Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 27, 2016

Fred UnLEEshed: Good Show  The Vancouver Art Gallery hosted a special fundraising gala to celebrate the opening of Picasso: The Artist and His Muses, the most significant exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso in Western Canada. Chaired by Pamela Richardson and Catherine Guadagnuolo, and hosted by Gallery trustee and artist Hank Bull, the black-tie affair attracted more than 300 art enthusiasts to the historic Hotel Vancouver…The night of Picasso and philanthropy saw a reported $500,000 raised to support VAG’s education program that reaches thousands of school children yearly. Vancouver Courier, June 22, 2016

B.C.’s highest honour recognizes 16 outstanding citizens The 2016 recipients include Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, OC of Vancouver: Landscape architect who has pioneered many globally-recognized approaches to outdoor environments, and J. Pauline Rafferty of Victoria: A leading Canadian executive in the cultural sector who transformed the Royal BC Museum into a premier museum. B.C. Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, June 14, 2016

Archaeologist says returning First Nations heritage a big, expensive job Premier Christy Clark called on museums and institutions around the world to return culturally significant artifacts to B.C. First Nations on Tuesday, but SFU professor of archaeology George Nicholas says there’s more to repatriation than just asking for it all back. There’s the question of tracking down where all these items are; negotiating with museums and other institutions; and what Nicholas says is most unclear: who will pay for the repatriation?, June 23, 2016

Campbell River
Invoking compassion through art Sonny Assu considers his art to be autobiographical; he explores his identity and the history of his people. One such story from his grandmother translated into the piece Leila’s Desk. Assu’s grandmother was the first indigenous person allowed to go to high school in Campbell River. On her first day, one of her Grade 9 classmates left a bar of soap on her desk and called her a dirty Indian… Assu recreated the moment that his grandmother remembered so well, refinishing a 1930s school desk, leafing it with copper and placing a bar of the exact brand of soap, that he found on eBay, on the desk…The piece, as well as more of Assu’s art, is on display at the Campbell River Art Gallery until July 21. Campbell River Mirror, June 21, 2016

Audain Art Museum in Whistler receives $2 million gift A Montreal-based foundation that supports education, medicine and the arts across the country has given a $2-million gift to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler to cover the cost of the chief curator’s salary. The donation is from the Jarislowsky Foundation established by businessman and philanthropist Stephen Jarislowsky and his wife Gail. The Vancouver Sun, June 23, 2016. See also the Georgia Straight, June 23, 2016

Overwhelmed by light and colour: Dale Chihuly’s glass art shines at ROM  Pure delight. Magical. A sense of wonder. These are just some of the sentiments used to describe contemporary artist Dale Chihuly’s immersive sculptures, which shatter any illusions that glass blowing is only for vases and bowls. Chihuly, a new exhibition opening this weekend at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, features 11 monumental installations by the contemporary American glass artist. Seven were created specifically for the ROM., June 25, 2016

MOCA CEO Chantal Pontbriand severs ties with museum  Chantal Pontbriand, the Montreal native who was appointed director and CEO of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art last fall amid much fanfare for her wealth of international experience, has left the museum less than a year into her tenure. On Thursday, rumours began circulating that Pontbriand, 64, who only took her post in October, had abruptly severed ties with the museum. By Thursday evening, senior museum officials had confirmed that Pontbriand was in fact no longer with the institution. Pontbriand did not respond to a request for comment. The Toronto Star, June 23, 2016

Canadian Museum of History accepts record $2M donation from Eaton family  The Canadian Museum of History has received a $2-million donation from businessman and diplomat Fredrik Eaton and his family — the largest the museum has ever received. The money will be used to support the development of the museum’s new signature exhibition, the Canadian History Hall, currently under construction and scheduled to open on July 1, 2017. The museum must raise $5 million of the $30-million cost of the new hall, while the federal government will cover the rest. With the Eaton family gift, it has now raised about $3.2 million toward that goal, museum president and chief executive Mark O’Neill said Wednesday. The Ottawa Citizen, June 22, 2016

Québec City museum doubles space for local artists with $103m expansion  Québec City has a very special gift to celebrate this year’s Fête nationale (national holiday) on 24 June: the opening of the new Pierre Lassonde pavilion of the Musée nationale des beaux-arts de Québec, an art museum in the centre of the Francophone city that focusses on collecting historic and contemporary works by Québécois artists. “The world heritage site that is Québec City has just added a new emblem,” Line Ouellet, the museum’s executive director and chief curator, said in a statement. The Art Newspaper, June 24, 2016

Pierre Lassonde pavilion review – OMA lifted up a park to slide in a building  A new pavilion for the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec gleams modestly between elm trees. It was designed by OMA’s New York office, led by Shohei Shigematsu, to double the gallery spaces of the museum and get it out of a park and on to the street. Though the building is OMA’s first in Canada and the biggest cultural project in Quebec City for over 50 years, it is more helpful than heroic.  The Guardian, June 22, 2016

New York
Bill Cunningham, Legendary New York Times Photographer, Dies at 87  Bill exemplified everything about the fashion world that is to be cherished and celebrated, and he has gifted posterity a unique archive—a document in pictures of half a century of the evolving world of fashion, and the style of the tastemakers who both shaped and embodied it. In 2008, France’s Ministry of Culture anointed him an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. He was America’s national treasure., June 25, 2016

Brexit: dismay and concern after historic decision to leave EU  British arts organisations and artists are dismayed by the results of the European referendum, in which 52% of voters opted to leave. The decision by David Cameron to resign as prime minister in the early autumn has only added to the political and economic uncertainty, which will increase difficulties in the art world…. During the campaigning, there was overwhelming arts support for remaining in Europe. A survey of members of the Creative Industries Federation had shown that 96% backed “remain”. The Art Newspaper, June 24, 2016

Strange bedfellows: how Edvard Munch and Jasper Johns painted sex and death  An exhibition opening at the Munch Museum in Oslo this month, and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the US in November, finally answers the question John B Ravenal was asked many times over in the years he worked as a curator. What was the connection between two artists as apparently different as Edvard Munch and Jasper Johns – the creator of The Scream, and the pioneer of abstract expressionism – and why had they given almost the same title to paintings separated by 40 years? The Guardian, June 24, 2016

More museums turn to focus groups, but do they help or hinder?  The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has run focus groups since reinstalling its collection in 2007. When consulted about the exhibition Dance! American Art 1830-1960 (until 12 June), some participants felt that Native American ghost dances were too sacred to depict. In the end, the two works that showed the ritual remained in the exhibition, but wall labels gave a respectful explanation of the spiritual meaning of the dances. Now, the museum is taking public consultation even further by reserving four spots for community members on a brainstorming team dedicated to the reinstallation of its Asian collection. The Art Newspaper, June 24, 2016


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