Out of Control: The Concrete Art of Skateboarding
Tim Gardner, Venice Parking Lot, 2022, watercolour on paper. Courtesy of the artist, Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, and 303 Gallery, New York.

Out of Control: The Concrete Art of Skateboarding

Audain Art Museum, Whistler, BC - To Jan 8, 2023

by Robin Laurence

Out of Control is an innovative and engaging look at the intersection of skateboarding culture
and contemporary art. Installed across both floors of the Audain Art Museum, this huge exhibition defies the clichés, such as board graphics and graffiti, that the public might expect of “skateboard
art.” Instead, it features challenging works by 19 local, national and international artists and ranges across many forms and media, including video, photography, monumental sculpture, architectural models, paintings, text works and film projections. The show, guest curator Patrik Andersson tells us, “encourages the viewer to contemplate the aesthetic, social, environmental, political and architectural aspects of skateboarding.”

Andersson, who writes, teaches and runs an alternative exhibition space in Vancouver – and who was an obsessive skateboarder as a kid – says that he has always been interested in the fact that the AAM is located in a resort municipality much given to youthful sports. “More interesting,” he says, “is that the museum is a stone’s throw away from the second-largest skateboard park in Canada.” The exhibition, he adds, “signals those connections.” It also alerts us to the “attentiveness to place, space and surface” that artists and skateboarders share. Both groups “question and challenge their environment, finding aesthetic ways to navigate structures that are designed to control them.”

“The Audain Art Museum is a spectacular piece of architecture with lots of angles and lots of railings,” Andersson says. “All the things skateboarders like.” This is not to turn the building itself into a skate park but to suggest how the art is in dialogue with the space in which it is installed. “Ultimately, I was looking at exploring di erent ideas in that space: one room deals with language and textuality, another, the idea of home and freedom, another room deals with barriers.” Barriers speak to control and highlight, again, the ways in which both artists and skateboarders search for ways around them.


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