Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 9, 2016

Vancouver

Picasso’s influential lovers: Vancouver exhibition explores the place where Picasso the artist and Picasso the lover meet.  Pablo Picasso loved women. Lots of them.  But as is often the case, his romantic relationships were complicated. And his attitudes toward women could be old-fashioned and cruel… One lover, Françoise Gilot, quotes the artist saying “there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.”  Vancouver Sun, June 8, 2016

Art and fine dining collide at Vancouver Art Gallery’s Summer Gala.  The Vancouver Art Gallery is hosting Summer Gala 2016 at 6 p.m. on Saturday (June 11) in the Pacific Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver to celebrate the opening of its new exhibition, Picasso: The Artist and His Muses. Georgia Straight, June 8, 2016

Artists respond to a trans-Pacific sea journey.  A small cabin aboard a freighter sailing across the Pacific. A dream gig? A jail sentence? A floating hiatus filled with creative possibilities? Where are we? What are we doing here? And what time is it, anyway?  The artworks in Access Gallery’s exhibition 23 Days at Sea are both focused and expansive, as is the concept behind the show.  In partnership with the Burrard Arts Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Access developed the idea of planting selected artists as passengers aboard container ships sailing between Vancouver and Shanghai (a voyage that takes, yes, 23 days).  As director-curator Kimberly Phillips writes in her beautifully considered exhibition essay, this unusual residency speaks somewhat humourously to Vancouver’s ludicrously high real-estate prices: providing studio space for artists’ residencies is too costly for a small, publicly funded gallery.  Georgia Straight, June 8, 2016

Richmond

Lyse Lemieux turns black felt into leaning bodies at Richmond Art Gallery.  They’re giant black ovals on the wall that look like bodies next to one another. At least that’s what I first thought when I walked into the Richmond Art Gallery to see the latest exhibition by artist Lyse Lemieux.  Vancouver Sun, June 8, 2016

Calgary

Svea Ferguson’s Top Tabs: All the Words, and All the Feels.  Calgary artist Svea Ferguson makes evocative sculptures and wall works out of cut linoleum and vinyl, among other materials. Her work was recently highlighted in “Do it like the sun,” a project by Saskatoon’s AKA Artist-Run at Art Athina in Greece. Coming up, her art can be viewed in a solo show at the Ledge Gallery at Arts Commons in Calgary in December 2016. Here, Ferguson shares her favourite web finds of late.  Canadian Art, June 8, 2016

Ottawa

On the job with an art gallery director of conservation.Stephen Gritt says it’s important for old paintings to retain their ‘voice’ when they are being restored. Gritt works at the National Gallery of Canada. Toronto Star, June 8, 2016

Toronto

Chroma Lives channels a 1980s Toronto art-world happening. A new project tucked into a Yorkville condo show suite resurrects a forgotten moment in the city’s hodgepodge art history.  Toronto Star, June 8, 2016

Montreal

MMFA opens the doors of its newest wing, the Pavilion for Peace – but just for a peek.  A preview of the newest and largest pavilion of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the just-completed Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, revealed a transparent façade and a space filled with natural light, one affording panoramic views of Mount Royal and the St-Lawrence River, downtown Montreal and the museum’s four other pavilions.  The consortium of Atelier TAG + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte Architectes is responsible for the project, which was built on time and within its $25 million budget, as museum director and chief curator Nathalie Bondil said during a press tour Tuesday morning.  Montreal Gazette, June 8, 2016

London

‘This is not America’: a Chilean artist’s newly electric message to Trump“This Is Not America” declare the yellow neon letters transposed on to a glowing outline map of the United States. “This Is Not America’s Flag” reads a following pixellated sentence, as the image changes to the stars and stripes. The Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar’s billboard, named A Logo for America, was first shown in New York’s Times Square in 1987, and was remounted there in 2014. This summer, it will flash above London’s Piccadilly Circus, courtesy of the South London Gallery, as part of its exhibition of contemporary Latin American art called Under the Same Sun. The Guardian, June 8, 2016

