Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 10, 2016


Museum of Anthropology show illuminates fragile environment of Papua New Guinea art forms.  In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man is a small show on a large theme. The work on view—including carved and embellished wooden sculptures, ceramic vessels, and handwoven fibre bags known as bilums—was created by contemporary artists living in the Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea.  Georgia Straight, March 9, 2016


Walter May finds beauty in the discarded and obsolete.  As with many of his sculptures, the early glimmers of inspiration for Still Life with Canes came to Walter May from an unusual object he came across.  Calgary Herald, March 5, 2016


Winnipeg artist puts Métis beadwork on display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  Most people attribute ornate beadwork to First Nation people, but Métis people also have a rich and unique history of making beautiful art with beads. Artist Jennine Krauchi has been beading all her life, and her work is now featured at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. CBC News, March 9, 2016


3 Artists are Finalists for $50,000 Scotiabank Photo Award.  The Scotiabank Photography Award has announced the finalists for the 2016 award: Pascal Grandmaison of Montreal, Suzy Lake of Toronto and Jayce Salloum of Vancouver.  Canadian Art, March 9, 2016.  See also Finalists for Scotiabank Photography Award announcedGlobe & Mail, March 9, 2016

Power play.  Since opening in April, 1987, the not-for-profit gallery on the Toronto waterfront has had its share of difficulties, especially with respect to staffing and governance (in one six-month stretch in 2012, for instance, it gained a new director while abruptly losing a curator, an associate curator and a president) as well as attendance (steadied, thanks to the introduction of a free admission policy in 2012, underwritten first by the Jackman Foundation, then the Bank of Montreal). But for all the drama, the Power Plant has never relinquished its stature as one of the country’s pre-eminent go-to venues for the freshest international contemporary art. Globe & Mail, March 4, 2016

Edward Burtynsky establishes photography grant with Governor General’s Award prize money   Renowned Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky has decided to take his Governor General’s Award prize money and give it all away. He’s turning the $25,000 financial portion of the award into an annual grant to help emerging Canadian photographers create and publish their first photography books. CBC News, March 9, 2016


National Gallery has plans for Picasso, Janvier and Vigée Le Brun.  The National Gallery of Canada’s new slate of exhibitions includes one of the greatest paintings in the history of France, examples of Picasso at his most ribald, the largest show to date of work by one of Canada’s most revered indigenous artists, and the biggest baby head you’ll ever see.  Ottawa Citizen, March 9, 2016


Kapwani Kiwanga: The Canadian Artist Who Stole the Armory Show.  You probably haven’t heard of Kapwani Kiwanga. At least, you probably haven’t heard of her if you’re living in Canada. Although she was born and raised in Ontario, Kiwanga’s career has been taking off almost entirely in the international realm.  Born in Hamilton and raised partly in Brantford, Ontario, Kiwanga has had a circuitous route to an international art career. She first studied anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal.  Canadian Art, March 10, 2016


Montreal museum showcases young artist with autism.  Maxwell Bitton, a 24-year-old artist with autism, is changing the way society views people with this disorder by showing it how he sees the world. Until March 27, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is exhibiting about 50 of his works, mostly paintings, but also sculpture and installation.  Canadian Jewish News, March 9, 2016

Los Angeles

One Young Artist’s 21st-Century Baroque.  The work in the Los Angeles-based artist Jesse Mockrin’s upcoming solo show at Night Gallery, “The Progress of Love,” looks pointedly familiar — and yet entirely new. Her saturated oil paintings involve a healthy dose of pastiche, borrowing from late-Baroque masters, including Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Francois Boucher.  New York Times, March 9, 2016


Destination Venus: how Botticelli became a brand.  From saucer-eyed Manga cartoons to a bullet-breasted pin up, from the pre-Raphaelites to Lady Gaga’s D&G dress, a new V&A exhibition reveals how generations of artists have repurposed Botticelli’s ideal of female beauty.  The Guardian, March 9, 2016

Fit for McQueen? London’s big three museums exhibit Victorian era values.  It is a stunning 21st-century success story: South Kensington’s museums quarter welcomed more visitors in 2015 than the city of Venice. No wonder.  Between them, three venues – the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum, connected by a pedestrian underpass from South Kensington tube, house everything from dinosaurs to Alexander McQueen dresses, and mix up art, science and technology in a truly contemporary way.  The Guardian, Marc 7, 2017


Spain’s concrete castle: a case of accidental genius?   It has been damned as the world’s worst ever restoration, yet another national embarrassment to add to Spain’s inglorious track record of botched conservation projects. The quaintly crumbling ruins of the ninth-century Matrera castle in Cádiz province have been invaded by a white concrete hulk, the precious Moorish stone walls reduced to a thin rind of history, stuck on the front of a big blank box.  The Guardian, March 9, 2016


‘This is living antiquity’: the director of the Hermitage wants to rebuild Palmyra.  Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum, says that although the destruction of Palmyra by Isil militants last year could have been avoided, his museum can help to rebuild the ancient city.  The Art Newspaper, March 7, 2016


The End of China’s ‘Weird’ Architecture.  A bird’s nest, a boot, an egg, a coin, a pair of trousers—some of China’s most infamous contemporary buildings resemble everyday objects more than edifices.  Intentionally unorthodox and frequently nonsensical, several of these architectural curiosities have been hailed as marvels, while others have been ridiculed.  Until now. Due to a recent announcement issued by the country’s State Council and the Communist Party’s Central Committee, “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings will no longer be approved for construction. The Atlantic, March 9, 2016



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