his surrealistic sculptures and innovative avant-garde films, which he made under the influence of his friend and fellow experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Like his assemblages, his films were collages, which he produced by splicing together found and new footage. Referring to his wide-ranging and experimental output, he claimed: “A lot of things I’ve been involved in I’ve done because nobody else was doing them.”

Bonnie Devine was born in Toronto, Ontario. She is a member of the Serpent River Ojibway First Nation in Northern Ontario, but lives and works in Toronto. Drawing on a life-long interest in textiles and storytelling and blending these with traditional First Nations technologies such as basketry, weaving and sewing, Devine has developed a unique visual vernacular. In addition to drawing, sculpture and installation, Devine writes, publishes and performs her narratives as explorations of the traditional Ojibway themes that are the trajectory of her work. 

Rebecca Garrett is a Toronto based artist whose use of media is situation specific. Her work in film, video and installation has always been multiple and mixed, evolving out of painting and into single channel experimental films in the late 1970’s, film installations in the 1980’s, and a concurrent production of gallery based mixed media installations and community based videos in the 90’s. Her recent and current works brings together and weaves multiple practices, places and lines of inquiry.

Pierre Huyghe’s works blur the boundaries of established contrasts: the living and the lifeless, the real and the symbolic; animal, man and machine. Since the early 1990s, Huyghe has worked with the exhibition format as a mode of presentation, challenging its conventional forms and setups. Huyghe was born in Paris in 1962, and now lives and works in New York and Chile. He has presented countless solo exhibitions, including at MoMA, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and Ludwig Museum, Cologne.

Erin Siddall is a Vancouver-based visual artist whose practice considers the problem of how to represent the unrepresentable with photography—from invisible environmental hazards, to hidden histories and traumatic events. Her current work investigates nuclear histories within a new era of escalating risk. Siddall holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia (2017), a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University (2011), and has screened and shown in solo, public or group contexts at galleries and festivals such as Access Gallery, Satellite Gallery, CSA Space, The Helen and Morris Belkin Art Gallery, Gallery 295, Nuit Blanche Saskatoon, The Western Front Gallery, Capture Photography Festival, Winsor Gallery, and the Burrard Art Foundation Studio.

Free and open to the public.

Image credit: Pongsakorn Yananissorn
MAY 22
TUE 7pm

Courtroom 302
Vancouver Art Gallery
Open Season: A Conversation about Sovereign Absurdity

Presented by Ten Different Things, in partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery.

In dialogue with Open Season, a public art project that has constructed a tennis court on 800 Robson Street (between the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s old courthouse structure and the new Law Courts complex), this conversation will consider how a temporary sports infrastructure has facilitated alternative ways of occupying space. Drawing from various terminologies of “court”—as a tribunal presided over by judges and magistrates, an area marked for sports, and an establishment of and for sovereignty—Open Season aimed to create a space of sovereign absurdity. The Vancouver Art Gallery is pleased to host this conversation in one of the Gallery’s courtroom spaces, where project coordinators and participating artists will consider how the project has helped reshape relationships within the public sphere.

Featuring participating artists Terry-Dayne Beasley, Stephanie Gagne, Denise Holland, Kaylee Louie, Julie Mills, Sahand Mohajer, Temporary Investments (Rachel and Sarah Seburn), Marika Vandekraats, Pongsakorn Yananissorn, Katharine Meng-Yuan Yi, Chelsea Yuill and Julia Lamare as the moderator.

Image credit: Anne and Rose Williams "punish" Mattie Gunterman on the dining room heater at the Nettie-L, 1902–03, silver gelatin print, printed by Henri Robideau, c. 1980–83, Collection of Henri Robideau
MAY 31

Curator's Tour with Ian Thom and Henri Robideau
Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman

Join Curator Ian Thom as he discusses the paintings of Emily Carr alongside local artist Henri Robideau, who will illuminate the photographic practice of Mattie Gunterman.

Ian Thom was educated at the University of British Columbia, graduating with a Masters of Fine Arts in 1976. He is widely recognized as an authority on BC art and has written and lectured widely. His professional career, which began at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1975, has seen him occupy senior curatorial positions at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Vancouver Art Gallery. He has organized over one hundred exhibitions and is the author of numerous publications. He has been Senior Curator, Historical, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, since 1988 and has been actively involved in building the historical collections of the Gallery. Thom was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009.

