Vancouver police graffiti on walls to reach would-be thieves

Bait car art

We missed this article a few months ago, but still feel it’s worth noting because, well…

As part of their anti-car-theft programme, Vancouver police have hired a stencilist to spray paint police-approved messages on the walls of car parks throughout the city.

This is interesting because the city has devoted an entire department to eradicating graffiti from the walls of private buildings, even if said graffiti exists with the owner’s permission. Yet, the art connoisseurs at the police department obviously side with the spray paint artists.

Says Wasserman + Partners, the agency that created the campaign: “We wanted it to look very authentic… We worked with the police department to come up with scenarios that would resonate with car thieves. All the situations we presented were based on actual stats. For example, car thieves are actually afraid of dogs.”

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ART FAG

In order to get you and me off the computer and into the much needed sun, I’m going to keep this quick and dirty. Vitamin D is calling my name, and yours too.

Apart from being one of the first unofficial days of spring, today is also the host of the VAG‘s monthly FUSE event. As many of you already know, this event is part party, part educational, part ass kissing. It has a little something for everyone (some of you may want to bring your knee pads, it helps when you’re… never mind). This months event, “Truth, Beauty and Utopias”, starts at 6pm (but really at 7:30pm with the talk, “TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art”) with experimental music from Theater Conspiracy, Ion Zoo, and Safa throughout the evening and finishes up at 12am with musical guests DJ John Cougar, Petroleum By-Products and DJ She making it bearable to stick it out to the end. Check out the VAG’s website for the schedule and more info.

If the Friday night crowds at the VAG make your stomach churn, then I would suggest going to Rolande Souliere‘s opening “Materiality and Otherness” at Grunt Gallery (116-350 E.2nd ave). This ex-pat’s installations are ““unavailable to comprehension” according to her press release, so I wouldn’t bother trying to “get it” and rather just exploit the cheap wine. If you have a little time to kill on Saturday at 2pm, I would implore you to go to her artist talk to ask her why she would assume her work was “unavailable to comprehension.” I mean, are we all really that dumb? Or is she really that smart?

In my estimation, Saturday night’s opening of Hadley + Maxwell‘s show, “Editions 1+2” at the Or Gallery (103-480 Smithe) will be a refreshing one. The highly academic works by this duo are substantiated, not only by their research and intellect, but also by an artist statement and text by Eric Frederickson, the Director of Seattle’s Western Bridge. This official launch and artist reception starts at 8pm.

The only other things happening this week are later on, on Tuesday. Access is hosting a noise and experimental sound night starting at 8pm which would appeal to a lot of people I seem to know, but there is also an artist tour that evening called “The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social” at the VAG that I think everyone should try and attend. It starts at 7pm and is hosted by Kevin Schmidt, Andrew Dadson and Ian Wallace, so don’t sleep on this one. If you don’t know who those guys are, then you should, and you should go listen to what they have to say.

And now I’m going to go listen to what I have to say, which is “GET OFF YOUR ASS AND ENJOY THE SUN!”

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Art Fag

There are two events tonight worth a moment of your attention. First of all, while your brain has a little more capacity in it (before the free wine) I suggest going to the Charles H. Scott Gallery for the book launch of “Filip 7”, and Hadley and Maxwell‘s book “1+1-1”. The launch starts at 7:30pm and is combined with a brief talk by Eric Fredericksen, a local writer and contributor to “1+1-1”. This particular group is pretty academic so pre-drinking is not recommended.

If my sources are correct, the second opening I suggest going to tonight may require a lot of pre-drinking. I may be ill informed, but Lucas R. Soi’s ‘Private Collection’ may stir up the dust. With that in mind, and drink in hand, from 7pm on, the East 3rd Gallery is the destination.

Saturday night has several choices for your community service to take place. First and foremost, local talent Laura Piasta should get a moment of your attention for her opening of “New Works on Paper” at Blanket Gallery from 6-9pm. I don’t know much about collecting art, but in this case you may want to consider making a purchase. In 20 years you’ll be thankful you took the time to dust off your checkbook, even if you did shed a tear or two as you signed your name.

If you go to Blanket early, then you’ll have time to catch the viewing of Berlin artist, *Hito Steyerl*’s videos at VIVO Media Arts (1965 Main st). The viewing starts at 8pm and costs $8, or $5 if you’re a member (which, if you become one, will help balance the loss of your drug money at Blanket… see, I’m looking out for you).

