Fonds - PUMPS fonds

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PUMPS fonds

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  • 1975-1980 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

23 cm of graphic material and textual records

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Biographical history

"PUMPS Centre for the Arts" opened in 1975 in a building previously occupied by the "Pumps and Power" company, on East Cordova St. in the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver. Its founders included Kim Tomczak, Rick Hambleton, Sandra Janz, Chris Reed, David Larson, John Mitchell, and other former members of the Downtown Artists Association, which had formed in 1974. Emerging from the tradition of communal activity and performance associated with Intermedia and the Western Front, with whom they existed cooperatively, PUMPS nonetheless operated on a somewhat different wavelength than its predecessors. Determined to act as a more oppositional force in the art world and society, and to reach a wider audience, it was more closely aligned with the urban, edginess of the punk rock scene. In 1976, PUMPS began to function as an artists' resource centre, with studios, residences, a library, and a sizable gallery devoted to exhibitions, screenings and performances by its members and other guest artists. With no specific curatorial policy, the gallery was instead committed to exhibiting the work of younger artists in the downtown core. Eventually, the group developed facilities for the creation of music, film and video productions, fostering the collaboration of artists on multidisciplinary projects. Notable endeavors included Gordon Kidd's experimental film series in 1977, as well as various exhibitions of multimedia and performance art by Roy Kiyooka, Eric Metcalfe, Robert Young, Roy Arden, Hank Bull, and others. Sustained almost entirely by membership support, artists had to function cooperatively to assist in the maintenance of the gallery and other facilities, and the advertising and promotion of their activities. In 1980, cuts in Canada Council funding placed increased financial strain on the collective. Furthermore, critical founding members Tomczak, Janz and Reed viewed the project as "a five-year experiment" which had accomplished all it could within the framework and locality in which they were functioning. When they left Vancouver to pursue other projects in 1980, PUMPS ceased its operations.

Custodial history

The records have remained in the custody of three former PUMPS directors: Sandra Janz, Christopher Reed, and Kim Tomczak since 1980. A first accrual was transferred to the Belkin Archives in 2003 and a second accrual in August 2004. The material remains at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery on extended loan.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of material documenting and advertising events at PUMPS, and to some extent the private lives of those living and working in the space. Material includes slides, photographs, cards, leaflets and posters, and other textual material.

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BCAUL control number: MHB-12

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