Visual Art News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 20, 2016

Vancouver Art Gallery exhibit highlights Picasso’s muses – and their stormy relationships with the artist Although excited to see the artwork, I felt somewhat uneasy walking into an exhibition about Picasso’s women. Picasso was notoriously cruel to his partners – a serial philanderer, a womanizer. He got older but his conquests did not. He was in his 70s when he met his second wife, who was in her 20s. He was also a fiery, jealous and even violent partner. The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2016

Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s masterworks cover 400 years  The Audain Art Museum’s curator, Darrin Martens, says the Whistler museum is the only venue in British Columbia to show the exhibition. “It provides an interesting complement to our own masterworks collection,” Martens says. “Being able to look at, discuss and think about collectors and museum builders in two different eras… it’s an interesting dialogue we can create between these collections”. … Martens says there will be a panel discussion on July 21 with himself, the museum’s founder Michael Audain and collector and philanthropist Bob Rennie called The Art of Philanthropy, Collecting and Museum Building. The Masterworks exhibition runs until Sunday, Sept. 11. Pique, June 16, 2016

Audain Art Museum opens Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery  A master work by Salvador Dali as well as others by Joseph Mallord William Turner, Eugene Delacroix, and an array of historical Canadian artists are highlights of a major summer exhibit opening tomorrow at Whistler’s new Audain Art Museum. On Saturday (June 18), the Audain Art Museum opens Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to the public. It’s a rare West Coast showing of 75 works that were collected by Lord Beaverbrook (the press baron and Winston Churchill confidant) and that now reside in Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The Georgia Straight, June 17, 2016

Museum of History’s Napoleon and Paris exhibit offers glimpse of France before and after the Revolution  [….] portraits by Elisabeth Louise Vichée Le Brun at the National Gallery offer dramatic glimpses into the gilded, pre-revolution life of France’s royals and elite. Now it’s the turn of the Canadian Museum of History, with the North American debut of the exhibition Napoleon and Paris. Here is a rather different view of France, one seen during and after the revolution, when history’s most consequential Corsican elevated himself to the throne of emperor and vowed to make Paris his great imperial capital. Though he spent only a few of his 15 years in power in Paris — the rest were spent on battlefields — Napoleon’s mark on the city is broad and indelible. Socially, financially, legally, culturally, architecturally, administratively, all were forever changed, and usually made better or grander, by the emperor. More than 250 artifacts make up the exhibition, and below are brief looks at six that stand out. The exhibition, organized by the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, is open until Jan. 8, 2017. The Ottawa Citizen, June 16, 2016

From Zaatari to Ottawa: young refugee and minister reunite over painting  Federal politicians meet a lot of people, but Syrian children don’t meet a lot of federal politicians — let alone the same one twice, in two different countries, each a world apart from the other. Hamza Ali, 13, remembers clearly the day last November when a trio of Canadian cabinet ministers trooped into an ad-hoc art gallery set up in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Ali, one of the artists, shook the ministers’ hands and explained the concept behind his gripping paintings of women and men struggling with life and the war in Syria. Canadian Press, June 20, 2016

At the MMFA — Toulouse-Lautrec’s chronicle of cabaret life  If ever there was an artist who had the right tools for the age he lived in, it was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose lithographs are a chronicle of cabaret life during Paris’s Belle Époque — the 1890s. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque, which opens at the Museum of Fine Arts on June 18, presents more than 90 of the artist’s prints and posters that document the Paris demi-monde, one illustration at a time. In the process, he immortalized the nightclubs like the Moulin Rouge that hired him. He was an artist with a mastery of drawing, colour and graphic design just when colour lithography was making major technical advances that allowed for high-quality lithographic prints and posters to be made in quantity. The Montreal Gazette, June 10, 2016

1776 portrait drawn by British spy operating in Canada up for sale Two portraits drawn in Albany during the Revolutionary War by a British spy operating out of Canada are being auctioned in New York City. Swann Auction Galleries in Manhattan on Tuesday is selling John Andre’s circa-1776 portraits of Albany Mayor Abraham Cuyler and his wife. The pencil-on-paper sketches are mounted together and being sold as one unit. The estimated sale price is $50,000 to $75,000. Andre was captured by Americans in Canada in 1775 and was headed to captivity in Pennsylvania when he spent several weeks with the Cuylers and drew their portraits. After being released, Andre was put in charge of the British spy network in America. Associated Press, June 20, 2016

New York
The party’s over as New York’s top museums feel the pinch  Many in the field were surprised when three of New York’s top museums—the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Brooklyn Museum—announced that they would seek to reduce staff in the coming months….The three museum’s plans, all announced within four weeks of each other, illustrate a growing problem in cultural fundraising today. While there seems to be ample money to finance expansions—a recent survey by The Art Newspaper found that US museums spent $5bn on building projects between 2007 and 2014—there is less money available to pay staff. The Art Newspaper, June 20, 2016

Three High-Level Employees Leave Metropolitan Museum of Art  In a follow up to their previous announcement that the Metropolitan Museum of Art would be forced to cut jobs due to a $10 million budget deficit, Andrew R. Chow reports in the New York Times that three high-level employees at the museum, including its first chief digital officer, Sree Sreenivasan, have stepped down from their posts. Sreenivasan has been with the Met for three years and led their recent website redesign and the development of a smartphone app. He will stay on temporarily as a consultant to the Met’s digital team as they focus on digitizing its collection for a global audience. The museum’s senior vice president for marketing and external relations, Cynthia Round, and the head of design, Susan Sellers, also resigned. The two most recently worked together on the museum’s rebranding campaign. Artforum, June 20, 2016

Outstanding art from the world’s galleries leads to buoyant sales to collections and institutions worldwide  The 47th edition of Art Basel in Basel closed on Sunday, June 19, 2016 amid reports of significant sales across all levels of the market, including many major sales by galleries exhibiting within the Unlimited sector. Attendance from international collectors and institutions was once again very strong, with new collectors from countries across Africa and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iran, Lebanon, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand, coming to the fair for the first time. In a more volatile market and political environment, this edition proved that there continues to be a strong demand for high-quality works when premier international galleries and leading collectors from across the world come together., June 20, 2016

Tamara Chalabi and Paolo Colombo Announced as Curators of Iraqi Pavilion at 2017 Venice Biennale The Ruya Foundation has announced that Tamara Chalabi, the chair and cofounder of Ruya, and Paolo Colombo, an art adviser at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, will cocurate Iraq’s pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale opening May 13, 2017. The exhibition will be titled “Archaic” and explore the duality and tension in the concept of the historical or antiquated. It will feature ancient artifacts from the region alongside Iraqi examples of modern art and new commissions from Iraqi artists living both in the country and abroad. Artforum, June 20, 2016

Private museums that put the public first  One of the ways for philanthropists to pull rank in the art world is not just to build an art collection, but to show it in a dedicated, possibly starchitect-designed private museum. Basel is home to two shining examples: the Renzo Piano-designed Fondation Beyeler and the Schaulager, a super (art) store designed by Herzog & de Meuron for the Laurenz Foundation. Such privately-owned, publicly accessible spaces are increasing worldwide—three-quarters of the 236 institutions listed in the BMW Art Guide opened since 2000. …Such spaces and Sammlungen get their share of criticism, ranging from being short-lived vanity projects, to getting undeserving tax breaks when public access is limited. US senators have been scrutinising 11 non-profit foundations set up by collectors, including ones on or near their private property. The reality is more nuanced. The best private museums share their collection with a wide public and other institutions. The Art Newspaper, June 17, 2016


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