Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 2, 2014

Wishing you all the best for a happy and art-filled new year!


Mark Lewis’s short films reshape narrative conventions. “I was sitting on a cold bench on a cold night, viewing one of Mark Lewis’s short films at Offsite, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s outdoor public art space. There, on West Georgia Street, cars, buses, and pedestrians passed by me as I watched cars, buses, and pedestrians pass by Lewis’s camera in his five-minute film Little Tree… In London and Vancouver—and every other big city on the planet—the natural world has been effectively wiped out, then reintroduced and reconfigured in culturally dictated ways. In ways that may be decorative or pathetic or both.” Georgia Straight, December 30, 2013

The year ahead: 10 things we’re very excited about in 2014 entertainment. “The cultural moment Vancouverites are most anticipating in 2014 will not be an exhibition, theatre production, or even the Valentine’s Day launch of Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz tour. It’s the selection of an architect for a new Vancouver Art Gallery… The most highly anticipated new show in Canadian theatre is film-noir stage-and-screen hybrid, Helen Lawrence – and it’s also 2014’s biggest gamble. It’s being created by two of the country’s best-known artists: Stan Douglas, an installation artist and photographer and Chris Haddock, a TV writer who created CBC’s Da Vinci’s Inquest.” Globe & Mail, December 30, 2013

10 Shows We’re Looking Forward to in 2014. “Long recognized nationally and internationally for his writings, Coupland’s visual art practice has also gained prominence in recent years with significant public art commissions and successful gallery shows. Now, the Vancouver Art Gallery is producing the first-ever survey of his work. It’s likely to be a challenge for its curators, what with Coupland’s recent production spanning everything from daily-newspaper serials to Lego sculpture collaborations to underground-parkade installations to Terry-Fox-themed running tracks to wry sloganeering. But that’s also, no doubt, part of what will make the survey compelling. Coupland is one of Canada’s most important thinkers and creators, and this exhibition couldn’t come sooner.” Canadian Art, January 1, 2014

Hot Art Wet City’s lowbrow art flies high. “As nice as it is to have a painful rumination on mortality by a blue-chip artist hanging on your wall, sometimes a drawing of Grumpy Cat as the Mona Lisa by an unknown local can bring just as much enjoyment. If you’re after the former, catch a flight to Art Basel in Miami and pray that you’re important enough for one of David Zwirner’s cronies to sell you something. If you’re after the latter, hop a bus to Hot Art Wet City at 2206 Main Street in Mount Pleasant, and Chris Bentzen will sort you out. No Black Card or name-dropping required. Hot Art Wet City is the culmination of Chris Bentzen curating and producing a decade’s worth of lowbrow art events around Vancouver.” Georgia Straight, December 31, 2013

Douglas Coupland named to the Order of Canada. Governor General David Johnston announced [Dec. 30] that West Vancouver writer and artist Douglas Coupland has been named an officer of the order, which is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Georgia Straight, December 30, 2013


Globe Arts’ Artists of the Year: Kim Dorland, champion of the wild. “Kim Dorland loves Thomson, too, ranks him with Vincent van Gogh, in fact, as his favourite painter of all time. But as he told me a couple of months ago, even though many of his pictures, like Thomson’s, involve gouts of paint, eye-punching colour and outdoor subjects, “I am not Tom Thomson Jr. … And I don’t want the Tom Jr. moniker to follow me around.” There’s no chance of that happening, as visitors to You Are Here: Kim Dorland and the Return of Painting can attest. That’s the name of the superb exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection near Toronto where since late October some 90 Dorland paintings, most of them newly created for the show, have been in fruitful conversation with 38 Thomson sketches and canvases along with 12 or so other works by Emily Carr, David Milne and members of the Group of Seven.” Globe & Mail, December 28, 2013

Materialism Unravels in Janet Morton’s Latest Show. “Knitting—and its processes, materialities and implications—have dominated much of Janet Morton’s previous production. This is most notably the case in massive sculptural installations such as 1999’s Cozy, which encased the entirety of a house on Toronto’s Ward’s Island in knitted fabric. In these and other projects, the artist revels in the potential for excessive tangles of knit fibre to grow beyond the small garments and accessories to which they are typically confined. Now, in her current show at Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Morton is preoccupied with the fallout of this knitted accumulation, refusing the materialism of both the art and craft worlds.” Canadian Art, January 2, 2014


