Archive

Interview with Catriona Jefferies

by Jenifer Papararo
July 13, 2011

JP: When I first approached you to do an interview I said I didn’t want to linger on
the past, that I wasn’t interested in asking specific questions about why you became
a dealer, and what the climate was at that time in Vancouver. Instead I wanted to
direct the conversation to the present, to more general questions that examine the
relationship between commercial galleries and art institutions, your interest in
publishing, and what drives your decision-making. But since our initial discussion,
I’ve come to realize that we’ve never spoken directly about your beginning, so even
if only briefly, I’d like to start there, or more pointedly what the commercial scene
was like in Vancouver at the time, how you perceived the art scene, and did you see
yourself as fulfilling a void or responding to a lack?

CJ: I can’t reinforce enough the difference and the feeling that we were really doing
something that hadn’t been done before, and that our activities were dedicated
to a rigour of thinking about ideas and practices in relation to understanding and
building histories that were specific to Vancouver, but came from a large discourse.
There was an alignment of critical thinking that came from artists, curators,
museums, and art historians challenging art history. For me, it was a way of looking
at the relevance of contemporary art. How you move art history forward to become
contemporary as society moves forward, they start to shadow each other. At the
time it felt like really hard work. It is still arduous, but the foundation has been
established.

In 1994 we opened on Grandville Street. The years before that I was studying
at UBC researching local artists and developing an interest in conceptual art
practices that considered societal changes. In research for a class essay I conducted
interviews with Ken Lum and Ian Wallace, and I phoned Marian Goodman in New
York to discuss Jeff Wall. The conversations and ideas around photo-conceptualism
seem so transparent now, back then it was new ground.

JP: You first opened your own gallery in 1988, so then 1994 marks a shift for you?

CJ: Yes,. so in eighty-eight I had a small space on Burrard Street downtown, a third
floor space in an old forestry building. I was studying art history but was still very
interested in the current art scene and looking at artists’ practices. At that time,
I wasn’t making decisions based on the systems of knowledge I soon started to
sponge and acquire. I feel like those years before 1994 were quite playful, and I was
still feeling my way.

JP: In 2005 Michael Turner wrote “Who’s Business Is It? Vancouver’s Commercial
Galleries and the Production of Art” a comprehensive essay on the commercial
art system in Vancouver for Vancouver Art and Economies. He writes about a few
galleries that come before you: the New Design Gallery started by curator Alvin
Balkind and architect Andrew Beck, and the Nova Gallery opened by Claudia Beck
and Andrew Gruft, and also Bill Jefferies’s, Coburg Gallery. Turner points to the
tight relationship dealers had with the avant-garde. He considers you amongst
this circle as well. Can you speak more about this close relationship to the artists
at the time and about your early influences? Who your precursors were? Did you
model yourself on other commercial galleries in particular or even other types of art
institutions? You mention Mariam Goodman earlier di she have a formative impact
on you?

CJ: In Canada, I thought about Ydessa Hendeles and Sandy Simpson. They preceded
me in the country. I didn’t know intimately about their practices. One isn’t
necessarily privy to that. But they had strong leadership skills, and apparently
strong relationships with their artists. Internationally at that time I was certainly
looking at Mariam Goodman. In making this list it sounds like I was only looking at
women, but I wasn’t seeking female role models. They just happened to be women.
I was conscious of Anthony d’Offay’s gallery in London, which preceded Whitecube.
There was a thoroughness with which Anthony worked. Sadie Coles worked with
him before she opened her own space, as did Matthew Marks. Today there is an
international community of rigorous and critically thinking galleries who are my
colleagues.

Frankly, I was dealing with a specific problem. I was trying to construct how I
wanted to work in the world from here. Having grown up and studied in Vancouver,
I wanted be part of the incredible art that was flourishing here — one that developed
outside of a patron history, which we might see in places like Toronto. I also
wanted to tackle the removal — Vancouver’s distant geography. So even though I
was conscious of and watching other dealers, I wasn’t modeling myself on any one
particular gallery. I really was constructing my own game. Not that it was game, but
I was constructing my own model. I wanted to work from here and be inserted into
this art history. Through my studies I was very convinced by the importance and
relevance of art history, so I took it very seriously.

