Cool Art: Vancouver Biennale 2009-2011 features public art

A-Maze-Ing Laughter by Yue Minjun, China 
Photo by Sue Frause
I'd seen the sculptures around Vancouver, but when I happened upon the one pictured above at English Bay, I knew that something big was going on.

Turns out it's the Vancouver Biennale, a bi-annual public art exhibition that has created an open air museum for the city. Each exhibition features world-class international sculptures, new media and performance art in parks, beaches and urban spaces.

The point? To celebrate art in public spaces and "create a uniquely accessible cultural destination where residents and visitors from around the world can come to experience the brightest new and world renown talent in contemporary art completely free of charge, throughout the seasons. "

The theme for the 2009-2011 exhibition is in-TRANSIT-ion, and venues include bike routes, YVR (Vancouver International Airport), the new Canada Line stations and art wrapped on buses and rapid transit trains.

The 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale has three components: Sculpture, New Media and Performance.

Phase I includes 29 sculptures by 26 artists from a dozen countries. Most of them were in place by January 2010 (in time for the Winter Olympics) and will remain on display until Summer 2011.

Five of them are Legacy pieces acquired by the Vancouver Biennale Foundation from the 2005-07 exhibition. They include Walking Figures, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Poland; Engagement, Dennis Oppenheim, USA; King and Queen, Sorel Etrog, Canad); 217.5 Arc X 13, Bernar Venet, France; and Jasper, John Clements, USA.

Phase II is the New Media and Performance Art Festival, beginning in May and running through August 2010. Additional events include In Transition: New Art from India at the Richmond Art Gallery.

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