Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 22, 2016

Art gone viral: Unprecedented turnout for Burnaby opening  Passersby who happened along Deer Lake Avenue on Saturday evening can be forgiven for thinking there must have been a big-name rock concert in town. Why else would the thousand or more folks – many of them students and young millennials – lining their way up along on the street have been waiting so patiently for two hours or more? As it happens, it wasn’t a rock concert. It was an art opening… Luminescence continues at the gallery until April 9. Burnaby Now, March 21, 2016

Beyond the notion of medium? Since 20 February, the Vancouver Art Gallery has been hosting the biggest exhibition in its history: “MashUp: The Birth Of Modern Culture” — open until 12 June 2016. Nearly 370 works, 156 artists, and contributions from thirty or so critics, curators and architects came together to give birth to this exhibition spread over the museum’s four levels. If the institution has invested such colossal means in this exhibition, it’s because of the project’s scope is large: examining the development of a now ubiquitous production mode in artistic creation, the “mashup” — a concept that suggests borrowing as well as collages and remixing. According to Bruce Grenville, one of the curators, the exhibition “reveals the evolution of a creative methodology that has shifted and mutated in four distinct stages from the early twentieth century to the present to accommodate critical changes in technology and ideology”. ArtMedia Agency, March 22, 2016

National Gallery braces for more vibrations from Canada Day fireworks In 2014, gallery director Marc Mayer said the fireworks, launched from nearby Nepean Point, caused strong vibrations “that put both our windows and our collection at risk.” …Despite Mayer’s request to relocate the fireworks launch area — perhaps to barges on the Ottawa River — the Department of Canadian Heritage ignited the pyrotechnics from Nepean Point as usual on Canada Day last year. Now, the department has posted a tender to do the same thing this July 1, seeking a contractor to design, organize and produce a 15-minute “pyromusical” fireworks display. The Ottawa Citizen, March 21, 2016

AGO’s Outsiders exhibition looks at life on the fringes The Art Gallery of Ontario’s photography and film exhibition features works by Diane Arbus, Gordon Parks and others… In the context of the necessary fraying of tightly woven American mythos, this is a hugely important show. Here, photographers including Garry Winogrand and Gordon Parks lay bare a social upheaval less heroic than violent and divisive; Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin do the same, chronicling life on the margins and the people the new freedom leaves behind. Danny Lyon, meanwhile, walks a razor’s edge between liberation, innocence and the darkness awaiting just beyond the horizon. Outsiders runs at the Art Gallery of Ontario to May 29. The Toronto Star, March 17, 2016

Feed Your Head: After Hours at the McCord will go all creatively digital Next Thursday, spend the evening at the McCord for its March edition of After Hours. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the museum will be full of immersive experiences, guided tours of exhibitions, themed bars, live performances by artists, a creative workshop and prizes. The event serves as the launch of this year’s Montreal Digital Spring, which celebrates the city’s digital creativity in a high-tech, interactive environment. The Montreal Gazette, March 18, 2016

Making Museums Moral Again IN THE PAST, when people wondered how to live moral lives, they could look to the saints, or take their questions to church. Today, some of us might instead turn our attention to art and the institutions that house it. That’s what several dozen artists did, for a related but different reason, last December during the United Nations climate talks in Paris. One afternoon, in a week when crucial policy negotiations were underway, hundreds of environmental activists gathered outside the Louvre to protest the museum’s sponsorship ties to two of the world’s largest oil companies. Among the demonstrators were members of politically minded art collectives like Occupy Museums and Not an Alternative, from the United States, and Liberate Tate, from England. The New York Times, March 17, 2016

Frida Kahlo’s brush with ballet: Tamara Rojo dances the artist’s life It came as a shocking realisation to Tamara Rojo that, during her long career as a ballerina, she’d never once performed in a work created by a woman. Even in the 21st century, most of the world’s ballet repertory is choreographed by men. Now that Rojo is artistic director of English National Ballet, she’s determined to change the landscape. Her latest commission, She Said, is a programme of new one-act ballets all choreographed by women. The Guardian, March 22, 2016

Night at the museum: Turner winner Elizabeth Price on breaking the glass cabinet Elizabeth Price has taken exhibits from Sir Arthur Evans’s landmark excavation of Knossos and brought them back to life…. Her latest work, A Restoration, which has just opened at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, is the fruit of a £60,000 award she won in 2013 from the Contemporary Art Society. (Full disclosure: I was on the panel.) For its material, she has plunged into the Sir Arthur Evans archive held by the institution, mining the materials left by the man who began excavating Knossos on Crete in 1900. The Guardian, March 22, 2106

A Progress Report on the National Museum of Qatar DOHA, QATAR — Don’t ask Jean Nouvel when the National Museum of Qatar, which he designed, is going to open; that’s a question for his client, Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority. And don’t bother asking how much that sprawling complex of interlocking disks is going to cost — though reports put it at $434 million. That’s also proprietary knowledge….In addition to that museum, Sheika al Mayassa oversees the Museum of Islamic Art and the Arab Museum of Modern Art. But it is still unclear where all of the Western contemporary art the sheikha has purchased — making her among the biggest buyers in the art market — will end up. The New York Times, March 17, 2016


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