; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: What I Learned at The Vancouver Art Gallery

Sunday, 13 February 2011

What I Learned at The Vancouver Art Gallery

Yesterday I headed down to the Vancouver Art Gallery on the first day of its new exhibit. It was also open free to the public to celebrate the one year anniversary of the 2010 Olympics, held here last year. There were other festivities going on around town too, like free ice skating at the Olympic Oval out in Richmond, a lantern festival downtown, and the pedestrian-only Granville Street where vendors set up and makeshift street hockey tournaments took place. Too bad it was pouring rain yesterday which probably kept people from coming out.

The art gallery interested me the most, so I lined up for about 20 minutes before getting inside. The first exhibit is titled WE: Vancouver 12 Manifestos for the City. On till May 1st, this exhibit highlights the talent and creativity that our city has to offer.

I learned about Laneway Housing, which are dwellings built in the space where a garage normally inhabits on a family lot, and faces onto the alleyway.

Then I was surprised to see on display photos of Vancouver's only cemetery, Mountain View, which I had walked through a few months ago when I went on a big walk for some exercise. I remember cutting through the cemetery because it was more peaceful and quiet than walking along the street with all the traffic and noise. Plus there were other people jogging through it and also taking in the serenity. I remember seeing the building in the middle of the cemetery that I could only assume was used for services and administration. It was a beautiful design and looked new, and I was shocked I had never seen it before.

Turns out that "Celebration Hall" as its called, is a product of a recent renovation and has won design awards from the city, hence its inclusion in the gallery's exhibit.

And I kinda liked this "Mycologic Chandelier" which is based on mushrooms and the way they grow.

I rounded a corner and read about Univercity Childcare, an initiative of Simon Fraser University that includes one of the most sustainable and environmentally conscious buildings in Canada. Here's a photo I snapped of one of their outdoor shelters that will be part of the centre's landscape:

There was also a model of what the new Visitors' Centre will look like at the Van Dusen Gardens:

And speaking of renovated buildings, our city is definitely going through lots of change as of late, and one of the biggest projects around is the redesign of BC Place, turning it into an open air stadium with a retractable roof. It will be ready for November of next year, when we host the Grey Cup. It's gone from being a puffy looking marshmallow:

to something akin to a crab/crown, spiking up the Vancouver downtown skyline:

Upstairs at the Vancouver Art Gallery is their other new exhibit that has just opened, a collection from Vancouver Asian-Canadian artist Ken Lum. I didn't know his work before, either. At least, I thought I didn't. If you're a Vancouverite and you've seen the famous East Van cross that lights up at night, then you've seen a Ken Lum piece.

I loved these couches that he created:

And I used to see this piece all over the place, but I never knew what it was. I didn't get it. But when you put it into the context of "art" and you see Lum's other accompanying pieces, it actually made me laugh and I quite enjoy it! It's Melly Shum!

And the last part of the exhibit that was really cool was Lum's "Mirorr Maze With 12 Signs of Depression." As you walk through this mirror maze, there are phrases imprinted on the mirror that are "signs of depression" and according to a psychology test, if you have 6 or more of these symptoms at a given time, then you're depressed!

After I was done at the Art Gallery, I headed off to meet up with Calvin where we both watched as the Olympic cauldron was lit to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games.

All in all, a perfect Saturday!!

Hope everyone else had a terrific weekend as well!

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