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Posted by: Zaena Campbell on February 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

It’s Museum Monday!  There’s a crispy chill in the air and the thought of cherry blossoms to come . . . It makes me yearn for a sweet rose cloche like this lovely Vancouver-made millinery from the 1920s MOV collection. Want to stay ‘jazz hot’ and flapper fabulous? Learn to flirt in a ‘peek-a-boo’ cap or test your Charleston at a “Rhythm City Strut” - who's dancers will be performing at the opening night for “Art Deco Chic” (Opening March 8, 2012)…Then come celebrate your vintage swagger with us at the MOV. 

If you're interested in learning even more about the upcoming exhibition, then check out this great video with Art Deco Chic curators Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke.

Posted by: Jillian Povarchook on February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Vancouver olympic legacy collectionRoughly five months into cataloguing and digitizing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Legacy Collection, it can be stated that the process is a lot more exciting than it probably should be.  Along with the torch Wayne Gretzky used to light the Olympic Cauldron and the racks of intricate costumes worn by performers in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, there are also boxes of paper material containing years of licenses, correspondences, and memos.

It’s a common assumption that paper material seldom equals gripping material. But among the inter-office scraps are pockets of brilliance, such as a collection of sketches and photographs used as inspiration for VANOC’s signature “Look of the Games”: the sweeping green and blue graphic vistas peppered with prototypically West Coast and urban motifs. It’s inspiring to leaf through a folder and see how hand cut stencils were incorporated into a design that became a second skin for Vancouver during the Games of 2010.

 

Vancouver Olympics stampFor the philatelists among us, international post bureau websites have been scoured to acquire information regarding Olympic issue stamps. Blindly trying to decipher Cyrillic characters on postage stamps quickly lost its novelty, but it’s fascinating to see which sports countries chose to depict. Seemingly few pandered to their Canadian host. Most stamps feature skiing, whether alpine or Nordic, over ice hockey. A personal favourite are those from Hungary, which rival the Vancouver 2010 mascots in terms of a sense of unbridled joy (or cuteness, if we’re going to get really technical).

Speaking of the mascots, we have become well versed in the surprisingly elaborate backstories of Quatchi, Miga, Sumi, and Mukmuk. This is in addition to charting their evolution from simple line drawings to 3D renderings to officially licensed Olympic merchandise and full-sized costumes.

Vancouver Olympics laughing quatchiWhile to date it has been fulfilling to discover these gems (we’ve got roughly another 1,200 objects to go), it would be a lie to say handling the medals and the torch hasn’t been a highlight. The medals are astoundingly heavy; frankly, it’s a wonder exhausted athletes didn’t crumple under their weight. Even more astonishing are the number of hands both the medals and the torch passed through, from their inception to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the nightly Victory Ceremonies.

Many of us watched as athletes bit down on their gold medals, or as the Olympic flame was passed from torch to torch. But not many of us got to watch as a print of an orca’s dorsal fin became a medal struck at the Royal Canadian Mint. The technical prints and sketches allow us to visualize the massive collective effort behind Vancouver’s Games of 2010. This is why the paper material ends up being much more gripping than one would initially expect.

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Jillian Povarchook is the MOV's Collections Associate.

Posted by: Gala Milne on February 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

We’ve been noticing an insurgence in activism across the city recently. Between resistance to the Endbridge pipeline, opposition to bill C-30, we’re wondering if Vancouverites are getting a little more riled up than usual? If so, we think it’s a riveting quality. This week’s MOVments reflect your inner-activist’s voice, and some neat public art!

Hand Vote from Vancouver Art GalleryAccording to Ontario, a three-bedroom house in Vancouver can be rented for a mere $621/month! Thankfully Vancouver’s Seth Klein and the CCPA are around to give Canadians the real facts on poverty and livability in the city. Interestingly, Metro Vancouver is hosting a “Sustainability Community Breakfast” on affordable housing next week as part of their series. Soon, you may actually need these “food for thought” breakfasts, considering the outlook of the recently released provincial budget.

If you’re a tweeter, you’ve probably been following the hashtag #TellVicEverything with much laughter over the last week. Smiles aside, Bill C-30 is a serious issue that has a lot of Canadians up in arms.

A new art installation on the theme of democracy is now set up outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s called Hand Vote, and it gets our vote.

Equally outspoken is this temporary urban garden from Spain. The posting is a few months old, but quite beautiful and reminds us that tonight, the Re:Generation public dialogue continues on the theme of sustainability and Zero Waste. January’s talk on transit was really engaging and Wednesday’s talk is likely to impress!

A new radio show titled The City is now airing on UBC’s community radio station, CiTR. The City will look at urban issues ranging from housing policy to food security.

Lastly, our favourite cycling magazine, Momentum, is hiring an online editor!

