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The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia

The Vancouver Art Gallery is presenting a comprehensive exhibition of the mid-century craft and design scene in British Columbia.

Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia examines ceramics, fashion, furniture, jewellery and textiles that defined West Coast modern living.

Helmut Krutz Couch, c. 1970 steel, plywood, upholstery, teak Collection of Allan Collier Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

Comprising over three hundred works created from 1945 to 1975, Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia reveals the multiple ways modernism was interpreted in British Columbia, with the inflection of local histories, materials and knowledge with a recognition of the rich Indigenous cultures that predated the arrival of settler cultures.

“The post-war craft and design period in British Columbia was especially significant because design and craft were activities considered essential for a life of creative pursuit. Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia surveys a period characterized by enormous creativity and innovation that transformed the culture of this region—the reverberations of which continue to be felt today,” stated Daina Augaitis, Interim Director at the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Well-crafted objects are currently experiencing a revival, as the handmade has assumed a position of renewed importance in our digital age.”

Idar Bergseth Brooch, c. mid-1960s sterling silver, 18-carat yellow gold, Japanese Akoya pearls Courtesy of the Artist Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

The exhibition is organized chronologically to document how the aesthetic, material and conceptual approaches to design and craft shifted over three decades of production between 1945 and 1975.

The included works reflect the increased demand for a wide range of functional, domestic objects that could complement the new West Coast modern architectural style that had begun to emerge.

Highlights include Nuu-chah-nulth weaver Nellie Jacobson’s grass buttons and traditional baskets that point to both the ruptures in this region caused by colonial expansion and the importance of Indigenous design in the modernization of British Columbia.

Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Interim Director, Allan Collier, Guest Curator and Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that features a foreword by co-curator Daina Augaitis, an in-depth historical overview by co-curator Allan Collier that maps a trajectory of design practice in the region, two commissioned essays by Michelle McGeough and Michael Prokopow and artist biographies. The book is co-published with Figure One.

The exhibition, opened last week, runs until January 3, 2021.

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