Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 7, 2016

Hands across Pacific link art and trade in Victoria exhibit  Opening today, Trans-Pacific Transmissions: Video Art Across the Pacific is the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s big summer show. Fifteen video artists from the Pacific Rim have contributed works. All are linked to what might seem an unlikely subject: trans-Pacific trade. The global impact of such trade — particularly the power of cultural imperialism — is a recurring theme in the show. The Times Colonist, June 2, 2016

The Woman Who Says No: Book profiles a life lived in the shadow of Pablo Picasso When German journalist Malte Herwig interviewed Françoise Gilot for the first time in 2012, he had a tough time convincing the then-92-year-old artist to pose for the accompanying magazine photos… There’s no way in hell, she told him. Desperate, he tried to appeal to her ego. “I had the stupid idea to compliment her with the first thing that came to mind, which is, ‘but you are very photogenic, madame.’” Gilot shrieked with laughter, which was when Herwig realized his error. “I thought, ‘Wow, is there anything more stupid I could have said to a woman who has been captured in portrait by Matisse and Picasso?’” Awkward moment aside, three years later Gilot would pose in her studio for more photos to accompany Herwig’s new book, The Woman Who Says No: Françoise Gilot on Her Life With and Without Picasso, published by Vancouver publisher Greystone Books. Metronews, May 25, 2016

Art Seen: A Canadian wolf is among the B.C. art works heading to London for World Alzheimer’s Day art auction The first art auction for World Alzheimer’s Day in London will feature a group of works by artists from B.C. The event takes place Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the embassies of more than 15 countries including Canada, Germany, Japan, Ireland and Sweden. Rosalind Adnani, a West Vancouver resident, came up with the idea of involving B.C. artists in an auction as her contribution to the international fundraiser. The artists whose works are in the auction are Dana Claxton, Douglas Coupland, Graham Gillmore, Angela Grossmann, Attila Richard Lukacs, Gordon Smith and Tyler Toews. The Vancouver Sun, June 2, 2016

“Picture brides” installation comes to Nikkei Centre  A new audio-visual installation at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre will highlight the experiences of Japanese women who came to Canada as “picture brides” in the early 20th century. Nikkei artist in residence Chino Otsuka’s exhibit, Arrival, showcases the journey of young Japanese immigrants who entered into arranged marriages in Canada after exchanging photos with their prospective husbands. The women did not see their husbands in person until they arrived in Canada. “I was drawn to their innocence, ambition and courage – their journey. They all longed for a new life in a new country,” Otsuka says an artist’s statement. “Yet when they arrived in Canada, the life they had imagined was completely different. Hardship and many tragedies would follow them.” The installation features four diptych images accompanied by real-life accounts of Japanese picture brides. Burnaby Now, June 6, 2016

Museum directors’ gathering brings important dialogue  Whistler got its first taste of the sort of important cultural conversations the Audain Art Museum will bring to the resort. Five indigenous artists and educators told representatives from some of Canada’s top art galleries how to improve relations with First Nations artists, teachers and communities at a public forum at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Sunday, May 15. The forum was part of the spring meeting of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO), which is being hosted by the Audain. Pique Magazine, May 19, 2016

Burning bright: Diverse works celebrate 20 years of decolonization and indigenous excellence Urban Shaman, one of only a handful of galleries in the country dedicated to indigenous contemporary art, has been a crucible for these ideas since its founding 20 years ago, and The Fire Throws Sparks celebrates their spread since 1996. Comprising older, recent and reimagined works by 11 artists with ties to the gallery, the smartly curated exhibition spans generations and disciplines, embracing resistance, reflection and formal exploration, poetry and protest, tenderness and humour….A welcome show of strength from a vitally important gallery, The Fire Throws Sparks continues until June 30, culminating in Urban Shaman’s 20th Anniversary gala Aug. 4, where some of the works in the show will be up for auction. The Winnipeg Free Press, June 2, 2016

Hyperrealist artist Karel Funk’s paintings to be shown in Winnipeg  Winnipeg artist Karel Funk has received international attention for his hooded figures – stark and contemporary urban works that at the same time draw heavily on historical religious art. They have been praised by the likes of The New York Times (“outstanding”) and Artforum, and have been acquired by institutions such as the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. They were the subject of a 2007 show at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, his first solo exhibition at a public gallery. And they are finally coming home. An exhibit, called Karel Funk, opens at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this weekend – the first major survey of his work. It includes 24 paintings, representing about a third of the body of work under examination. The Globe and Mail, June 5, 2016