At the MOVeum: Food, Energy, and Community Resiliency talk February 28th

[Photo Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery] ]]]]

Posted by: Zaena Campbell on February 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Roll out the red carpet and get your glam on… Art Deco Chic is coming to the MOV (March 8 through September 23).    

Art Deco Chic:  Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars features more than 60 women’s garments from the 1920s and 30s. Handpicked for their decadent beauty and exquisite craftsmanship, many of these garments boast couture labels like Chanel, Vionnet, Patou and Schiaparelli

Commodore Ballroom opening night gownNotable Vancouver treasures include this black gown (right), worn to the opening of the Commodore ‘Cabaret’ in 1929.  Handbags, hats, shoes, jewelry and dresses (like this golden sunburst flapper shift (below) illustrate the distinctive, sleek geometry of the Art Deco period. 

Art deco flapper dressIf you just can’t wait to see what else we have in store, you can immerse yourself on a glittering night on the town here at the MOV for the Art Deco Chic Opening Night  on Wednesday, March 7. [Note: The opening night is primarily for Members and VIPs, so a limited number of tickets are available for purchase, and must be bought online beforehand!].

Dress Code?  Vintage glam of course! We’ll all be reveling in the sassy spirit of these roaring ‘boom and bust’ eras so this is your big chance to float into the room like a tall glass of champagne!

 

 

Hot vintage styling tips to get you ‘the deco look’

Attitudes & Inspirations…Think of rebellious young flappers…The exuberant movement of Josephine Baker…Sweet cinema darlings like Mary Pickford or Clara Bow  (the original ‘it girl’)…The confident modernism of the Empire State Building…The bright lights of Broadway…The streamlined  elegance of  Coco Chanel  and vintage Vogue couture …Mae West in all of her cheeky swagger…Jean Harlow dripping in long, cream satin and bombshell shine…Marlene Dietrich smoking in a tailored tux…Smoldering Greta Garbo or those famous Betty Davis eyes. 

For a little extra inspiration, you can also check out these videos on 1930s hair and makeup.

And if you’re now day dreaming about the perfect outfit, you could always take a trip out on the town and do a little vintage shopping at some of these great local stores:

If you read this after the event has already happened, we hope you’ll join us for some upcoming events that celebrate this Art Deco Era!

Posted by: Gala Milne on February 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Communist Valentine's Day cardsLoved or loathed, it’s Valentines Day. While we work out our stance on ‘v-day’, one thing we do believe in at the MOV is reaching out, establishing new relationships, and constantly searching for that human connection. Since some shred of you likely believes in that too, we suggest you catch the final week of A Craigslist Cantata performed at the Arts Club Theatre by our friend Veda Hille.

On Loving… Vancouver Tourism has a new promotional tactic: high def music videos with local musicians. The video has some gorgeous panoramas of Vancouver – we’re wondering - does it has you convinced?

On loathing… The Dependent Magazine has released an in-depth portrayal of the Vancouver Sun’s Centennial Anniversay over the weekend. Apparently the ‘newspaper’ has some dark times in its history.

On leaving… Off to the Silicon Valley? We’re constantly interested in Vancouver’s ability to attract and produce a lot of talent. Apparently, according to the Tyee, we haven’t quite found an anchor to keep our entrepreneurs within city limits.

But maybe all that will change in the video game version of Future-Vancouver, wherein, 176 years from now, BC place transforms into a giant robotic spider to overtake our valiant heroes. Watch out!

This reminds us of a February 2012 depiction of Vancouver by Emily Carr students. The animated, Many Worlds, installation is currently up at video display terminals along the Canada Line.

Upcoming MOVeum: Catch Veda Hille here on March 30th for Songs of the False Creek Flats

[Image credit to Lauren Hyde]

Posted by: Gala Milne on February 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Public spaceSunny days have struck the city, slowly filling up parks and bike routes as we seek out that elusive vitamin D. Different story for Europe, however. Record-breaking temperature lows are sweeping westward and causing much grief for the continent.

The good weather might even have you brainstorming fun summer building projects, in which case you might be interested in applying for a VIVA Vancouver public space invigoration grant. Ever been to the “Parallel Park” bench on Main and E.14th? Your proposal could easily be the next best sidewalk extension project. Applications due Feb 14!

In harmony, Douglas Coupland is urging us to break free from our conservative cloaks:

“My own theory about Vancouver is that we’re all at our best when we’re experimenting with new ideas, and we’re at our worst when we ape the conventions of other places.” He said at the Cities Summit last week.

The Vancouver Design Nerds are listening, and they want you to help them transform Vancouver’s public spaces this Thursday evening at City Studio. And you really should – if only to partake in a “Nerd Jam”. Our MOV Youth Council had the chance to hang out with the Design Nerds last spring and ended up yarnbombing the crab outside the MOV!

