The Museum contains a permanent collection of the art of British Columbia including an outstanding collection of nineteenth century Northwest Coast masks, one of Canada’s strongest Emily Carr collections, a selection of Vancouver’s celebrated photo-based art plus a gallery devoted to West Coast artist Edward J. Hughes.
The collection includes The Crazy Stair, a painting by Emily Carr which recently sold at auction for a record breaking $3.3 million. This price was the highest ever paid for an Emily Carr at auction, the highest for a work by a Canadian woman artist and the fourth most expensive work at an art auction in Canada.
In addition to the works from British Columbia the Museum displays up to three temporary exhibitions a year from leading museums around the world, creating an ever-changing display to delight locals and visitors alike.
Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit
Date: March 30 – June 11, 2018
Description: The retrospective project, Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit, is a critically important art historical project for the Audain Art Museum to undertake and honours the legacy of this remarkable artist. The retrospective will provide insight into the complexities of traditional and contemporary Indigenous approaches to the creation of art on the West Coast. Beau Dick was an artist who was deeply rooted in the traditions of his Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. He also challenges those traditions in order to create a distinctive artistic and cultural voice for himself within and outside of his Nation.
Pop Art Prints
Date: June 30 – September 17, 2018
Description: Pop art emerged in stark contrast to the emotional intensity of abstract expressionism, then the reigning movement in contemporary art. Pop art’s banal subject matter and commercial references startled viewers. Pizza? A comic book frame? A movie star? Pin-up girls? Art lovers had always assumed that high art and popular culture were oppositional concepts—until Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and others of their generation challenged prevailing assumptions about what fine art should be. This exhibition features 37 works drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection augmented with a suite of “Marilyn” prints by Warhol from the Vancouver Art Gallery collection.
Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection
Date: October 6, 2018 – January 7, 2019
Description: A selection of outstanding contemporary art by Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander artists. Since the 1960s, artists from these communities have spearheaded a renaissance in the world’s oldest continuous artistic tradition, innovating within the idioms of visual languages that have developed over the course of millennia. While these dazzling paintings and beguiling sculptures often share formal characteristics with Western modern art, they represent conscientious efforts on the part of Aboriginal artists to share their culture with outsiders. Ancestral Modern will offer an opportunity for many Museum visitors to experience this extraordinary work for the first time. It includes innovators like Rover Thomas and Emily Kam Kngwarreye, who adapted materials and motifs traditionally used in ground painting, body painting, or the preparation of ritual objects in their works on canvas.
Emily Carr in France
Date: May 11, 2019 – September 2, 2019
Description: This exhibit is anchored by the Museum’s recent acquisition, Le Paysage, and will examine, through the lens of Emily Carr’s artwork created in 1911 and 1912, elements of domesticity depicted within a modern and changing world. This exhibition will question, explore and determine the prejudices, inequities and biases between male and female artists through exhibition, sales and collecting practices of the period in which Carr travelled to France to enhance her knowledge of contemporary artistic practices and approaches to painting. Exploring this system will provide a framework in which to consider the evolution of Carr as a visual artist and author.