JP: Your model developed in relation to the artwork that was being produced in
Vancouver. Can you speak more directly to the type of work you were interested
in and how that influenced you? Your dedication to Vancouver artists is clear, and
I’m hoping to hear you articulate what was so inspiring about that particular time
that caused you to make a monogamous commitment to this place – one you still

maintain today. Even though you have shown artists from elsewhere, your entire
roster is from Vancouver.

CJ: What has really been influential for me is Ian Wallace’s thinking. There is no
question that the years I have spent with Ian have had a solid impact. He is a mentor
of sorts to me. I’m interested in the consistency of his practice. His poetics, but also
his theoretical position, which has a larger reach and was also developed in relation
to other artists working in Vancouver at that time — Rodney Graham and Jeff Wall
of course. Stan Douglas’s work is also of great interest to me and I have followed
it closely. So my commitment to Vancouver comes out of this artist community,
and my interest in their work and also my desire to find out what is in the water
that makes such rigorous artistic practices. And so from the beginning to now, I
have been dedicated to the practices that come out of here, lineages of artists that
continue to work from Vancouver.

This dedication to Vancouver artist also comes from the importance I place on being
physically close to the artists I work with, and my desire to work with practices and
not just isolated artworks. I want to work with full practices. Maybe I’m demanding
that way, but this might also relate to the success of the gallery — my interest in
creating legacies that can only happen by making long commitments. Like when I
took on young artists such as Ron Terada and Damian Moppett, I’m developing with
them through that dedication.

But I have worked with artists from elsewhere, and I’m at a point where that is
going to happen more and you’ll start seeing more international work in the gallery.
However, the decisions are always made in relation to the artistic context here.

JP: You use the term “practice” to describe what you do. Do you see a relationship
between what you do and the role of the curator? And can you speak more
specifically to your interest in working with curators?

CJ: We’ve watched the idea of a curator evolve in the last fifteen years. We
increasingly see people coming out of curatorial programs and going into the
commercial world. Perhaps it is galleries like this one and others like it that made
that desirable and opened the possibility. But I do think there is a major difference
from working as a curator in a museum structure than what we do here. Even
though we both generate ideation through artists, in the museum the curator
usually only works with an artist on one project and then leaves. The difference
here is that we follow an artist for years or now decades,and build a lasting and
influential relationship.

JP: As a curator at a contemporary art institution, I have often lamented this lack of
continuity or continued engagement as a failure. I feel like I’m often parachuting in

and out of artist practices instead of sustaining a longer relationship and, therefore,
hindering a more nuanced understanding of an artist’s work. I don’t think that is
always the case, but it is more common to me than to you.

CJ: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and I have had this exact conversation about her
generation, where she makes a conscious effort to follow artists, maintaining close
ties with them, and she will continue to bring artist’s she has previously worked
with into her new projects. For me, this is definitely part of my interest in working
with artists in Vancouver. For one, I get to be close to their studios.

But the gallery is in the process of the next shift and we’re about to see some change.
We’ve taken on new artists from outside of Vancouver, recently Christina Mackie
from London, and we’re going to be working more closely with Sam Durant from
Los Angeles. We’re about to announce a younger artist we will soon bring into the
gallery.

Anne Low, the new associate director of the gallery introduced me to Christina
Mackie. My immediate interest in her work has much to do with its formal
relationship to Jerry Pethick’s work, and how by presenting her work we can also
articulate the importance of his. Even though Christina left for London to study art
right after being at the Vancouver School of Art and has lived and worked there ever
since, she grew up in Victoria BC, so she shares interesting ideas around scientific
research, optics and the object which are interwoven references with Jerry.

We’re presenting a group show curated by Anne this fall that will feature the
work of Ulla von Brandenburg, Guy de Cointet, Janice Kerbeland we’re going to
collaborate with the Western Front to screen work by Daria Martin. The exhibition
began in part with a proposal I set up that was driven by the work of Geoffrey
Farmer and Judy Radul, in particular their use of staging and performativity. We
wanted to engage with their practice more deeply by looking at artists who had
similar interests.