Image credit: Cover spread of Cabin Fever designed by Derek Barnett, Information Office
JUN 12
TUES 6:30pm

Gallery Rotunda
Free for members or with Gallery admission
Catalogue Launch
Cabin Fever

Join us for a discussion with Stephanie Rebick and Rachel Topham of the Vancovuer Art Gallery, as well as Derek Barnett of Information Office, to celebrate the launch of the Cabin Fever exhibition catalogue. The conversation will center on how exhibitions produce publications that extend the concept and scholarship of visual art and printed matter, and will foreground novel ways of approaching collaboration and collective thinking.

Heavily illustrated, the catalogue is composed of a selection of notable literature, excerpted texts and iconic images that chronicle the long history of writing and visual documentation of the cabin. Highlights of Cabin Fever catalogue include the work and writings of Edward Abbey, Margaret Atwood, James Benning, W.E.B. DuBois, Walker Evans, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorothea Lange, Michael Pollan, Rudolph Schindler, Julius Shulman, and Henry David Throreau, among many others.

Stephanie Rebick is Associate Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery where she has worked since 2005. She is the co-curator of Cabin Fever. She is also the curator of the Gallery’s presentation of Out of Sight (2014) as well as the touring version (2016–2017); and is co-curator of MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (2016) and Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life (2013). She has assisted with dozens of other exhibitions, publications and digital initiatives at the Gallery, including contributions to numerous publications. Her curatorial interests include visual culture, new media and performance.

Rachel Topham specializes in documenting artworks and spaces. Her varied work as a photographer also includes extensive experience in image file preparation. Topham received her BFA in Photography from Ryerson University in 2004, her MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from the George Eastman House and Ryerson University in 2006, and her MA in Graduate Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University in 2017. In 2008 she was hired as a photographer for the Vancouver Art Gallery. Since that time she has worked to make signature images of artworks with a specialization in installation photography and, with her digital image preparation work, to prepare images with a cohesive aesthetic for exhibition catalogues and artists' books.

Information Office is a collaborative design and publishing studio lead by Derek Barnett and Jonathan Middleton, specializing in work for the cultural sector. Barnett has over twenty years of experience as a graphic designer and art director working in London, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. Barnett’s investigative approach utilizes varied strategies of communication and visual design to foster an evocative and conceptually rigorous practice. Middleton has worked extensively in the contemporary visual arts, including nineteen years experience as a contemporary art curator, organizing exhibitions and projects in Vancouver, Berlin, Montreal, Seattle and Melbourne. Middleton served as director/curator of the Western Front (1999–2005) and Or Gallery (2007–2017) and was the founding publisher of the contemporary art journal Fillip.

JUN 16
SAT 3pm

UBC Robson Square
Theatre C300
800 Robson
$35 GA / $25 members / $20 students
Heller Lecture
Sarah Milroy: Frontier Moderism

In the crucible of New York City from 1903 to 1916, David Milne absorbed the lessons of modern painting from the examples of Matisse, Monet, Bonnard, Cézanne and Brancusi. In 1919, Milne was also exposed to the harsher truths of modern life as a commissioned artist on the emptied battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. But, like American artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, Milne ultimately retreated to a life close to nature, first in the US and then back in Canada, crafting a sophisticated, distinctly North American response to landscape that was infused with the cutting-edge ideas of the day. How can we best understand Milne’s quest for solitude and his rigorous approach to modern painting? At odds with the prevailing nationalistic rhetoric of the Group of Seven, and wary of collective art movements more generally, Milne went his own way. Presented in dialogue with the exhibition David Milne: Modern Painting, which is on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 16 June to 9 September 2018, co-curator Sarah Milroy will provide insight into the artist’s psyche and artistic processes, exploring his distinctive and seemingly contradictory identity as a reclusive cosmopolitan.

The Heller Lecture is one of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s most important public events. In 2002, Paul and Edwina Heller graciously committed to supporting an annual lecture series at the Gallery, a program that has enabled us to bring some of the world’s most renowned cultural thinkers to Vancouver. Past speakers include Edward Burtynsky, Art Spiegelman and Eugene Wang.

Sarah Milroy is a Toronto-based writer and curator. She served as chief art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001–2011, and as editor of Canadian Art from 1991–1996. In recent years, she has been curating exhibitions, including From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia (2014), Vanessa Bell (2017) and David Milne: Modern Painting (2018), all with Ian A. C. Dejardin. Milroy has published her writing with leading Canadian periodicals, including The Walrus, Canadian Art and the Literary Review of Canada. As well, she has contributed essays to many scholarly catalogues, among them publications on Gathie Falk, Jack Chambers, Fred Herzog, Mary Pratt, Greg Curnoe and Jason McLean.

