Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 8, 2014

Vancouver

Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll: Myfanwy MacLeod in Vancouver. “Myfanwy MacLeod’s current exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery is remarkable for its blend of the artist’s work with work that she and curator Grant Arnold selected from the gallery’s collection. Given that MacLeod’s contribution is concerned largely with that 1970s unholy trinity of sex (see her sculptures relating to Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten), drugs (the show offers a work referencing “Albert Walker” marijuana), and rock ‘n’ roll (many exhibition elements point to Led Zeppelin), it is tempting to measure this method against that decade’s own alcoholic blends: Is it a Harvey Wallbanger cocktail, a bootlegged mickey of lemon gin, or swamp water extracted from Dad’s liquor cabinet?” Canadian Art, May 7, 2014

Afro-Cuban art exhibition exposes life Without Masks. “Once upon a time, at a little restaurant in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, a Cuban jazz trio was entertaining diners. One of the musicians appeared to be of African descent, one of European descent, and one of mixed descent. They played together with such inventive synergy that the audience smiled throughout their performance. The musicians sat with me and my friends during their break, and I was convinced—without ever having visited the place—that in Cuba, people of all colours and ethnicities must live and work together in absolute equality and with mutual attraction and respect. Orlando Hernández, the Havana-based curator of Without Masks, tells a different story. Last week, as he toured media through the exhibition of contemporary Afro-Cuban art at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, he told us that what should indeed be a post-revolutionary state of social, cultural, and ethnic equality is not a reality in Cuba—that it is a “mask”.” Georgia Straight, May 6, 2014

Vancouver artist Foster Eastman gives men a second chance. “Two years ago Foster Eastman lost a close friend to suicide. The Vancouver multimedia artist remembers feeling very angry over the loss. And like many who cherished the deceased, he’s still asking why it had to end that way. Eastman continues to learn, largely through his collaborative art endeavours. One is called Man-Up Against Suicide, a project of the UBC-based Masculinities and Men’s Depression and Suicide Network.” Georgia Straight, May 7, 2014

Top 10 Best Vancouver events this week, May 8 to May 15. Three generations of Kwakwaka’wakw artists — Beau Dick, Rande Cook (whose painting Idle No More is pictured) and Cole Speck — offer fresh perspectives on an issue that remains highly relevant — appropriation — both within indigenous culture and contemporary art theory at Fazakas Gallery. Vancouver Sun, May 8, 2014

Order of Canada Recipients Legendary rocker Ronnie Hawkins was among 45 new appointees to the Order of Canada who were officially honoured by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at a ceremony in Ottawa. Hawkins was one of 10 people named as officers of the order, the second-highest grade, while 35 people (including Douglas Coupland), were introduced as members at a ceremony at Rideau Hall. CBC News, May 7, 2014

Toronto

Love Art Toronto: An art fair for all wallets. Will Ramsay’s the founder and CEO of the Affordable Art Fair, a network of low-cost marketplaces for art the world over that now numbers 17. There’s one in New York, one in Singapore, ones in Maastricht, Milan and Stockholm. And with the opening of Love Art on Thursday at the Direct Energy Centre, add Toronto to the list. Toronto Star, May 8, 2014

Serious Scary: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore in Toronto. The “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty” exhibition, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario, is an assembly of works by two great British artists of the second half of the 20th century. Francis Bacon and Henry Moore were exhibited together several times in the past—in the 1950s and 60s, even. The question is what this combination of approaches means to us today. Canadian Art, May 7, 2014

Q&A: Mark Ruwedel on the Analog-Photo Advantage. “Mark Ruwedel’s win of the $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award in Toronto last week could be viewed as a triumph of classic, old-school, analog photography over more flashy, in-your-face digital work. Ruwedel—who is also a professor at California State University, Long Beach—talks about the importance of maintaining a daily photo practice, the way his dual Canadian-American experiences have shaped his work, and the fact that his latest desert shots may hit too close to home.” Canadian Art, May 7, 2014

Boulder

YES! Boulder Rises Up Against Bad Public Art. A piece commissioned from Miami-based R & R Studios, meant for the front of the main branch of the city’s public library, consists entirely of the word Y E S ! in bright red capital letters. “But this week, facing an onslaught of criticism, City Manager Jane Brautigam said the wheels of Boulder’s bureaucracy had spun a little too quickly. The Atlantic, May 7, 2014

New York

Where Elegance Meets Eros. So much for the debate about whether fashion can be art. “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” a landmark exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, proposes that this perennial question, which sprang up in the 1970s, was asked and answered in the late 1940s and ’50s. New York Times, May 7, 2014

Public Library Is Abandoning Disputed Plan for Landmark. The New York Public Library has abandoned a controversial renovation plan that would have turned its research flagship on 42nd Street into a circulating library. New York Times, May 7, 2014

Mediocre Night at Sotheby’s, as One-Third of the Art Does Not Sell. It was another bumpy night at the spring auctions, the second of the week’s evening sales of Impressionist and modern art. On Wednesday, many in the art world converged upon Sotheby’s, where nearly a third of the art went unsold. Paintings and sculptures by masters like Degas, Renoir and Picasso were either overpriced or were just not good enough to tempt buyers. New York Times, May 7, 2014

North-East England

North-east England art in focus. From the Baltic to Mima, the region has some of the strongest galleries in the UK, but a drain on young talent remains The Guardian, May 8, 2014

Bern

Poisoned Gift? Cornelius Gurlitt Leaves Entire Art Hoard To Swiss Museum. The Bern Art Museum’s director says he’s thrilled but mystified by the gift, since Gurlitt, a reclusive Munich resident, had no connection at all to the museum or city. The collection, estimated to be worth roughly $1 billion, includes many works thought to have been looted from Jewish owners during World War II, so sorting out ownership issues will be long and messy. Global Post, May 8, 2014

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