Expanding its Exhibitions, Collections, Programs and Curatorial Leadership
Gallery Creates New Endowed Senior Curator of Asian Art,
Marking First Time in History it will have Curator Dedicated to the Field
Exhibitions under New Initiative Focus on Historical and Contemporary Chinese Art
The Vancouver Art Gallery has announced the launch of a new, comprehensive initiative committed to advancing scholarship and public appreciation of Asian art. Building upon the Gallery’s longstanding commitment to fostering cultural connections throughout the Pacific Rim, the Institute of Asian Art will expand and further develop the Gallery’s exhibitions, public programs, and permanent collections dedicated to the visual arts of Asia, with particular focus on China, India, Japan and Korea. The Gallery has created a new, endowed senior curatorial position for Asian art—marking the first time in its history that it will have a curator devoted to the field—and will form an international advisory council to help support the Institute’s diverse range of programs. The Gallery also plans to dedicate permanent space in its new Herzog & de Meuron– designed building to Asian art.
“The City of Vancouver has one of the fastest growing Asian communities in North America and is one of the most important gateways to the Asia Pacific. For the past 25 years, the Gallery has been at the forefront of the incredible exchange of art and ideas between these two regions, and we are thrilled to continue building upon this commitment with the launch of the Institute of Asian Art,” said Kathleen Bartels, Director of Vancouver Art Gallery. “With dedicated curatorial leadership and the support of an international network of advisors, the Institute of Asian Art will be an important resource for our community, stimulating new dialogue and further strengthening the ties between Vancouver and the Asian Pacific region.”
The Institute of Asian Art’s inaugural programs focus on historical and contemporary Chinese art and include:
• The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors (opening October 18, 2014), a major traveling exhibition featuring approximately 200 rarely seen historic works, from Beijing’s Palace Museum; and
• Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Contemporary Chinese Art (opening November 15, 2014), a focused exhibition spotlighting the work of three generations of contemporary Chinese artists.
From fall 2014 through 2015, the Gallery is planning a series of additional exhibitions and public projects that explore new facets of contemporary Chinese art including a project with Tsang Kinwah. In 2016, the Gallery will launch a major exhibition of contemporary art from India. Future exhibitions will be mounted on an annual basis, ranging from surveys of contemporary art, to premieres of historic collections from abroad, to focused collection-based shows. Through the establishment of a dedicated acquisition fund, the Institute will oversee the continued growth of the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary Asian Art.
“I am absolutely delighted to see the realization of the Institute of Asian Art. The timing is perfect as we celebrate two significant Chinese exhibitions at the Gallery in the coming weeks,” said Zheng Shengtian, Trustee of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “The Institute is a logical result of years of the Gallery’s efforts to exhibit and promote Asian art for the community, and it will no doubt open a new and exciting chapter for the Vancouver Art Gallery through expanded programs and outreach.”
Located in one of North America’s largest cities on the Pacific Rim, the Vancouver Art Gallery has spearheaded major Asian art projects and promoted cross-cultural collaborations throughout its history. Since 1985, the Gallery has presented twenty-eight exhibitions of Asian art including Kimsooja: Unfolding (2013), Offsite: MadeIn Company (2013), Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall (2010), Song Dong: Waste Not (2010), Zhang Huan: Altered States (2008), House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective (2007), Power and Desire: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art, Edward Binney 3rd Collection (2003), Rupture in the Floating World: Japanese Prints in the Early Modern Era (2001), Pan Tianshou (1998), and Contemporary Art in Asia: Traditions / Tensions (1997), and has acquired major works by such prominent artists as Song Dong, MadeIn Company and Fiona Tan.
About The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors
October 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015
The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors presents approximately 200 works rarely seen outside of China—including 80 works exclusively shown in Vancouver—that provide a glimpse into the iconic and long-hidden city which was the centre of imperial power from 1416-1911. Through historic artworks selected from the collections of Beijing’s Palace Museum—including paintings, ceramics, gold and silver wares, jade, cloisonné, bronzes, and textiles all ranging from as early as 500 B.C.—the exhibition showcases the imperial life during China’s last heyday as an empire. The Forbidden City is organized by the Palace Museum, Beijing, China, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and the coordinating curators for the Vancouver Art Gallery presentation are Timothy Brook, Republic of China Chair, Department of History, University of British Columbia and Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director, Vancouver Art Gallery.
About Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art
November 15, 2014 – March 22, 2015
Featuring the work of three generations of contemporary Chinese artists, Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art explores how artists are both informed by their cultural heritage and continue to actively engage in a wider global art dialogue. Presenting a range of artworks and organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, the exhibition will showcase artists who rework traditional aesthetics through new forms and media, from digital animations to site-specific installations, in order to make visible the enormous and complex relationships to traditions that exist in present-day China.
Report courtesy Vancouver Art Gallery.