Release: Museum of Vancouver – Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver

Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver: An exhibition on Vancouver’s love/hate relationship with neon signs

Explore Vancouver’s gritty, urban past at the Museum of Vancouver’s(MOV) upcoming feature exhibition, Neon Vancouver/Ugly Vancouver. Opening October 13, 2011 Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver presents a fascinating look at the rapid growth of neon signs throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, and the visual purity crusade that virtually banished them
from Vancouver streets.

“The exhibition raises interesting questions about how we collectively construct the way our city is portrayed,” says Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver curator, Joan Seidl, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at MOV. “There was a real push in the 60s and 70s to redefine Vancouver as a green, natural space. While we may love neon today, there was a real outcry against neon signs, which represented a more industrial, urban city.”

“We’re being led by the nose into a hideous jungle of signs. They’re outsized, outlandish, and outrageous. They’re desecrating our buildings, cluttering our streets, and — this is the final indignity — blocking our view of some of the greatest scenery in the world.”

‐ Tom Ardies, “Let’s Wake Up from Our Neon Nightmare,” Vancouver Sun, 1966

Curated by Joan Seidl and designed by Resolve Design, Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver reaches into the riches of MOV’s historic neon collection to resurrect some of the city’s former sign magic. Signs on display show the lost art of neon, and include long‐time favourites like the Regent Tailors, Owl Drug, and the Drake Hotel, complimented by recently acquired signs such as
Clark’s Beauty Salon (Main Street) and the Blue Eagle Café (East Hastings Street). Visitors can also enjoy the Smiling Buddha in the History Galleries. This gritty, urban side of Vancouver’s past is also explored through the photography of Walter Griba, on public display for the first time.

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, MOV presents the Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver Opening Party at 7:00 pm to members and special guests. To purchase a membership or find more information about the exhibition, visit the MoV website.