Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 27, 2016


Art This Week: Michael Soltis, Jack Shadbolt and Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon.  Opening this week: Michael Soltis: Games People Play at Kimoto Gallery, Jack Shadbolt: Momentum at Pendulum Gallery, and Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon: Space for Looking is a Space for Listening at Western Front.  Vancouver Sun, January 26, 2016


Robert Amos: The positive power of aggression.  Mitch Villa is a young artist — just 28 years old — who has a precocious talent. It’s too soon to know what tales his talent will tell, but you can catch his vivid urban landscapes at Habit Coffee.  Times Colonist, January 23, 2016


Picturing Parenthood: A Conversation with Calgary Photographer Dona Schwartz.  Snaps of carefully lit pregnant bellies and picture-perfect nurseries abound on Instagram and Facebook—but how much do they really reflect the huge, messy life transition that’s to come for parents-to-be? Similarly, why is it we rarely see social-media pics of empty adolescent bedrooms that bookend parenthood in the empty-nest stage?  Canadian Art, January 21, 2016


Toronto artist tells Ashley Smith’s tale through painting.  Gretchen Sankey is a mother whose daughter shares many similarities with Ashley Smith. Last spring, when her daughter faced some struggles, Sankey she started to paint portraits of Smith and her case to show the humanity and beauty of the girl behind the headlines.  Toronto Star, January 25, 2016

In Studio with Sandy Plotnikoff: An able foil.  Sandy Plotnikoff’s ongoing series is called Foil Problem, and it’s a lovely predicament to have.  For almost a decade, the artist has been experimenting with commercial foil stamping — used in everything from signage to stationary — with a gleeful, experimental edge.  Toronto Star, January 23, 2016

Meet the Power Plant’s New Curator.  Carolin Köchling arrived from her native Germany last week and, the very next day, took up her new post as curator of exhibitions at the Power Plant in Toronto. Previously curator at Schirn Kunsthalle and assistant curator at Städel Museum, both in Frankfurt, Köchling has curated solo exhibitions of work by Helene Schjerfbeck and Andreas Schulze and has written about Andrea Fraser and Bas Jan Ader.  Canadian Art, January 21, 2016


Artist’s ‘blank books’ project seeks to restock historic Baghdad library. An Iraqi-American artist is using online crowdfunding and performance art to help return books to the shelves of the University of Baghdad’s library, which burnt down during the Iraq war. Bilal’s exhibition at Ontario’s Gallery of Windsor, opening on 29 January, will feature a 72ft bookshelf holding 1,000 blank white books. For a $25 (£17.60) fee on Kickstarter,Bilal will replace one of the blank books for a real copy, sending the blank book to the donor. At the end, all the real books will be shipped to Baghdad.  The Guardian, January 26, 2016


Those American Smiths get their space at National Gallery of Canada.  As I looked at the National Gallery’s new exhibit of sculptures by the American daughter and father Kiki and Tony Smith, I kept thinking of, for two very different reasons, a piece of art made by Ottawa’s Anna Williams.  The exhibit includes only one work each by père et fille. Vogl says the show is not so much about the family link, as the Smiths never worked together nor even contemporaneously, as it is about how the two works “reference each other in very interesting ways.”  Ottawa Citizen, January 25, 2016

Los Angeles

The Dawning of the Age of Amalia Ulman.  Last Friday, at Amalia Ulman’s opening of the same show, represented in LA at Four Six One Nine in Mid-City in collaboration with James Fuentes Gallery, attendees kept asking the artist what she did on New Year’s. I watched her blank, repeatedly, at the question. She tracked back from the moment. Canadian Art, January 25, 2016

New York

The Met and the Now.  Thomas P. Campbell, the museum’s director since 2009, has launched a multimillion-dollar drive whose goal is to make modern and contemporary art one of the Met’s primary attractions.  The New Yorker, January 25, 2016 issue

Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon: “Forgetting the Hand”  At the opening for “Forgetting the Hand,” the Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon show now on view at David Zwirner Gallery in New York, visitors squinted at the drawings tacked to the wall, trying to match the art with the artist.  Canadian Art, January 26, 2016

A venerated Manhattan gallery on trial in lawsuit after ‘genius’ forgeries rake in $80 million.  For 15 years, the biggest names in the New York art world were fooled. $80 million was spent, a 165-year-old institution disgraced and shuttered. All for paintings bearing the names of contemporary greats — Rothko, Pollock, de Kooning — but born of the humble brush strokes of a Chinese immigrant living in Queens.  Washington Post, January 26, 2016

Washington, D.C.

U.S. National Park Service looking for the next Ansel Adams.  So what does it take to be the next Ansel Adams? The U.S. National Park Service is hiring a photographer to fill a role once held by the legendary landscape artist. While the job is open only to American citizens, it’s interesting to see what it takes to succeed a legend. Toronto Star, January 23, 2016

St. Petersburg, Florida

Salvador Dalí Gets the Virtual-Reality Treatment.  “A virtual-reality experience that throws users into the 1935 painting, “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus,” forms part of a new exhibition into the relationship between Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney.” Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2016


What a maverick architect is made of  A Royal Academy exhibition honouring thinkers who can ‘articulate the future’ highlights a void in contemporary architecture.  The Observer, January 24, 2016


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