Last Chance to See Outdoor Masterpieces of the Vancouver Biennale

It’s going to be sad to see them go.  Some incredible outdoor sculptures – which have graced Vancouver’s streets and parks for the last two years – are set to be packed up and shipped off soon, with the pending close of the Vancouver Biennale.  The two-year long sculpture exhibit brought world-class outdoor art from around the world to the city, from the big laughing faces at Davie and Denman (A-mazing Laughter) to the huge engagement rings on Sunset Beach (Engagement).

But don’t get too teary-eyed about the imminent departures.  The next installment of the Biennale begins in June 2013 and lasts for another two years.  And Biennale organizers are holding a gala fundraising dinner and auction on April 30 in an effort to raise money to keep at least some of the existing sculptures in the city (And they’re not exactly cheap: A-mazing Laughter retails for $5 million . . . . Who’s laughing now?).

It’s not too late to enjoy these sculptures before they’re gone.  In all, 33 separate pieces make up the exhibit, scattered around Vancouver and Richmond.  In addition to the examples mentioned above, here are five highlights that are definitely worth a second look (Complete descriptions and a handy map are available on the Biennale website):

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Freezing Water #7:  This really cool sculpture of a giant droplet of water is perched above the waterfront at Vanier Park.  It’s a brilliant silver colour and seems to defy gravity.


Photo credit: Chris.Huggins on Flickr

217.15 Arcs x 13:  These rusted metal ribs are partially buried in the sands of Sunset Beach.  They look – depending on my mood – like the hull of an old ship or the ribs of a giant beached whale and seem to say a lot about Vancouver’s balance of nature and industry.


Meeting:  A circle of life-size bright-red monks squats in the grass of Cardero Park, at the instersection of Cardero Street and Coal Harbour Quay.   There’s obviously a strong political statement being made here – Exactly what it is is open to debate.


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Artificial Rock #143:  This giant, bright silver meteorite-type thing has been puzzling passers-by at the City Centre CanadaLine Station on Granville Street for years now.  It’s very popular for climbing and taking pictures on.  It seems amazingly graffiti-resistant.


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Cabeza Vainilla, Cabeza Cordoba, Cabeza Chiapas:  I’m not sure what the deal with these enormous decapitated heads scattered around the Lansdowne CanadaLine Station in Richmond is.  But they’re scary, make great photographs and make me think of the fall of great civilizations.

Anybody else have favourite Biennale sculptures?  Please share your feedback below.

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