Weekly Coasters along Main Street

Sonny Assu has created a playful series of coasters that will be distributed at various Main Street restaurants and pubs during the month of November.

“Inspired by the everyday, beautiful people of Main Street. People I’ve met over my years of living in Mount Pleasant and the people I’ve met through my involvement at the grunt. Grunt has shown me tremendous love and support over the years, and it was an honour to be able to give something back. Something beautiful. Something funny. Something that I hope inspires a conversation between strangers and a “cheers” amongst pals. ” – Sonny Assu

If you happen upon these coasters be sure to tag your photos on instagram with #grunt30.

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Read more about these Coasters designed by Sonny Assu.
This coaster series is available for purchase on our online store.
Big thanks to District Dogs for printing these beautiful letter-pressed coasters.

>> About the 30th Anniversary
>> 30th Events
>> Social Objects
>> Donate

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grunt Celebrates 30 years!

coasters imagektichen imagegrowlers image

grunt gallery is grateful and excited to have reached our Kickstarter goal, raising more than $10,000 for our 30th anniversary celebrations. If you missed out on pledging, you can still pick up a number of our special edition perks.

Growlers are available for purchase at Brassneck Brewery ($7) and at grunt gallery.  Fill up your growler at a local Vancouver brewery and share it with friends. Purchase one as a gift for loved ones approaching the upcoming holiday season.

Pick up a set of quirky letter-pressed ovoid-shaped coasters through grunt gallery’s online shop or stop by grunt gallery to pick them up! You can also stop by a number of neighbourhood restaurants to pick up a free coaster via our weekly coaster series. Gift them to your friends, these vibrantly coloured coasters looking stunning as a framed set.

Stop by grunt gallery in December for special events related to our current exhibition, Kitchen. Artist Julia Feyrer has delved within grunt’s history and archives and continues to work on an installation in the main space of our gallery. Save the date for the following get-togethers:

>Friday, December 5th: Drawing 7pm
>Tuesday, December 9th: Performance 7pm
>Friday, December 12th: Recording 7pm
>Friday, December 19th: Solstice Party

Read the first exhibition text written by curator Vanessa Kwan, here.

Interested in what grunt has planned over the upcoming months? Make sure you sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop.

>> Learn more about our 30th anniversary
>> Social Objects: Coasters & Growlers
>> Events


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BREW: 30 Years of grunt gallery

This is a big year for grunt gallery and we’ve got a lot brewing: we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary! Raise a glass and take a moment with us to celebrate what we’ve accomplished.

Founded in 1984, we know there’s a lot to celebrate! Thirty years is a long time and it’s time to proudly commemorate the institution we’ve become over these last three decades. Yeah, we said institution. Becoming what we are today did not come easy. It happened over many cups of coffee and numerous bottles of beer. Our vision continues with the generous input and support from people like you. This year, we’re hosting a series of events and projects relating to our 30th anniversary. These include…

Click here to donate:

URL: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1687768919/brew-grunt-gallerys-30th-anniversary

>> About the 30th Anniversary
>> 30th Events
>> Social Objects
>> Donate

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Please be advised that the Annual General Meeting of the Visible Art Society (dba grunt gallery) will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 7:00pm at grunt gallery (#116 – 350 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5T 4R8).

Please join us for a fun, fast, pizza and beer-filled AGM. Vanessa Kwan, Curator of Community Engagement, will be sharing photos and talking about her whirlwind trip with the Asia-Pacific Visual Arts Delegation. Also, the first 10 people through the door will receive free tickets to grunt’s 30th Anniversary blow-out bash, GROWLER, at the ANZA club on Saturday, October 11th.

We will be meeting for the following purposes:

1. To receive the March 31, 2014 Audited Financial Statements

2. To receive the Directors’ Reports

3. To vote on changes to the bylaws

4. To elect the Society’s Officers

All members of the Visible Art Society are invited to attend.

Location: grunt gallery – 116-350 East 2nd Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5N2T5

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GROWLER @ the Anza Club: Oct 11

growler header for website


GROWLER: grunt gallery 30th Anniversary Party
Event Time: Saturday October 11th, 8pm – 1am.
Location: The Anza Club, 3 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1M8
Tickets: $10 – available at the door.

Celebrate grunt gallery’s 30th anniversary at GROWLER. Arrive early to witness a special performance by poet Janet Rogers – Mohawk writer and Victoria’s poet laureate. Ready yourself for heavy guitars, beats and indigenous drums and visuals with The Monster Project – featuring artists Chris Bose, Bracken Hanuse-Corlett and Dean Hunt. Finally, dance your way past midnight with a DJ set by hip-hop artist Ostwelve.

