Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library July 25, 2012


Vancouver artist Ken Lum taking teaching job in Philadelphia. “Ken Lum, the Vancouver-born artist whose work is closely associated with the city, has left for Philadelphia, and a position at an Ivy League university. Lum, 56, has been named director of the Undergraduate Fine Arts program at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and will begin teaching as full professor in September.” Globe & Mail, July 23, 2012

Overlooked artist gets his due. Henry Speck was a much admired Kwakwaka’wakw artist and hereditary chief who died in 1971. More than 40 years after his death, he’s receiving his first solo show at a public institution at Satellite Gallery in Vancouver. Vancouver Sun, July 21, 2012

‘A-maze-ing’ gift keeps statues in public eye. Billionaire Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his wife Shannon have donated $1.5 million to buy the popular A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture, the non-profit group Vancouver Biennale announced today. Vancouver Sun, July 24, 2012


Art with an edge “A powerful new exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery that features challenging work by some of the West’s greatest artists – including a set of acerbic etchings by Picasso – is both disturbing and fascinating.” Kelowna Courier, July 20, 2012


Acclaimed Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook pregnant and homeless, living on the street in Ottawa. “One of Canada’s pre-eminent Inuit artists, a woman whose work has earned huge acclaim in Europe and the U.S., spends her time on Rideau Street these days, peddling her pencil-crayon drawings to passersby for cigarette money.” Ottawa Citizen, July 22, 2012

Emotion is in the details. “Vincent van Gogh’s exquisite portrayals of nature can move people to tears.” Montreal Gazette, July 20, 2012

The Patrick John Mills Gallery is in trouble, but don’t blame city hall. “Ottawa told Mills he must run his gallery within the bylaws for a home-based business, which is what’s permitted within the zoning of his residential neighbourhood — and which Mills knew, or should have known, when he set up shop.” Ottawa Citizen, July 20, 2012


A Spectre emerges from Montreal’s Zoo. “David Altmejd’s new work Le Spectre et la Main pushes wonder to the max. The piece combines many of Altmejd’s signature materials – plexiglas, coloured thread, epoxy clay – and displays his penchant for building up and pulling apart form simultaneously.” Globe & Mail, July 20, 2012

Los Angeles

A Los Angeles Museum on Life-Support. “For his part Mr. Deitch has to become a real museum director. He has to stop organizing exhibitions — in part to create more of a firewall between his new job and his previous identity. He has to hone his fund-raising skills and hire and cultivate curators, including, as The Los Angeles Times said in an editorial on Friday, a new chief curator — which of course will take money.” The New York Times, July 22, 2012


The push for a millage: Detroit Institute of Arts’ past puts its future in jeopardy “If passed in all three counties, the millage would funnel an estimated $23 million a year to the DIA. In return, the museum has promised free admission for residents of counties that approve the tax, as well as extended hours and additional education and community programs.” Detroit Free Press, July 23, 2012

New York

Herbert Vogel, Fabled Art Collector, Dies at 89. New York City teems with questionable urban legends. But the fable about the postal clerk and his wife, a Brooklyn librarian, scrimping to amass an astounding collection of modern art, cramming all 5,000 pieces in a rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment, then donating the whole kit and caboodle to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and galleries in all 50 states, is true. The New York Times, July 23, 2012


Corcoran Gallery: Why don’t donors give? “The Corcoran’s woes are deep, complicated and decades old, but [one member’s] experience distills the essence of the problem: At critical moments, the gallery has repeatedly failed to make its own best case to even its best friends.” The Washington Post, July 20, 2012


Rodin Museum next door to the Barnes but a world apart in approach. “The Barnes is such an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time visitors, that doing Rodin on the same day might strike even committed aesthetes as a formidable challenge. Certainly the two collections demand different mind-sets.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 2012

United States

A Tax Bill Of $29 Million – For A Piece Of Art That Is Illegal To Sell While art lovers may appreciate the I.R.S.’s aesthetic sensibilities, some estate planners, tax lawyers and collectors are alarmed at the agency’s position, arguing that the case could upend the standard practice of valuing assets according to their sale in a normal market.” The New York Times, July 22, 2012

Biennials: Competing (In Sometimes Bizarre Ways) For Artists, And Audience “Now that there’s a glut of biennials, triennials and other festivals worldwide, not to mention the art fairs that serve as their commercial counterparts, the competition for visitors is fierce. It isn’t just biennial fatigue — it’s almost a backlash. Why go to a biennial today when there are so many other venues for discovering new art? What does a biennial offer that making the rounds at galleries can’t? Driven by such issues, many U.S. biennials are rethinking, refining or just plain abandoning their missions.” Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2012

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