JP: So this is a particular moment for you, but you’ve been moving toward it for
some time.

CJ: Absolutely. These things take a ton of thinking. Jens Hoffman said to me that I
am recognized and appreciated for this purity of working only with artists from
Vancouver, but I’m at a point where I want to expand. A younger generation have
watched artists like Geoffrey Farmer and Brian Jungen and benefited from having
them near, but now we see a younger generation of artists who are going away. And
they should go away to schools. It will be interesting to see what they bring back. I’m
watching this community and I feel there is something happening right now — that
this generation is building strong international ties.

JP: But it seems this has been the circumstance for a long time here. Even though
artists like Wall, Graham, Douglas, and Wallace have stayed, the success of the
Vancouver art scene is often linked to its international ties. You’re getting ready to
take on artists from outside of Vancouver, but you’re also saying that you’re looking
at a new group of Vancouver artists?

CJ: I wouldn’t call them a group. But yeah, there are artists that I’m watching and
am excited about, and we will take on one artist, Julia Freyer, who will have her first
exhibition at the gallery in early 2012. I think the Poodle Dog Bar was excellent as
well as her work she completed at the The Städelschule in Frankfurt.

JP: Maybe we can talk a little more about the business side of things. Your major
clients are art institutions. You have fostered that relationship not simply in
relation to their collections but also in connection to their exhibition programs, the
commissioning of new works, and the production of publications. Can you speak
more to the strength of this relationship?

CJ: In thinking about art history, one thinks about future art histories. I place a
large importance on museum culture and public institutions in relation to art – the
varying levels with which they operate in this country and internationally. The key
for me is that they are public. So if there is a place that can protect the work and
solidify its historical relevance then it is the public museum. And I tend to have a
great dialogue that often develops into friendships with museum curators.

JP: On your website you state that you see yourself contributing to art discourse. I
understand that this has something to do with your relationship to art institutions
and curators, but can you speak about other ways you make this contribution?

CJ: If a significant amount of the work we do is with public institutions, then another
major part is with individuals, building their collections. I’m happy to say that I have
initiated and been a seminal part of building many collections through the country.
Some are extremely good, some have moved on to supporting artists I represent
in-depth, and some are now acquiring work internationally. That relationship is
based on developing discourse and the importance of a commitment to work that
is critically engaged by the museum system. Otherwise why would you collect? If
you’re going to call yourself a collector you need to support the ideas behind the
work, and this of course pertains to me.

JP: This seems a good time to ask about CJ Press. When did you start publishing, and
can you speak about the relevance you place on the relationship between writing/
writers and the artwork/artists you present?

CJ: I started publishing texts very early on, using a basic design model of Ian
Wallace’s texts, using Ariel font and distributing them for a dollar as simple
photocopies. The idea was always about bringing writers and artists together. I
commissioned many essays before the books. Melanie O’Brian wrote on Damian
Moppett’s Impure Systems, and Barry Schwarsky on Ian Wallace. But in 2006, when I
moved to this new location, I decided that we would bind all the essays into a book.
It was published in 2008. But the process of a bound book already seems dated.
The next publication we’re producing will use the print studio workshop model
that comes out of Portland and is used by Matthew Stadler. Keith Higgins and Cathy
Slade are now using that model here.

JP: I meant to ask you this question earlier in relation to who you see as your
precursors? In Canada the artist-run system has a long and prominent history. Did
this system have any influence on how you modelled gallery?

CJ: I was very conscious of the Or Gallery under Reid Shier in the 1990s. He is a good
friend and an important colleague. We speak regularly about art and our interest
in artists. So I was looking at artists who were showing in the artist-run system. I
was very aware of the programming of artist run centers in Vancouver and the likes
of Mercer Union and Art Metropole in Toronto. I perceived the artist-run centre
not necessarily as a model to follow, but as a site that was generative, and I really
respected that, feeling its articulation and influence perhaps more than now.

JP: Is that because you have moved on?

CJ: No, it’s more about questioning its relevance. I think there was always a sense
that artist-run centres were invested in raising the stakes, but as a system it needs
to be questioned. And I think that debate is going on right now, but I haven’t thought
enough about it.

