Looking back at 2055

2015-16 was UNIT/PITT’s 40th anniversary. At various points in its history, it seemed unlikely that the Pitt would survive to see its 40th year. (And if you want to know more about all of that, Allison Collins wrote a great recap of our history back in 2012.) Since we had already looked back at the Pitt’s history, we decided to do something different, and start with the premise that we weren’t marking an end-point of 40 years, but a mid-point on the way to the Pitt’s 80th year in 2055.

Exhibitions and programs for this year were put together by a temporary curatorial team: Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, Kay Higgins, Abbey Hopkins, Brynn McNab, Catherine de Montreiul,  Gabriel Saloman, Jamie Ward, and Zebulon Zang. Artists who participated in exhibitions, panels, music nights, and talks included Elaine Carol, Elliot Heintzmann, Joël Doyle, Eli Zibin, Curtis AuCoin, Terry Hunter, Cecily Nicholson, Michael Clague, Andrea Creamer, Laiwan, Brady Cranfield, Rachel and Sarah Seburn, Pietro Sammarco, The Rita, Graeme Wahn, Monique Levesque, Cole Nowicki, Alison Braid, Alyssa Dusevic, Jordan Abel, bill bissett, Danielle LaFrance, Donato Mancini, sidony o’neal, Anahita Jamali Rad, The Third Thing, Alana Gerecke, Alexa Mardon, Jacquelyn Ross, Carolina Bergonzoni, Justine Chambers, Alex Mah, Lee Su-Feh, Evann Siebens, Hong Kong Exile, Deanna Peters, Justin Langlois, Penny Jo Buckner, Matt Hern, Mark DeLong, Dream the Combine, M. Rattray & Eloise, Skeena Reece, prOphecy sun, Irwin Oostindie, and possibly some others I’m missing right now. Contributors of material to the Limited Time Library project included Brit Bachman, Brick Press, Tommy Chain, Gabi Dao, Stefana Fratila, Steffanie Ling, Emma Metcalfe-Hurst, Lauren Lavery, Cole Nowicki, Jeff O’Brien, Penny Library, Lyndsay Pomerantz, Dan Pon, Jasmine Sacharuk, Ellis Sam, Graeme Wahn, Tom Whalen, and SP Yoon. We would also like to thank Bridgette Badowich, who was doing a co-op with us during much of this madness.

Our audience was bigger than ever before: counting web-based projects and Monique Levesque’s 6-week-long public art project, our audience was probably more than 20,000 people. But we also call something a success if a dozen people show up for a really productive discussion about the how artist-run communities relate to the other communities around us, which is what happened with the Art and Community Reading Group series.

After a bit of a break, we will be changing a few things for fall 2016 and beyond — the day the Pitt stops changing and gets predictable is the day we might as well find jobs selling real estate.


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Why Am I Afraid To Love hits the streets of Vancouver

why-am-i-afraid-to-love-in-situ-detailStreet posters, up until end of February
Artist’s talk and Valentine’s Day reception, Saturday February 13, 7pm
Installation in UNIT/PITT Reading Room until February 27

If you’re seeing some intriguing messages on your local poster kiosk, there’s an explanation. Monique Levesque’s work Why Am I Afraid To Love? is now available for viewing all around Vancouver, at random times and places, as part of the rough-and-tumble rotation of posters that season our urban landscape.

The project, curated by independent curator and writer Brynn McNab, opens the artist’s personal journals and texts to the public, producing a bracing collision of intimacy and anonymity.

Why Am I Afraid To Love? is also on view in the reading room of UNIT/PITT Projects, where the artist and curator will host a Valentine’s Day party and artist’s talk on Saturday, February 13 at 7pm; the Pitt will also publish a book version of Why Am I Afraid To Love?, available at the event.

Monique Levesque was raised in the Canadian prairies by two people whose love story has proved impossible to live up to, or replicate. In 2011 Levesque acquired a BFA from Emily Carr University. Working in alignment with the history of performance in various media, she has since dedicated her work to the pursuit of the romantic comedy.

Brynn McNab graduated with a BFA in Critical and Cultural Studies from Emily Carr University by way of Film Production from NSCAD University. Since then, her work has included writing, curating and editing, including the relaunch of ISSUE magazine in 2014. She is currently interested in an expanded field of writing, which incorporates casual correspondence and co-production.

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January at UNIT/PITT: Graeme Wahn, Monique Levesque, Musik Klub 3

january-2016We’re getting ready to start 2016 at UNIT/PITT. Look for Graeme Wahn’s exhibition Mother Hastings Time Capsule, opening Friday, January 15; Monique Levesque’s public project Why Am I Afraid To Love?, beginning at the same time and building up to a reception on February 13; and a new edition of Musik Klub on Friday, January 8.

All events are at UNIT/PITT, 236 East Pender Street. You can bring your friends. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5pm, tuesday through Saturday, starting on the 16th.

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Why you should donate to the Pitt, part two

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!Your donation — whether it is a monthly sustaining donation, or a one-time donation of any size — will help the Pitt show and support new, unknown, and under-acknowledged artists well into the future.

The Pitt has supported new artists and new ideas for 40 years now. We’re governed and run by artists, and committed to supporting critical inquiry, early-career and under-appreciated artists, and creating space for wild and unexpected fusions between visual art, music, dance, literature, and the world around us.