This event is also the launch of grunt’s BREW editions, a beautifully crafted beer growler featuring work by artist Lorna Brown. And, custom ovoid-shaped coasters that riff on Main Street’s cultural aesthetic, created by artist Sonny Assu. Growler’s will be available at the event for only $5, be sure to grab yours before they sell out!

Janet Rogershttp://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Janet-Rogers
A Mohawk writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario, Janet Rogers was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and has resided in Victoria since 1994. A published and award-winning poet, she has worked and studied in the genres of poetry, short fiction, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poems with music and scriptwriting. You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC radio one fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013.

Live Music:
The Monster Projecthttps://soundcloud.com/womp

Ostwelve https://soundcloud.com/ostwelve-productions
Ostwelve (Ron Dean Harris), was born in the Coast Salish – Sto:lo Territory of British Columbia, Canada. Being introduced to music at an early age, Os was experimenting with the art form of Hiphop by the age of 12 years old. Moving into the city of Vancouver at the age of 13, the hip-hop scene there lead him to the sounds and sights of the growing art of hip-hop.


This event is a part of our 30th Anniversary programming. To learn more visit our 30th anniversary page.

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Double Book Launch & Poetry Reading: Janet Rogers & Chris Bose


We regretfully announce that Chris Bose is unable to make it to the event this evening due to travel issues. Wanda John will be reading instead. There will be a 30-minute open mic at the beginning of the event.

Read the update here! https://www.facebook.com/events/1483774898559821/


Writer Biographies:

Janet Marie Rogers

Janet is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music and script writing.

Janet has three published poetry collections to date; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011. Her newest collection “Peace in Duress” will be released with Talonbooks in September 2014. Her poetry CDs Firewater 2009, Got Your Back 2012 and 6 Directions 2013 all received nominations for Best Spoken Word Recording at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and the Native American Music Awards. You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC radio one fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013.

Ikkwenyes or Dare to Do is the name of the collective Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs and Janet created in 2011. Ikkwenyes won the Canada Council for the Arts Collaborative Exchange award 2012 and a Loft Literary Prize in 2013.

Chris Bose

Chris Bose is a writer, multi-disciplinary artist, musician, and filmmaker, who has read and performed at universities, theatres, and coffeehouses at all points from Victoria to Montreal, as well as the BC Festival of the Arts, as a literary delegate to the Talking Stick Aboriginal Arts Festival in Vancouver and the Word on the Street Festival in Toronto.

Chris continues to make art on a daily basis, and is also a workshop facilitator of community arts events, digital storytelling, art workshops with people of all ages and backgrounds, curatorial work for First Nations art shows and projects, research and writing for periodicals across Canada, project management and coordination, mixed-media productions, film, audio, and video recording and editing, and more. He is of the N’laka’pamux Nation in BC, and currently spends his time in Kamloops, BC.

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The Book of Jests | Essay by Lorna Brown


The Book of Jests began in an antiquarian bookstore in Vienna where Hyung-Min Yoon found and purchased a 1922 edition of Albrecht Dürer’s illustrations. The book, Marginal Drawings for the Prayer of Emperor Maximilian I, was bound in grey cloth with beveled edges, and contained illustrations created for the margins of a prayer book. Originally created in 1515, Dürer’s illustrations were used in the mass publication and distribution of a single Christian prayer to multiple language groups, leaving blank the centre of the page, onto which the texts of different languages could be printed. For an artist whose work has explored the ‘imperfect path’ of translation, the interpretation of images across cultural contexts, and the history of printed text, this central unmarked ground must have seemed an almost overwhelming space of possibility.

The illustrations, inked in green and orange and sepia, are familiar biblical themes – mass produced extensions of the sacred manuscripts illuminated by hand in Medieval times. Horned devils perched on filigree, winged dragons and architectural flourishes, charging mounted knights and mythological beasts: what might these have meant to the readers of some forty-three languages of the polyglot prayer book?  What universalities were assumed to reside in the scrollwork embellishments, allegorical arrangements and fantastical landscapes? What process of translation transformed the meaning of these renderings placed next to such diverse scripts?

Vilém Flusser’s The Gesture of Writing is a typed work from 1991. It describes in fine, methodical detail the act of writing through its phenomenology. Written in English, it is an example of his practice of translating and retranslating his writing as a way of mining his own thought: seven versions were produced in four languages.  He begins by analyzing handwriting:

“It is a gesture of making holes, of digging, of perforating. A penetrating gesture. To write is to in-scribe, to penetrate a surface, and a written text is an inscription, although as a matter of fact it is in the vast majority of cases an onscription. Therefore to write is not to form, but to in-form, and a text is not a formation, but an in-formation. I believe that we have to start from this fact if we want to understand the gesture of writing: it is a penetrating gesture that informs a surface.”

