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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

Western Front - 30 years and still going strong

Western Front

Western Front, 1972. photo: Fujiko Nakaya

You might have glimpsed this false front remnant of the past (located at 303 East 3rd Avenue) as you walked along East Broadway. Even when it was pale grey with white trim and certainly now that it has been painted a rich, dark green and black, it was and is an attention-getting edifice.

It’s not easy, however, to discover what goes on inside as there are no suitable windows to peek through and no signage explains its purpose. Except when a small entrance is open during public events, you must push a button and state your business, before being buzzed in. This measure is partly about security in a somewhat rough area, partly about the fact that it has always been a home, as well as a work place for those who collectively own it, and principally because it is a site where the projects and classes in progress invite no unwarranted intrusion.

In Vancouver Art and Artists 1931-1983, the exhibition catalogue published shortly after the Vancouver Art Gallery moved into its current premises – there are many references to the historical significance of Western Front Lodge and the activities that took place there since it opened in 1973. One also learns that the current ‘lodge’ is situated in the former, actual lodge of the Mount Pleasant Knights of Pithias, a building that also served as the Terminal Temple of the Pythian Sisters.

Since it was opened 30 years ago, Western Front Lodge has been as it was then, an important site for the presentation of avant garde, often interdisciplinary art exhibitions and experimental musical, dance, media and literary performances. It is also, sometimes a place to see events that are rude, over-the-top and deserving of an XXX rating.

Hank Bull, who has managed the space and its programs since 1973, and who is one of the nine original co-owners, says the present mandate of The Western Front Society – “To encourage and promote the role of the artist in determining the cultural ecology” – has remained virtually unchanged over time. That the society possesses sophisticated equipment that may be accessed and used under supervision for approved projects is another constant that attracts artists from all parts of the world.

How do you know what’s on there? Consult Preview, check out Vancouver entertainment listings, or better yet, become a member and receive The Front magazine on a regular basis.

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

Western Front, 2004. photo: Hank Bull

Western Front, 2004. photo: Hank Bull

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