New York
In Turner Paintings at the Met, the Bloody Business of Whaling  Among the most revered works by the great British painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) are those representing the world dissolved by light, steam, fog, smoke, rain, wind and snow. One of his favorite settings for his evocations of elemental chaos was the ocean, a place where nature regularly overwhelms human challenges to its dominion. In this vein, late in his career, when he was around 70, Turner made the dangerous business of whaling the subject of four paintings. He exhibited two of them at the Royal Academy in London in 1845 and the others in 1846, but they’ve never been shown all together until now, as the Metropolitan Museum of Art has united them in “Turner’s Whaling Pictures,” an exceptionally thought-provoking exhibition. The New York Times, June 2, 2016

Obsessions and Compulsions at the Park Avenue Armory “The Back Door” is also the title of Mr. [Martin] Creed’s exhibition, a sprawling affair that occupies the armory’s entire main floor, including not just the drill hall and the small, bunkerlike rooms that flank it but the grandly decorated, late-19th-century period rooms on the building’s Park Avenue side. This is Mr. Creed’s biggest exhibition in the United States, although he won the Turner Prize in 2001 and his work has been shown extensively in Britain, with numerous solo shows at Tate Britain and a career retrospective two years ago at the Hayward Gallery in the Southbank Center in London. The New York Times, June 7, 2016

Artists invited to illuminate the river Thames  A new charity spearheaded by Hannah Rothschild, the award-winning author who is chair of the National Gallery’s board of trustees, plans to transform central London’s many bridges with the help of artists working in collaboration with engineers. Illuminated River, a £20m scheme, was launched last week, backed by the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan—his first endorsement of an ambitious cultural project. An international design competition has begun to find a team capable of taking on the great task that could ultimately include 18 Thames river crossings, two of which are yet to be built. The Art Newspaper, June 7, 2016

Artist Mary Heilmann: the Californian surfer still making waves in her 70s  Heilmann’s big ideas and promiscuous use of different media have made her a hero for a new generation of painters, not least the women leading abstract American art today. Make a list of the most ambitious painters working in the US – Julie Mehretu, Laura Owens, Jacqueline Humphries, Charline von Heyl – and it will be a while before you hit a man’s name….Today’s art world, transformed by big money, doesn’t have the same intimacy. It requires a cool head and – to use a Heilmann metaphor – an ability to surf its waves without going under. “We started out loving Duchamp’s idea of making something that wasn’t particularly seductive. But economics is a basic human instinct, and it’s pretty hard not to say, ‘Oh, everybody likes that! I’ve got to make a bunch!’ You’ve got to override that impulse.” She pauses, reconsiders, then adds with a laugh: “Well, Andy didn’t override it.” Yes, she knew Warhol, too. Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures is at Whitechapel gallery, London, from 8 June to 21 August. The Guardian, June 6, 2016

Banksy leaves mural and cheeky note in Bristol school as thanks for tribute  The street artist Banksy has painted a primary school playground wall and left a note that could cause havoc with the school’s code of discipline – “remember it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission” – in gratitude for the honour of having one of the houses of the school in Bristol named after him. The painting, of a scribbly school girl bowling an alarmingly realistic burning tyre along the 14ft wall, and the note left for the school caretaker, appeared overnight at Bridge Farm primary school, in the city where the anonymous artist’s meteoric career began. The Guardian, June 6, 2016

Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian artist Tunga has died aged 64  The Brazilian artist Tunga—the first contemporary artist to exhibit works at the Louvre in Paris—died yesterday (6 June) in Rio de Janeiro, aged 64. “The news came in last night and it was devastating,” says Irina Stark, the sales director at Pilar Corrias gallery, who represented the artist in London from 2008 until last year. Tunga, who was suffering from cancer, had “been in intensive care for the past couple of days. We are all in mourning”. Art world tributes have begun pouring in for the artist who worked with sculpture, performance and video, and never shied away from the body in his often-surreal works. In interviews with the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the artist Adriana Varejao called him “a visceral artist, an alchemist” while the sculptor Waltércio Caldas said that Brazil has lost one of its great artists. The Art Newspaper, June 7, 2016


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