We depend on our community — artists, cultural workers, activists, and everyone else — for our survival. Every donation, whether it’s in the hundreds or thousands, or the five or ten dollars you can spare, makes a difference. Please donate now — your donation before midnight on January 31st will help reduce your 2015 taxes, and it will help ensure that we’ll be around for another 40 years.

Thank you for you help.

Unruly Criticality

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Why you should donate to the Pitt

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Your donation — whether it is a monthly sustaining donation, or a one-time gift of any size — will help the Pitt show and support new, unknown, and under-acknowledged artists well into the future.

This has been a great year for UNIT/PITT. This fall was the 40th anniversary of the day in 1975 that students from the Vancouver School of Art rented the premises of a defunct shoe store in the main floor of the Avalon Hotel and founded the Helen Pitt Gallery. We have been through a lot of changes and transformations in four decades, and there were many people who never expected the Pitt to survive. It has been six years now since we were declared dead, and today we’re not only up and running, but bigger and more vital than before.

The Pitt has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for providing opportunities for artists at the beginning of their careers, for opening the door to new practices and new ideas, and for showing work that for whatever reason is not getting the attention it really deserves.

Take a look at the past year:

A career survey of the work of Elizabeth Fischer, a talented, intelligent, sharp, and under-appreciated Vancouver artist, would never have happened without the Pitt.

An Exact Vertigo, an innovative cross-disciplinary collision of dance, choreography, text, and visual culture provided space for a dialogue and performance that you won’t find anywhere else.

As always, we took chances on early-career artists, with exhibitions like Joël Doyle: It’s a long way from the wishbone to the backbone, The Facility for Consideration, Cultivating Equilibrium, and of course Rachel & Sarah Seburn: We Should Take Below – The Gambling Splinter. We also supported artistic risk-taking in projects like www.2055project.website and Limited Time Library, and new critical ideas through ISSUE Magazine, the Musik Klub series, KSW’s Projector Verse series, and the recent Vancouver Noise and the Harmoniously Productive City.

While we were doing this, we kept on providing affordable space for artists and organizations in our building.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Broke right now? Consider a small monthly donation.

Your donation — no matter what size — has a bigger effect than you might think. Every little bit you give us now helps us make sure there will be another 40 years of artists, projects, and critical ideas that you will find here first. Every little bit of support we get from our community shows those people who would like to see us shut down that we’re here to stay.

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Tonight – a sort of closing party, and launch of ISSUE #6

gambling splinter installation viewTonight at 7pm, join us for the launch of the latest ISSUE Magazine, and a closing-of-sorts for Rachel and Sarah Seburn’s We Should Take Below: The Gambling Splinter.

issue-6-and-bartlebyThe first 40 copies of ISSUE also include a fresh, new-look Bartleby Review. And in case you can’t make it tonight, the exhibition will be open until Saturday, December 19 at 5pm. After that, we’ll be closing until January — we’ll be announcing our January events very, very soon.

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After noise

We ended up at capacity for last night’s event Vancouver Noise and the Harmoniously Productive City, with a talk by Pietro Sammarco and a response in the form of a performance by The Rita. We’ll be posting a video of the event very soon for those of you who couldn’t be there; for now, there’s a short Instagram teaser below.

Thanks to Pietro and Sam and curator Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte for an amazing evening, and thanks to Selectors Records for hosting us.

Part of the “response” portion of the evening. @selectors_records @unitpitt

A video posted by K Higgins (@khigginsvancouver) on

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Why you should donate to the Pitt, and to some other places

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Today (Tuesday, December 1) is apparently “#givingtuesday” — if you’re anything like me, you have already seen a few messages from organizations you have donated to in the past, telling you today is the day to give them money. We’re going to do the same thing, because we operate on a shoestring and donations not only allow us to upgrade equipment, mount new exhibitions, publish new books,  and pay bills, they also show public funders that we have public support. Even twenty dollars helps us support the work of emerging and neglected artists.

But we’re not the only ones you should donate to. The Pitt has been located in and around the Downtown Eastside for most of our 40 years. During that time development, government austerity, and regulation have increasingly squeezed this neighbourhood and the people who live in it. So while you’re donating money to the Pitt — which is something we really want you to do — please consider also giving something to one of the worthy organizations that help the neighbourhood, like maybe the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House or the Womens Centre.

We’ll continue, with your help, doing the things we do best: giving a platform to new art and new artists, hosting cross-disciplinary experiments, publishing critical takes on Vancouver’s visual culture, and generally showing you things that you won’t be able to see anywhere else. Give us $100, give us $20, give us what you can spare — it all helps, and we put everything to good use.

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Congratulations to Patrick Cruz

Preview installation view - Yin Yang Temple listening stationCongratulations to Patrick Cruz on winning the RBC Canadian Painting Competition for 2015. His installation Yin Yang Temple, accompanied by a publication and community-driven playlist, was part of the Pitt’s series Ill Repute back in 2011.  You can listen to Patrick talking about the work here.

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Limited Time Runs Out; Underground Bunker Open For Viewing

Open Tonight (Friday, November 13) we’ll be opening an ambitious installation, Rachel and Sarah Seburn’s We Should Take Below: The Gambling Splinter, part of the 2055 Project. As we prepare for a future where above-ground housing will be reserved for the wealthiest, let’s ponder underground living, shielded from the worst excesses above. The installation opens at 7 tonight, and runs until December 19.

Meanwhile, the Limited Time Library, which has been making our reading room a centre for study and  discussion, is reaching its end. The last day is Saturday, November 14. Both of these projects are reflected in www.2055project.website, which will continue to grow and change for the next few months.

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