From top to bottom, left to right: Diana Freundl, photo by Scott Little; James Lingwood; Mara Gladstone, photo by Caroline Gomez; Emmy Lee Wall, photo by Rachel Topham Photography.

From top to bottom, left to right: Diana Freundl, photo by Scott Little; James Lingwood; Mara Gladstone, photo by Caroline Gomez; Emmy Lee Wall, photo by Rachel Topham Photography.

Panel Discussion

The Role of Public Art: A Panel Discussion with Diana Freundl, Mara Gladstone, James Lingwood, and Emmy Lee Wall


Admission FREE
Zoom Webinar
Registration Required
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Please note the event is listed in Pacific Standard Time

On April 1, 2021, seven billboards along the Arbutus Greenway displaying artwork by Vancouver-based artist Steven Shearer were covered up. This decision was made by Pattison Outdoor in response to public complaints. These billboards were installed two days prior on March 30, 2021, and were originally intended to be exhibited until May 21, 2021, as part of the 2021 Capture Photography Festival.

In response to this incident, Capture is hosting a panel discussion with Diana Freundl, Interim Chief Curator/Associate Director, Vancouver Art Gallery, Mara Gladstone, Director of Public Programs and Interpretation, Desert X, and James Lingwood, Co-Director, Artangel, and Emmy Lee Wall, Executive Director, Capture Photography Festival.

This panel discussion will explore some of the questions that the covering up of Shearer’s billboards have provoked around the role of public art, how we can balance individual’s concerns with artistic freedom, the ways in which we might engage in meaningful, constructive dialogue around images that make us uncomfortable, and the methods by which we can make contemporary art more accessible to those who might not regularly engage with it.

Presented by Capture Photography Festival in partnership with Artangel, Desert X, the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Generously supported by the Audain Foundation.


Diana Freundl is Interim Chief Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery where she has curated exhibitions with a focus on Asian art including Moving Still: Performative Photography, 2019 in India; Pacific Crossings: Hong Kong Artists in Vancouver, 2017; Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art, 2015 and major retrospectives Sun Xun: Mythological Time, 2020; Howie Tsui: Retainers of Anarchy, 2017; and Bharti Kher: Matter, 2016. She has been the curator of the Gallery’s public art space, Offsite, since 2013 and has commissioned several location-specific installations from artists including MadeIn Company, Reena Saini Kallat, Tsang Kinwah, Asim Waqif, Polit-Sheer-Form-Office and Sanaz Mazinani among others. Freundl was living and working in mainland China and Taiwan from 1998 to 2013. She studied at the Tsinghua University, Academy of Art and Design in Beijing and has an academic background in comparative religion, philosophy, and graduate studies in journalism. She is Executive Editor of Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Mara Gladstone has worked in the arts for two decades as an educator, curator, producer and fundraiser at Desert X, Palm Springs Art Museum, J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has served as a member of the Public Arts Commission in Palm Springs, California since 2014, and is on the board of the Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism, which publishes X-TRA magazine. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and a B.A. from Brown University.

James Lingwood has been Co-Director of Artangel with Michael Morris since 1991.

Amongst almost 150 Artangel projects produced over the past 30 years are Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993-94), Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 4 (1995), Ilya & Emilia Kabakov’s The Palace of Projects (1999), Michael Landy’s Break Down (2001), Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave (2001), Francis Alÿs’s Seven Walks (2005), Roni Horn’s Library of Water in Iceland (2007-ongoing) Roger Hiorns’ Seizure (2008-9), Susan Philipsz’s Surround Me (2010), Heiner Goebbels’ Stifter’s Dinge (2010-12), Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead in Detroit (2010-ongoing) Ryoji Ikeda’s spectra (2014), INSIDE: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison (2016), Taryn Simon’s An Occupation of Loss (2018), Elizabeth Price’s SLOW DANS (2019) and Steve McQueen’s Year 3 project across London (2019-20), together with Tate and A New Direction.

Lingwood has curated exhibitions in museums around the world including surveys of the work of Vija Celmins, Douglas Gordon, Susan Hiller, Juan Muñoz, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth and Thomas Schütte.    Recent exhibitions include Richard Hamilton – Serial Obsessions for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea,(2017-18); and Luigi Ghirri –The Map and The Territory; Photographs from the 1970s for Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Folkwang Museum, Essen and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2018-20).

Emmy Lee Wall is Executive Director of Capture Photography Festival where she oversees all strategic, programming and editorial initiatives, having previously served on Capture’s Board of Directors. Since her tenure at Capture in 2019, she has curated projects with a diverse range of lens-based artists including Vikky Alexander, Elisabeth Belliveau, Krystle Coughlin Silverfox, Moyra Davey, Christopher Lacroix, Meryl McMaster, Zinnia Naqvi, Steven Shearer, and Elizabeth Zvonar. Prior to her role with Capture, Wall was part of the curatorial team at the Vancouver Art Gallery where she researched and coordinated the acquisition of more than 2500 works of art to the Gallery’s permanent collection. She also curated the Vancouver Art Gallery’s presentation of Site Unseen (2018) and Andrew Dadson: Over the Sun (2015) and co-curated The Metamorphosis (2018); The Poetics of Space (2015); Michael Lin: A Modest Veil (2010); and The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social (2008). Wall also played an integral role in several other major exhibitions including Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum (2009); The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art (2011); and Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything (2014). She served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Art Foundation from 2020-21.

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