Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 23, 2016


Big Print project steamrolls its way onto Granville Island.  Leaning against a wall in Richard Tetrault’s crowded studio is a large fibreboard panel, carved with the image of a grizzly bear. It’s a jazzy West Coast grizzly, standing on its hind legs and playing a harmonica. Created by Toronto artist Barbara Klunder during a recent stay in Vancouver, it awaits its full realization as an immense woodblock print. Along with the equally oversized works of 11 other local and national artists, Klunder’s Coastal Harp will undergo a very public birthing as part of this year’s Big Print project. Each impression will be made not on a large-bed printing press but beneath the wheels of a steamroller. Yup, a steamroller, the kind used for paving streets. The event is scheduled to take place on Granville Island over the Canada Day holiday weekend.   Georgia Straight, June 22, 2016

Council to hear recommendation for multimillion-dollar Vancouver Art Gallery plaza reconstruction.  City staff has recommended that council authorize a contract for the redevelopment of the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza.  The proposal would see Jacob Bros. Construction, a Surrey-based outfit, remodel the plaza for close to $6 million.  Georgia Straight, June 22, 2016

Vancouver city staff recommend that council spend $1.5 million on public art.  The City of Vancouver’s public art program is 25 years old and has helped create more than 300 artistic works.  And now, Vancouver city council is prepared to give it a financial shot in the arm.  Georgia Straight, June 22, 2016

Rare array of vintage artificial limbs joins Museum of Vancouver collectors’ show  Show curator Viviane Gosselin points out that [David Moe’s prostheses, like other treasures in the 9,000-square-foot show, are working collections used for teaching—something you might not necessarily apply to the pinball machines or Expo 67 memorabilia elsewhere in the massive display. But in the case of the 20 people featured in All Together Now, there’s a definite human connection. “The essence of the individual collector comes through,” Gosselin says. “We want to show who’s behind that creation.”  Georgia Straight, June 22, 2016.  See also Five reasons to see Museum of Vancouver’s All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their WorldsVancouver Sun, June 22, 2016


‘Being around art changes how you think’: Works festival to sprawl all over downtown Edmonton.  Like a multi-brained octopus, each year the Works Art & Design Festival stretches out from the downtown Edmonton core, encompassing existing, year-round galleries and at the same time, creating its own temporary domain.  The Works is made of connection points,” muses the festival’s artistic director Amber Rooke. “We exist to bring people, space and art together, to connect over esthetic experiences. “Being around art changes how you think. Being in a space that is imbued with creativity incites creativity. It’s one of the most human things we do, to seek connection. And somehow we manage to create meaning in a blob of blue and a streak of green.  Edmonton Journal, June 22, 2106


Jeff Bierk and the Thorny Issue of Exploitation.   At first, the work made me uneasy. Partly because of what little I knew about the people photographed: Toronto’s poor and homeless pictured in the street. And partly because of what little I knew about the photographer: Jeff Bierk, of the illustrious Peterborough Bierk family. He is the son of celebrated painter David Bierk and arts advocate Liz Bierk, has an actress sister, a brother who fronted a successful heavy-metal band, another brother who is an NHL goalie and three more who are artists.  What entitled him to document and display the quotidian world of the underprivileged? …   He regards the type of work included in recent exhibitions like “Top Left” at MULHERIN as “collaborative portraiture,” the ethics of which have evolved with time and experience, and as his relationships with the people he photographs have deepened.  Canadian Art, June 22, 2016

Doc looks at life, work of Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris With his paintings shattering records at auctions, and an upcoming exhibit of his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Lawren Harris is having a career renaissance more than four decades after his death.  Focus on the life and work of the legendary Group of Seven leader shifts to the screen with Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren ­Harris, premièring Saturday on Ontario public service broadcaster TVO.   Times Colonist, June 22, 2016


Liz Magor tackles the meaning of things in MAC exhibition Habitude.  There is a great deal to see in Habitude, Liz Magor’s engrossing new exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal ; the show is the largest to date of the work of the leading Canadian contemporary artist, and it offers much to think about.  Montreal Gazette, June 22, 2016

Quebec City

Quebec City’s fine arts museum opens new $100 million wing.  Architect Shohei Shigematsu of New York was glowing with pride as he gave journalists a sneak preview of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s sleek new building.  Shigematsu said his design was inspired by Quebec City’s natural beauty and rich history. “As you might know, it’s a dream for an architect to build a building that is connected to both a prison and a church,” he said, referring to adjacent historic monuments.   Montreal Gazette, June 22, 2016


Study: Culture Affects Economy More Than Sports and Forestry.  In their bulletin, Economic benefits of culture, Hill Strategies Research asserts that the estimated direct economic impact of Canada’s culture  was $61.7 billion in 2014, or 3.3% of the country’s GDP.  Nationally, they say,  the GDP of culture industries is much larger than the value added of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting ($29 billion); accommodation and food services ($38 billion); and utilities ($43 billion).  Canadian Art, June 22, 2016

New York

Earth Angel.  Arlene Shechet is the first living artist to exhibit in depth at the Frick. Given the whimsical beauty and deep smarts of her installation in the museum’s portico, which pairs early-eighteenth-century Meissen porcelains with sculptures that Shechet recently made at the same German factory, she won’t be the last. But her show, called “No Simple Matter,” is a triumph that could have been a disaster, a paragon of old-master virtue jumping on the make-it-new bandwagon.  The New Yorker, June 27 (issue), 2016

Long-lost still-life by Gauguin rediscovered in Connecticut. A still-life of flowers by Paul Gauguin—which hung for 30 years in the home of a retired Manhattan antiques dealer, who did not know it was by the artist—has been rediscovered by a Connecticut auction house. Authenticated by the Paris-based Wildenstein Institute, the painting “certainly appears” to be the long-lost still-life Summer Flowers in a Goblet listed in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, says the Gauguin specialist, Sylvie Crussard.   The Art Newspaper, June 16, 2016


Painters’ Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck review – an electric conversation.  From the sensous Cézanne owned by Degas to van Dyck’s horde of Titians, this sparky show reveals the chains of inspiration linking painters through the ages.  The Guardian, June 21, 2016


Work begins to try to save Christianity’s holiest shrine: Jesus’ tomb.  Work has begun to save the holiest shrine in Christendom. It won’t be a simple patch-and-paint job.  This is the alpha and omega of restoration projects.  They are going to repair Jesus’ tomb — with titanium bolts.   The Washington Post, June 20, 2016

Lake Iseo, Italy

How Christo Built His Latest Work: Two Miles of Floating Walkway.  It takes serious engineering to let 640,000 people walk on water. Luckily, that’s exactly the kind of technical and creative challenge that Christo—the artist who wrapped the Reichstag and dotted Central Park with 7,503 orange panels of fabric—excels at.  Wired, June 22, 2016


Brâncuşi sculpture goes on display as Romania bids to take ownership.  A nationally treasured work by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi has gone on display at the National Bank of Romania as part of a bid by the state to raise funds to buy it from a private owner.  The Guardian, June 15, 2016


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