Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 22, 2016



ART SEEN: Jonathan D. Katz’s quest to queer the art world one exhibition at a time.   Jonathan D. Katz is an art historian at the State University of New York at Buffalo. As a scholar, he’s interested in the intersection of art history and queer history. Historically, queer was a pejorative word but it has changed over time and is now being reclaimed and used to describe not only gays and lesbians but also gender non-conformists and others who consider themselves at odds with definitions of normalcy. I was interviewing Katz because he’s the curator of Drama Queer, the art exhibition at the Queer Arts Festival which opens today at the Roundhouse Community Centre.  Vancouver Sun, June 21, 2016

Do you look like Vincent van Gogh? Artist Douglas Coupland wants your head.  Somewhere out there is a gaunt redhead who is the spitting image of Vincent van Gogh — and Douglas Coupland is going to find him, scan him and immortalize him in bronze. The most van Gogh-like candidate will be awarded €5,000 euros ($7,202 Canadian) and will be flown to Vancouver where their head will be 3D-scanned and their facial data will become Vincent van Gogh’s likeness on Coupland’s final two metre by three metre bronze sculpture and on a plaque bearing the lookalike’s name.   Vancouver Sun, June 21, 2016


Statue honours Indigenous people at Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Southern Chiefs Organization revealed the head of the statue by  Ernest Cobiness, along with drawings of how it will look when complete, outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  CBC News, June 21, 2016


6 New Toronto Art Spaces to Watch.  In the last few years, a new generation of project spaces dedicated to supporting emerging artists has cropped up in Toronto—in basements, commercial buildings and, in one case, an old air-conditioner repair shop. Canadian Art, June 20, 2016

Indigenous Artists to Reimagine Canada’s Future in VR.  Today, TIFF, imagineNATIVE, Pinnguaq and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures announced the launch of 2167, a series that invites six Indigenous filmmakers and artists to create VR projects in 2017, with each artist asked to set their work 150 years in the future.  Three works will premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox in June 2017, and three during imagineNATIVE in October 2017.  Canadian Art, June 21, 2016

Toronto art auction to support LGBTQ organizations locally and in Orlando. More than 100 artists pledged to contribute work after a call for donations was sent out by Toronto artist Mark Jeremy Gleberzon on Facebook.  Waddington’s Auctioneers and Appraisers is playing host to the pop-up contemporary art auction Small Art/Big Hearts.  Toronto Star, June 21, 2016


Mount Royal objects weren’t meant to be art, despite Coderre’s defence. Much can be excused in the name of art. Some such thought must have raced through Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s mind recently, as he faced a media grilling about the cost and merit of proposed design additions on Mount Royal, to mark the city’s 375th birthday next year.  Unfortunately for the mayor, he was wrong about his own project. The objects he was defending were never conceived as public art, by the city, the province – which controls the Site patrimonial du Mont-Royal – or even by those who created them. Globe & Mail, June 17, 2016


A Fortune Isn’t a Future: Bennie Allain’s New Brunswick Tarot.  “Artist Bennie Allain has been working in New Brunswick: first in Sackville, and now in Fredericton. He tells me—a Vancouver-trained, Fredericton-based artist—about growing up in rural PEI, in amongst an enormous extended family, and talks about reconciling 1960s film footage of the Beatles with family photos from the same years, which depict scenes of self-sufficient agriculture, and houses without electricity or television.” – Sophia Bartholomew. Canadian Art, June 21, 2016

Los Angeles

Made in L.A. exhibition excavates Hollywood history. Daniel Small is not a student of Egyptology but an artist whose interest in the excavations of Rancho Guadalupe (where Cecil B deMille filmed The Ten Commandments)   has shaped a major project in the new Hammer Museum biennial exhibition, Made in L.A. 2016Globe & Mail, June 21, 2016


Paintings Are Dirtier Than You Thought. This video from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston takes us behind the scenes of the conservation work necessary to restore Vincent van Gogh’s “Houses at Auvers.” According to Lydia Vagts, Cunningham associate conservator of paintings, the “gunk” that she’s cleaning off this Van Gogh comes from previous cleanings, and includes varnish residues, wax residues, and cotton fibers.   Slate, June 20, 2016

New York

Rachel Whiteread: ‘It’s my mission to make things more complicated’  America is a country of imagination and big dreams, some inspired, some twisted.  It is the land of liberty, the open and optimistic birthplace of such diverse heroes as Amelia Earhart, Walt Whitman and Muhammad Ali. It is also home to the Unabomber, Donald Trump and Orlando killer Omar Mateen, sometimes a violent and vengeful country.  The artist Rachel Whiteread alludes to these extremes in Cabin, a concrete reverse cast of a wooden shed that will be unveiled to the public on 19 July on Governors Island in New York.   The Guardian, June 21, 2016


New Tate Modern attracts record visits.  A record number of people have visited the new Tate Modern in London in its opening weekend.   Tate said there had been 143,000 visits since the revamped and expanded modern art gallery opened on Friday.  BBC News, June 20, 2016

Tate Modern’s Latest Expansion Makes Us Ask How Big Is Too Big? Tate Modern, which opened in the former Bankside Power Station back in 2000 as a showcase for modern and contemporary art, is the Disney World of museums, an obligatory stop on the caravan of global tourism. Its new extension is the Tate’s Epcot, an “experimental prototype” for the museum of the future.   Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2016

Lake Iseo, Italy

Artist Christo invites public to walk on water.   Renowned artist Christo can walk on water. And thanks to him so can you.  “It’s a very physical project, you need to go there (to understand it),” he said Thursday of the project called “The Floating Piers” which will open to the public from June 18 to July 3.  CTV News, June 21, 2016


Conjuring Up van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in a Bowl of Water. The latest and most dazzling addition to the van Gogh tribute movement comes from Turkish artist Garip Ay, who paints a rendition of “Starry Night” using ebru, or paper marbling, in a bowl of water. Hyperallergic, June 17, 2016


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