The history of Vancouver art is likely Canada’s most thoroughly narrated municipal art history. In this talk, Godfre Leung lays out some groundwork to reimagine several dominant narratives of the city’s recent past, especially the global rise of the careers of Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, Jeff Wall, and Ian Wallace (and the proliferation of its critical shorthand, “Photoconceptualism”), and the urban phenomenon known as Vancouverism. Rethinking these accounts of Vancouver in the ’90s through their unspoken term, the wave of Hong Kong to Vancouver immigration between 1989 and 1997, this talk offers a recasting of the city’s abiding metaphors, from the terminal city of settler-colonialist expansion to a connective transnational node.
Leung is a critic and curator based in Mohkinstsis/Calgary. His writing has appeared in magazines such as ArtAsiaPacific, Art in America, C Magazine, The Third Rail, and Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and has been commissioned for publications by a number of institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Walker Art Center. As part of his recent curatorial project unstately, he organized the exhibitions Pao Houa Her: Emplotment (Or Gallery, 2020) and Guesthood and Alienhood: Sun Yung Shin, Jinny Yu, Republic of the Other (Hotam Press Bookshop/Gallery, 2021), and commissioned and edited the poetry book granted to a foreign citizen by Sun Yung Shin (Artspeak, 2020).
He holds a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester and has taught courses at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University), and St. Cloud State University, where he was assistant/associate professor of art history from 2012 to 2018. Leung is Artistic Director for the artist-run centre, The Bows.