The Belkin Gallery houses archival collections complementing its collections of art and providing a resource for exhibitions, teaching, and learning, and scholarly research. Related especially to contemporary art since the 1960s, the archives include the papers of artists, art historians, and collectors, and contain material in multiple media (textual, graphic, moving image and sound), with a thematic focus on conceptual art, concrete poetry, mail art, performance art, social art history, and cultural history.
The Archives is open to all researchers by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please contact Susannah Smith, Archivist to plan your visit.
For a detailed list of holdings, please consult Memory BC:
Prominent holdings include:
Vincent Trasov was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1947. He majored in languages and humanities at the University of British Columbia in 1966 and 1968. That same year, Trasov was in invited to the former-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as an official cultural guest. During his time there, he was able to visit Moscow, Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Minsk, Kiev, Yalta and Gurzuf. At this early stage in his career, Trasov also went by the alias Vincent Blue Pants. In 1969, influenced by the work of Group Zero and Yves Klein – work that emphasized performance, repetition and chance in its making – Trasov began making more conceptual art, working with process, text and materials in his “Fire Paintings”; in 1970, he began making video work as well. In addition, Trasov assumed the identity of Mr. Peanut in 1969. Through this performance, Trasov explored ideas around persona, anthropomorphism, and contemporary mythology. With the support of the arts community, Trasov ran for mayor in 1974 as Mr. Peanut on an art platform: P for Performance, E for Elegance, A for Art, N for Nonsense, U for Uniqueness, and T for Talent. He ultimately received five percent of the vote.
The year previous to his mayoral candidacy, Trasov co-founded the Western Front Society and served as co-director until 1980. His work is included in collections both in Canada and internationally. Like Michael Morris, Trasov has participated in the Berlin Kustlerprogramm (1981) and the artist-in-residence program at the Banff Centre (1990). As a marker of his artistic influence, he was selected by the Vancouver Sun as one of the top one hundred British Columbians who shaped the province over the past century (1999). He currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia and Berlin, Germany.
For further information please contact: Susannah Smith at email@example.com,
tel: (604) 822-2001, or fax: (604) 822-6689