Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, December 4, 2014


Piga Picha! offers a snapshot of Kenyan studios. Pigapicha is a Swahili term meaning “take my picture”. With the addition of an exclamation mark, it is also the title of a fascinating exhibition, surveying decades of studio photography in Nairobi, Kenya. Georgia Straight, December 3, 2014

Nicolas Sassoon: Dream Homes conflates landscape art and imaginary architecture. Born in France and based there and in Vancouver, Nicolas Sassoon’s true home, it seems, is in cyberspace…Dream Homes, Sassoon’s small show at WAAP, in gallerist Wil Aballe’s living space, conflates landscape art and imaginary architecture. Georgia Straight, December 2, 2014

Art Basel chooses Contemporary Art Gallery project for crowdfunding. Art Basel has chosen a project by the Contemporary Art Gallery to be included as part of its inaugural world-wide crowd-funding initiative. Vancouver Sun, December 3, 2014

Head to art gallery shops for cool, unique gifts. The gift shops of local museums and galleries (including, of course, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s shop) are full of unique items that will surely be appreciated by anyone whose cultural perspective extends beyond “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. Georgia Straight, December 3, 2014

Judy Kardosh: pioneering Inuit art galleriest dies at age 75. During the two decades she ran the gallery, Judy Kardosh made a lasting contribution to the importance of art by Inuit women through a series of single artist exhibitions. Vancouver Sun, December 3, 2014


Visual arts preview: Uncovering the beauty of the suburbs (with photos). Suburbia: A Model Life, opening Saturday at the Art Gallery of Alberta, is an ambitious and thoughtful collection of research on urban planning, ranging from 1970s photography to a new and huge panel of design, coyly riffing off the map of a prototypical 1950s suburb in Levittown, N.J. Edmonton Journal, December 3, 2014


CMHR no conversation starter. There is, more than two months after its pseudo-opening, remarkably little buzz about the $351-million museum that was to be our more current and controversial version of Bilbao. Winnipeg seems more excited by the new H&M at Polo Park. Winnipeg Free Press, December 3, 2014


Art Gallery of Ontario brings in performance artist group to attract more youth. A new initiative at the Art Gallery of Ontario is expected to help boost youth engagement in the world of arts. Metro, December 4, 2014


Clay & Glass Artists Receive $10K Awards. Two significant Canadian awards for artmaking in clay and glass media were recently awarded in Waterloo. They include Christopher Reid Flock as the winner of the 2014 Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics and Cheryl Wilson Smith as the winner of the 2014 RBC Award for Glass. Canadian Art, December 4, 2014


Michael Harrington: small works, big menace. Ottawa artist Michael Harrington doesn’t often exhibit his work in Ottawa, which is regrettable, as his oeuvre is distinct and compelling. Ottawa Citizen, December 3, 2014

National Gallery plans Monet for 2015; Marie Antoinette’s painter for 2016. The National Gallery of Canada will mount an exhibition of paintings by Claude Monet in 2015, and a year later an exhibition of the work by the woman who was the court painter to Marie Antoinette. Ottawa Citizen, December 3, 2014

‘Tired’ Science and Technology Museum plots course change. Building on the current site would cost $250 million in federal money plus funding from partners, while a site at Lebreton or Victoria Island would cost $375 million plus partner funding, it says. Ottawa Citizen, December 3, 2014


Art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibit features fake rats made of fur. A new exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is realistic enough to make your skin crawl. The exhibit is called Cellar, by Janice Wright Cheney. It turns the gallery into a creepy, rat-infested basement with rodents that Cheney handmade from old fur coats. CBC News, December 4, 2014


Must-Sees This Week: December 4 to 10, 2014. There are lots of great art shows opening across the country this week, and interesting art events happening too. Here are our best bets Canadian Art, December 4, 2014

New York

Sharing and Liking Photos From Day One. With more than almost 5 million photos, the New York Public Library boasts a wide-ranging collection that would be the envy of any museum: from 19th century cyanotypes of algae, handcrafted scrapbooks and cartes-de-visite, to classic Farm Security Administration photos, movie location pictures and contemporary digital art. The result is Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography the first-ever retrospective survey of photography organized by NYPL. The New York Times, December 3, 2014

2014 Warhol Arts Writers Grants Announced The Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program has unveiled the recipients of its 2014 grants. The 2014 program has given $5,000 to $50,000 grants to writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through projects in the form of articles, blogs, books, news and alternative media, and short-form writing. Artforum, December 4, 2014

After the Flood: Douglas Gordon and Hélène Grimaud at the Park Avenue Armory A pianist as powerful and enigmatic as the notes flowing from her instrument, playing in the center of a vast, empty space steadily filling with water sounds like the kind of haunting dream. ARTnews, December 4, 2014

