Vancouver’s art-punk underground remembered

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When environmentalist, arts sparkplug, and videographer Lenore “Doreen Grey” Herb died in 2010, she left behind a vast archive of punk- and poetry-related footage and ephemera, most of which had never been exhibited. Now the interested public can dip into her still largely unexplored holdings, by checking out the Satellite Gallery’s (E)Merging Art/Music/Poetry: the Vancouver Artpunk Archive of Doreen Grey.

The video component of the show, which runs at the former A&B Sound location until January 18, includes footage of shamanic poet bill bissett and punk icons the Subhumans, but according to curator Jaime Clay, it’s skewed towards clips from Vancouver’s hitherto unrecognized art-punk underground.

“For this particular show, I sat down and I thought ‘What is extremely unique that hasn’t been seen before?’” he explains. “There was a film that came out three or four years ago, Bloodied but Unbowed, that was sort of a wrap-up of the punk scene in Vancouver, but it wasn’t enough, and Lenore knew that film wasn’t enough. A lot of the art-punk bands weren’t well represented—bands such as AKA and Tunnel Canary and, well, the list goes on.”

(E)Merging Art/Music/Poetry is part of an ongoing attempt to find a permanent home for Herb’s archives. “The archives should go to an institute,” says Clay. “We’re hoping that an angel steps forward and waves their magic wand and says ‘Okay, I’ll take care of this,’ but that’s probably not going to happen. Ultimately, though, we’d like to see them kept together, not be broken up into bits and pieces here and that. They should become a real archive, which would be a huge resource.”

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