Still not convinced that there are people trying to create opportunities for creativity? Last on our list this week, DOXA International Film Festival has just released their call for young women to participate in the Youth Connexions Forum, which offers two weeks of intensive film workshops in the beginning of May. At the MOV, we can’t stress enough the importance of being able to tell a good story, and certainly encourage you to apply. Here is one of our fave short doxa flicks: Love Life

Posted by: Joan Seidl on February 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Down in the basement of MOV, we’ve been assembling a strange collection of female forms. These mannequins and body forms will wear glamorous garments in the upcoming Art Deco Chic exhibition opening March 8, 2012. However, in the meantime they are naked and exposed in all their bodily eccentricities.

MOV staff repairs mannequins for the Art Deco Chic exhibitionWe’ve been challenged to find mannequins that are the right size and shape to wear clothing from the 1920s and 1930s. Luckily, guest curators Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke collect vintage mannequins along with vintage clothing. Ivan’s 1920s mannequin was made by the firm of Pierre Imans of Paris. She has a beautifully modeled wax face, while her torso is wrapped in coarse muslin. You would not mistake her for a man, but possibly for a thirteen-year old girl. Her breasts are barely there, her waist minimal, and hips very slim. Her straight up and down figure was the ideal 1920s female body, designed to fit the era’s straight-cut, sack-like garments (more noted for their surface decoration than for their shaping).

Claus has a lovely mannequin from the late 1930s made by Fery-Boudrot of Paris (we’ve taken to calling her “the blonde”). She will wear an elegant outfit made in Germany or Austria, the areas in which Claus specializes. Many of the 1930s evening dresses depend for effect on flowing drapery and scarves. The backs of the dresses were especially elaborate so that the wearer looked good on the dance floor. We look forward to posing the blonde and her companions to show off these late 1930s garments to best advantage.

We turned to Kevin Smith from Arm & a Leg Mannequins Rental to help make up the numbers for the exhibit (which will have between 66 and 71 garments — the debates are still raging). Kevin provided a group of Rootstein figures from the 1990s with strongly modeled faces and moulded hair. First we tried evening dresses from the 1930s on the Rootsteins, but the dresses only came down to their shins. At 6’ tall, the Rootsteins are all leg. This led us to try garments from the late 1920s. By the late 1920s, the idea was to abbreviate the garment and show lots of leg. The classic flapper-style garments look great on these elegant Amazons.

The non-vintage mannequins will be painted a neutral colour (the exhibition designers, Matt Heximer and Sue Lepard from 10four Design Group, choose Benjamin Moore’s “Mannequin Cream”). Right now a crew headed by museum fabrication coordinator Dave Winstanley are sanding, priming, and spray painting the contemporary mannequins. We have to wind our way through a maze of bodies to have a word with Dave these days. He appears unimpressed by his female companions, and as he carefully sprays a selection of female arms dangling from the painting rack he points out the nearby “hand rail”, a long board that holds a hands upright for easy spraying.

If all goes well, our meticulous prep work will be invisible to visitors once the exhibition opens to the public on March 8. The point is to focus you on the amazing clothes, while the armature of display fades into the background.

Posted by: Gala Milne on January 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Citizen mapping, an idea we’ve become very fond of at the MOV, is ‘changing the story of our lives’ according to Spacing magazine. Where traditionally, the way we visualize our surroundings has been left to government entities, community groups are coming together en masse to reconsider the way we value our mapped spaces. Did you contribute to the MOV’s Bhangra.me storymap?

For public space fanatics, a map of Vancouver’s pedestrian hotspots would likely garner a lot of interest. The Atlantic Cities shows us what photos can teach us about walkability.

Going out on a limb here, but perhaps increased walkability could also be a starting point to answer Andrew Yan’s question of “How can Vancouver change from a city of strangers into a city of citizens?” The BTA Works researcher observes that just 41% of Vancouver residents were born in BC, and this means finding common ground is a challenge.

Back to Basics? What if each little neighborhood in the city had it’s own hearty bread maker?  Here’s an eye-candy-licious video of a lovely artisanal baker in the Sonoma Valley..

Vancouver’s budget is yours to decide. The City is asking for your opinions on the 2012 operating budget. Kind of nice of them to ask, hey?

In our humble opinion, increased investment into collaborative spaces, like City Studio, where innovative ideas transform waste (literally) into a greener future, would suit us just fine. In tune with this, watch out for a Vancouver Cities Summit spearheaded by the Vision team.

SHOUT-OUT To Illustrated Vancouver, (see adjacent image) for providing many of us at MOV with daily artistic inspiration on Vancouver’s past. We particularly like the images of Hotel Vancouver.