Flusser traces the movement from writing by hand as a sculptural form, forward to typing, a process that removes irregularities and unwanted incidental marks, in which “we no longer engrave with a stick, but with a series of hammers”. Placing the gesture of writing into an historical context, he notes that the practice of typing ultimately transformed how we define writing, that is, as a conceptual gesture processed through a rigidly formed technology, a template.

The Gesture of Writing contains strikeovers and typos, and moments when the hammers glanced unevenly. Reading it (so odd in PDF form!) thus also requires care and a certain level of translation, of filling in, or working to discern the author’s intent. The text lightly abrades our reading of it, a distant echo of Flusser’s process of translating and re-translating. But his process, while arduous, was not endless:

“Theoretically I could go on translating the re-translating ‘ad nauseam’ or to my exhaustion. But practically I find that the chain of thoughts is exhausted in the process long before I myself am exhausted. Thus the process of translation and re-translation provides a criterion for the wealth of the thought to be written: the sooner the process exhausts the thought (the sooner it falls into repetition), the less worthy the thought is of being written.”

Dürer’s lithographs, inscribed and re-inscribed over centuries, are now subject to a new interpretive maneuver, moving from their 14th century European Christian context to the present day. What sort of profane texts might occupy the space intended for the sacred?

The artist looks to the role of the Jester, an ancient figure found the world over, and found in close proximity to power. Able to speak the unspeakable, the Jester claims an uneasy space of intimacy and exclusion, whether in a monarch’s court or, these days, on late night television. The Jester draws and re-draws the line between insult and adulation, using flourishes, oblique angles and sidelong curves in his speech. Jokes – like prayers – are most often spoken.


Transposing the method of the polyglot prayer book, Yoon sought out political jokes in English, Italian, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, German, Greek and Czech from friends and associates. They address classic themes such as hypocrisy, corruption and oppressive bureaucracy yet riff on the culturally specific paradoxes and absurdities of power. Certain formats – light bulb jokes, doctor jokes, and the like – repeat across nations, historical moments and regimes. Using a font developed in Dürer’s times, Yoon letter-pressed these jokes into the Terra nullius at the centre of the illuminated pages. By indexing the landscapes, forms and figures of the illustrations to the content of the jokes, new meanings are constructed. Emil Hácha, the President of Czechoslovakia during Nazi occupation, becomes a hooded monk waiting for dinner; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen as the Virgin Mary, no less, and Berlisconi becomes King David.   Bound in deep magenta, the photo-lithographs with their letterpress texts form a new volume of flagrant iconoclasms – and in the case of the Arabic scripts, near-blasphemies. Yoon’s method proposes the artist as editor, as publisher of a trans-historical, multilingual anthology, in a finely crafted limited edition.

In the gallery, in addition to the book, framed prints reproduce several two-page spreads. These particular excerpts are often in a left-page question, right-page answer format, or one printed page weights the blankness of its neighbour. In the archive area behind the exhibition space, a video records the artists’ hands turning the pages of the book. She takes care to time the page-turning correctly: in comedy timing is everything. This video of the silent reading, along with Yoon’s process of photographing and photographing the pages, as well as the framing and reframing of the letterpress jokes remind us of Flusser, translating and translating again.  From one medium to another and back again, Yoon re-works her thinking along Flusser’s chain, to the point when all possible meanings have been extracted, seeking exhaustion.

Lorna Brown
August, 2014

 DOWNLOAD| The Book of Jests, an essay by Lorna Brown.


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grunt 30th Kick Off Party!


You’re invited to grunt gallery on Thursday, August 28th for a cake-cutting event that will kick off grunt’s year-long 30th Anniversary celebrations!

The event will take place from 6:30-8:30pm at grunt gallery and in the adjoining Amenity Space. We will cut the cake at 7:15pm.

Please join us for a slice of cake and a glass of wine or iced tea. We will have refreshments for children and the party is dog friendly. Stop by to check out a slideshow of past and present art exhibitions; meet our board and staff; or take a break to socialize with your neighbors.

Artist Sola Fiedler will have her Vancouver tapestry on view in the Amenity Space. Sola produced this work in her studio at Main Space over the past few years. This monumental work is truly spectacular and representative of the important work that happens regularly in our building.

Whether you’re an old friend of grunt or a new one, we want to celebrate this momentous time with you.

There is no need to RSVP. Come one, come all, and invite your friends.

We hope to see you on August 28th as we raise a glass to 30 years of supporting Vancouver’s artist communities!

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