JP: I have one last question. The Canada Council has supported many of your artists
through research, projects, and residency programs, but it has also directly funded
your participation in national and international art fairs. Can you describe more
specifically your reliance on the Canada Council and how it has benefited your
business?

CJ: The Council has been extremely helpful at assisting us with the massive
international shipping costs. I’m currently looking at the shipping costs that have
just come in from Basel. I mean the funds from the Canada Council only cover a
very small portion, but they are still helpful. Shipping and travel costs can be so
prohibitive from Vancouver. There was once a question of moving to London or
New York. I have traveled so many miles in my practice and it can wear on you.
After Basel, the London and German gallerists were home an hour later in their beds

and they could ship their work overland by truck. Assisting with shipping costs is
where I’ve benefited the most from the government. The template that I have always
directed is that we would only do the most important art fairs internationally, and
that we wouldn’t waste energy winding our way up, but that we would work at the
top with the best fairs and, those fairs are increasingly expensive.

JP: Struggles with geographical distances seems a very Canada story.

CJ: That is only one part. As always the gallery is interested in its international
presence, and that also translates to bringing people here. So we push for this, and
the Canada Council has helped us to bring curators and writers to Vancouver. This
is very important to me because I can’t be buying in curators. In bringing them here,
I have aligned my gallery with public institutions like the Morris and Helen Belkin
Gallery, or the Vancouver Art Gallery. The basic objective of the curatorial visits is
to get curators into artists’ studios. I primarily act as host and guide, but still these
visits are a lot of work to organize from planning meetings with artists to meeting
with students and visiting art galleries. So it benefits the artists, the schools as well
as the larger arts community. Since moving to this new space we haven’t done as
many of the curatorial visits as previously, but we are finally getting to that again.
We’re in the process of inviting people for this coming year, including Anne Ellegood
from The Hammer in LA Beatrix Ruf from the Kunsthalle Zurich, Doryun Chong from
MOMA NY. I organized in the spring for Christopher Bedford from the Wexner to
visit Brian Jungen’s brilliant exhibition in the Henry Moore Galleries at the AGO .

by Jenifer Papararo
July 13, 2011

JP: When I first approached you to do an interview I said I didn’t want to linger on
the past, that I wasn’t interested in asking specific questions about why you became
a dealer, and what the climate was at that time in Vancouver. Instead I wanted to
direct the conversation to the present, to more general questions that examine the
relationship between commercial galleries and art institutions, your interest in
publishing, and what drives your decision-making. But since our initial discussion,
I’ve come to realize that we’ve never spoken directly about your beginning, so even
if only briefly, I’d like to start there, or more pointedly what the commercial scene
was like in Vancouver at the time, how you perceived the art scene, and did you see
yourself as fulfilling a void or responding to a lack?

CJ: I can’t reinforce enough the difference and the feeling that we were really doing
something that hadn’t been done before, and that our activities were dedicated
to a rigour of thinking about ideas and practices in relation to understanding and
building histories that were specific to Vancouver, but came from a large discourse.
There was an alignment of critical thinking that came from artists, curators,
museums, and art historians challenging art history. For me, it was a way of looking
at the relevance of contemporary art. How you move art history forward to become
contemporary as society moves forward, they start to shadow each other. At the
time it felt like really hard work. It is still arduous, but the foundation has been
established.

In 1994 we opened on Grandville Street. The years before that I was studying
at UBC researching local artists and developing an interest in conceptual art
practices that considered societal changes. In research for a class essay I conducted
interviews with Ken Lum and Ian Wallace, and I phoned Marian Goodman in New
York to discuss Jeff Wall. The conversations and ideas around photo-conceptualism
seem so transparent now, back then it was new ground.

JP: You first opened your own gallery in 1988, so then 1994 marks a shift for you?

CJ: Yes,. so in eighty-eight I had a small space on Burrard Street downtown, a third
floor space in an old forestry building. I was studying art history but was still very
interested in the current art scene and looking at artists’ practices. At that time,
I wasn’t making decisions based on the systems of knowledge I soon started to
sponge and acquire. I feel like those years before 1994 were quite playful, and I was
still feeling my way.