London Calls On Designers to Illuminate the Thames’ Many Bridges.  A competition launched last week by London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan will bring a striking nocturnal makeover to the city’s River Thames. Called the Illuminated River, the contest will see 17 of Central London’s bridges enhanced by a creative lighting design from the winner, turning what is often a hidden, lugubrious space at night into a string of pearls that could attract more nighttime visitors to the riverbank.  Citylab, June 6, 2016

Bjarke Ingels completes  Serpentine Pavilion that’s  ‘Both Solid Box And Blob’  BIG founder Bjarke Ingels has unveiled his Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – a wall of translucent blocks that has been “unzipped” to create a curving, cavernous interior. De Zeen, June 6, 2016

Alex Katz: Quick Light review – a bright burst of life in freeze-frame.  Alex Katz has always painted people and places, landscapes, cityscapes and light. Taking us from the mid-1990s to the present, there is a lot of variety in this Serpentine show. Portraits and gatherings, cocktail parties and meetings, people alone and in situations we will never understand, like that moment you turn on a TV and people are talking in some drama, and then you flip the channel or turn the damn thing off, so you’ll never know what was going on. Something is always going on.  The Guardian, June 8, 2016

Sculpture marking women’s vote battle lights up British Parliament.  The first abstract artwork created for permanent display in the 19th-century parliamentary complex was unveiled Tuesday on the 150th anniversary of the first mass petition to the British Parliament calling for women to have the right to vote.  Globe & Mail, June 8, 2016

Paris

Louvre Museum reopens as France flood damage bill tops €1bn. Visitors once again flocked to see the Mona Lisa and the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre, five days after flood waters forced an emergency shutdown of the French capital’s premier museum.  France 24, June 8, 2016

The Louvre’s closure proves art cannot survive climate change.  One of the oldest human illusions is that culture is a conquest of, or an escape from, nature. It is an illusion we need to abandon fast.  The Guardian, June 6, 2016

Versailles

Olafur Elliasson Installs a Giant Waterfall At Versailless  A towering waterfall appears to fall from midair into the Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles as part of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s latest exhibition. De Zeen, June 6, 2016

Basel

How a Dealer Prepares for the ‘Most Important’ Art Fair of the Year. Who knew you could parse Benjamin Moore Classic Gray by percentages? That’s what Dominique Lévy was doing with her team recently while readying their gallery’s booth for the Art Basel art fair in Switzerland, which starts next week — determining how deep the shade of a wall should be behind a Gerhard Richter landscape (50 percent? 75? 100?).  New York Times, June 8, 2016

Italy

Artist Christo’s ‘Floating piers’ in northern Italy will let visitors feel what it’s like to walk on water.  It’s taken nearly 2,000 years, but regular folks will soon get to feel what it is like to walk on water thanks to a project by the artist Christo, who may or may not have had his namesake in mind when envisioning his latest project: “The Floating Piers.”National Post, June 8, 2016

Italy Struggles to Reform Neglected Museums. Nearly everyone agrees that Italy’s museums are in dire need of major reform. Following the recession and a major fiscal crisis, the Italian government cut spending on culture by 22% between 2008 and 2014. Italy spends nearly half as much on recreation, culture and religion as France does.  Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2016

Gwangju

Activists Criticize Gwangju Museum for Exhibiting “Anti-Democratic” Thai Artist’s Work.  More than 200 activists have issued an open letter to the Gwangju Museum of Art expressing concern over the political views and artistic practice of a Thai artist and the museum’s decision to include his work in an exhibition highlighting “Asian democracy, human rights, and peace,” Thitipol Panyalimpanun of Asian Correspondent reports.  Artforum, June 8, 2016

International

Francesco Bonami Says Curators Are ‘Self-Delusional’ and ‘Irrelevant’ in Today’s Art World. Is there still a place for curators in contemporary art? Highly specialized curatorial academics are increasingly being pushed to the fringes of the art world. For example, this year’s Berlin Biennale, is curated by the American artist collective DIS; similarly Manifesta, taking place in Zurich this year, will be curated by the German artist Christian Jankowski; whilst the upcoming Istanbul Biennial in 2017 will be curated by the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset.  Curating used to be reserved for specialized art historians, and although more and more art schools offer curatorial courses, the graduates of these programs are being overlooked in favor of artists and non-specialists. So what changed?   Artnet News, June7, 2016

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