rennie collection is proud to present a major group exhibition featuring 41 prominent and emerging artists. Bringing together a variety of practices and media, this survey aims to reveal the chaos of the world by addressing enduringly pertinent issues, from migratory displacement to an in-depth examination of identity and history. The exhibition runs from January 23 to April 23, 2016.

John Baldessari’s (b. 1931) larger-than-life Camel (Albino) Contemplating Needle (Large) (2013) casts its meditative gaze towards the eye of the adjacent towering needle, illuminating a confluence of beliefs and connecting cultures that have drifted apart through the course of history. In turn, Mona Hatoum’s (b. 1952) miniaturized reproduction of the monument in the Place des Martyrs located in the centre of Beirut bears Witness (2009) to the ravages of history. Riddled with bullet holes, the inanimate figures speak loudly of conflict. Intimately, yet no less powerfully, Kevin Beasley’s (b. 1985) floor-bound sculpture …ain’t it? (2014) lays witness to the ravages of politics on an absent body, whose spirit remains heavily present.

Like Beasley or Brian Jungen’s (b. 1970) Prototype for New Understanding #10 (2001) and Untitled(2015), which meticulously stitch together deconstructed Nike Air Jordan shoes to mimic an Aboriginal ceremonial mask or Ku Klux Klansman’s hood, Dan Halter’s (b. 1977) work is informed by materials and their meanings. When the Bag Breaks the Shoulder Gets a Rest (2011) is composed of found woven bags, of the type used by refugees, worn to the point of uselessness. Whether expelled, migratory or returning, Halter is cognisant of the vicissitudes faced by the flow of humans. Through the language of craft and curio, he addresses notions of dislocated national identity and human migration.

With Coloured Vases (2009), Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) challenges cultural beliefs about rarity and historical value by dipping seven Han Dynasty era vases into buckets of industrial paint, depriving the objects of their past and besmirching their historic value. What remains beneath the paint, like history itself, is no longer visible yet still present. The power to make the unseen seen lies entirely in the viewer’s hands in Intentionally Left Blanc (2012) by Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976), which utilizes a retro-reflective screen printing process that reveals the full image only when illuminated, often by the flash of a camera. In Catherine Opie’s (b. 1961) hands, the camera and resultant photograph of Pig Pen (Tattoos) (2009) expose a subculture with delicacy, giving voice to identity and representation.

Employing disparate styles, Kerry James Marshall’s (b. 1955) As Seen on TV (1998-2000), Gilbert & George’s (1967) Bomb (2006), and Mike Kelley’s (1954-2012) Timeless/Authorless (1995) all investigate the role of media to influence perspective. The title of Marshall’s memorial to four young girls killed in the 1963 bombing of an African American church by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama, draws explicit attention to the power of the media to shape opinion. Originally intended to reflect the daily exposure to the threat of bombs and terror alerts in London, Gilbert and George’s colossal 14.6 m (48 ft) work also stands as a memorial to lives lost in the growing cultural acclimatization to a global atmosphere of violence. Kelley presents various news articles, narratives and even restaurant reviews sourced from newspapers of the cities that played a part in the artist’s life together with random images, many culled from high school yearbooks, in newspaper format to legitimize the disjointed, often transgressive, content.

“This is our twelfth exhibition at the Rennie Museum, with works from the collection. Although we never burden our shows with a formal title, the working title for this install − which mines 40 artists from the collection − is ‘chaos’. Given the chaos of the world, I wanted to bring tough topics into conversations.From the first work that ever entered the collection, Norman Rockwell’s On Top of The World (1933) − a utopian world that I thought actually existed outside my childhood home in Vancouver’s eastside − through to Bob Beck’s Thirteen Shooters (2001) showcasing the Columbine killers − the world stopped sixteen years ago hearing the news of a school massacre − my concern today, and a focus of the exhibition, is on elevating the topics in the show. We just don’t stop anymore upon hearing the news.

Social commentary and artist’s approach to reporting the news has always interested me  − Gilbert and George’s Bomb from 2006, or the questioning of commerce in the backroom photos of Amazon by Hugh Scott-Douglas, John Baldessari’s albino camel bringing ancient proverbs into question, and Glenn Ligon’s ‘fallen America’. I felt it was time to stop looking at the world’s chaos in isolation and let you see into the world in accumulation. If you leave sad, tense or somewhat suffocated, then I have… you know, I don’t know really what I have done, other than reminded us that when one of us has a problem, we all have a problem.

Thank you so much for questioning the world with me.”
-Bob Rennie 

   Exhibited Artists

Ai WeiweiGilbert & GeorgeRemy JungermanNorman Rockwell
John BaldessariDouglas GordonAnton KannemeyerTim Rollins and K.O.S.
Kevin BeasleyJoshua GreeneMike KelleyHugh Scott-Douglas
Robert BeckDan HalterCathleen LewisAndres Serrano
Christian BoltanskiMona HatoumMark LewisTavares Strachan
Sophie CalleJim HodgesGlenn LigonHank Willis Thomas
Mircea CantorJonathan HorowitzKerry James MarshallBrian Tolle
Jota CastroLarry JohnsonCatherine OpieSalla Tykka
Judy ChartrandRashid JohnsonBill OwensCarlos Vega
Larry ClarkBrian JungenThomas J. PriceJohn Wesley

rennie collection is a leading collection of contemporary art that focuses on issues related to identity, social commentary and injustice, appropriation, and the nature of painting and photography. While based in Vancouver, the collection is usually spread across the globe, on loan to institutions such as MoCA Los Angeles, the MET, Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern, among many others.

rennie museum opened in October 2009 in historic Wing Sang, the oldest structure in Vancouver’s Chinatown, to feature art from Rennie Collection. The dynamic exhibitions, showcasing works by artists from around the world, are open free to the public through engaging guided tours. The Museum’s commitment to providing access to arts and culture is also expressed through its education program, which offers free age-appropriate tours and customized workshops to children of all ages.