JP: In 2005 Michael Turner wrote “Who’s Business Is It? Vancouver’s Commercial
Galleries and the Production of Art” a comprehensive essay on the commercial
art system in Vancouver for Vancouver Art and Economies. He writes about a few
galleries that come before you: the New Design Gallery started by curator Alvin
Balkind and architect Andrew Beck, and the Nova Gallery opened by Claudia Beck
and Andrew Gruft, and also Bill Jefferies’s, Coburg Gallery. Turner points to the
tight relationship dealers had with the avant-garde. He considers you amongst
this circle as well. Can you speak more about this close relationship to the artists
at the time and about your early influences? Who your precursors were? Did you
model yourself on other commercial galleries in particular or even other types of art
institutions? You mention Mariam Goodman earlier di she have a formative impact
on you?

CJ: In Canada, I thought about Ydessa Hendeles and Sandy Simpson. They preceded
me in the country. I didn’t know intimately about their practices. One isn’t
necessarily privy to that. But they had strong leadership skills, and apparently
strong relationships with their artists. Internationally at that time I was certainly
looking at Mariam Goodman. In making this list it sounds like I was only looking at
women, but I wasn’t seeking female role models. They just happened to be women.
I was conscious of Anthony d’Offay’s gallery in London, which preceded Whitecube.
There was a thoroughness with which Anthony worked. Sadie Coles worked with
him before she opened her own space, as did Matthew Marks. Today there is an
international community of rigorous and critically thinking galleries who are my
colleagues.

Frankly, I was dealing with a specific problem. I was trying to construct how I
wanted to work in the world from here. Having grown up and studied in Vancouver,
I wanted be part of the incredible art that was flourishing here — one that developed
outside of a patron history, which we might see in places like Toronto. I also
wanted to tackle the removal — Vancouver’s distant geography. So even though I
was conscious of and watching other dealers, I wasn’t modeling myself on any one
particular gallery. I really was constructing my own game. Not that it was game, but
I was constructing my own model. I wanted to work from here and be inserted into
this art history. Through my studies I was very convinced by the importance and
relevance of art history, so I took it very seriously.

JP: Your model developed in relation to the artwork that was being produced in
Vancouver. Can you speak more directly to the type of work you were interested
in and how that influenced you? Your dedication to Vancouver artists is clear, and
I’m hoping to hear you articulate what was so inspiring about that particular time
that caused you to make a monogamous commitment to this place – one you still

maintain today. Even though you have shown artists from elsewhere, your entire
roster is from Vancouver.

CJ: What has really been influential for me is Ian Wallace’s thinking. There is no
question that the years I have spent with Ian have had a solid impact. He is a mentor
of sorts to me. I’m interested in the consistency of his practice. His poetics, but also
his theoretical position, which has a larger reach and was also developed in relation
to other artists working in Vancouver at that time — Rodney Graham and Jeff Wall
of course. Stan Douglas’s work is also of great interest to me and I have followed
it closely. So my commitment to Vancouver comes out of this artist community,
and my interest in their work and also my desire to find out what is in the water
that makes such rigorous artistic practices. And so from the beginning to now, I
have been dedicated to the practices that come out of here, lineages of artists that
continue to work from Vancouver.

This dedication to Vancouver artist also comes from the importance I place on being
physically close to the artists I work with, and my desire to work with practices and
not just isolated artworks. I want to work with full practices. Maybe I’m demanding
that way, but this might also relate to the success of the gallery — my interest in
creating legacies that can only happen by making long commitments. Like when I
took on young artists such as Ron Terada and Damian Moppett, I’m developing with
them through that dedication.

But I have worked with artists from elsewhere, and I’m at a point where that is
going to happen more and you’ll start seeing more international work in the gallery.
However, the decisions are always made in relation to the artistic context here.

JP: You use the term “practice” to describe what you do. Do you see a relationship
between what you do and the role of the curator? And can you speak more
specifically to your interest in working with curators?

