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Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971

Stan Douglas
Arsenal Pulp Press
21.8 × 26.7 cm
114 pp
Criticism, Canadian, Politics, Photography, Contemporary Art

Stan Douglas: Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, an art book on the politics of urban conflict, is based on the work of Stan Douglas, one of Canada’s most revered contemporary artists. His film and video installations, photographs, and other works use the conventions of cinema, music, and literature to construct historical and cultural narratives, many of which are grounded in the story of Vancouver, his hometown.

The book’s eponymous image is a 30 × 50-foot translucent photo mural on tempered glass installed in the atrium of the new Woodward’s complex in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, in the heart of Canada’s poorest neighbourhood. The image depicts the aftermath of an actual violent confrontation between police and the city’s counterculture in what came to be known as the Gastown Riot, during which uniformed and undercover police officers attacked a peaceful “smoke-in” protest organized to oppose police narcotics agents’ attempts to infiltrate the city’s marijuana-smoking community. This book takes the riot, and Douglas’s work, as points of departure to discuss the legacy and implications of this tumultuous time, not only for Vancouver but for all urban centres where dissent and conflict based on class, lifestyle, or other issues arise, and where the role of authorities is contested in the form of public demonstration.

The book also contains five essays, whose esteemed writers bring together expertise on cinema, urban geography, modern art, conceptual art, mass media, and the history of the 1960s and ’70s to bear on Douglas’s work, as well as other images from Douglas’s “Crowds & Riots” series and archival photographs from 1971.

Includes essays by Alexander Alberro, Nora Alter, Serge Guilbaut, Sven Lutticken, and Jesse Proudfoot.

  1. Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971

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