I almost forgot to mention, but the LES Gallery (1879 Powell) is opening a new storefront called LESS on Saturday night at 7pm. The goodies being sold will range from Kim Sutherland‘s 3D puzzles to sound recordings by Lief Hall. You can double up and view Kayla Guthrie‘s “Arrested Development” in the gallery if you missed her opening last weekend.

So there it is. My 5 step program for staying off drugs and not committing suicide. Winters aren’t so bad after all.

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FASTWURMS

BLACK ARTS, WHITE MAGIC.

I walked into the Contemporary Art Gallery on Thursday morning to an installation of epic proportions. “DONKEY@NINJA@WITCH”, the new exhibition by FASTWURMS which opened last night at the CAG, is a visual orgy of colour, texture and symbolism. With heavy rock music blaring, I was absorbed by multiple rooms full of bright pentagrams, g-string spider webs, drug references and occult imagery; I was in awe and in love immediately. I suppose it’s good to be a little more cerebral, but if you consider that FASTWURMS’ work is thick with spells, charms, magic and good luck, then maybe it isn’t too absurd to believe their work had me entranced.

Originally from Toronto, FASTWURMS is a collective of artists who are also Witches. In their manifesto (it is pretty cool that they wrote one) they declared that they are Witches “who operate under a unified creed,” which I think is essentially a clause stating their benevolent nature. They do cast spells and practice magic, but not in the evil way Christian propaganda likes to assert. In fact, FASTWURMS must be casting a lot of good magic because it seems right wing groups haven’t paid any attention to their public declaration of witchcraft. I suppose this could be a product of where they practice (i.e. not the deep south/bible belt where they burn Harry Potter books), or simply because the religious nuts don’t pay attention to contemporary art exhibitions. Whatever the reason is, everyone should be pretty excited because this is the first time FASTWURMS is exhibiting in Vancouver and people need to experience it.

As a group, FASTWURMS was has been showing since 1979 and was originated by Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse. “DONKEY@NINJA@WITCH” is a sort of retrospective of seven of their previous major exhibitions and performances, but re-mixed. For this they are drawing upon ideas of postproduction as a part of the art making experience, as thought of by Nicolas Bourriaud. They have separated the CAG into a number of different areas, each transformed into a version of previous shows “Swag & Shag” (1995), “Blood + Swash” (2002), “Denim Pox” (2002), “Pirate Head” (2004) “Gusset Nation” (2004) and “Blood Clock” (2005). One room is also dedicated to the re-creation of the installation “Unisex: House of Bangs” (1999), which originally occurred at Zsa Zsa, a small storefront gallery on Toronto’s busy Queen Street West owned by the witches’ friend and co-creator Andrew Harwood .

I met Andrew when he came into the CAG with a bag full of cheap, dollar store wigs. “I love these!” he exclaimed with a flamboyant twang, showing me the contents of his bag of tricks. True to FASTWURMS’ love of incorporating cheap, dollar store materials and flea market finds, the wigs are to be included in the re-staged performance of Unisex: House of Bangs, where visitors can get their hair cut by the Witches. Because hair is used in spells, to get your hair cut by a Witch is to trust them, so when Andrew asked “Are you going to let me cut your hair tonight?” I immediately said “yes”. How could I not trust this disarmingly warm man?

Even through symbols of the dark arts, I’d have to say this warmth and fun are prominent in the feeling of this show. There is a good dose of humour mixed with elements of high and low brow art culture. In an interview by Jennifer Fischer and Jim Drobnick, Dai Skuse explained that, “In our case, if you judge our installation as just a composite of amateur craft aesthetic elements, it could still be considered a high level of accomplishment as a contemporary art installation, in the same league as Thomas Hirschhorn.” Basically what she’s saying is if you miss this, you may be missing history. What could possibly happen when string art is used to create epically sized bats while intricate drawings of donkeys, cats and other symbols of the occult are repeatedly done on denim? This blend of craft culture meets rock ‘n roll is so contemporary it hurts. And to think FASTWURMS has been showing for so long, it’s about time Vancouver hosted them.

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ART FAG

I sometimes wonder if galleries base their opening schedule on other galleries’ opening schedule. Take this week for example. There is only one opening tonight, and the rest — apart from one — are next Thursday. I suppose this could just be coincidence, but when thinking back to the past few weeks, the same pattern emerged. This is a curiosity for me. Do they do this to make it easier for everyone to get out and rub as many shoulders as possible? Or is it because they are in direct competition with each other? Whatever the reason, this is the scenario this week… again.

