Sophie Hackett by Luis Mora

Grant Arnold by by Sylvia Roberts

Sophie Hackett by Luis Mora

Grant Arnold by by Sylvia Roberts


Speaker Series

Speaker Series | Grant Arnold and Sophie Hackett on works from Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft


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Please join Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art and Sophie Hackett, Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in conversation on the selection of works from Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft.

Described as “erudite, serious and passionate collectors,” Andrew Gruft (1937 – 2021) and his partner, Claudia Beck, played a crucial role as collectors, critics, patrons, boosters and curators in Vancouver’s art community for almost fifty years. From 1976 to 1982, they ran NOVA Gallery, an influential commercial gallery that specialized in photography and was a nexus for artists, collectors and curators. During its run, NOVA staged a number of important exhibitions of contemporary, modern and historical photographs and was widely known as the first gallery to exhibit the groundbreaking lightboxes of celebrated Vancouver photographer Jeff Wall. After NOVA closed in 1982, Gruft and Beck continued to actively collect art and donate work to the Vancouver Art Gallery, up until Gruft’s passing in September 2021. The Gallery’s 2004 acquisition of almost four hundred photographs from the Beck/Gruft Collection – most of them as gifts – marked a radical shift in its collection. Prior to that time, the Gallery’s holdings included little in the way of historical and modern photography; with the addition of these works, it became a photography collection of international significance overnight. This significance grew over the following years through regular donations by Gruft and Beck. Their extraordinary generosity, intelligence and passion will play an important role in the Gallery’s programs for decades to come.

Co-presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the 2022 Capture Speaker Series and generously supported by Claudia Beck. 

Everything Under the Sun: In Memory of Andrew Gruft is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.


Grant Arnold is Audain Curator of British Columbia Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he contributes to the exhibition program and development of the collection. Recent exhibition projects include Rapture, Rhythm and the Tree of Life: Emily Carr and Her Female Contemporaries; Mowry Baden; Dana Claxton: Fringing the Cube; Kevin Schmidt: We Are the Robots; Pictures From Here; Susan Point: Spindle Whorl (with Ian M. Thom); Stephen Waddell: Dark Matter Atlas; Harry Callahan: The Street; Jerry Pethick: Shooting the Sun/Splitting the Pie; Residue: The Persistence of the Real; Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie: Wood Chopper and the Monkey; Myfanwy MacLeod, or There and Back Again (with Cassandra Getty); In Dialogue with Carr – Gareth Moore: Allochthonous Window; and SPIRITLANDS: (t)HERE Marian Penner Bancroft Selected Photo Works 1975–2000. Arnold has contributed essays to a number of publications and has lectured on historical and contemporary art at a variety of conferences and institutions. He received his M.A. in art history from the University of British Columbia in 1996, after studying at the University of Saskatchewan and the Banff School of Fine Arts.

Sophie Hackett is the Curator, Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and adjunct faculty in Ryerson University’s master’s program in Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management. Hackett’s areas of specialty include vernacular photographs; photography in relation to queerness; and photography in Canada from the1960s to the 1990s. Her curatorial projects include Barbara Kruger: Untitled (It) (2010); Max Dean: Album, A Public Project (2012); What It Means To be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility and Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography (2014); Introducing Suzy Lake (2014); Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s (2016); Anthropocene: Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier (2018) and Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956–1971 (2020). Hackett was a 2017 Fellow with the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

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