The best art on view in the capital in 2013. “This is a list of the visual art in Ottawa-Gatineau galleries (and elsewhere) that moved [Peter Simpson] the most this year. It is a personal list, full of art that made me sad, confused and disorientated, yet also made me laugh and be joyful, and to marvel at the cleverness and craft of talented people.” Ottawa Citizen, December 29, 3013

Artists, scientists, educators among new Order of Canada appointments. “ Arts and culture is the most popular category, and its diverse roster includes Inuk artist Elisapee Ishulutaq, novelist and sculptor Douglas Coupland and also Donald Creighton Rae Sobey for his contributions as a philanthropist and entrepreneur, notably for founding one of Canada’s leading awards for young artists.” Globe & Mail, December 30, 2013


10 Shows We’re Looking Forward to in 2014. It’s a new year, with lots of fantastic new art shows to look forward to in Canada. Here are some of the exhibitions we most want to see in the next 12 months, including Peter Doig in Montreal, Douglas Coupland in Vancouver, Amalie Atkins in Regina, and more. Canadian Art, January 1, 2014

New York

Great Expectations for 2014 A roundup of cultural picks for the coming year by critics for The New York Times. New York Times, December 31, 2013

Lawsuit Against Calder’s Art Dealer Dismissed “The suit claimed that Perls and his family held on to hundreds of Calder’s works, cheated the artist’s estate out of tens of millions of dollars over the course of three decades and sold fake Calder works.” The New York Times, December 29, 2013

Washington, D.C.

Curator Of Controversial ‘Hide/Seek’ Gets A Promotion At The National Portrait Gallery “Ward maintained the curator’s presence in ‘Hide/Seek,’ defending the exhibition amid political controversy, while also, like the historian he is, seeking to understand why the controversy erupted as it did.” Washington Post, December 27, 2013


Lost Van Dyck Turns Up On Antiques Roadshow (Yes, Really) The painting “was bought for £400 by a priest in Nottingham, but experts say the restored 17th century portrait could be worth around £400,000.” The Independent (UK) December 29, 2013


The Return Of ‘The Lady And The Unicorn’ Tapestries “Now they have been cleaned and rehung we have some idea of how they might have looked in the Middle Ages. They are really extraordinary.” The Observer (UK) December 28, 2013

Pierre Huyghe: The Waking Dream. “Any attempt to put into words the experience of Pierre Huyghe’s retrospective at the Centre Pompidou is bound to fall short. Huyghe is well known for his rejection of museum convention in favour of creating live situations, ones increasingly open in recent years to organic and climatic change, populated with plants and animals and insects, and left to evolve outside of the gallery walls or the control of artist.” Canadian Art, December 30, 2013


Pompidou Centre Will Open Satellite Museum in Málaga (Or Will It?)The Andalusian resort city’s mayor says that the Paris contemporary art centre will display about 70 pieces from its collection in a new structure. The Pompidou itself says that “nothing is confirmed and negotiations are still ongoing. It is definitely not an outpost in the style of the Centre Pompidou-Metz.” The Art Newspaper, January 2, 2014

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi museums are becoming game-changers back in the West Sharjah opens its New Art Spaces with extreme creations. The Art Newspaper, December 1, 2014


Chinese archaeologists rescue remnants of ancient mountain tombs Cliff burials may be around 2,000 years old. The Art Newspaper, January 2, 2014

Q. & A.: Ai Weiwei on Creating Art in a Cage “More than two and a half years after his release from jail, Ai Weiwei is still unable to leave China, his passport confiscated by the authorities. He talks about what that’s like and his plans for the future — if and when he can travel again.” New York Times, December 31, 2013


What will 2014 bring? Tension between dealers and auction houses will grow, sales will get even less transparent and don’t bet on a $100m Picasso selling online. The Art Newspaper, December 31, 2013

Culture Quiz – The FT’s 2013 Culture Question Contest (AJ Readers Should Have No Problem With These) “In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in September, researchers discovered that practitioners of a certain art form performed better after taking vitamin D supplements in winter than those who didn’t. Name the art form.” Financial Times, December 30, 2013

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