Scot found this article by Sean Orr in Scout a good read: “Art in the Sixties / Urban Renewal: Ghost Traps, Collage, Condos, and Squats”
In the 1960s, it was asserted that this city led the nation in experimentation and the embrace of new ideas in the arts. We do not need to examine the speciousness of that claim, nor why it would be made of such a small provincial city. One celebrated factor was Vancouver’s “West Coastness” in a world that was taking the pulse of California’s hippie cultural rebellion. The counter-culture of consciousness raising, Tibetan Buddhism, faux agrarianism, wilderness worship, LSD, and sexual exploration found its biggest Canadian colony in Vancouver.
This “West Coast Thing” was a social and aesthetic context for Vancouver art in the 1960s. It is remarkable, despite the growing — or abiding — interest in the 1960s all over the world, that so much artistic work from this period in Vancouver is lost and, cruel to say, how many sixties artistic careers subsequently entered the twilight. This is especially odd in a city whose artistic community’s boosterism seems to know no limit and where the 1960s are forever recalled as a golden time of artistic freedom in lived and transmitted memory. This contribution includes a discussion of several key works from the sixties and a description of the counter-cultural context from which they are not easily divorced.
[Image: La Melancolie de la Rue, by Ian Wallace]