Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) turns 80 this year and with a permanent collection of more than 10,000 works, it is the major visual arts institution of Western Canada. The Gallery houses 41,400 square feet of exhibition space in a building which combines the former Provincial Courthouse, built in 1906 and designed by Sir Francis Mawson Rattenbury, with an Arthur Erickson designed renovation and addition which opened to the public in 1983. The VAG mounts a rotating program of exhibitions, balancing both contemporary and historical and including artists local, national and international. In recent years, the Gallery has mounted exciting solo exhibitions of internationally renowned artists such as Kai Althoff, Rebecca Belmore, Andreas Gursky, Brian Jungen, Ken Lum, Kerry James Marshall, Fiona Tan, and Jeff Wall; a major retrospective of the work of Ian Wallace is planned for the fall of 2012. Recent historical exhibitions include Emily Carr & The Group of Seven, Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art Masterpieces from The Rijksmuseum and The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art. The VAG boasts the most extensive public collection of works by influential British Columbia artist Emily Carr, as well as the largest institutional holdings of contemporary Vancouver-based photographer Jeff Wall (although neither artists’ work is permanently on view much to the dismay of many visitors!). Recent years have been ripe with controversy over the VAG’s intended move to larger, purpose built building leaving its location at what many consider the “heart of the city” – will it stay or will it go?