Nothing About Us Without Us


Opening Reception: Fri, December 13th, 2013 7.00-10.00pm

Exhibition: December 13th, 2013 – January 19th, 2014

Artist Talk: Tue, Jan 14th, 2014, 7.00-9.00pm, at VAG, room 4East


Nothing About Us Without Us is a project conducted by Carmen Papalia & Kristin Rochelle Lantz in collaboration with 10 local artists working in the Gallery Gachet community. For twelve weeks artists participated in workshops, tours and experiential research, exploring the idea of access as it relates to the cultural space that is the Vancouver Art Gallery. The culminating exhibition opens on Friday, December 13 at Gallery Gachet. Artists include: Afuwa, Arlene Bowman, Rebecca Chunn, d. June Conley, aly d., Murray Huehn, Pierre Leichner, Quin Martins, Bill Pope, and Karen Ward.

During sessions at the Vancouver Art Gallery and at Gallery Gachet, artists investigated the role of the cultural institution and its relationship to community. Discussions centered around the following guiding questions: How does the Vancouver Art Gallery make itself accessible to the communities (of members and artists) within which it is situated? Who is invited into the museum and who can participate in Contemporary Art discourse? Which artists are invited to utilize Contemporary Art platforms, and what practices and histories does the museum choose to collect and archive?

Nothing About Us Without Us investigates the current shift in contemporary museum practices toward what is being called community and visitor engagement. It asks whether such initiatives can transform the museum into a space that is participatory-driven and defined by community. Will the museum become an open wealth of resources? Will communities start to feel welcome and engaged by the museum, or will they continue to have to find their own way in? Will this engagement be meaningful and longterm?

With their individual approaches, including painting, sculpture, video, performance and conceptual work, participating artists seek to address, claim, interrupt, antagonize and heal the space between museum and community. Nothing About Us Without Us establishes a dialogue about access to Contemporary Art spaces and platforms for artists and community members — from the perspective of people working within and without institutions. This exhibition sheds light on the systems that determine which perspectives and bodies of knowledge are invited into the museum, whose ideas are valued, archived and disseminated by cultural institutions, and who has (and who does not have) access to Art and cultural learning.



*Used image – Artist conducting research in the art storage vault of the VAG, Photo by Tom Quirk

Image Description:
A group of people, who are facing away from the camera, look toward a hall of metal-framed storage structures on which a vast collection of
paintings are kept.

To see pictures from this exhibition, please visit our Flickr account