VANCOUVER.- The Vancouver Art Gallery
announces the recent acquisition of an impressive 334 works to its expanding collection in 2018, the majority of which were gifted through the generosity of private donors. Some of these notable pieces include a photo series by Sarah Anne Johnson, recently presented works by Elad Lassry, a portfolio of works by Fred Herzog, as well as contemporary works by Indigenous artists Brian Jungen, Sonny Assu, and Wayne Alfred.
The Gallery is proud to add remarkable works of art to its collection due to an outpouring of support by donors from Canada and abroad in 2018, says Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. These gifts further strengthen the collection, especially our holdings of contemporary artworks by BC-based artists and prominent Indigenous artists, as well as photography and photo-conceptual works. Thanks to the generosity of a number of individuals, including artists themselves, these works will be available to the people of Vancouver and its visitors to enjoy.
The Gallerys curators have been working for years to build the collection, and we are honoured by the increased support by collectors and artists this year to help us in our pursuits, says Rochelle Steiner, Associate Director and Chief Curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery. We look forward to initiating a series of exhibitions on the Gallerys fourth floor in 2019 that will highlight selections from the collection, including recent acquisitions.
Bolstering the Gallerys contemporary photography collection, which is today considered among the most substantial in North America, Vancouver-based, renowned photography collectors Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft generously donated forty-one works in 2018. This builds on Beck and Grufts 2005 donation of works by many of the worlds most celebrated photographers, a gift that transformed the Gallerys photography collection, and has continued annually. With this latest gift, their most extensive contribution to the Gallery in the past decade, Beck and Grufts donation now totals 752 works of art.
A highlight of Beck and Grufts donations this year is the large-scale colour photograph The Asphalt Layer (2001) by locally-based, internationally-known artist Stephen Waddell. This work draws reference to Gustave Caillebottes painting Les Raboteurs de Parquet (1875).
Additionally, collector and former Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Committee member Tim Kerr donated twenty-four pieces, his largest gift to the Gallery to date. This includes a portfolio of fifteen historic black-and-white photographs by the influential Fred Herzog dating from the 1950s to 1980s. Kerrs generous gift expands the Gallerys holdings of Herzog photographs, a number of which will be on view as part of an upcoming collection installation in 2019. Kerr also donated four works by BC artist Graham Gilmore, whose language-based works on paper and canvas utilize found text.
Several key acquisitions support the Gallerys commitment to showcasing BCs own contemporary Indigenous artists: Wayne Alfreds red cedar bark sculpture Salmon Transformation Mask (1992); Brian Jungens Warrior 4 (2018), made from Nike Air Jordans, copper and leather; and Sonny Assus acrylic on panel work Ghost (2015). Alfreds mask is also a gift of esteemed collectors Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft, while Assus work is a gift of the artist and Jungens work was purchased by the Gallery. All of these works are currently on view until March 17, 2019 as part of The Metamorphosis, an exhibition exploring transformation.
Three works by Tel Aviv-born, Los Angeles-based artist Elad Lassry were added to the collection as gifts: Egg Centerpiece (2012), Two Crystals Green (Red) (2012), and Untitled (Light Blue Cabinet) (2012). Two of these works were included in Lassrys 2017 survey exhibition at the Gallery, and offer compelling examples of this international artists practice concerned with visual perception and the meaning of images in the twenty-first century.
The major installation Tree Planting (2003-4), from Winnipeg-born artist Sarah Anne Johnson was gifted to the Gallery by the artist. Comprised of sixty-five photographs, this series chronicles various adventures in tree planting, a rite of passage for many Canadians. Johnsons work is included in the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
A legendary founder of the West Coast school of post-conceptual photography, Ian Wallace donated his 2011 large-scale, four-part work Construction Site (Olympic Village I-IV) to the Gallerys collection. It will be on view as part of a new collection installation in 2019. Two other works by Wallace were also donated this year: The Summer Script (1974), a work in oil on silver gelatin print, and My Heroes in the Street - Studies for Pictures on Canvas (1986), a group of ten chromogenic prints, both gifts of Beck and Gruft.
Since 1931, the Gallerys collection has become the most comprehensive resource for visual culture in British Columbia with strengths in conceptual and photo-based work, art by contemporary Indigenous artists, and prominent art from Asia among other priorities. The Gallerys collection boasts more than 12,000 artworks, but with its current space, only a small portion of collection works can be viewed by the public on a temporary basis. The new building by Herzog & de Meuron will address this issue with half of all exhibition space (40,000 square feet) dedicated to showcasing the collection, thus allowing visitors to enjoy many more of the Gallerys acquisitions throughout the year.