|THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and|
If ours is the era of the diminishing attention span, our advertisement-affected consciousness responding best to fast messages, shareable images and condensed, digestible media, Douglas Coupland’s artistic oeuvre responds to its citizens with a sharp tongue in cheek and a pointed sense of irony.
“I miss my pre-Internet brain” read the sign that features two gallery goers standing beside one another photographed on their smartphones at the opening of Coupland’s solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I stood back and imagined the possible hashtags as the pictures were posted to Instagram: #metoo #rememberfaxmachines #rippatience #bringbackhomemaildelivery @vanartgallery.
Douglas Coupland has been referred to as Canada’s Renaissance man: an author, critic, theorist, designer, painter, installation artist, lecturer and sculptor; his multidisciplinarity has brought him fame internationally, and at home a reputation as a national icon of cultural commentary. His first novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture has been a global literary success and popularized the descriptor for the post-baby boom demographic since its publication in 1991. It seems that there’s nothing he doesn’t do; flyers pasted around the city cheekily read: “Douglas Coupland Works Harder Than You.”
Across his many mediums, Coupland’s chief concerns have included the prevalence of technology in human relationships, social and political implications of mass media, globalization, and the politics of identity. His first solo career survey exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery features 100 artworks ranging from towering Lego sculptures, paintings, assemblages and installations of hundreds of obsessively gathered found objects. Curated by Daina Augatis with the assistance of Emmy Lee Wall, everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything is set to be a blockbuster exhibition this summer, already having attracted large crowds. It also marks the first time that the Vancouver Art Gallery has allowed for and even encouraged photography in its galleries, offered a downloadable audio-tour app, presented an accompanying public artwork in the courtyard and has actively maintained an exhibition blog and website. An artist’s monograph will also be available for sale in August.