The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery researches, exhibits, collects, publishes, educates and develops programs in the field of contemporary art and in contemporary approaches to the practice of art history and criticism with special emphasis on the areas of the Canadian avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s and the international network developed at the time and its role in the art of today, and on Vancouver’s post-war art history, on practices and projects that challenge the status quo, and on emerging artists.
Through an ongoing program of exhibitions, publications, loans, traveling exhibitions, special projects and exchange programs, the Belkin Art Gallery participates in the national and international community of institutions concerned with contemporary art.
Since 1995, the Gallery has been collecting significant works by Canadian and international artists and is the recipient of numerous annual donations of artwork. The University Art Collection is an important cultural amenity. The Collection contains more than 2,500 objects, making it one of the largest public art collections in the province. Works from the collection are showcased in annual exhibitions at the Belkin, and are regularly loaned to major institutions and smaller centres for exhibition nationally and internationally.
The Gallery also holds over 30,000 archival items relating to the post-war history of art in Vancouver and the avant-garde narratives of the 1960s to 1970s including: the Peter Day Concrete Poetry Collection; the Kenneth Coutts-Smith Archive; the Morris/Trasov Archives; and the archives of Eric Metcalfe, Glenn Lewis, Alvin Balkind and many others.
Critical Curatorial Studies
Since 2001, the Belkin Art Gallery has participated in the training of young curators at the graduate level in the Critical and Curatorial Studies program in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory. The Master of Arts program aims to address the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art.
Critical and Curatorial Studies is an emerging field of scholarship and training that looks directly at the roles and responsibilities of curators and critics as mediators between objects, institutions, experiences, individuals and groups. As part of the curriculum, graduate students curate exhibitions and programs in collaboration with the Belkin and local galleries, with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory.
The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery’s exhibitions, publications, and acquisitions are made possible with the generous ongoing support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Morris & Helen Belkin Foundation, and the Gallery’s generous donors, as well as project support from The Audain Foundation, Arts Now: Legacies 2010, and The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. A special thanks go to our Belkin Curator’s Forum members, who directly support the Gallery’s exhibitions, publications and acquisitions.