Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 23, 2016


Was Indigenous Art Better in the 1980s and Early ’90s?  “During a recent conversation a friend bemoaned the current state of contemporary Indigenous art. We were talking about the research I have begun and how excited I am to be re-visiting texts and artworks from the 1980s and early ’90s. Among other things, that period was defined by the struggles of the first large wave of art-school trained Indigenous artists to make space for themselves in galleries, museums and magazines. The best works of those artists—James Luna, Rebecca Belmore, Jimmie Durham, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Edgar Heap of Birds, Edward Poitras, to name only a few—changed how we imagine ourselves and our place in the world.”  — Richard William Hill, Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Canadian Art, March 21, 2016

Art This Week: Yong Soon Min, Ciara Phillips and Ron Simmer.  On this week: Yong Soon Min at Audain Gallery, Ciara Phillips: Cold Friends, Warm Cash at Western Front and Ron Simmer at Deer Lake Gallery.  Vancouver Sun, March 22, 2016


Anny Scoones on her mother, the war artist.  Molly Lamb Bobak was the first woman to travel overseas as an official Canadian war artist. For a time, she lived on the West Coast with her husband, fellow artist Bruno Bobak, and later settled in Fredericton. She died in 2014 at the age of 92. Victoria author, Anny Scoones, collected personal stories about her mother for the book Last Dance in Shediac: Memories of Mum, Molly Lamb Bobak. The Next Chapter, CBC Radio, March 21, 2016


An outdoor art gallery, coming to a neighbourhood near you.  If you’ve been through Toronto’s Swansea neighbourhood recently, you may have noticed pint-sized paintings popping up on utility poles. The paintings depict neighbourhood intersections. And they were hung as if they were in a gallery — with one exception: no artist signature.  Jorge Molina is the local artist whose paintings were just the start of something he’s calling The 416 Project. CBC News, March 21, 2016

Rented studio offers artist community and place to focus. It’s a former warehouse that’s been converted to offices and studio spaces at 401 Richmond St. W. Inside, there is a palpable buzz. And the hum comes not only from behind the studio doors, but from artists in the hallways, coming and going, juggling portfolios and cups of coffee. They’re always creatively dressed, and most know each other if not by name, then at least by face.  Toronto Star, March 21, 2016


Budget 2016: What Artists & Art Orgs Need to Know.  One of Trudeau’s biggest promises was that he would double funding for the Canada Council from approximately $180 million annually to $360 million annually.  Trudeau also promised to restore and increase investment to programs similar to Trade Routes and PromArt, which, as the CBC reported, “the Tories cut in 2008 and which promote and subsidize Canadian artists and performers touring abroad.”  Canadian Art, March 22, 2016

Canada Council for the Arts getting fund infusion.  The Liberal budget unveiled Tuesday granted an additional $40 million for the organization this year, with incrementally larger annual increases leading to an additional $180 million in 2020-21 and, ultimately, $550 million in new investment. Toronto Star, March 22, 2016

Contemporary art lovers help fund Ottawa Art Gallery expansion.  Glenn and Barbara McInnes can trace the start of their passion for contemporary art back to the 1960s, when they bought a picture of Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol for just $15.   In February, the couple donated $100,000 toward a major expansion of the gallery. The gallery is expanding to more than 80,000 square feet over five floors and will become home to the Canadian Film Institute.  Globe & Mail, March 18, 2016

Nuit Blanche suspended: No event slated for 2016.  Struggling with funding, the organizers of Ottawa’s pop-up art festival, Nuit Blanche, say there will not be a festival in 2016, but they describe this as a one-year pause to reflect, not a cancellation of the event. They plan to come back together to put on Nuit Blanche 2017.  Ottawa Citizen, March 22, 2016

San Francisco

Frankfurt museum director to head Fine Arts Museums.  Austrian-born Max Hollein has been named director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, its board of trustees announced Tuesday afternoon. San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2016

Los Angeles

What’s drawing millennials to downtown L.A.’s Broad museum. The Broad’s appeal to young people starts with colorful edgy art, such as Jeff Koons’ glaring, gold-hued sculpture of Michael Jackson and his chimp, Bubbles, and Takashi Murakami’s psychedelic-looking, dancing mushrooms. The museum is also located downtown, increasingly an entertainment and nightlife hub. And it’s free. Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2016

Who’s afraid of Robert Mapplethorpe?  As a major exhibition on the New York photographer opens at Lacma and the Getty Museum, the question of what kind of work museums can show rumbles on The Art Newspaper, March 15, 2016


Baltimore art collective Balti Gurls tackles issues of race and gender head-on.  Balti Gurls, the now 11-member-strong crew works together and separately, creating mixed-media artwork, images of black women meshed with original paintings and graphics, visual slide shows with hair grease and kiddie perm ads, prints tackling societal pressures such as mental-health stigmas and female friendly-tunes free from misogynistic lyrics.  Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2016


Fall with Bruegel’s Rebel Angels in a Virtual Reality Experience. Thanks to a new virtual reality project launched this week by the Google Cultural Institute, you can now immerse yourself in one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s most bizarre paintings and hang out with the peculiar creatures that cover its canvas. The project, which brings to life the Flemish master’s 1562 “The Fall of the Rebel Angels,” is viewable on YouTube.   Hyperallergic, March 18, 2016


Hundreds of Looted Ancient Artifacts Are Returned to Italy.  Hundreds of looted archaeological artifacts that officials say were handled by the London dealer Robin Symes and destined for markets in the United States, Japan and Britain have been returned to Italy, Italian culture officials said Tuesday.   New York Times, March 22, 2016






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