grunt gallery Programming Archive

Fonds/Collection, C001



after 1984

Scope and Content

grunt gallery's Programming Archive contains documentation and related ephemera of grunt gallery's exhibitions, performances, publications, discursive events, screenings, gatherings, and other projects, as well as partnership programming, since the gallery's inception in 1984. This material primarily originates from, but is not limited to, the gallery's location in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ/selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. At present this includes 9 meters of textual and photographic records, ca. 500 videotapes and ca. 1 terabyte of born-digital material. The collection acquires new material and digitizes holdings ongoing. The collection's scope is limited by two principle factors:

Material should pertain directly to programming or artists presented or supported by grunt gallery. Material related to these artists that is not associated with grunt programming is also collected, however it should be noted grunt does not maintain comprehensive artist files. 

The programming archive generally does not collect works of art in their original form. 

For more information on the Programming Archive collection, give feedback, set up a visit, or inquire about donating material please contact archives (at) grunt (dot) ca.

Administrative/Biographical History

Since the inception of grunt gallery in 1984, the organization has documented its programming activities and informally collected publications, promotional materials, administrative documents, artists' proposals, and other materials. This activity was conducted by members of the founding artist collective: Glenn Alteen, Kempton Dexter, Danielle Peacock, Susan MacKinley, Garry Ross, Dawn Richards, Billy Gene Wallace, Hillary Wood, and Daniel Olson. The gallery's early core membership also included folks such as Merle Addison, Pat Beaton, Aiyyana Maracle, Gary Ouimet, Haruko Okano, David Asmodeus, Donna Hagerman, and Mike MacDonald, many of whom were instrumental in photographing and video recording gallery programming. Founding director Glenn Alteen became the de facto keeper of this material, his foresight in doing so enabling the formal arrangement of our archive in the years to come. 

In the late 1990s artist and curator Brice Canyon began working with the collection to reflect the organization's programming narrative, part of his larger practice of local art chronology that included a timeline of performance art in Vancouver that was published in the anthology LIVE at the End of the Century : Aspects of Performance Art in Vancouver. Canyon's research and archival work at grunt and beyond remain a critical link for Vancouver's contemporary art scene to its past, particularly for many marginalized and non-mainstream artists. Canyon's work with the physical collection was sustained by Venge Dixon, who catalogued video material and supported the continuity of knowledge and workflows through the early 2000s.  

Beginning with the production of artist CD-ROMs and nascent websites in the 90s, grunt gallery's exploration of digital media and spaces, lead by Jay Thompson, Archer Pechawis, and Glenn Alteen, was in full swing by the late 2000s. grunt embarked on its first major digital archives initiative, Activating the Archivein 2010. Funded by Heritage Canada, this sprawling project engaged a team of artists, curators, writers, technicians, librarians, archivists, web developers, students, and volunteers in the creation of six thematic websites exploring the Programming Archive, the beginnings of an comprehensive online database, and the digitization of thousands of records. Launched in 2012, this project espoused an ethos that remains core to the operation of our archive today: that our work not only serve the preservation of our collection, but also the research, reactivations, disruptions, criticism, and curiosity of our audience, whose perspectives continuously find new meaning, connections, and vitality in our past programming. 

Following this project, Program Director Glenn Alteen worked to integrate the archive into grunt's larger programming and strategic plans. Recognizing the importance of continuity to the sustainability of the archive and the gallery's legacy, and in response to the challenges of supporting archival development through traditional funding sources, Alteen and Operations Director Meagan Kus integrated the archive into grunt's core operations and budget, creating the permanent staff position of Archives Manager. 

Since then, the archive has largely been stewarded by librarian and Archives Manager Dan Pon, who has focused on consolidating and updating metadata and workflow standards, object digitization, educational outreach, support for artists working with archives, collaborative public programming, and enhancing the visibility and accessibility of the collection online. This work is indebted to the support of numerous contractors, interns, and volunteers including Archer Pechawis, Olga Alexandru, Jessica Mach, Jessica Fletcher, Steven Tong, Brian Gotro, Kim Tomczak, Kay Slater, Keimi Nakashima-Ochoa, Jamie Loh, Dustyn Krasowski-Olmstead, Kira Saragih, Yuko Fedrau, Fiorela Argueta, Syr Reifsteck, Kiku Hawkes, Audrey MacDonald, Clare Finegan, Alexandra Alisauskas, and many others. 

For our rich visual record we give thanks to all the documentarians we have worked with, notably photographers Merle Addison, David Asmodeus, Donna Hagerman, Henri Robideau, and Dennis Ha, as well as videographers Mike MacDonald, Paul Wong, Joe Sarahan, Elaine Moyah, Jay Thompson, and Sebnem Ozpeta.

Our archive and archival practice is an active component of grunt’s programming strategy thanks to curatorial staff like Glenn Alteen, Aiyyana Maracle, Archer Pechawis, Daina Warren, Tania Willard, Tarah Hogue, Vanessa Kwan, Whess Harman, and others, as well as board members and other supporters such as Laiwan, David Khang, and Colin Browne.

The archive could not exist without strong administrative support from Hillary Wood, Aiyyana Maracle, Daina Warren, Linda Gorrie, Mary Ann Anderson, Demian Petryshyn, Meagan Kus, Karlene Harvey, Leena Minifie, Katrina Orlowski, and many others.

Over the past 30 years, grunt gallery's Programming Archive has developed a local and international following and is of special interest to folks researching the stories of Indigenous artists working in contemporary practice, artists of colour and their lived experience, Queer and intersectional performance practices, and much more. We strive to always make this collection more accessible and responsive, while continuing to care for the work of artists beyond the time of their projects at grunt. 

Programs (741)
Artists (1013)
Curators (102)