Distant Early Warning

The iconic rooftop bar at Park Hyatt, and the literary legends who spent time in the space, inspired Coupland’s works that pay homage to Canadian history. The overriding message of the piece is Distant Early Warning. Canada's prophetic media theorist, Marshall McLuhan, saw the Cold War's DEW Line as a geopolitical reality and a metaphor for Canada's role as a canary in the Western ontological coal mine. Canada is surprisingly good at finding things first, yet it's too modest ever to say that out loud. I think the writers in Donato's caricatures, and the writers who appear in my triptych pieces, can all be seen as thinkers who saw signals coming from far in the distance and who put out some warning signal in response. Seventy-five paperbacks and hardcovers from the caricatured writers were used to create this piece, most of them from the 1970s. CanLit covers from that period were quite strange, using muddy colours and typography that challenged the reader to read the book despite its cover. Coupland rehabilitated old book covers by formatting them inside the same era's typographical reality of jazz album covers. The 1970s were a happy, doctrinaire moment in Canadian writing history.

36" x 36" each
Canvas / Acid-Free Watercolour Paper and Epoxy Resin Triptych
About the Artist

Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland is a graduate of Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, as well as the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Japan. He also attended the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy. His work has been the subject of two major museum retrospectives: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Bit Rot at Rotterdam's Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Munich's Villa Stuck.

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