Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 31-February 3, 2014


Wylie: Perspectives on Surrealism. “Years ago, an artist friend posed the question to me of which art movement of the 20th century did I think would be seen as having been the most influential. I said Cubism. My friend disagreed, however, and said that it was Surrealism that had truly allowed artists to free their minds… The artists of the Surrealist movement (which occurred in several European centres, beginning in the 1920s) also stepped boldly into abstraction in some cases, an area from which the Cubists had hung back. I saw his point, and it seems others would agree with him—witness the touring exhibition from the Vancouver Art Gallery, Unreal, that features 39 works of art from their permanent collection that all embody or stem from Surrealist thought. Circulated through a program called Across the Province (launched in 2006) this show opened earlier this month at the Kelowna Art Gallery.” Kelowna Capital News, January 31, 2014


Robert Amos: Contemporary art project is on the button. The Legacy — which is headquarters of the University of Victoria’s Art Collections — presents a show called Adasa: The Movement of Hands. You may know it as the World’s Largest Button Blanket. Times Colonist, January 31, 2014


Visual arts preview: AGA celebrates Lyndal Osborne’s career. “The Art Gallery of Alberta presents a sweeping, hypnotic career retrospective of Lyndal Osborne’s work starting Saturday, in an exhibit called Bowerbird: Life as Art. The scale, colour and staggering number of works occupy floors, tables, walls, shelves: twists of mad science and fabricated taxonomy, symbolically terrifying — yet always deliberately beautiful.” Edmonton Journal, January 31, 2014


Turner Prize-winning Mike Nelson likes to scavenge the maze of memory. “No one goes into any interview with anybody, least of all a visual artist, expecting the consequences of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty of 1890 to arise as a topic of conversation. Except, that is, if the conversation happens to be with Mike Nelson, two-time finalist for the Turner Prize, Britain’s representative at the 2011 Venice Biennale, and, starting this weekend, the focus of a much-anticipated exhibition at The Power Plant. Titled Amnesiac Hide, the show, three years in the planning, is a Toronto premiere for the artist, a co-presentation of sorts with Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery, which offered its own iteration last fall.” Globe & Mail, January 31, 2014

Toronto City Council finally earmarks billboard levy for arts funding. Bravo! Toronto City passed a major milestone: with $6M invested in 2013 and, $4.5M added in 2014, the same amount collected by the billboard levy is now going to art. Council follows through on commitment and locks in 4 year phase-in for reaching $25 per-capita. Junction Commons, January 31, 2014

Alex Bierk and Andre Ethier: A tale of two painters. Alex Bierk chronicles his addiction; Andre Ethier exults in colour in shows at General Hardware Contemporary and Paul Petro Contemporary until Feb. 15 Toronto Star, January 31, 2014

Walking Toronto in the footsteps of Ron Thom. I never met British Columbia-born architect Ron Thom (1923-1986), but his love for his adopted city comes through in Exploring Toronto, a lovely little architectural guidebook put out by the Toronto Chapter of Architects in 1972. Globe & Mail, January 30, 2014


BGL to represent Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale. “Quebec’s mixed-media collective BGL has been named Canada’s representative at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in Ottawa by the National Gallery of Canada, which organized the five-member panel that chose BGL and will install the collective’s site-specific works at the Canadian pavilion for the event, running May 9 through Nov. 22, 2015.” Globe & Mail, January 30, 2014

Q&A with artist Colin White. In 2011, Ottawa artist Colin White mounted an exhibition at Raw Sugar. The show, titled Confectionaries, featured about a dozen sketches of mom-and-pop corner stores in downtown Ottawa. Next month, he’ll be mounting a second, similar exhibition, at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Ottawa Citizen, January 31, 2014

San Diego

On View | The Magical World of Steven and William Ladd. “The magical, whimsical worlds created by the artists Steven and William Ladd are the subject of “Function and Fantasy,” a new exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. The brothers, who work out of a studio in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, brought their individual practices together more than a decade ago, when Steven was designing clothes and William was making intricate beadwork.” New York Times, January 31, 2014

Los Angeles

Drake Perfects the #Artselfie at James Turrell Show. “Perhaps it’s tough to take a bad #artselfie in a James Turrell show at LACMA, but on the other hand, the Canadian rapper (and huge star) Drake gets them just right.” The Fader, January 31, 2014

Is David Hockney the greatest living British painter just by default? “David Hockney, back in Los Angeles and back to painting portraits after his sojourn in Yorkshire and experiments in open-air landscape painting, has given an interview to the Sunday Times. On the cover of its Culture supplement he was feted as “our greatest living painter”. But what is a great painter, and does he fit the bill?” The Guardian, February 3, 2014

Controversy drives Los Angeles prize sponsor to up the ante. “When the Hammer Museum unveiled its “Made in LA” biennial two years ago, the decision to award $100,000 to one artist through a combination of jury selection and online voting became an unlikely lightning rod for criticism.” The Art Newspaper, January 31, 2014

New York

Artist Files Suit Over Missing Empire State Building Paintings. Paintings by the New York artist Kysa Johnson, were commissioned by the Empire State Building’s owners and installed in 2000. But last year, art collectors visiting the building to see the pieces could not find them and told Ms. Johnson, who asked the building’s current owner, the Empire State Realty Trust, what had happened to them. New York Times, January 31, 2014

United States

Timid About Fair Use? “In addition to a lack of clarity of about what is fair use — the section of copyright law allowing for non-licensed use of copyrighted material for commentary and other “transformative” purposes — arts professionals fear the costs, in time and dollars, of seeking out permission for licensed use, the report says.” Inside Higher Ed, January 310, 2014


Richard Deacon at Tate Britain: roll up for the magical metal mystery tour. “Richard Deacon’s sculptures turn and twist and coil and flow. Sometimes they are solid ceramic geometries, whose weight and density can almost be felt with the eye. Others you can see right through, as if they were lines drawn in space, or the carcass of an animal, or a boat stripped to the ribs. They can be like physical X-rays. Some are like body parts or shells. Others are more like a place, somewhere you could crawl into and hide.” The Guardian, February 3, 2014


The man whose ‘real Chagall’ could now be burnt as a fake “When a Yorkshire businessman bought a reclining nude attributed to Marc Chagall for £100,000, he hoped the painting would provide a tidy nest-egg for his family. Instead, 20 years later, he faces the prospect of watching his sizeable investment being burnt in front of a French magistrate.” The Observer, February 1, 2014

Great Britain

Picasso among trove of UK-owned artworks sold overseas in 2013. More than £1.7bn worth of paintings, antiquities, weapons, and archaeological artefacts lost to foreign buyers last year. The Guardian, January 31, 2014

Ronchamp, France

Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut vandalised. The Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France—an architectural gem and one of Le Corbusier’s best-known buildings—was vandalised on 17 January. Following a break-in, a concrete collection box was thrown outside and one of the stained-glass windows, also designed by the Modernist architect and the only one on the chapel to carry his signature, was broken. The Art Newspaper, January 31, 2014


Exploding volcano mural could be world’s oldest landscape. “Scientists have linked the eruption of Turkey’s Mount Hassan with a Neolithic painting found in the nearby proto-city of ÇatalhöyükThe Art Newspaper, January 31, 2014

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