Tonight at 7pm there is a dual exhibition at the Catriona Jefferies Gallery of Kelly Wood and Monika Grzymala’s work. The show, which is curated by Jessie Caryl, is an investigation of the “structuring, distortion and sensationalization of sound and space that can be inscribed in music and architecture.” Basically, Wood is showing large photographs and Grzymala has created a site-specific installation. As always, Catriona Jefferies’s events are a great way to drink some free wine and see some famous faces.

The next opening this week is on Tuesday night at the Charles H. Scott Gallery (1399 Johnston st.). Called “Trust in Me”, it is a group show curated by Cate Rimmer about “magic, trickery, and the willingness to believe” so be careful if you smoke weed before going. Who knows what your fate may be then. The show starts at 7:30pm and hosts work by international and local artists.

OK, I lied. There is one opening on Wednesday that is worth going to. Lida Abdul’s exhibition at Centre A (2 West Hastings) is a mid-career retrospective that is also accompanied by an artist talk on Tuesday at 7pm (Emily Carr’s main lecture theater). Go to one or go to both, either way it looks like it will be good.

The first of several openings on Thursday is at the CAG called “Fastwurms”. The performance and exhibition goes from 6-9pm and is a “visual cacophony of clichés and color coated icons related to Witchcraft and run through popular culture.” This is obviously a fairly dense topic, so if you want to exercise your brain a little in this department then Tuesday at 1pm is a good place to start (611 Alexander St.).

The second opening is at the Belkin Art Gallery (1825 Main Mall) from 8-10pm and features the works from eight young Vancouver artists. The curators, Juan Gaitan and Scott Watson, chose artists’ whose work “engaged the complex reality of urban life at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”

I suppose I’ve dropped hints, but I think its super important to exercise your brain. I know it’s my way of evening things out. Anyways, there is a series of artist talks every week starting this Thursday at ECI called “Theory is my Co-Pilot” and features some pretty fantastic artists. This week is Judy Radul speaking about her recent and upcoming work. The talks start at 3:50pm and are located in Rm. 301. Go.

So that’s it. Go out and enjoy the week’s events. I know I’m looking forward to some of these talks. I’m going to get me a big brain.

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ART FAG

Seeing as the sugar and alcohol of this season’s celebrations have worn off from everyone’s poorly hatched New Year’s resolutions of abstention, we can all get back to work at this art thing. Obviously, ample time has been given to this because several shows worthy of your attendance are happening this weekend.

Friday’s schedule is empty except for Sean Maxey’s show at Little Mountain Studios called “Up Your Bench”. This show, which starts at 7pm, is destined for shit tons of fun as there are “shit tons of bands”. Multiply this by an amazing visual experience fostered by Sean’s 40 plus ink drawings about “men working with, about, and for other men.” Go to this. Trust me, it’ll be worth the hike.

You’ll all have to be organised for Saturday (and not too hung over) if you want to get it all in. I recommend starting your day off at Republic Gallery (732 Richards St, Third Floor) where Carol Sawyer is having her opening called “Vacant Lot”. The opening, which investigates the piece of land that used to be a part of False Creek before it was filled in 100 years ago, is from 1pm to 4pm, so don’t sleep on it. (GET UP! The day’s are getting longer!)

If painting is more your cup of tea, then I would suggest heading out to the Atelier Gallery (2421 Granville st.) to check out Brad Woodfin’s show. This opening, which is also in the afternoon from 2pm to 4pm, is in a private gallery so I believe it will include free alcohol and food. It may make the journey worthwhile, if his paintings of deer, sheep, hares and dodo’s don’t.

OK, I’m going to tell you about this next one because I don’t want to discriminate, but I have to be honest… I’m super skeptical. I think I would absolutely detest this show if I went to it. The write up made me nauseous. Anyways, also on Saturday afternoon, Susan Bozic is having an opening and book launch at the SFU Gallery called “The Dating Portfolio” from 3pm to 5pm. If you can’t make it to this then you can check out her artist talk on Wednesday at 7pm in room 1600 of the SFU Vancouver Campus (515 West Hastings St.). I’ll try and hold down my dinner.

