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Cabin Fever

Bruce Grenville, Jennifer M. Volland, Stephanie Rebick
400+ full colour
170 x 236mm
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Cabin Fever traces the course of the cabin in Canada and the United States—from the simple architecture of colonial settlements to contemporary interpretations feverishly circulated across the Internet—showing how this humble architectural form has been appropriated for its symbolic value and helped shape a larger cultural identity. The title is borrowed from the idiomatic expression for an anxious state of mind resulting from a prolonged stay in a remote or confined place. But it also plays upon the more consumer-driven definition of “fever:” a contagious, usually transient, fascination with an object of desire.

Building structures like the ones at home, living in exactly the same manner, must also have been a way to master their fear of the unknown, not to be overwhelmed by it, a way to make the unfamiliar seem familiar.

Karl Ove Knausgaard, "My Saga—Part 1" included in Cabin Fever

Acknowledging the pervasive influence of this typology, Cabin Fever offers a historical survey of the cabin in North America over the past three centuries. Heavily illustrated, it is composed of a selection of notable literature, excerpted texts and iconic images that chronicle the long history of writing and visual documentation of the cabin. The publication follows a tripartite structure—Shelter, Utopia and Porn—that maps the formal evolution of the cabin typology within a changing set of social and cultural desires. Additional content includes a typological narrative of twenty selected buildings that collectively trace the development of the cabin from rudimentary shelter to technologically sophisticated retreat and a survey of art that recognizes the cabin as a subject with enduring and complex connotations. Highlights of Cabin Fever include the work and writings of Edward Abbey, Margaret Atwood, James Benning, W.E.B. DuBois, Walker Evans, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorothea Lange, Michael Pollan, Rudolph Schindler, Julius Shulman, and Henry David Thoreau, among many others.

  1. Bruce Grenville

    is Senior Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. His subjects range from architecture and design to new media, robotics, anime, manga, graphic novels, and video games. During his tenure at the VAG, Grenville has been responsible for curating or co-curating a range of exhibitions, including Cabin Fever, MashUp, Grand Hotel, KRAZY, Home and Away, The Uncanny, and Massive Change: The Future of Global Design. He has also organized numerous solo exhibitions by local, national, and international artists such as Stan Douglas, Janet Cardiff, Carol Sawyer, Michael Lin, Fiona Tan, Franz West, Wang Du, Gathie Falk, Dominique Blain, Arnaud Maggs, Christos Dikeakos, Ruth Cuthand, Mary Scop, and Jack Goldstein. He is the author of numerous exhibition catalogues, essays, feature articles, and review. Grenville holds a B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in Art History from Queen’s University at Kingston.

  2. Jennifer M. Volland

    is an independent curator and writer based in Southern California. Since 2014, she has been researching the life of ceramicist Edith Heath; in addition to her editorial role on Edith Heath: Philosophies, she served as the consulting producer on the award-winning documentary Heath Ceramics: The Making of a California Classic (KCET Artbound, 2019) and is the consulting curator on Edith Heath: A Life in Clay (Oakland Museum of California, 2020). Her past projects include Cabin Fever (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2018), Frank Bros.: The Store That Modernized Modern (University Art Museum at CSULB, 2017), and Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013). She received her Master of Arts in Architecture from UCLA.

  3. Stephanie Rebick

    is the Director of Publishing and Content Strategy at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Stephanie has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including Fashion Fictions; Where do we go from here?; Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia; Robert Rauschenberg 1965– 1980; Out of Sight; Guo Pei: Couture Beyond; Cabin Fever; MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture; and Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life. She has contributed to a number of publications including KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art; Visceral Bodies; Unreal; Grand Hotel; and MashUp. Most recently she has edited volumes on the work of Jan Wade and Omer Arbel. Her curatorial interests include visual culture, new media, and the intersection of craft, design and contemporary art.

Co-published with the Vancouver Art Gallery.

  1. Cabin Fever
    $55 $44

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