Visiting the Audain Art Museum

If you’ve never been to Whistler, B.C. or haven’t been in a while, The Audain Art Museum is a whole new reason to visit. Architecturally, it’s a brilliant work of art built amongst trees amongst Whistler’s giant parking lots. The artwork by well known First Nations and other Canadian artists are wonderful to behold. It took about an hour or so to visit but we’d have spent longer if we hadn’t bumped up against closing time.

The museum was designed by Patkau Architects. It’s nestled in just enough trees that weren’t cut down for parking to feel like you’re in the woods. It seemed to me a masterpiece of contemporary museum design.

Since lift tickets in Whistler are now $156 CAD daily, I wouldn’t blame you if you just want to browse the museum’s works online. I’m impressed that all of them are offered freely here. Open individual works to see larger photos and more detail about the artist.

I’m not very familiar with the Canadian artists showcased within the museum but found their work to be quite brilliant. The sculpture work is stunning and many of the paintings are beautiful.

The museum features work by anonymous historical creators, and more recent named artists including Emily Carr, Edward John, Bill Reid, Graham Gilmore, Shawn Hunt, Marianne Nicolson and many more.

Besides The Audain, there’s also Whistler’s Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre which I hope to visit later this year.

Examples of Architecture

Here’s a few photos of the building (more here):

Audain Museum Entrance

Entrance to the Audain Museum (see also this end shot)

I love the integration of the “forest” with the building architecture.

audain museum architecture

Hallway Audain Museum

Audain Museum Architecture

Outdoor ceiling Audain Museum

Favorites from the Audain Museum

Here are some of my favorite art from the visit, but feel free to browse my photos of the Audain gallery:

emily carr the path

Emily Carr, The Path (learn more)

The masks at the Audain gallery seemed alive in a way I haven’t experienced at other museums.

Bear Mask Tsimshian

Bear Mask, Tsimshian artist (learn more)

Bill Reid Killer Whale

Killer Whale, Bill Reid (learn more)

Killer Whale Marianne Nicholson

Killer Whale, Marianne Nicholson (learn more)

Graham Gilmore Ploy

Ploy, Graham Gilmore (learn more)

I loved these two by Shawn Hunt who is the current exhibition artist at Audain:

This is an animatronic transformation mask by Hunt in partnership with Microsoft. As the viewer steps into the mask, it awakes and the sides and jaw open. It integrates a Microsoft Hololens experience which the viewer sees on a platform in front of the mask.

Transformation Mask Shawn Hunt

Transformation Mask, Shawn Hunt (see it closed)

Learn more about the mask.

Again, please check out all my photos from the visit at Lookahead Photos.

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Try scheduling a meeting with his new startup Meeting Planner (https://meetingplanner.io), simpler, faster scheduling for work or play and read his series about building it). Follow @reifman on Twitter.