Free Trade Hutch

Douglas Coupland2013

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery

"The Free Trade Hutch pushes further [Coupland's] fascination with questions of duty and destination. Featuring a recreation of a 1980s California Department of Transportation sign depicting two adults and one child running hand in hand, the sign drawns attention to the question of the inequities of continental economics and the costs of free trade. Topped with five slightly different models of water towers, each representing one of the Great Lakes, Coupland's hutch draws parallels between the lawful shipment of Canadian water south to the United States and the illegal northern movement of Mexican citizens to the so-called land of opportunity." —excerpt from Michael Prokopow's essay, "Coupland's True North Strong and Free," included in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, published in 2014 by Black Dog Publishing and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Through a wide range of media including assemblage, installation, painting, photography, sculpture and quilts, Coupland has persistently investigated Canadian cultural identity, both benign and menacing. Using imagery and objects latent with symbolic meaning for Canadians, he delineates what it means to be Canadian, offering a “secret handshake” not easily understood by others.

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  • Title: Free Trade Hutch
  • Creator: Douglas Coupland
  • Date: 2013
  • Physical Dimensions: w183 x h136 x d46 cm
  • Exhibition section: Secret Handshake
  • Credit line: Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery
  • Type: sculpture
  • Medium: plywood, steel, agricultural grade cardboard, spun aluminum, glass


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