At the MOVeum: NEON Vancouver Curator’s Talk and Tour w/ Joan Seidl - Thursday Feb 2
Around the MOVeum: CREATIVE Mornings @ W2 w/ Gagan Deish  - Friday Feb 3
+ SPACING Magazine release party at Canvas Lounge - Friday Feb 3

[photos via Vancouver Public Space Network & Illustrated Vancouver]

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Posted by: Gala Milne on January 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Many would say that Nature had it right, and that she’d be much better off environmentally speaking, without human interference. However, since we’ve now burned through the industrial revolution and now find ourselves struggling for solutions to house a human population boasting 7-10 billion by 2050, architects, and scientists alike are asking, “Should design imitate nature?”

BuiltCity talk at MOVFor the third and final installation of the MOV’s BuiltCity talks (with Architecture Canada), “Nature, Urban Space, & Biomimicry” Thomas Knittel of HOK and Dr. Faisal Moola, Director of Science at the David Suzuki Foundation responded with a resounding “Yes!”

With close to 80% of Canadians living in cities, and largest population booms expected right here in Vancouver (and Montreal/Toronto), it’s clear that our developmental policy needs change. As Faisal emphasized in his talk, “with scarce resources and little guidance, municipal governments are charged with developing and enforcing many of the policies and programs necessary to ensure that urban development doesn’t consume what’s left of the natural world closest to home.”

HOK Biomimicry

For Thomas, this means moving away from a model of simply reducing harmful developmental practices, towards a model of positive impact. At HOK, they’re focusing on a few key principles, based on examples from the natural world. Take, for example, the delicate bones of a vulture's wing, which can be mimicked in the structural design of a building’s framework to concentrate material where it is needed most, and reduce waste elsewhere.

As exemplified by this orphanage built in Haiti, whose design mimics the function of a forest canopy, HOK calls this process a Fully Integrated System (FIT).

The evening’s lecture was a unique contrast in perspective, pairing Knittel’s practical experience, with Moola’s policy/natural capital point of view. 

Natural capital stocks

Pointing to another HOK project in Lavasa, India, Thomas spoke to how, recognizing the ecological performance standards of a region are key to the FIT model of development, which aim to create the best social, economic, and environmental capacity of design. For example, if a desert plant grows in a way which provides a degree of self-shading, water storage, and a balance between overheating and sun collection for transpiration during cool nights, why wouldn’t a building in the desert follow similar principles?

Following the presentations from Knittel and Moola, there was an interactive discussion, moderated by Ray Cole. Questions were raised about the ability to distinguish between simply a ‘beautification’ vs. ‘biodiversity’-enhancing project; audience members wondered what the most important area of policy change to push forward to encourage the practice of biomimicry; and some technical discussion emerged around the limits to a biomimicry-styled design process? Is it simply the next trend? Overall, it was agreed that we cannot place the same design demands on all buildings. Warehouses, schools, factories and houses have different requirements and restraints, exactly the same way ecological life has more and less generous players. A sustainable future must recognize that complexity.

Ray Cole, professor at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and co-founder of the Green Building Challenge, summed up the evening stating that we as humans have been more demanding than nature itself, and that the positive messaging of biomimicry and ideas of nature for enhancing life is the type of powerful point that will sow seeds for the fundamental will to change.

UP NEXT: While the BuiltCity lecture series has wrapped up for now, the MOV has a stellar lineup of architectural and planning-based dialogue planned with the upcoming SALA Speaks series taking place every Sunday in March at the Museum of Vancouver.  

 

[Photos by Hanna Cho and Gala Milne // Images courtesy Thomas Knittel and Faisal Moola]

Posted by: Gala Milne on January 24, 2012 at 2:14 am

MOVments: current events in Vancouver by the Museum of Vancouver

Take Down The Giant Sign Now – a demand, yes, but also the name of a very concerned group of residents urging for the removal of the bright and blaring 1500 sq foot signs outside newly minted BC place. At MOV, it sounds very reminiscent of the storyline of our current exhibit, Neon Vancouver Ugly Vancouver. Except we probably won’t be celebrating the anniversary of digital signs in the same nostalgic way we look at Vancouver’s chic old neon signage. Happy birthday, neon tube!

In other land-use matters, things are heating up in Mt Pleasant too. The Rize development is hearing a lot of negative feedback from neighborhood residents worried about the future of affordability in the eastside; a frustration which, apparently, dates back centuries in our fair city.

Token words? A small, yet audacious, mayor and council on Vancouver Island is challenging the current legislation and casting a broad political net for the decriminalization of marijuana. We’d love your thoughts on this! While you’re debating the challenges and benefits, take a listen to up-and-coming, Pleasure Cruise, a brand new local indie-surf rock band. One thing's for sure, this city doesn’t lack artistic merit.

And neither does this museum in London, which is unveiling the world’s largest pieces of cloth made from spider silk.

MOVeum-related event: Re:generation – How we Move our City, Wednesday January 25.

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