Saturday night only has one art show, and it is one I think everyone should attend as it is his confirmed homecoming show. Nicholas Pittman has come back to Vancouver to show off his new paintings. The exhibition of these new works is hosted by Blanket Gallery (6-758 Alexander st.) from 6pm to 9pm. So go and give this fucker some props (fucker from me is a term of affection if you don’t already know. I actually caught myself yelling it from across the street at someone today.)

So that’s the schedule for this weekend. I think it’s pretty good since it’s been a bloody artistic ghost town around these parts lately. Also, if you want to send some love overseas, we have some Vancouver peeps showing in Berlin on Saturday. Trevor Larson and Only’s very own Martin Thacker are a part of a group show called “MMVII”. So yeah, I just thought I’d let you know if you didn’t already. I’m going to eat a sausage and think of them…

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Art Fag

Apparently as the sugar hangover from Christmas and other seasonal festivities wears off, the realization that we’re all in some desperate need for some real culture swoops in and awakens our dying, candy coated heart. Therefore, even though there isn’t a lot going on this weekend, I felt it was of utter importance that we start the capitalist detoxification process and focus on trying to attend some places and events of a more interesting cultural nature than the best Boxing Week sale.

Little Mountain Studios‘ (195 e. 26th ave) answer to the post-spentyoursavingsonboxingweeksales blues is to create an event called “Free Shop”. The details are vague, but I believe there will be art happening and art things available… yes… for free. You’ll have to check it out on Saturday from 12pm to 5pm and afterward raise your fist in the air in your fight for free (it’s just so satisfying).

There are also some really great exhibitions ending in the coming weeks that I feel everyone should try and make it out to, to help in the re-culturification process. The first is at Artspeak (233 Carrall) until Jan. 12 called “Near Miss” and is a mix of video installation, text and photography by Kerry Tribe.

The second ending exhibition of photos, drawings and sculpture, is by our very hard working local art hero, Andrew Dadson. It is at the Charles H. Scott Gallery in the Emily Carr Institute until Jan. 13 and is called “Evening All Afternoon”.

The third gallery that must be hit up in the next week or so is, of course, the Vancouver Art Gallery (get a membership… seriously). There are three exhibitions ending this month that should be seen (by at least someone in your family, my Mum is into Georgia O’Keefe while I’m into *Roy Arden*… whatever does it for you). So ending this week at the VAG on Jan. 6 is *Mark Lewis*’s “Modern Time”. Then the following week on Jan. 13, the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition “Nature and Abstraction” ends. This is followed the week after on Jan. 20 by the ending of Roy Arden’s mid-career retrospective.

There it is, a small help, but hopefully useful. I know that I’m dedicating this month to art and art related events in the hope that I can reverse some of the damage to both my bank and karmic accounts. Just striving to eat more vegetables isn’t going to get me out of this year’s Christmas mess.

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ART FAG

‘Tis the season to get drunk and spend all your cash. Therefore I’m listing two craft fairs I think everyone should go drop some of their hard earned money at (unless you’re part of that major drug syndicate that just got busted in which case I’d suggest coolin’ it on the spending this Christmas). That’s right, I’m telling you to go to craft fairs. This sub-genre of the art world used to be full of sparkling synthetic yarn and cheap plastic beads, but there have been some new developments in the past years. People are actually selling quality, beautiful things at these events. Some of them are even people I know (and PS they bank some serious dough, so all you poor starving artists should get your shit in gear for next year.)

This first one you must go to this weekend is at Blim (197 e. 17th @Main) on Saturday called Blim’s Green Christmas Market II. All the crafters at this event are “green” in some way, meaning they use recycled materials or alternative fiber and that kind of thing. You can pick up some feel good, environmentally OK Christmas presents here.

The second craft fair I recommend is the Portbello West Fashion and Art Market which is at the Rocky Mountaineer Station (1755 Cottrell Street – near Home Depot). This is a big one, with over 120 artists and designers. You may need to meditate or take drugs after this experience, but I’m sure you’ll come out of it with some serious loot.

So there it is. I’ve suggested something most people would scoff at. Seriously though, these things have changed for the better. And if you’ve been a really lazy bastard this year and you’re family still thinks you make art, then you could pass these off as things you’ve done (not recommended unless it’s dire, like they’ll take away your trust fund or something).

