With 371 works of art from 156 artists around the world, the Vancouver Art Gallery has launched their biggest exhibition ever. Titled Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture, it's an exhaustive, four-story international survey that follows the history of the appropriation technique.
When you think of the term "mashup," you might reference a brand of house music that was popular in the 00s, when DJs looped one song over another in perfect synchrony. Yet the artistic practice of mashup—where an artist fuses a found object with another to create something new—has a long history in the arts, its roots in a variety of prominent cultural movements from the last 100 years.
Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture incorporates painters, ceramicists, illustrators, animators, filmmakers, architects, graphic designers, musicians, and choreographers; artists from all over the world, working in just about every medium you can imagine. Everyone from T.S. Eliot to Quentin Tarantino has a place on the walls of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The gallery’s objective in this massive undertaking is to trace products of the mashup from its origins at the start of the 20th century to the present day, outlining its fundamental impact on the world of art production.
The works on display are on loan from 75 private and public collections, from eight different countries. The gallery has gathered 30 curators and scholars as consultants for the project, as well as a team of designers and architects to help organize the displays.
Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Kathleen S. Bartels, says the exhibition provides, “a comprehensive look at how the ‘collage' emerged as a mode of artmaking in the early 20th century and has evolved through the rapid uptake of technology and digital media to facilitate new modes of production in all fields of visual culture today.”
The installation of a Barbara Kruger piece, designed specifically for this exhibition called, Untitled (Smashup) drives home the sheer magnitude of the piece: It was made with “25,000 feet of BC lumber, 360 gallons of paint.”
The show is broken up into four chronological sections, one on each floor the building. Each category represents a defining period in the mashup timeline:
1. Early 20th Century: Collage, Montage and Readymade at the Birth of Modern Culture
2. Post-War: Cut, Copy and Quotation in the Age of Mass Media
3. Late 20th Century: Splicing, Sampling and the Street in the Age of Appropriation
4. The Digital Age: Hacking, Remix and the Archive in the Age of Post-Production
The show will be up at that the Vancouver Art Gallery until June 12, with a long list of public programs, lectures, and showcases running throughout that you can check out here.