Silence Wrapped in Eloquent Cocoons Judith Scott, who was born with Down syndrome, created sculptures from objects swathed in cloth and twine, the subject of a show at the Brooklyn Museum. New York Times, December 4, 2014


Art Exhibit in Washington Explores the Madonna as Woman, Mother, and Idea. She’s the most recognizable woman in the world. Her image spans a wide range of centuries and styles, from reverential portraits by old masters like Michelangelo to cheap plaster statues to the controversial collage by Chris Ofili of a black Madonna studded with elephant dung that caused an uproar when exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999. National Geographic, December 4, 2014


Di Caprio Shopping, Dealers “Killing It” at Art Basel Miami Beach “Leonardo di Caprio just came by and bought a 1973 Frank Stella painting,” Ricky Manne of Marianne Boesky (New York) reported. “It was priced at slightly under a million dollars.” Art in America, December 4, 2014

Anselm Kiefer is coming to Margulies space The artist’s work is due to go on show at the Warehouse in Wynwood next autumn. The Art Newspaper, December 4, 2014

Everyone Loves Roni Horn! (Too Much, Actually) Roni Horn’s colorful, liquid-like glass sculptures have long been a staple at Hauser & Wirth’s art fair booths, and it’s easy to see why. They look like big gumdrops and change drastically when viewed from up close. ARTnews, December 4, 2014

Go to bed with Marina Abramovic. Fondation Beyeler’s stand offers an oasis of calm and reflection for the weary fair-goer. The Art Newspaper, December 4, 2014

United States

Billionaire Art Museums. Not so long ago, the financial future of America’s art museums looked grim. Hard hit by the global recession, their war chests shrank as their investment portfolios tanked—along with those of many of their most generous sponsors. Now, however, with the stock market back from its lows, the country’s richest museums have had their coffers restored. The top art institutions in the country are collectively sitting on $23.1 billion in assets, almost back to where they were in 2008, but things have changed since the heady days before the crash. Museums have to find novel ways to tap wealthy donors in a more clear-eyed postrecession world. Barron’s, November 29, 2014


Hili Perlson on the best exhibitions in 2014 These three exhibitions below followed no trends and didn’t rely on eliciting political sympathy—which I’d argue encourages reducing complex conditions to simplified binaries—and yet still reflected the times we inhabit with an independent poignancy. #1 – Geoffrey Farmer, “Let’s Make the Water Turn Black,” Kunstverein Hamburg, March 1 to May 25, 2014: In this show, kinetic props performed while a sound archive mapped the life of Frank Zappa. Artforum, December 4, 2014


Maybe *All* The Designs For The Guggenheim Helsinki Are A Bad Idea “There’s nothing especially wrong with any of the individual designs, but taken as a whole, they cast a cynical view of the purpose of architecture (as hype for a project). … “Finns are right to ask whether Helsinki needs the Guggenheim as much as the Guggenheim needs South Harbor.” Citylab, December 2, 2014


Did Putin Give A Picasso From The Hermitage As A Bribe To Get The World Cup? A secret British report given to Parliament alleges that the Russian president took two paintings from state collections – one allegedly a Picasso from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg – and gave them to FIFA officials in exchange for their votes for Russia’s bid to host the 2018 world soccer championship. CNN, December 1, 2014

Abu Dhabi

VIDEO FEATURE: The Curator’s Doll House The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be 12 times the size of the landmark Guggenheim museum in New York. To fill it with art, the curators first plan out the space with scaled-down models and tiny silver people. New York Times, December 4, 2014

Middle East

Kevin Jones on the best exhibitions in 2014 This list includes: Babak Golkar was decidedly antimarket (The Return Project, The Third Line, September 24 to November 8, 2014). In a vandalistic swipe against consumerism, Golkar presented everyday items that he altered, certified with a note (lo! a work of art!), and subsequently reintroduced into the consumer stream by returning them for a full refund. Artforum, December 2, 2014


The most romantic proposal ever? Japanese artist Yasushi Takahashi – a.k.a Yassan spent six months trekking 3,000 miles through Japan with a GPS tracker to spell out ‘Marry Me’ across islands Daily Mail (UK), December 3, 2014


Artists call the shots When Gustave Courbet organised an exhibition, it was a radical act—but now artist-curators are everywhere. The Art Newspaper, December 4, 2014

Is Instagram The New Authentic Art Experience? “I love the idea of finding something that I might not have found otherwise. So I follow one unknown name to another who has “liked” something on another unknown person’s account, who has then “liked” something on another person’s feed, and so on. Linking. Looking. And looking some more. And I have found plenty.” New York Magazine, December 3, 2014

The World Is Yours, the World Is Mine An artist sees the Ebola outbreak as a story of how people do not want to be connected in what is supposedly a hyperconnected and globalized world. New York Times, December 4, 2014

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