Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 1, 2016


Artist Hazel Wilson stitched Haida history into blankets. Whenever Hazel Wilson entered a room, her grandson Jacob Simeon says, she would naturally become the centre of people’s interest, before saying a word. When she spoke, in her calm and measured voice, her words would resonate deeply. And when she unveiled her creations, she would enrapture viewers with beautiful imagery that told haunting and sometimes discomfiting stories. When she died in Vancouver last month at the age of 75, both the Haida community and national visual arts scene lost a vital cultural champion.  Globe & Mail, May 31, 2016

First Nation carver Norman Tait revived Nisga’a tradition.  Norman Tait, a Nisga’a First Nation artist whose work is displayed around the world, has died at the age of 75.  Mr. Tait was known for carving totems, but the self-taught artist’s work also includes masks, jewellery and photos.  Globe & Mail, May 31, 2016


Remai Modern launches new branding for art museum.  Remai Modern is going with a new look leading up to the completion of its new home – a $84.6 million, 130,000 square foot art museum – in Saskatoon.  Gregory Burke, CEO of Remai Modern, was on hand Tuesday at the Saskatoon Farmers Market to unveil the new logo and colours for the museum and gallery.  CBC News, May 31, 2016


Witness Blanket Melds 800+ Residential-School Artifacts.  The Witness Blanket is a huge installation built from 800-plus residential-school artifacts—including merit badges, photographs, letters, hockey skates, a door and other objects—and it’s touring the country from coast to coast until 2021.  “I started trying to think of something that I could do that would somehow commemorate the residential schools in a respectful way,” says Kwagiulth artist and master carver Carey Newman, who devised the project, currently on view at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.  Canadian Art, May 31, 2016


5 Artists Shortlisted for 2016 Sobey Art Award.  Today, the Sobey Art Award revealed its shortlist of five artists from coast to coast. They include: William Robinson (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Jeremy Shaw (Vancouver, BC, and Berlin, Germany), Brenda Draney (Edmonton, Alberta), Charles Stankievech (Toronto) and Hajra Waheed (Montréal) The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada this November and will take home a $50,000 prize.  Each of the remaining four finalists will receive $10,000.   Canadian Art, June 1, 2016


In the Studio with Matthew Schofield. For much of his career, Canadian artist Matthew Schofield has painted from vintage photographs—often producing paintings at the same small, intimate scale of the snapshots themselves. Here, in a Toronto studio visit with Canadian Art, Schofield explains what appeals to him about this practice.  Canadian Art, May 30, 2016

On the wall: Indian Acts, tough talk on race, class and the arts.  In the aftermath of last year’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, an exhaustive document that quite rightly laid the blame for decades of mistreatment of aboriginal Canadians at the feet of the federal government, points of re-engagement have started being forged in earnest. This one, curated by Gerald McMaster, former AGO curator of Canadian art and current Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University, punches above its weight.  Toronto Star, May 27, 2016

Geoffrey Farmer and Duane Linklater strike out for ‘terra incognita’  The Ryerson Image Centre and the National Gallery of Canada announced  Thursday that they had chosen two prominent Canadian artists, Geoffrey Farmer and Duane Linklater, as the inaugural recipients of Be3Dimensional Innovation Fund grants, which gives each artist $50,000 to develop a project using the technology over the coming year. We spoke with both of them about their ideas and what they hoped to accomplish.  Toronto Star, May 27, 2016

Rare Lawren Harris oil sketch sets record at Consignor live auction in Toronto.  A rare preparatory oil sketch by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris fetched $977,500 at Consignor Canadian Fine Art’s first live auction event Tuesday night at the Berkeley Church in Toronto.   Times Colonist, May 31, 2016

Antigonish, NS

Mi’kmaq artist Alan Syliboy aims to use art as vehicle for change.  Mi’kmaq artist Alan Syliboy has been appointed as the 2016 Coady Chair of Social Justice at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. He plans to use his art to address environmental issues, missing and murdered Indigenous women and First Nations’ housing issues. CBC News, May 31, 2016


Enter the Void: How to Graduate from Art School.  Art school promises much—but it leaves many graduates facing mounting debt, slim chances of career success and a limping job market. What to do? Canadian Art, May 26, 2016

New York

$80 Million Con.  When one of the oldest and most respected art galleries in America, the Knoedler Gallery in New York, closed its doors abruptly in 2011, the art world was stunned. Not because the gallery closed, but by the discovery that over the course of 15 years, the gallery and its president, Ann Freedman, had sold millions of dollars in forgeries to wealthy collectors.  CBS News, May 26, 2016


Rome launches SOS for historic sites.  Rome on Tuesday issued a 500-million-euro SOS to companies, wealthy philanthropists and its own citizens to help restore many of the Italian capital’s iconic historic sites and avoid the risk of some falling into ruin.  Agence France-Presse, May 24, 2016.  See Also: Will Anyone Give Rome $550 Million for Historic Preservation? The Atlantic, City Lab, May 27, 2016


Uffizi, With Indiana University, Will Digitize Ancient Sculptures.  The Uffizi Gallery has started a project in collaboration with Indiana University to digitize its collection of ancient sculpture, with the goal of making it accessible on the web by 2020.  New York Times, May 26, 2016


Why Museums Are Granting Google Free Access to Their Collections. Google Cultural Institute recently revealed that it has engineered the creatively named Google Art Camera: a custom-built camera intended to capture “ultra-high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images” of artworks in museums around the world. It also shared about 1,000 of these photographs online that allow anyone with internet access to zoom in closely to examine the originals — or rather, representations of the originals — in staggering detail.  This collection will continue to grow as Google plans to send its 20-strong camera convoy to museums around the world.   Hyperallergic, May 25, 2015

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