Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 21, 2016


Cultch given $130,000 for community-driven projects [& other arts news]. The Vancouver Art Gallery will hold a major fundraising gala to benefit the Institute of Asian Art on Jan. 30. The IAA is the VAG’s initiative to augment the visibility and understanding of art from Asia via exhibitions, public programs and collections. Vancouver Sun, January 20, 2016

Museum of Vancouver show stirs up real-estate debate.  Walking into the latest Museum of Vancouver exhibition, you might think you’ve stumbled across the latest real-estate presentation centre to hit this city’s condo boom…But the new show, called Your Future Home: Creating the New Vancouver, actually seeks to deconstruct and engage the public in the very building boom from which it borrows those marketing techniques.  Georgia Straight, January 20, 2016

Different version of Rennie Collection artwork seen on exterior wall of a Scottish gallery. Many Vancouverites—and especially those who ride the SkyTrain—are very familiar with Turner Prize–winning artist Martin Creed’s straightforward message on the side of Wing Sang. It reflects the viewpoint of owner Bob Rennie… “I firmly believe everything is going to be alright because we have no plan B,” Rennie recently told the Straight by phone. “We have to deal with what’s in front of us.”  Georgia Straight, January 20, 2016


Artists picked for new ferry wraps. Darlene Tait, John Marston, and Thomas Cannell, three Coast Salish artists have been selected to create designs for three new B.C. Ferries vessels under construction in Poland. Times Colonist, January 21, 2016


Regina Art Collective fills a market niche for local artists.  The Queen City is home to a new art collective – offering local artists an alternative to guilds and galleries as a means to expose the public to their artwork. Regina Leader Post, January 20, 2016

Windsor, Ontario

Wafaa Bilal Revives Iraqi Library in Ontario Show.  During the war in Iraq, the University of Baghdad’s College of Fine Arts library was one of countless libraries that were looted and destroyed. Some 70,000 books, along with the structure that housed them, were burned to the ground.  Now, an art project premiering in Windsor, Ontario, on January 30 is collecting 1,000 books requested by College of Fine Arts students and faculty in Baghdad—everything from ceramic-art technical manuals to art-historical textbooks. Canadian Art, January 20, 2016


It’s a whopper all right: Floor Burger returns to the AGO. After being out of sight for close to three years, Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture returns this weekend to the menu of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Its proper name is Floor Burger because … well, because that’s where you’ll find it, in this case all soft and puffy and flush to the boards of the Odette Gallery near the AGO’s main entrance. Globe & Mail, January 15, 2016

Trailblazing Art Dealer Av Isaacs Remembered.  One of Canada’s most influential art dealers, Avrom Isaacs, died at Mount Sinai Hospital last Friday at the age of 89. Isaacs opened a framing and art-supply store in 1950 before founding Isaacs Gallery on Yonge Street in 1961. The gallery went on to become one of the country’s leading commercial spaces, representing artists including Michael Snow, Greg Curnoe, Gathie Falk and Joyce Wieland.  Here, artists and writers who knew and worked with Isaacs remember him…  Canadian Art, January 20, 2016

Once Upon A City: Art finds a home on The Grange. There are now more than 80,000 works spanning the gallery’s first century to the present day, including the largest collection of Canadian art, with the AGO gallery covering 45,000 square metres of physical space at 317 Dundas St. W. The Grange, designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1970, sits on the south side of the AGO and houses the Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge and exhibition spaces. What began as a project of a group of local citizens 116 years ago is now one of the largest galleries in North America. Toronto Star, January 21, 2016


Artists announced for U.S. conversations at National Gallery. Kiki Smith, Anne Chu and Theaster Gates will be part of the Contemporary Conversations 2016 schedule, which includes onstage Q & A sessions at the National Gallery. Ottawa Citizen, January 21, 2016


Marcel Barbeau explored new ground until the end.  Two weeks before his death this month at the age of 90, Quebec abstract painter Marcel Barbeau made his last trip to the art store in Montreal to buy brushes, thoroughly examining the coarseness and texture of the instruments before adding them to his basket. Toronto Star, January 18, 2016

Los Angeles

Maristella Casciato Named Getty Research Institute’s New Architecture Curator.  Maristella Casciato, former associate director of research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, has been named the Getty Research Institute’s new Senior Curator of Architectural Collections. Casciato is an expert on 20th century European architecture – the Institute’s most sought after content – making her an ideal choice to manage GRI’s expanding archives. Arch Daily, January 19, 2016

Big Budget Items. “As you walked around you got the idea that here, right here [in Santa Monica] after 200 years of ceaseless propulsion across a vast continent, the American dream had finally come to rest. This is where it had been heading all along. And then you turned a corner and saw that Frank Gehry didn’t like it.” Weekly Standard, January 25, 2016 issue

New York

Making The High Line.  Two designers behind the iconic railway-turned-park discuss how it ushered in a new era of landscape design.  Citylab, The Atlantic, January 14, 2016

Six Artists From Iran at Grey Art Gallery.  Time decides. When an exhibition scheduled for the winter slot at Grey Art Gallery at New York University wasn’t ready, a replacement had to be found, and “Global/Local 1960-2015: Six Artists From Iran,” set for a future date, was moved forward.  The Grey has the largest holdings anywhere of work by one of the six, [Vancouver artist] Parviz Tanavoli, who is widely considered Iran’s leading modern sculptor. New York Times, January 14, 2016


The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery is doing something incredibly cool. To celebrate the reopening of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., following a major renovation of the first purpose-built art museum in the United States, nine major contemporary artists — including Canadian Jennifer Angus, Maya Lin, Tara Donovan, Leo Villareal, Patrick Dougherty, and Janet Echelman — were invited to take over the Renwick’s galleries, transforming the whole of the museum into an immersive cabinet of wonders.  National Post, January 20, 2016


Ai Weiwei’s Latest Canvas: A Luxury Emporium in Paris.  n Sunday evening, Ai Weiwei — Chinese dissident artist, human rights activist and, now, European scenester — was holding court on the cosmetics floor of the Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the Paris department store.  New York Times, January 19, 2016


Satellite Images Confirm the Destruction of Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery by ISIS. Conflict in Iraq has reduced yet another historic site to nothing more than piles of stone, with the blow delivered once more by ISIS. Hyperallergic, January 20, 2016


Museums are keeping a ton of the world’s most famous art locked away in storage. Since the advent of public galleries in the 17th century, museums have amassed huge collections of art for society’s benefit. But just a tiny fraction of that art is actually open for people to view and enjoy—including, it turns out, many works that are considered masterpieces. The dynamic raises questions about who actually benefits when museums collect so much of the world’s best art. Quartz, January 20, 2016

Against Neutrality. The camera is an instrument of transformation. It can make what it sees more beautiful, more gruesome, milder, darker, all the while insisting on the plain reality of its depiction. New York Times, January 14, 2016

9 Excuses Artists Need to Stop Making in 2016.  Over the years as I began to write and now speak across a variety of stages from startup events, tech conferences, artist groups to engaging kids I’ve managed to spot an eerie-growing trend of fabricated excuses which legitimize your lack of creativity.  Huffington Post, January 20, 2016


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