Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 25, 2016

Vancouver

New public art works explore Vancouver as a coastal city. A backlit still-life made from plant species alien to the Lower Mainland is one of four artworks that have been installed as part of a new public art exhibition. The exhibition is called Coastal City and includes 15 temporary artworks that will be shown as part of the series, said Karen Henry, project coordinator for the City of Vancouver. Works will appear monthly through October. Vancouver Sun, May 20, 2016

Vancouver and Asian art: What impact would a dedicated museum have?  It was 11 a.m. on May 7, a rare cloudy Saturday morning in the hills overlooking Los Angeles where the Getty Center campus is located. An hour after opening, a line up of people eager to see the Cave Temples of Dunhuang exhibit was already snaking around the building in which the re-created caves are housed.  Could this scene be in Vancouver’s future? West Vancouver philanthropist Robert H.N. Ho would like to see more events such as the Getty-Dunhuang exhibit in Vancouver, if a museum was built here.   Such a facility, given Vancouver’s large Chinese community and links to Asia, would attract visitors and drive economic activity in addition to boosting the city’s global profile, proponents say. CBC news, May 24, 2016

Grandniece of last emperor of China showing paintings at Art! Vancouver. As a  youngster growing up in China, Cecilia Aisin Gioro knew better than to talk about being related to the country’s last emperor. What stopped her was social pressure against acknowledging she was the grandniece of Puyi Aisin Gioro, or Henry Pu Yi, as he was called in the West.  She is currently showing her work at Art! Vancouver.  Earlier this month, Aisin Gioro officially opened her gallery on East Pender, in the heart of Chinatown. Vancouver Sun, May 24, 2016

Toronto

Hurvin Anderson presents scenes from neither here nor there at AGO. What distinguishes the Hurvin Anderson oeuvre is a profound in-betweeness. Much of the work at the AGO shunts between depictions of Caribbean milieus (jungle, water, pear and mango trees, bars) and the Caribbean-inflected settings and products of Anderson’s native Britain (the barber shop paintings, rendered in Britannic hues of blue, red and white; a series of four Warhol-esque consumer-themed “sculptures,” mounted on sconces, including recreations of take-out boxes for Mother’s Chicken and Juici, two fast-food chains catering to Britain’s Caribbean population).   Globe & Mail, May 23, 2016   See Also Hurvin Anderson: At the Art Gallery of Ontario, What’s Left Behind.  Toronto Star, May 24, 2016

Evading genre, artist Ryan McNamara goes beyond mere performance. Performance art used to be about pain. Physical pain, psychic pain. Not all of it, of course, but a lot.  Ryan McNamara doesn’t do pain. Strenuous? Most definitely. Challenging? Uh-huh. Time-consuming? For sure. By rough estimate, McNamara has mounted at least 30 site-specific performance pieces of varying degrees of complexity over the past seven years in cities such as Moscow, Sao Paulo, Dallas, Rotterdam and Istanbul.  The challenge for McNamara at the Power Ball (at Power Plant) will be to both go with the flow and be the flow.  Globe & Mail, May 20, 2016

Japanese artist Rokudenashiko on sexuality, obscenity and jail time Rokudenashiko is a Japanese artist who followed her muse into legal and social strife, all documented in her newly translated graphic novel, What Is Obscenity? The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and Her Pussy.  Rokudenashiko was in Toronto recently for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.  Globe & Mail, May 24, 2016

Saskatoon

Artist Wilf Perreault among 10 joining Sask. Order of Merit.  Saskatchewan artist Wilf Perreault is one of 10 distinguished citizens joining the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.  CBC News, May 24, 2016

Ottawa

The art of play: Alberta painter Chris Cran featured in major retrospective at National Gallery.  A refreshing chinook from Alberta has blown into the National Gallery of Canada. The breeze is provided by the whimsical, inventive paintings of Calgary artist Chris Cran. Although he is a serious artist with serious things to say about art, culture and society, Cran manages to leaven those messages with a dose of humour that eases the viewer into his conversation.   Ottawa Citizen, May 20, 2016

Montreal

When Imagination and Politics Mix.  Ideas of hybridity, transgression and the marginal are often aligned with politics of subversion, resistance and dissent. This is particularly true for art that ventures into the realms of the fantastic or grotesque…Both Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona have had their work framed in this way, and their recent joint exhibition offered ample fodder for such an interpretation. Organized by Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain in partnership with Feheley Fine Arts, “Universal Cobra” was a spellbinding exhibition that explored chimeras of imagination and otherness.  Canadian Art, May 23, 2016

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Museum Offers Staff Buyouts  The Brooklyn Museum is offering voluntary buyouts to address a budget deficit of about $3 million, the museum’s director, Anne Pasternak, informed the staff on Wednesday. ‘It’s a course correction,’ Ms. Pasternak said in a telephone interview.”  The museum, which has an operating budget of $38.6 million, joins the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, both of which also recently announced staff cutbacks. The New York Times, May 18, 2016

New York

Tracey Emin: ‘The stone I married is beautiful and dignified – it will never let me down’  The last time Tracey Emin opened an exhibition of her work – in Hong Kong in March – she caused international headlines by announcing that she had married a stone in the garden of her house in the south of France. The artist’s latest exhibition, at Lehmann Maupin in New York, continues the theme. It’s called Stone Love, although the title, picked out in one of her famous neons, is actually taken from the first line of Soul Love, by her late friend David Bowie.  The Guardian, May 24, 2016

Washington

GW cuts 10 faculty members from Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.   Ten full-time faculty members who came to George Washington University when it took control of the Corcoran school were told Monday that their one-year contracts would not be renewed. The cuts come as enrollment dropped 24 percent since the university assumed control of the school in August of 2014, after a District judge approved a plan for the financially struggling institution that also gave the National Gallery of Art custody of the Corcoran Gallery of Art collection. Washington Post, May 16, 2016

London

First look: inside the Switch House – Tate Modern’s power pyramid.  Among the shafts of luxury flats sprouting up along the south bank of the Thames, from Battersea to Bermondsey, there is one new tower unlike the others. It is made of brick, not glass, and stands as a squat, truncated pyramid, twisting as it rises. Punctured only by thin slit windows, Tate Modern’s new extension rears up like a defensive watchtower, there to ward off property developers from encroaching any further on the former Bankside power station.  The Guardian, May 23, 2016

Liverpool

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms; Maria Lassnig review – an embarrassment of riches.  There is a Francis Bacon pope in Tate Liverpool that is barely a squeak from high camp. It shows the pontiff in sumptuous purple robes, raising his dainty little hands in a fit of girlish horror. It is a very strange addition to the long sequence of screaming popes; indeed this pontiff is not screaming so much as wincing with his eyes closed. But it makes the point, as Bacon’s paintings so often do, that there is sometimes very little distance between hilarity and nervous hysteria. The Guardian, May 22, 2016

Cannes

Xavier Dolan: Prince of Cannes, Haters be Damned.  The only way to truly understand Juste la fin du monde will be by framing it as a bridging work for whatever comes next (his next film is slated to be an English-language American production), which is a relief, because it means that the way we talk about this film in 10 or 15 years will be determined by Montreal filmmaker, Xavier Dolan himself, not by the critics or the Cannes jury.  Canadian Art, May 24, 2016

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