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CURRENT COLUMN

Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers
September 2013
Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers

Audain Art Museum
June 2013
Siting an Art Museum in a Forest

Gordon Smith Gallery
November 2012
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids

Equinox
September 2012
From glacial meltwater to contemporary art

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery
June 2012
Professional curators of contemporary art were once as scarce as hen's teeth

Equinox Gallery
April 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Equinox Gallery
February 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Jacana Gallery
November 2011
Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Satellite Gallery
September 2011
Hope springs eternal


June 2011
The Hotel Waldorf
reimagined


April 2011
Education for the eye,
soul and mind


February 2011
Fine art inkjet prints
are here to stay


November 2010
SAAG endows the old
with new possibilities

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Gallery Views

By ANN ROSENBERG

Side-by-Side: The Traditional and the Modern

Vancouver’s South Granville area, like Toronto’s Yorkville and New York’s Soho, is renowned for its concentration of art venues. Most are found on the west side of Granville Street, but many on the east side of Granville Street are worth crossing the road to see.

Side by side

Side-by-side: Art Emporium, Jennifer Kostuik and Harrison Galleries

If you’re walking south on Granville past Broadway, just down from Starbuck’s there’s a handsome magenta and black turn-of-the–20th century building that is the home of the Harrison Galleries. The proprieter of this dealership, which has been located at 2932 Granville Street for almost thirty years, is Chris Harrison who took over from his father Alexander, now retired, who founded the gallery at a Howe Street location in 1958.

Set against dark coloured walls but illuminated with individual lights, are dozens of paintings hung salon-fashion during a typical presentation of gallery artists. These potpourri exhibits are interspersed with solo shows by Canadian artists who “work in a traditional manner.” At the Harrison Galleries the art ranges from Nicholas Bott’s paintings of the B.C. landscape that reflect his respect for the masterpieces of early Canadian art to the fairytale-like encounters of beings from heaven and earth created by Francine Gravel.

Side by side

Doorway to second floor Art Emporium

The building next door, faced with wooden siding and painted the colour of orange sherbet, contains two exhibition spaces. Large windows afford an easy view into Jennifer Kostuik Gallery, a relatively new addition to the gallery scene, but the more obscure doorway on the left leads up to the Art Emporium on the second floor.

When I met with owner Torben Kristiansen after two days of telephone tag, the interview was full of surprises. I learned that the Art Emporium’s history stretches back to 1897. (Yes! That’s not a typo). In its original location at the corner of Hornby and Georgia (near the old Courthouse which is now the Vancouver Art Gallery) it served the art community by showing works by the Group of Seven, Thomas Fripp and others.

Kristiansen has kept the original name because it is an important clue to Vancouver’s cultural history and he doesn’t mind that it has old fashioned associations. He never dispensed snake bite medicine to me; instead I was offered a coffee and given a tour of prime works of older Canadian and European art that are in his collection or for sale. It was like being in college again listening to Torben expound upon the provenance of the works and seeing his pleasure in the art that surrounds him.

You can visit this gallery during its open hours, but there are no openings. Since 1956 when he became sole proprietor, Kristiansen has earned a reputation as one of the most important dealers of Canadian art in the country.

Ann Rosenberg is a freelance curator, critic, and author.


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