Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 14, 2016

Robert Amos: Artist takes wing with love of birds  Rebecca Jewell has flown here from London, bringing her solo exhibition titled Soaring High, Landing Hard: The Veneration and Exploitation of Birds (Alcheringa Gallery, 621 Fort St., 250-383-8224, until July 6). In a presentation she made shortly after the opening, Jewell opened my eyes to both halves of her subtitle — the use of feathers as a supreme adornment of chiefs and kings, and the catastrophic destruction of all things that fly by we humans. I came away both inspired … and troubled. The Times Colonist, June 13, 2016

These stories will change how you think about men’s mental health  The City of Vancouver has declared June 14, 2016 Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This special day is part of Men’s Health Week (June 13-19, ending on Father’s Day). Why mental health awareness? … As men account for three to four times the number of suicides of as women, one group is raising awareness of another important cause: men’s mental health, depression and suicide. HeadsUpGuys, a local depression resource for men funded by the Movember Foundation, has a public art exhibition June 13 and 14, 2016, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. They also released a series of powerful videos about depression. Huffington Post, June 13, 2016

Former Magnetic North head Brenda Leadlay takes the helm of BC Alliance for Arts and Culture  Leadlay is well-known in the Vancouver arts community, though she’s been in Ottawa heading up the national Magnetic Norht Theatre Festival since 2011. She founded the Chutzpah! festival in 2001 and has led local groups from Tamahnous Theatre to Presentation House Theatre. She also has her Masters in Fine Arts, specializing in directing, from UBC….Leadlay, who begins her new position in August, replaces Rob Gloor, who announced this spring that he was headed to the position of executive director at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Centre, starting June 21. The Georgia Straight, June 9, 2016

Martha Sturdy carves path as an artist and designer  When it comes to making decisions, “you should listen to what your soul says because that’s the truth,” says B.C. artist and designer Martha Sturdy. Following her instincts and not over-thinking things has worked for Sturdy, who became known right out of art school (graduating from Emily Carr in the late ’70s) for her wearable sculptures, featured in Elle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She has achieved wide success and recognition for her custom furniture and art work, favouring resin, brass, steel and wood. The Vancouver Sun, June 9, 2016

Audain Art Museum welcomes first travelling exhibit There are uncanny parallels between the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick and Whistler’s recently opened Audain Art Gallery, as Darrin Martens, chief curator of the latter institution, points out. Lord Beaverbrook considered a number of locations for a museum to house his art collection before settling on Fredericton and opening the gallery in 1959. Michael Audain similarly scouted venues across B.C. before he was persuaded to choose Whistler, opening his museum’s doors in March this year. Starting on Saturday (June 18), those worlds will collide when the Audain Art Museum hosts The Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery for three months. Question, June 13, 2016

These Alberta sculptors were shortlisted to build a Stanley Cup monument  This month, after sculpting 85 monuments across Canada, husband-and-wife duo Don Begg and Shirley Stephens-Begg were short-listed in a competition to build a tribute to Canada’s holy grail: the Stanley Cup.“We are just thrilled to pieces,” said Stephens-Begg, who hopes to design a sculpture with her husband and their partners at Exp, a landscape architecture firm, “to inspire everyone to hockey from little kids that are just learning to skate.” … This Friday, along with seven other finalists selected from 40 entries, they will visit the site in central Ottawa, across from Confederation Square, where the tribute — called Lord Stanley’s Gift monument — will stand. The Calgary Herald, June 13, 2016

Artist comes home, buoyed by New York respect  Karel Funk has made extraordinary art from the most ordinary of subjects: the common hoodie. Even more extraordinary, the Winnipeg artist’s hyper-realistic acrylic portraits have caught the eye of art collectors in one of the world’s hottest art markets, New York. He’s had three solo shows at Manhattan’s 303 Gallery and his works have also been on display at the Big Apple’s Guggenheim and Whitney museums. They are also in the collections of museums in Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Starting Friday, it’s his hometown’s turn. The Winnipeg Free Press, June 9, 2016

New York
Reinventing the International Center of Photography for the Selfie Age  Two years ago, the International Center of Photography bowed to the realities of Manhattan real estate, giving up its Midtown home on Avenue of the Americas and going dark. Now it is set to reopen on June 23 in a new incarnation downtown, after institutional introspection compelled not only by the move but also by the presiding quandary about what, exactly, defines photography today as the medium keeps morphing and mutating within a vast, evolving technological landscape….The center paid $23.5 million for 11,000 square feet of exhibition space at 250 Bowery, across from the New Museum on the Lower East Side and only blocks from the cluster of anti-Chelsea galleries and restaurants that cater to a millennial crowd. An all-glass, street-level facade is intended to draw foot traffic into a visible public space where talks and events are planned. The New York Times, June 10, 2016

Oh, What a View, Inside and Out, at the Growing Tate Modern  On Friday, the world’s most popular modern art museum, the Tate Modern, opens a new 10-story wing designed by the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Called the Switch House, the extension will show off contemporary work, including film, installation and live performance and will add 60 percent more space to the already enormous former power station on the banks of the Thames….The new building cost £260 million ($371 million), from public and private funding, with the largest donation (£50 million or $71 million) from the British government. The New York Times, June 14, 2016

Smithsonian to Open Permanent Exhibition Space in London with V&A Museum  The Smithsonian announced today that it plans to collaborate with the Victoria and Albert Museum to create a permanent gallery space in the V&A’s new building, known as V&A East, which is being constructed in East London’s new cultural complex, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The building is slated to open sometime in 2020 or 2021. This is the Smithsonian’s first project in its 170-year history to take place in another country. The joint exhibition space in East Stratford, will feature programming developed by the two institutions that draws from both collections. Artforum, June 13, 2016

With sanctions in the rear-view mirror, European museums look to Iranian art  The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London is the latest European institution to turn the spotlight on Iran. The museum has a major exhibition focusing on Iranian heritage and history in the pipeline.“The V&A is in the early stages of planning an exhibition that will showcase an important private collection of Iranian art supplemented by the V&A’s own holdings,” a museum spokeswoman says. No opening date has been set. Museums in the West continue to woo Iranian cultural bodies after last year’s deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations. The Art Newspaper, June 13, 2016

Owner of a Modigliani Portrait Is Adamant the Work Isn’t Nazi Loot  The art dealer and billionaire David Nahmad says he is well aware of the scornful whispers that trail him when he travels to Brazil, to New York. He says he feels the disapproving stares when he enters his synagogue at home in Monaco. “People say, ‘Oh, David stole it; he should give it back immediately,’” Mr. Nahmad said in a rare interview at a hotel here.“It” is a valuable painting by Modigliani, an oil portrait of a dapper chocolate merchant in a hat and tie, seated and holding a cane. A Nahmad holding company bought the work at auction in 1996 and has owned it ever since. But the grandson of a Jewish antiques dealer says it is the same work that was confiscated from his relative’s Paris shop during the Nazi occupation and sold off more than 70 years ago. The New York Times, June 12, 2016


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