WACK! and work

01/11/2009

Thursday I went to the WACK! show at the Vancouver Art Gallery with a couple friends. I’ve been meaning to see the show for ages, but the gallery is only open until 5:30, and the two days it’s open late I usually had to work/had class.

Anyway, according to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s website:
“WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution is the first comprehensive, international survey of a remarkable body of work that emerged from the dynamic relationship between art and feminism between 1965 and 1980, a time in which a majority of feminist activism and art-making occurred across the globe. The exhibition brings together the work of 120 artists to examine the international foundations and impact of feminism on art.”

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The show was in some ways extremely amazing. I feel privileged to have been lucky enough to see these works in one space. Much of contemporary art today would not exist if these women had not branched out in paint, video, performance art, etc., and to actually see the pieces that amounted to such a shift in the art world is incredible. Still, I can’t help argue that there was just too much art for one space. Even though two floors were allocated for the show, I felt claustrophobic and unable to appreciate all the work. Unfortunately I was unable to really consider each piece and each artist separately. Instead, by the the end of my visit to the gallery, I was too tired to appreciate the last pieces. Also, the gallery was quite frugal with space for video installations, which made it difficult to sit and watch an entire film piece. One room actually had two videos playing on either side of a projection screen. Noises were complicated, and I felt quite on display trying to watch. We tried to watch Yoko Ono’s ‘The Fly,’ but I felt like I was bothering other viewers with the noise.

The third floor bothered me the most, though. Vancouver’s own Jeff Wall took the spotlight away from the female artists downstairs with his large lightbox photographs of Vancouver. Brian and I commented on how the gallery seemed to say “Let’s lump all of these incredible female artists together on two floors, and then place the ‘real’ artist upstairs on his own.”

I worked today and yesterday, and it’s the same as it always was. Not that I expected great changes, mind you. It was nice to see some familiar faces again, and to hang out/chat with my favorite people there. I received a lot of hugs, and was told I was missed. It’s an incredibly beautiful feeling to know you’re appreciated. It doesn’t happen to anyone as often as it should.

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