FUSE pops off
And at the VAG, no less

Three times a year, the Vancouver Art Gallery has one of the hottest nights in the city. Lively, fun, and filled with an attractive young crowd, FUSE is hardly a typical museum exhibit. The atmosphere is closer to various monthly receptions for independent art galleries scattered across the city. But the size of the crowd is comparable to large art events such as SWARM Vancouver or the Eastside Culture Crawl, and all three are bringing together the vibrant art scene in Vancouver.

There's a DJ, prize giveaway, and various live performances on all floors of the gallery. This month, FUSE visitors had a chance themselves to take part on the 3rd floor in a live exhibit called "Postcards to a Stranger," allowing visitors to write an anonymous postcard, and receive one in return, with the VAG covering the postage. It was ChatRoulette or Omegle for hipsters, in a way, as the theme of this month’s FUSE was "I Want to be Alone (With You)." Though the theme may have been lost among the large crowd, the musical and theatrical performances curated by the Gallery Department were intimate and resonated with visitors.

Musical artists on Friday night included Hello Blue Roses, Kick Everything, and ion Zoo, rotating on the 2nd floor of the gallery. Crowds gathered around the music performances, seated on the floor and standing by art pieces. On the 1st floor of the gallery in the atrium were theatrical performances led by Jojo Zolina. Entitled “Passionate Rejection,” the performance was accompanied by a cellist, and focused on themes of love, sex, and rejection. For the face-to-face minglers, the Annex building was host to the evening's FUSE lounge with a live DJ. Beer and wine were available for $4, and the red-lit room was packed with a well-dressed crowd.

The ongoing gallery exhibit has been running since the start of the Winter Olympics, directed by Kathleen Bartels. Occupying the 1st gallery floor is the renowned Leonardo Da Vinci anatomy exhibit in conjunction with Visceral Bodies, featuring contemporary interpretations of the human form as inspired by Da Vinci. The 2nd and 3rd floors houses the Visions of British Columbia exhibit, highlighting representations and experiences of British Columbians and Vancouverites. The 4th floor, while open to gallery visitors, is currently being leased as the British Columbia Canada Pavilion for the Winter Olympics. Connected to the art gallery was the Gallery Cafe, open late alongside FUSE, and serving dinner and drinks with live music.

The first FUSE was held in July 2005, and it has certainly found its niche in Vancouver. Andrew Riley, public relations manager for the VAG explains, “FUSE was an initiative to attract a younger crowd to the gallery.” Over the years, Riley notes that the initiative has been “immensely successful” at achieving its goal.  This last FUSE event attracted over a thousand visitors over the course of the night. The event brings together all artistic communities in Vancouver – such as music, theatre, dance, visual arts – to a now established Vancouver ritual.

FUSE is a great way to enjoy the VAG without commitment, and an excellent way to spend a weekend night out with a date or friends. $19.50 gets you in for the night, and gallery members enter for free. For students, annual art gallery membership is $40, an amount that practically pays for itself. In celebration of the Winter 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games, and in conjunction with the BC Canada Pavilion, regular admission is free for all visitors until March 21st, 2010. The gallery saw around 10,000 visitors last weekend.

The next FUSE event is tentatively scheduled for June 2010.

// Keith Van

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com