Visual Art News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 16, 2016

Vancouver

Master inspirations: a survey of Picasso’s six muses at Vancouver Art Gallery  A new exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) offers a unique perspective on Picasso’s relationship with the women in his life. ‘Picasso: the Artist and his Muses’ is remarkable in its consolidation of the historical and photographic archive of Picasso’s wives and lovers, from Fernande Olivier to Jacqueline Roque.  Wallpaper, June 10, 2016

Will Rafuse paints a disappearing city at the South Granville ArtWalk.  It says something about artist Will Rafuse’s nostalgia for Vancouver that, even though he has moved to the far side of the country, he is still obsessively painting the disappearing streetscapes of his former West Coast home.  Georgia Straight, June 15, 2016

Drama Queer exhibit aims to forge emotional connection. In the contemporary art world, the language used to talk about art is often as dull as a quarterly corporate report. It steers clear of poetry, devalues emotion and elevates dry intellectual concerns above all others. The idea that a work of art might want to provoke a strong response or that someone might feel something is often considered a sign of failure in the art and weakness in the viewer. In the contemporary art world, the language used to talk about art is often as dull as a quarterly corporate report. It steers clear of poetry, devalues emotion and elevates dry intellectual concerns above all others. The idea that a work of art might want to provoke a strong response or that someone might feel something is often considered a sign of failure in the art and weakness in the viewer.   Vancouver Sun, June 15, 2016

Victoria

Erotic Asian art on display at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria The rarest items in a new exhibition of erotic Japanese and Chinese art are the porcelain tiles. The six tiles, never before seen in a public gallery, are contained in little painted boxes. On one side, they depict ordinary scenes of life. On the other side, they portray enthusiastic couples in flagrante delicto.  Most objects are from the AGGV’s collection, which boasts the most comprehensive collection of Japanese art in Canada. It’s the first time the gallery has had an exhibition dedicated to erotic Asian art since 2002.  Times Colonist, June 16, 2016

Toronto

Toronto Art’s Queer, Punk Past.  In writing Is Toronto Burning?: Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene, I discovered for myself, not knowing when I began, precisely what composes this story. It begins with a lost history of feminist performance, such as Glamazon (1975), organized by Dawn Eagle and Granada Gazelle (a.k.a. Miss General Idea 1969), for which David Buchan was the stage manager. Canadian Art, June 15, 2016

The first Toronto Art Book Fair kicks off. So what’s an artist’s book, anyway? There’s no easy answer, so you’ll have to show up and see. The best of them, printed multiply in limited runs, are artworks in their own right. Toronto Star, June 16, 2016

Brain-themed art project around the city aims to get you thinking.  The Brain Project runs all summer with the goal of raising more than $2 million Alzheimer’s and dementia research at Baycrest Health Sciences.  Toronto Star, June 15, 2016

Montreal

Montreal exhibit showcases the many sides of painter Edmund Alleyn. Painter Edmund Alleyn was a Quebec anglophone who spent four years in the late 1940s at French Jesuit schools, including the formidable Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montreal. Before exiting his teens, he was well-versed in the social and religious orthodoxy that reigned supreme during the period Quebeckers know as the Great Darkness.  Globe & Mail, June 10, 2016

The Ridiculous Saga of Montreal’s $3.5 Million Stumps.  Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre wants to lavish his city with a costly birthday present: a luxury set of twenty-seven granite pieces, valued at $3.45 million. They are art, he assures us. And you can sit on them. The pieces are described in a city report as “a cross between street furniture, signage, and design.” But everyone else is comparing the truncated, conical pieces of granite to tree stumps.  The Walrus, June 14, 2016

St. John’s

Migrant Art and Its Legacy in Newfoundland.  Part of the emotional punch of “This Free World” at The Rooms—and it is deeply affecting—can be attributed to Mirielle Eagan’s masterful curatorial skills. She employs a complex layering of information and imagery to situate these artists’ work in an historical context. Eagan’s curating deftly tells a dense and textured narrative: Why these artists came, and why they stayed.Canadian Art, June 5, 2016

Seattle

A New Diane Arbus Biography Brings Us Closer to the Contentious Photographer.  She is one of the most difficult photographers of all time, and one of the most hotly debated.  Too often we talk about Arbus in tragic terms, in terms of her suicide in 1971, assuming that “people who commit suicide are all sensibility and no intellect,” said the author of a new biography of Arbus, New York Times writer Arthur Lubow. Lubow and I will talk about Arbus and his new book tomorrow night at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.  The Stranger, June 15, 2016

New York

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Party Crasher (Kind Of): Basquiat At Nahmad Contemporary.  Jean-Michel Basquiat’s former band mate, Michael Holman, compared the dead artist to both a spiritual leader and a comic book hero when I recently spoke to him by phone. “I saw Jean very early on as a realized being,” he said. “Like a Dalai Lama…He was somehow superhuman.” Forbes, June 15, 2016

Philadelphia

Museum of the American Revolution enters the home stretch. The Museum of the American Revolution, whose building at Third and Chestnut Streets has been under construction for two years, plans to announce Thursday that it will open its doors to the public April 19, 2017.  In addition to announcing an opening date, museum officials also reported that a donation of $10 million has been made by H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, the largest contributor to the museum and the former owner of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.  Philadelphia Inquirer, June 16,2016

London

Bob and Roberta Smith is first artist to donate to new Tate Modern.  Bob and Roberta Smith has become the first artist to donate work to the new Tate Modern after dozens of schoolchildren ran down the slope of the Turbine Hall shouting and holding his placards which spelled out: “All Schools Should be Art Schools.”  Smith said it was less a demonstration and more “a creative parade” about the importance of the arts and creativity in education.  The Guardian, June 16, 2016

New Tate Modern: more women, more diverse and more macaws.  In Tate Modern’s £260m extension there are more works on display by women and by artists not from western Europe or North America; there is more performance, photography and interactive art; more cafes, shops, lifts and places to sit down; and more beautifully plumed macaws.  The Guardian, June 14, 2016 

The Hague

Revealed: the unseen flip-sides of the world’s most famous paintings. The Mona Lisa has a note reading “this way up”, Rembrandt’s Lucretia is screwed together with car parts, and Matisse’s The Red Studio is covered with chicken wire.  These are the revelations of an exhibition at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, which displays a new side to some of the world’s most famous paintings, thanks to an intriguing series of artworks by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. The clue is in the name, Verso, meaning “the back” in Portuguese.  The Guardian, June 16, 2016

Europe

Medieval graffiti. Graffiti on the walls of Europe’s old churches reveals the real Middle Ages – a world far removed from knights and damsels.    Aeon, June 14, 2016

 

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