Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 13, 2016

‘He did everything for the art:’ Toller Cranston’s final paintings come home.  The final paintings of Canadian figure-skating great Toller Cranston have returned home after his untimely death in Mexico more than a year ago. Christopher Talbot, Cranston’s longtime friend and agent, feels sadness despite successfully negotiating his way through months and months of red tape to retrieve dozens of pieces from Cranston’s home in San Miguel de Allende.  CBC News, April 11, 2016

Edmonton artist who battles depression uses camera to put a face to mental illness.  An Edmonton photographer who has battled anxiety and depression since she was a child is making it her mission to expose the face of mental illness, in hopes of helping others who may not feel they can be helped.  Blake Loates was eight years old when she first felt the impact of her depression. Her symptoms got particularly bad when she was about 13.  Global News, April 12, 2016

MacKenzie Art Gallery employees vote in favour of strike mandate.  MacKenzie Art Gallery employees have voted unanimously to support a strike if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.  On Thursday, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5791 said approximately 19 permanent staff and approximately 15-20 casual employees at the gallery have voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. Global News, April 12, 2016

Ontario announces $27-million for rebuild of Toronto’s OCAD University.  The province will direct $27-million toward a rebuilding of OCAD University’s downtown Toronto campus that would give the institution long-awaited upgrades to its facilities and a new and improved public face.  Globe & Mail, April 12, 2016  see also OCADU Receives $27 Million for Expansion.  Canadian Art, April 12, 2016

On the Wall: Raymond Boisjoly, Josh Thorpe and Winnie Truong. Sobey Prize finalist Raymond Boisjoly is among a new generation of Canadian First Nations artists using cutting-edge strategies to explore age-old questions of culture and identity amid the ashes of colonialism.  A new work is part of primary exhibition of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.   Toronto Star, April 12, 2016

Inside Naomi Yasui’s Ceramics Studio.  Nestled between large, industrial spaces that house electronic-waste disposal units and dairy-distribution services, Naomi Yasui’s sunlit studio looks out over the smokestacks and parking lots of Toronto’s west end. Her shared studio space is filled with buckets of broken bits of ceramics, sponges of all shades and sizes and three electric kilns. Canadian Art, April 11, 2016

Photo laureate Geoffrey James on his new title, selfie sticks and a dark world.  Last week, City Council approved Geoffrey James as Toronto’s first photo laureate. We spoke to the Welsh-born, Toronto-based photographer about his new post, selfie sticks and an ominously dark world.  Globe & Mail, April 8, 2016

The Secret Life of a North Korean Defector Artist.  How much can art and film really advance human rights?  It’s difficult to say, but that doesn’t keep artists and filmmakers from trying. The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which wraps up in Toronto this week, aims to give power to the people through the telling of stories. The festival seems to understand the concerns of visualizing sober political narratives with a film program that purposefully shies away from didacticism, instead turning to more nuanced, ethically challenging and hopeful discussions. It showcases eight films that take storytelling as a mode of survival, offering fictional, documentary and experimental art-house cinema as a means of envisaging the global fight for human rights. A standout film from the festival  is I Am Sun Mu, which stands at the intersection of visual art, human rights and documentary cinema. Canadian Art, April 7, 2016

25 Canadian Artists Longlisted for $50K Sobey Art Award.  While many aspects of the list may be familiar, this is a year of change for the Sobey Art Award, as 2016 marks the first year of it joining forces with the National Gallery of Canada. (Previously, the award was based out of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, while also partnering with other institutions across Canada for award ceremonies and exhibitions.)  The 2016 curatorial panel, chaired by the National Gallery of Canada’s senior curator of contemporary art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, is composed of one representative from each of the five regions—and, for the first time, one international juror.  Canadian Art, April 13, 2016

New York
How I Get By: The Lives of 5 American Artists. As living costs in our city to soar, artists form various strategies so they can do what they love most.   The Observer, April 13, 2016

An Art App That Pushes Aside the Art World Curtain.  A free app, called Magnus, uses digital-recognition technology similar to that of Shazam, which “hears” music to provide song titles, and Vivino, which reads wine labels and reveals ratings and restaurant markups.  Currently set up for artwork in New York, the user takes a photo of the piece with a mobile device. Within seconds, Magnus provides the name of the artist, gallery price, past dealer and auction prices of other works, and the artist’s exhibition history. The image can be shared via text, email, Instagram, Facebook and other social media, and saved in the user’s digital collection.  The app will soon be available for London and Berlin.  New York Times, April 11, 2016

Jackson Pollock paintings to be united in London show.  Two of Jackson Pollock’s most important and biggest works will be sent from Australia and the US to be united for the first and probably only time in a landmark London show on abstract expressionism.  The Guardian, April 12, 2016

‘Lost Caravaggio’ found in French attic causes rift in art world.  It could turn out to be an Italian Renaissance masterpiece by one of history’s greatest painters; yet the mysterious 400-year-old canvas was only found by accident when the owners of a house near Toulouse went to fix a leak in the ceiling.  The Guardian, April 12, 2016

Modigliani masterpiece seized in wake of Panama Papers.  Swiss authorities confirmed Monday they have seized a Modigliani masterpiece in Geneva in the wake of Panama Papers revelations first reported last week by the CBC’s the fifth estate and global media partners as part of an international investigation into offshore tax havens.   CBC News, April 11, 2016

A Few Words About the Faux Rembrandt.  There is an interesting new painting in the world. In the Netherlands, a team of scientists, engineers, and art historians, funded by an advertising firm, has used computer programs and 3-D-printing technology to produce what, at a glance, looks very like a previously unknown early portrait, of a thirties-ish man, by Rembrandt. The New Yorker, April 8, 2016

The Hague
European Art Award Canceled After Two Nominees Withdraw. Organizers of the Vincent Van Gogh Biennial Award — known as the Vincent Award — have cancelled this year’s edition of the contemporary art prize, presented biennially since 2000 to a mid-career artist who lives and/or works in Europe. According to an announcement on the award website, the withdrawal of two of the five candidates led to the decision. German artist Jutta Koether and Iranian artist Nairy Baghramian rejected their nominations in January, less than two months after learning that the international jury had shortlisted them.   Hyperallergic, April 8, 2016



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