CJ: We’ve watched the idea of a curator evolve in the last fifteen years. We
increasingly see people coming out of curatorial programs and going into the
commercial world. Perhaps it is galleries like this one and others like it that made
that desirable and opened the possibility. But I do think there is a major difference
from working as a curator in a museum structure than what we do here. Even
though we both generate ideation through artists, in the museum the curator
usually only works with an artist on one project and then leaves. The difference
here is that we follow an artist for years or now decades,and build a lasting and
influential relationship.

JP: As a curator at a contemporary art institution, I have often lamented this lack of
continuity or continued engagement as a failure. I feel like I’m often parachuting in

and out of artist practices instead of sustaining a longer relationship and, therefore,
hindering a more nuanced understanding of an artist’s work. I don’t think that is
always the case, but it is more common to me than to you.

CJ: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and I have had this exact conversation about her
generation, where she makes a conscious effort to follow artists, maintaining close
ties with them, and she will continue to bring artist’s she has previously worked
with into her new projects. For me, this is definitely part of my interest in working
with artists in Vancouver. For one, I get to be close to their studios.

But the gallery is in the process of the next shift and we’re about to see some change.
We’ve taken on new artists from outside of Vancouver, recently Christina Mackie
from London, and we’re going to be working more closely with Sam Durant from
Los Angeles. We’re about to announce a younger artist we will soon bring into the
gallery.

Anne Low, the new associate director of the gallery introduced me to Christina
Mackie. My immediate interest in her work has much to do with its formal
relationship to Jerry Pethick’s work, and how by presenting her work we can also
articulate the importance of his. Even though Christina left for London to study art
right after being at the Vancouver School of Art and has lived and worked there ever
since, she grew up in Victoria BC, so she shares interesting ideas around scientific
research, optics and the object which are interwoven references with Jerry.

We’re presenting a group show curated by Anne this fall that will feature the
work of Ulla von Brandenburg, Guy de Cointet, Janice Kerbeland we’re going to
collaborate with the Western Front to screen work by Daria Martin. The exhibition
began in part with a proposal I set up that was driven by the work of Geoffrey
Farmer and Judy Radul, in particular their use of staging and performativity. We
wanted to engage with their practice more deeply by looking at artists who had
similar interests.

JP: So this is a particular moment for you, but you’ve been moving toward it for
some time.

CJ: Absolutely. These things take a ton of thinking. Jens Hoffman said to me that I
am recognized and appreciated for this purity of working only with artists from
Vancouver, but I’m at a point where I want to expand. A younger generation have
watched artists like Geoffrey Farmer and Brian Jungen and benefited from having
them near, but now we see a younger generation of artists who are going away. And
they should go away to schools. It will be interesting to see what they bring back. I’m
watching this community and I feel there is something happening right now — that
this generation is building strong international ties.

JP: But it seems this has been the circumstance for a long time here. Even though
artists like Wall, Graham, Douglas, and Wallace have stayed, the success of the
Vancouver art scene is often linked to its international ties. You’re getting ready to
take on artists from outside of Vancouver, but you’re also saying that you’re looking
at a new group of Vancouver artists?

CJ: I wouldn’t call them a group. But yeah, there are artists that I’m watching and
am excited about, and we will take on one artist, Julia Freyer, who will have her first
exhibition at the gallery in early 2012. I think the Poodle Dog Bar was excellent as
well as her work she completed at the The Städelschule in Frankfurt.

JP: Maybe we can talk a little more about the business side of things. Your major
clients are art institutions. You have fostered that relationship not simply in
relation to their collections but also in connection to their exhibition programs, the
commissioning of new works, and the production of publications. Can you speak
more to the strength of this relationship?

CJ: In thinking about art history, one thinks about future art histories. I place a
large importance on museum culture and public institutions in relation to art – the
varying levels with which they operate in this country and internationally. The key
for me is that they are public. So if there is a place that can protect the work and
solidify its historical relevance then it is the public museum. And I tend to have a
great dialogue that often develops into friendships with museum curators.

JP: On your website you state that you see yourself contributing to art discourse. I
understand that this has something to do with your relationship to art institutions
and curators, but can you speak about other ways you make this contribution?

