Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 3, 2016

Unpacking the Mash-Up  For the epic exhibition “MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture,” on view through June 12 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the word has been wisely adopted to cover all the “mixing, blending and reconfiguration of existing materials (sounds, images, objects, events) to produce a new outcome,” writes VAG senior curator Bruce Grenville in the show’s dynamic catalogue. This game-changing mode of creativity has been driving avant-garde cultural production since the early 20th century, Grenville notes, but “MashUp” is the first major exhibition ever to cover the subject in such depth, or to put a name to it, for that matter. Introspective Magazine, May 2, 2016

The community weighs in on Canada Council’s new strategic plan  The Canada Council for the Arts released a new five-year strategic plan earlier this week and yesterday (April 28), via Facebook livestreaming, representatives answered questions from the community. But the bigger announcement from Canada’s public-arts funding body had come in January when details of the plan to move from a disciplinary-specific model to an interdisciplinary one, reducing the number of programs from 147 to a streamlined six, were shared. The Georgia Straight, April 28, 2016

Arctic Comics, a hit at Expo 86, are back  The first “Arctic Comics” began almost as a lark when the Northwest Territories government realized it would need northern material to sell at its pavilion at Vancouver’s world party…The N.W.T. pavilion turned out to be one of the hits of the fair. Eager visitors snapped up 60,000 copies of “Arctic Comics.” The plan was to do it again for Expo 92 in Seville, Spain. But the team missed the publication window and “Arctic Comics” languished. Until now. With the same past, present and future focus as the original, the new “Arctic Comics” features a trip with a legendary Inuit Ulysses in “Kiviuq versus Big Bee.” The fantastical adventure of the long-ago traveller, drawn from Inuit myth, was written by the late Jose Kusugakm, one of the founders of Nunavut, and illustrated by Germaine Arnaktauyok. Canadian Press, May 1, 2016

Blind artist Carmen Papalia talks about art and accessibility  What responsibility do galleries and museums have to make their spaces accessible? It’s a question that visually-impaired Portland, Oregon artist Carmen Papalia takes very seriously. “As someone who learns through their non-visual senses, I consider the museum not to be for me, necessarily,” said Papalia…Papalia is one of two speakers — along with University of Regina artist and professor David Garneau — taking part in a free talk Tuesday evening at the Ottawa Art Gallery on museums and accessibility. Papalia lost his sight while in college, and now dedicates much of his work to challenging how museum-goers experience art beyond solely the visual component., May 3, 2016

The Contact Photography Festival exhibits the experts can’t wait to see  This anniversary year, the month that is Contact promises even more of “the craziness you get from too much choice” – including 20 primary exhibitions, 34 feature exhibitions, 20 site-specific public works, more than 100 open shows, plus a raft of lectures, workshops, ceremonies and parties. To help make sense of this image-world, we asked five long-time lens lovers to name two or three presentations they’re keen to contact. The Globe and Mail, April 29, 2016

ARLIS/NA announces 2016 Melva J. Dwyer Award Winner The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Melva J. Dwyer Award. 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group (2015) was published through a partnership of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Black Dog Publishing in both an English and a French edition. This award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva J. Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. The publication was edited by Jacques des Rochers, curator of Canadian and Quebec Art before 1945 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Brian Foss, Director of the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, to accompany an exhibition of the same name, which they also curated. ARLIS/, May 2, 2016

New York
MoMA Galleries to Change Their Focus  The Museum of Modern Art is changing things yet again. After reinstalling the fourth-floor permanent collection — devoted to works from 1940 to 1980 — MoMA, beginning in June, will radically rework its second-floor contemporary galleries by dividing them into three distinct spaces, each with a major installation from the collection focused on a single artist. “MoMA is going through this very public experimentation in thinking about its collection galleries,” said Rajendra Roy, the museum’s chief film curator. “We’re all looking at new models and exploring what that can feel like and look like.” The New York Times, April 28, 2016

Marisol, an Artist Known for Blithely Shattering Boundaries, Dies at 85  Marisol, a Venezuelan-American artist who fused Pop Art imagery and folk art in assemblages and sculptures that, together with her mysterious, Garboesque persona, made her one of the most compelling artists on the New York scene in the 1960s, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85.María Sol Escobar, who adopted Marisol as her name when she began exhibiting in New York in the late 1950s, introduced a distinctive new element to the emerging Pop Art lexicon. Influenced equally by pre-Columbian art and the assemblages of Robert Rauschenberg, she began constructing tableaus of carved wooden figures embellished with drawings, fabric and found objects. The New York Times, May 2, 2016

What does a female artist have to do to get a major solo show? Women still get far fewer solo shows in major museums than their male contemporaries, new research shows. The Freelands Foundation found that in London in 2014/15, women got only 25% of the most prestigious shows. But initiatives in the UK and US are aiming to level the playing field. Frances Morris, the new director of London’s Tate Modern, is determined to ensure that female artists are better represented across the gallery, which opens its Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension in June. “Women will be very strongly present,” she said at a preview of the new hang last month. “There is a commitment to show the real history of art and the contribution made by women who have been overlooked.” This month, Tate Modern opens a big exhibition of Mona Hatoum’s work, and a Georgia O’Keeffe show will open in July, helping to redress the historic imbalance. The Art Newspaper, April 29, 2016

Italy spends €1bn in historic boost for cultural heritage  The Italian government announced yesterday, 2 May, that it is allocating €1bn to major restoration and building projects at 33 museums, monuments and archaeological sites across the country, including Pompeii, the earthquake-stricken city of L’Aquila and the Uffizi galleries in Florence. The culture minister Dario Franceschini described the funding, which will continue until 2020, as the “biggest investment in cultural heritage” in Italy’s history. The “one billion for culture” campaign brings a much-needed boost to projects that have been delayed or shelved over the years due to a lack of resources… The Art Newspaper, May 3, 2016

Art Collectors Quit Scandal-Hit Geneva  Art collectors have begun to pull their paintings and sculptures out of Geneva’s secretive free port storage facility as the site once again finds itself under scrutiny following the identification of a $20 million Amedeo Modigliani painting in its tax-free vaults that was allegedly stolen by the Nazis. “A few” customers over the past six months have transferred their collections to newer rival Delaware Freeport near Philadelphia and similar warehouses in London, David Hiler, president of the Geneva Free Ports, said in an interview. Facing criticism that the 127-year-old facilities’ lack of transparency fosters money laundering and tax dodging, Geneva authorities hired Hiler a year ago to overhaul how the sites are run., April 29, 2016

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