Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 26, 2015

First Nations art shines at Vancouver Art Gallery. First Nations Artwork is a defining feature of British Columbia, and also a portion of the larger, often troubled relationship with Indigenous peoples in the province. The Gund Collection: Contemporary and Historical Art from the Northwest Coast and NEXT: Christos Dikeakos, which are on exhibit until January 31st at the Vancouver Art Gallery, provide a brief but interesting look. The Peak, January 21, 2016

Renderings of new North Vancouver public art gallery revealed. Work has started on a new public art gallery on the North Shore… It’s part of a revitalization effort that will turn the coveted waterfront space into a new cultural hub for North Vancouver. The Polygon Gallery will be 19,000 square feet upon completion, which is scheduled for 2017, including space for galleries, events and community engagement. Vancity Buzz, January 25, 2016

25 Artists To Rep Alberta’s Art Scene in 2017 Biennial Based in centres from Fort McMurray (Megan Green) to Lethbridge (Roy Caussy), the artists range from those who have done installations on Rocky Mountain golf courses (Miruna Dragan) to those who have created digital scenes based on their day-job experiences in the Alberta oilsands (Kristopher Karklin). Canadian Art, January 25, 2016

Wafaa Bilal uses exhibit at Art Gallery of Windsor to resurrect burned Baghdad library In the long history of cultural destruction caused by war in Iraq, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Ont., is the unlikely setting for a project of renewal. Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal hopes to restock a library that was set on fire during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of his homeland. His plan is surprisingly indirect: he’s created book-like objects filled with blank white pages and will exchange them for real books that the library needs. CBC News, January 25, 2016


New York
When Is First Nations Art Also Outsider Art? Henry Speck, born in 1908 in Turnour Island, BC, was a prolific First Nations artist of the mid-20th century. Self-taught in watercolour and woodcarving, and located for most of his life in the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw territory of Alert Bay, he created more than 600 paintings, among other works, before dying in 1971…. This week, Vancouver collector and dealer Sarah Macaulay hopes to open up awareness for Speck’s unique legacy when she features his paintings at the Outsider Art Fair in New York. Canadian Art, January 22, 2016

Emelle, Alabama
Thornton Dial, Pioneering Artist Who Channeled Everyday Materials Into Intricate Constructions, Dies at 87. Artist Thornton Dial, who used found objects, fabric, and paint to make astounding, intricate wall reliefs and sculptures that harbor nuanced narratives, at once grand and intimate, died yesterday… Termed an outsider artist, a vernacular artist, and a folk artist, among other labels, Dial, who was African American, was one of just a few self-taught artists who, over the past century, began making art well beyond the borders of the predominantly urban, white mainstream art world… Artnews, January 26, 2016

‘We All Make Up the Landscape Together’: 32 Galleries Converge in London for Condo “The last thing London needs is another art fair,” Vanessa Carlos, a dealer in the British capital, said last week. If she seemed fatigued when she said this, it wasn’t because the London Art Fair was rolling into town just days later. It was because she decided to do something about it. Condo, Carlos’s new month-long experiment addressing that issue, opened on Sunday and runs through February 13. As part of the project, eight London galleries have turned over some or all of their spaces to a total of 24 visiting galleries. Artnews, January 22, 2016

Exhibit of Jewish artists’ Holocaust works opens in Berlin. A hundred artworks created by Jewish artists during the Holocaust are going on show in Berlin — the first time the collection from the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem has been displayed outside Israel. The exhibition opening at the German Historical Museum on Monday includes work by Jewish artists in hiding, in concentration and labour camps, and in ghettos. Associated Press, January 25, 2016

Singapore performance artist Lee Wen wins Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art Pioneering Singapore performance artist Lee Wen – who stood firmly by his chosen mode of expression even as performance art came under a decade-long no-funding policy here – has won the 2016 Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art. The Strait Times, January 20, 2016


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