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ART FAG

Time is strapped. Because I’m unwilling to see if crime pays and art doesn’t, I’m forced to work like a maniac in menial serving jobs. Therefore I have to keep this concise.

Tonight there is an opening at the CAG (555 Nelson Street) of Swedish artist Henrik HÃ¥kansson‘s film installation. His work is based on art, science and the patterns of nature, like it’s growing cycles and how we understand them. The opening is from 6-9pm and will probably have some recognizable faces.

After checking out the CAG, I would recommend making your way down to Gastown to the ARTSPEAK (233 Carrall St) opening of Kerry Tribe‘s “Near Miss” at 8pm. ARTSPEAK is also hosting an artist talk at 2pm on Saturday by the Berlin born artist who has a long list of international exhibitions ranging from Basel to the Whitney, so it should be interesting.

If downtown isn’t your scene, then you may want to check out Emma Hendrix and Julie Gendron‘s exhibition “don’t, stop” at CSA (#5 – 2414 Main Street). The opening runs from 6-9pm.

This week we actually have an opening to go to on Saturday. The Atelier Gallery is hosting the opening of a group show featuring new artists David Edwards, Jane Everett and Janice Mason Steeves from 2-4pm. I’m hoping there will be free wine because it’s always fun to start drinking early, and I’m broke.

For the evening I think everyone should go out to the LES (1879 Powell) to see the animated installation by Lief Hall called “25/27”. The opening starts at 7pm and is always a super duper fun party with lots of cheap beer and good people. It’s a bit of a trek, but well worth it.

The only other event on the agenda is the MFA‘s open studios at UBC (6363 Stores Road). This is on Tuesday from 7-10pm and would be really interesting to check out because all the artists — Shea Allan-McCachen, Scott Billings, Raymond Boisjoly, Melanie Bond, Natalie Doonan, Krista Dragomer, Jesse Gray, Josh Hite, Julio Lopez, Ryan Peter, Sydney Vermont, Jen Weih — will be there to display and discuss their work.

So yeah, that’s it. I’d like to go crawl into a hole and sleep for eternity, but I have to run off to another job that enslaves me. Enjoy the weekend’s openings and tell me all about them… please.

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ART FAG

OK. So here’s the deal. I’m going to keep this short because my weekend has already started. There are only two openings happening so it’s a do-it-yourself kind of weekend in that you’ll have to make your own fun and art (I know I am).

Friday night is host to the only two openings this weekend and they both feature young local talents. The first on the roster is Alex Morrison who has an opening at the Catriona Jefferies Gallery. This current exhibition is based around his exploration into the staging of sub-culture and is from 7-9pm. I would say it is a must to go to.

The second opening is at the Equinox Gallery (2321 Granville st.) where Etienne Zack is having an exhibition called “Authorshop.” This show is actually a little earlier so it may be a good place to start. Also remember that private galleries normally have free wine so…

Or maybe you’d rather exercise your brain tonight instead of your liver. If that’s the case I would recommend going to hear the lecture by Lee Henderson at 7pm in Room 241 at the Emily Carr Institute (1399 Johnston st). The topic of the lecture is “Conscience in Vancouver Art” and is hosted by the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver (www.casv.ca).

On Tues night local artist Andrew Dadson is having a solo show called “Evening All Afternoon” at the Charles H. Scott Gallery located in the Emily Carr Institute. The show starts at 7:30 so come and check out his work that delves into the relationship between architecture and the void of the suburban landscape.

If you time it right you can also attend the Colourschool presentation in the IDS building at the Emily Carr Institute on Tues night at 7pm. This weeks topic is “The Red Bridge, Art Practice, and the City: New Art Movement in Seoul and the Politics of ‘Collectivity’”.

Once again, on Tues night at the VAG in room 302 there is a free talk with gallery admission (get a membership!). The talk is with William Wood, an art historian and critic, on the legacies of photography, history painting, and modernity in regards to Roy Arden’s work. This one will be much different than the Colourschool presentation so make your pick, but it is important to exercise your brain so go to at least one.

If you have the stamina to go to Paul Chan*’s artist talk on Wed. at the *Western Front Gallery (303 e. 8th st.) at 7pm, or on Thurs. at the Emily Carr Institute at 7pm, than your brain will be HUGE. He’ll be discussing his recent work that explores topics of utopian thought, religion and how they manifest within a contemporary culture.

That’s it. My brain is stronger. I’m ready to exercise my liver.

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