"For a group of artists who work primarily with images, as opposed to text, a lot of fuss is being made over a few words.
The term in question is "the Vancouver School." The label has been used to describe a group of artists from Vancouver whose work is based in photo-conceptual practices (and who often photograph the city itself).
Using the term can spark murmurs of derision - particularly from some of the artists categorized as belonging to the so-called School.
"We want to kill that expression," says Roy Arden, one of the artists associated with the group. "We'd just like to be seen as individuals."
The Vancouver School, if it exists, is generally understood to include Arden, as well as artists Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Stan Douglas, Ken Lum and Rodney Graham...
...In New York, Galassi says there's no doubt the group's collaboration was instrumental in the artists' development, but he agrees applying the term "Vancouver School" may be oversimplifying things. "It's reducing something that's enormously complicated - you know the whole artistic history and individuals and all the rest of that - to a yes or no question. You can't do that. Life isn't like that. Art isn't like that."
There is no question Wall, Wallace, Arden et al. were central in establishing Vancouver as an important centre for contemporary art - and in establishing photography as an important medium for contemporary art. Whether they are grouped together as a capital-s School is probably beside the point - but a fascinating point nonetheless."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Vancouver School (or not)
I as just talking with a friend who went to an interesting lecture in Vancouver - "In Conversation: Realisms, Genre and Photo Art with Roy Arden, Ian Wallace, Mark Lewis, Jeff Wall, Dieter Roelstraete and moderator Nancy Tousley" In conjunction, among other things, with a show of Roy Arden's work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
There's a good piece about all this in the weekend's Globe & Mail (grab it before you have to pay for it) talking about the influence of the "Vancouver School" and is it really defined enough to be considered a "school" (btw, I'd add Arni Haraldsson to the list of members:
Posted by tim atherton at 8:13 pm