Generously supported by Paul and Edwina Heller in memory of Kitty Heller 

Image credit: David Milne, Billboards, c. 1912, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Gift of Douglas M. Duncan, Toronto, 1962, Photo: National Gallery of Canada
JUN 17
SUN 3pm

1st Floor Galleries
Free for Members or with Gallery Admission
Curator's Tour
with Ian A. C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy
David Milne: Modern Painting

Join curators Ian A.C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy for a tour of David Milne: Modern Painting. Through periods of intense experimentation, often working in solitude in the wild, Milne developed an extraordinary body of landscapes and developed a practice that could be thought of as an antithesis to the way we live today in a world of hyper distraction. Whether he was depicting the bustling sidewalks of Manhattan or the eerie quiet of a remote lake in the lonely off season, Milne displayed a style distinctly his own—a grasp of tone, colour and composition that gives his work a remarkable visual integrity. The curators will trace how Milne's movements are reflected in his work and in the framing of the exhibition here at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Ian A. C. Dejardin is an art historian, exhibition curator and museum professional. From April 2017 Dejardin has held the position of Executive Director for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. In 2005 he succeeded Desmond Shawe-Taylor as Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, having held the position of Curator of that Gallery’s permanent collection of European Old Master paintings from 1998. While at Dulwich, Dejardin co-curated Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery (2004); Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven (2011); Emily Carr: From the Forest to the Sea (2014); and Vanessa Bell (2017), the latter two exhibitions in collaboration with Sarah Milroy.

Sarah Milroy is a Toronto-based writer and curator. She served as chief art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001–2011, and as editor of Canadian Art from 1991–1996. In recent years, she has been curating exhibitions, including From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia (2014), Vanessa Bell (2017) and David Milne: Modern Painting (2018), all with Ian A. C. Dejardin. Milroy has published her writing with leading Canadian periodicals, including The Walrus, Canadian Art and the Literary Review of Canada. As well, she has contributed essays to many scholarly catalogues, among them publications on Gathie Falk, Jack Chambers, Fred Herzog, Mary Pratt, Greg Curnoe and Jason McLean.

Image credit: Walden Pond, Concord, MA, Photo: jcsullivan24, CC BY-NC 2.0
JUN 19
TUES 6:30pm

Reclusive Cosmopolitians:
A Series of Poetry Activations

David Milne: Modern Painting and Cabin Fever

In conjunction with the exhibitions David Milne: Modern Painting and Cabin Fever, join us for a series of poetry interventions in the galleries, taking place on selected Tuesday evenings through June and July. This series of programs will provide a space for the literary and visual arts to convene and find new ways of relating to each other.

Poems will be selected and performed throughout these exhibitions by Colin Browne, Shazia Hafiz Ramj, Kerriann Cardinal, Steffanie Ling and Stacey Ho, among others. Using the ideas of retreat and solitude as a starting point, texts selected will be read, sung or otherwise offer different kinds of encounters with the work on view at the Gallery. The texts recited by the poets represent a dialogue with the exhibitions and their concerns—be it an interrogation, an argument, an appreciation, a love letter, a question, a complaint, a commentary, a contextualization—performing myriad ways of engaging.

Image credit: Marten Elder, pr 45, 2016, archival pigment print on fiber-based paper, Courtesy of Equinox Gallery
JUN 26
TUES 7pm

1st Floor Galleries
Free for members or with Gallery admission
Uncanny Landscapes
Curator’s Tour with Emmy Lee Wall
Site Unseen

Join Curator Emmy Lee Wall for a tour of Site Unseen, an exhibition that addresses the veracity of the photographic. Sigmund Freud stated that “the uncanny was not to be found in the exotic but the everyday” and Site Unseen refers to the way images ask viewers to abandon perceptual habits and suggests that they look at the landscape around them with fresh eyes.

Emmy Lee Wall is Assistant Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Since 2005, she has coordinated the acquisition of more than 2500 works of art to the Gallery’s permanent collection. She curated the Gallery’s presentation of Andrew Dadson: Over the Sun (2015); co-curated The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social (2008) and The Poetics of Space (2015) with Daina Augaitis; and co-curated Michael Lin: A Modest Veil (2010) with Bruce Grenville. She also played an integral role in several other major exhibitions including Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum (2009); The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art (2011); and Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014). She oversees the Gallery’s Artist Edition Program and has created works with a wide range of local and international artists including Douglas Coupland, Ai Weiwei and Yang Fudong.

*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.