The Or Gallery is a non-profit artist run centre based in Vancouver, Canada. The gallery is run by a paid Director/Curator and a voluntary Board of Directors. The Director/Curator of the Or is an appointed working artist who is hired for a limited time. Each Director changes the focus of the programming creating exhibitions, publications and events that examine a diverse range of artists and ideas. These appointments along with guest curators permit the gallery to place an emphasis on the discursive structures of the environments that art is created in. Regardless of the Director/Curator the Or Gallery maintains a commitment to contemporary art that is challenging and experimental. The gallery supports and exhibits artists whose work is critically, issue, and/or conceptually based.
The Or Gallery was established in 1983 by Vancouver artist Laiwan in a storefront space on Franklin Street in East Vancouver. The gallery space has changed a few times with the most recent move in 2008 to the Or's current location on Hamilton Street in Downtown Vancouver.
Since 1983 the Or Gallery has provided exhibition space for close to 300 artists in including Francis Alÿs, Phil Collins, Martin Creed, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Germaine Koh, Barbara Kruger, Jeff Wall, Jennifer Weih, Antonia Hirsch, Isabelle Pauwels and Lawrence Weiner. Since its establishment the Or Gallery has tried to exhibit works that address issues in the community from Phillppe Raphanel's 1991 exhibit, Lip Synch, whose abstract paintings call into question the foundations of landscape painting in British Columbia to a 2009 group exhibition, The Wild So Close, which examines sites of leisure and recreation in light of the upcoming Vancouver Olympics. The exhibition included work from Tacita Dean, Leslie Grant and Al Bersch, Jason Hendrickson, David Horvitz, and Donald Lawrence.
Between June 27 to August 1, 2009, The Or Gallery hosted Science Fiction 01, a focus on the speculative and social aspects of science fiction. It featured artists Brady Cranfield, Robert Filliou, and Holly Ward. Science Fiction 01 is the first of roughly 88 science fiction-related exhibitions planned for the Or Gallery over the course of the next 260 years.
In 2010, The Or Gallery opened a Berlin satellite gallery located on Oraniaenstrasse 37 in Berlin-Kreuzberg . The inaugural exhibition was Marina Roy's What’s Pushed Out the Door Comes Back Through the Window. The show featured a variety of media including painting, animation, drawing and sculpture.
In 2011, The Or Gallery published a new edition of The Vancouver Anthology, a selection of essays regarding art and politics in the city, first published in 1990. Writers that contributed to this book include Keith Wallace, Sara Diamond, Nancy Shaw, Maria Insell, William Wood, Carol Williams, Robin Peck, Robert Linsley, Scott Watson, and Marcia Crosby.
The essays documented a range of Vancouver cultural practices, including the emergence of artist-run centres, experimental performance and video, feminist activity, collaboration, sculpture, painting, art criticism, conceptual art and landscape, as well as critical reflections on perceptions of aboriginal cultures.
- Food For Thought, Sara Edmunds, 2004 p.5
- Collins, Allison; ARCLines: Or Gallery as it Began, http://arcpost.ca/articles/or-gallery
- Lip Synch, Exhibition Archive, Or Gallery, 1991 <http://www.orgallery.org/philippe-raphanel-lip-sync-june-18-july-13-1991>
- The Wild So Close, Exhibition Archive Or Gallery, 2009 <http://www.orgallery.org/the-wild-so-close>
- Flash Art (International Edition), v.41 (January/February 2008) p.96-97
- The Vancouver Anthology<http://www.orgallery.org/publications>