Director's Welcome

Welcome from Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery


Photo: Pardeep Singh

Welcome to an exciting new season at the Vancouver Art Gallery. As we bid farewell to a successful summer, the Gallery is in high gear to open four dynamic exhibitions in the next three months.

Ranging from a landmark presentation of treasures from the Forbidden City, a group exhibition of thought-provoking artworks by well-known Chinese contemporary artists and a solo show of a pioneer of post-war abstraction in Canada, to a dialogue between two painters of different eras, these exhibitions continue to bring the best of the world to Vancouver and the best of Vancouver to the world.

Since our major announcement last October, the highly anticipated exhibition The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors has been greeted with enthusiasm from all sections of the community. With nearly 200 precious artworks and artifacts that have rarely been seen outside China, The Forbidden City offers Vancouver audiences a rare overview of Chinese aesthetics that deepens our understanding of Chinese culture. One of the most significant historical exhibitions the Gallery has ever presented, The Forbidden City marks an unprecedented partnership between the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum and Beijing's Palace Museum. At the same time, Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art celebrates Chinese cultural heritage by providing a sense of the creative potential rooted in traditional Chinese culture which is constantly renewed. Together, these two exhibitions reflect the Gallery's deep engagement with art from Asia.

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form represents a collaboration between the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. It is the first major survey in over thirty years to cover the career of this significant artist. Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie: Wood Chopper and the Monkey thoughtfully juxtaposes paintings by these two artists, creating a unique connection between a historical painter and a contemporary painter. These two exhibitions proudly showcase artworks inspired by British Columbia's rich visual art legacy.

We recently welcomed five outstanding community leaders to join the Gallery's Board of Directors. Hank Bull, Naudia Maché, Tom Milroy, Inna O'Brian and Pamela Richardson bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in areas of arts administration, financial sustainability, community engagement and advocacy. Together with our Board Chair Bruce Munro Wright, I am thrilled to be working with these extraordinary individuals to ensure the Gallery's success in our ongoing programs and in the development of our new Gallery building in downtown Vancouver.

Since our recent announcement of Herzog & de Meuron as the design architects for our new building, we have been working very closely with this Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss firm. In June, the H&dM team visited Vancouver to research and kick-start the concept design process. It will be a pleasure to share more exciting news with all of you in the upcoming months!

Kathleen S. Bartels
Director