Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 31, 2016


Get the picture? Capture Photography Festival a perfect fit for Vancouver.  In just three years, Capture has become part of the city’s annual series of festivals. It’s such a perfect fit for Vancouver’s art scene it feels as if it’s always been here, thanks to organizer, Kim Spencer-Nairn. This year’s festival features more than 50 exhibitions in public and private galleries, as well as public art installations in Metro Vancouver. One of the festival’s big coups last year was persuading BC Hydro to let the festival show art on the façade of the Dal Grauer Substation on Burrard Street. This year, it features two photographs by Stephen Waddell: Showroom and The Collector. Those images are also on the front and back of the Capture catalogue.  Vancouver Sun, March 30, 2016

Travel photography takes an artful new turn at the Capture fest.  In Asia and Africa, particularly, people and landscapes remain vulnerable to the camera’s still-colonizing gaze.  These dynamics are well understood and consciously resisted by two local photo artists whose metaphor-rich works are on display during the Capture Photography Festival.  Josema Zamorano is exhibiting his recent series of experimental Japanese images at Back Gallery Project and Valerie Durant is showing her documentary photographs of Africa at Ukama Gallery. Both artists bring an impressive depth of knowledge and experience to the why, what, and how of their creative practices.  Georgia Straight, March 30, 2016

Capture Photography Festival turns a lens on public art. Capture Photography Festival, returning for its third year, will celebrate lens-based art throughout Vancouver during the month of April. In addition to hosting more than 50 gallery exhibitions as well as a series of themed panel discussions, Capture seeks to create a dialogue about the photographic medium by showcasing four major public-art installations.  Following eye-opening discussions with the creative minds behind these works, the Straight takes a close look at each exhibit, including Adad Hannah’s playfully artful study of polka dots. Georgia Straight, March 30, 2016

Vancouver artist Angela Fama hits the road for love.  It’s a word that carries one of the most elusive definitions in the English language. Bards have waxed poetic about its emotional depths; musicians have penned ballads concerning its heartbreaking consequences; and children have described it with an unintentionally comedic quality worthy of viral status. But for local artist Angela Fama, none of it felt right.  Georgia Straight, March 30, 2016

Arts Umbrella appoints Paul Larocque as new president and CEO. Arts Umbrella, Vancouver’s non-profit arts education group, has appointed Paul Larocque as its new president and CEO. Larocque has more than 30 years of experience in the city’s cultural sector and has held management positions with Arts Umbrella in the late ’90s and early 2000s. More recently, he worked as associate director at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Georgia Straight, March 29, 2016


Artist’s winning motif for new ferry heralded by orcas’ splashy  Darlene Gait, an artist from the Esquimalt First Nation, was aboard a B.C. Ferries vessel in December when the ship was suddenly surrounded by orcas. “It was a really significant thing to see,” Gait said Tuesday in an interview. “I’ve never seen such a huge pod before and never that close.”  Times Colonist, March 30, 2016


This artist’s grandma was a CIA guinea pig.  Artist Sarah Anne Johnson’s grandmother — who sought treatment for postpartum depression before it was “a thing” — was one of the victims of the mind-control experiments conducted by the CIA.  CBC News, March 30, 2016


Meet Chantal Pontbriand, New CEO Leading the MOCA.  In 1976, while still in her 20s, Chantal Pontbriand took her first-ever museum job working in programming and education at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It wasn’t to last terribly long. “At the time, the education department was run by a very nice woman, but it was all about guided tours,” Pontbriand, now 64, said recently. “Even then, it felt a bit dépassé.”Canadian Art, March 30, 2016


New ROM CEO will roll out the welcome mat.  The Royal Ontario Museum and its new CEO, Joshua Basseches, seem made for each other.  The place needs a shakeup and a way into the 21st century, and he comes across as just the charismatic and articulate makeover expert to lead a transformation, as I discovered over breakfast the other day. Basseches was paying a flying visit to Toronto just days before moving here from Boston, along with his wife of 26 years, Amy Perry Basseches. He starts work Tuesday at a (relatively modest) salary of $380,000.  Toronto Star, March 27, 2016

London, Ontario

On the boards: Artists venerate the ordinary and commonplace.  Two Canadian artists are featured in two new exhibitions opening at a London gallery. Works by painter Gathie Falk, recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (1990), the Order of Canada (1997), and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2003) and Aganetha Dyck, who received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media in 2007, will be at Michael Gibson Gallery until April 30.   London Free Press, March 30, 2016


Kiki Smith: Wide awake and making art.  Kikki Smith, the 62-year-old artist, who will launch the second season Contemporary Conversations at the National Gallery of Canada on March 31, has produced a vast catalogue in many media — clothing, scarves, posters, plaster, screen prints, etchings, glass, bronze, silver, gold, rubber, wood, silk, linoleum, even blankets. So it’s unexpected to hear her say, when we connect on the second attempt, “Sorry, I overslept.”Ottawa Citizen, March 28, 2016


Los Angeles

Los Angeles’s mural ‘movement’: It gives you a sense of pride and belonging. In the shadow of downtown Los Angeles, is a rundown area called Historic Filipinotown, named for its once thriving post-war immigrant community. Until recently, it was gang territory, with tags wallpapering alleys where homeless people slept. But now the homeless people are gone and gang tags have been painted over by colorful murals – more than 110 of them by roughly 80 local and international artists. The gangs are still there, but they leave the art alone. The Guardian, March 30, 2016

Bentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum to Open New Space for Contemporary Art Next in the march of postindustrial artification, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. — home to Walmart — has announced plans to transform a defunct Kraft cheese plant into a raw space for contemporary-art exhibitions, artists’ projects, music, theater and film. New York Times, March 29, 2016


Star architect Zaha Hadid dies aged 65.  Dame Zaha Hadid, the world-renowned architect whose designs include the London Olympic aquatic centre, has died aged 65.  The British designer, who was born in Iraq, had a heart attack on Thursday while in hospital in Miami, where she was being treated for bronchitis.  The Guardian, March 31, 2016

Gateshead, England

How we made The Angel of the North.  Interview with Anthony Gormley:  “Quite a lot of people didn’t want it: there was a campaign to stop the Angel, lots of negative stories. A local paper dug up pictures of some totalitarian winged figure commissioned during the Third Reich and ran it under the headline: NAZI … BUT NICE. I nearly pulled out – I had no interest in foisting this thing on anyone. But the planners talked me round, the council backed it, and people started to get on board.”  The Guardian, March 30, 2016

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