CJ: If a significant amount of the work we do is with public institutions, then another
major part is with individuals, building their collections. I’m happy to say that I have
initiated and been a seminal part of building many collections through the country.
Some are extremely good, some have moved on to supporting artists I represent
in-depth, and some are now acquiring work internationally. That relationship is
based on developing discourse and the importance of a commitment to work that
is critically engaged by the museum system. Otherwise why would you collect? If
you’re going to call yourself a collector you need to support the ideas behind the
work, and this of course pertains to me.

JP: This seems a good time to ask about CJ Press. When did you start publishing, and
can you speak about the relevance you place on the relationship between writing/
writers and the artwork/artists you present?

CJ: I started publishing texts very early on, using a basic design model of Ian
Wallace’s texts, using Ariel font and distributing them for a dollar as simple
photocopies. The idea was always about bringing writers and artists together. I
commissioned many essays before the books. Melanie O’Brian wrote on Damian
Moppett’s Impure Systems, and Barry Schwarsky on Ian Wallace. But in 2006, when I
moved to this new location, I decided that we would bind all the essays into a book.
It was published in 2008. But the process of a bound book already seems dated.
The next publication we’re producing will use the print studio workshop model
that comes out of Portland and is used by Matthew Stadler. Keith Higgins and Cathy
Slade are now using that model here.

JP: I meant to ask you this question earlier in relation to who you see as your
precursors? In Canada the artist-run system has a long and prominent history. Did
this system have any influence on how you modelled gallery?

CJ: I was very conscious of the Or Gallery under Reid Shier in the 1990s. He is a good
friend and an important colleague. We speak regularly about art and our interest
in artists. So I was looking at artists who were showing in the artist-run system. I
was very aware of the programming of artist run centers in Vancouver and the likes
of Mercer Union and Art Metropole in Toronto. I perceived the artist-run centre
not necessarily as a model to follow, but as a site that was generative, and I really
respected that, feeling its articulation and influence perhaps more than now.

JP: Is that because you have moved on?

CJ: No, it’s more about questioning its relevance. I think there was always a sense
that artist-run centres were invested in raising the stakes, but as a system it needs
to be questioned. And I think that debate is going on right now, but I haven’t thought
enough about it.

JP: I have one last question. The Canada Council has supported many of your artists
through research, projects, and residency programs, but it has also directly funded
your participation in national and international art fairs. Can you describe more
specifically your reliance on the Canada Council and how it has benefited your
business?

CJ: The Council has been extremely helpful at assisting us with the massive
international shipping costs. I’m currently looking at the shipping costs that have
just come in from Basel. I mean the funds from the Canada Council only cover a
very small portion, but they are still helpful. Shipping and travel costs can be so
prohibitive from Vancouver. There was once a question of moving to London or
New York. I have traveled so many miles in my practice and it can wear on you.
After Basel, the London and German gallerists were home an hour later in their beds

and they could ship their work overland by truck. Assisting with shipping costs is
where I’ve benefited the most from the government. The template that I have always
directed is that we would only do the most important art fairs internationally, and
that we wouldn’t waste energy winding our way up, but that we would work at the
top with the best fairs and, those fairs are increasingly expensive.

JP: Struggles with geographical distances seems a very Canada story.

CJ: That is only one part. As always the gallery is interested in its international
presence, and that also translates to bringing people here. So we push for this, and
the Canada Council has helped us to bring curators and writers to Vancouver. This
is very important to me because I can’t be buying in curators. In bringing them here,
I have aligned my gallery with public institutions like the Morris and Helen Belkin
Gallery, or the Vancouver Art Gallery. The basic objective of the curatorial visits is
to get curators into artists’ studios. I primarily act as host and guide, but still these
visits are a lot of work to organize from planning meetings with artists to meeting
with students and visiting art galleries. So it benefits the artists, the schools as well
as the larger arts community. Since moving to this new space we haven’t done as
many of the curatorial visits as previously, but we are finally getting to that again.
We’re in the process of inviting people for this coming year, including Anne Ellegood
from The Hammer in LA Beatrix Ruf from the Kunsthalle Zurich, Doryun Chong from
MOMA NY. I organized in the spring for Christopher Bedford from the Wexner to
visit Brian Jungen’s brilliant exhibition in the Henry Moore Galleries at the AGO .

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