35 works of art will be disappearing from Vancouver this summer, including Chinese artist Yue Minjun’s popular A-Maze-Ing Laughter pictured above. If you’ve noticed a favourite sculpture wrapped in yellow tape, get ready to say your goodbyes.
The Vancouver Biennale, a non-profit corporation that installs art works commissioned from around the world temporarily in high-visibility locations, will be auctioning off the pieces on April 30, and they’ll begin uninstalling them in June—but art lovers, take heart: the organization dedicates the profits to commissioning new sculptures.
In an interview with OpenFile Vancouver in March, public art program art manager Bryan Newson said that the city does plan to commission “new, site-specific work.” None of the Vancouver Biennale sculptures on display were created by local artists.
Temporary public art has advantages over permanent exhibits, even though one gets attached to particular pieces. I will miss Sophie Ryder’s Minotaur and Hare, viewable for a few more months at Van Dusen Gardens, and Art Threat previously featured the blue trees by Konstantin Dimopoulos around Greater Vancouver. But keeping the city’s artistic landscape dynamic prevents locals from becoming acclimatized to the works on display and taking them for granted. The ephemerality of the pieces is motivation for Vancouverites to appreciate them while they’re here and get excited for what may come next.
In the meantime, Vancouver Biennale has wrapped the works in yellow caution tape with pink text reading IT’S NOT THE SAME WITHOUT SCULPTURE, reminding passersby that their regular commutes (the pieces are concentrated in parks, and along bike and transit routes) will be a little different soon.
The Vancouver Biennale auction will be held on April 30 at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts — more details at their website. You can also download a map of the current art locations, if you want to check them all out before they’re gone.