Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, July 11, 2016

First North American retrospective highlights two decades of art by artist Bharti Kher  Vancouver Art Gallery will present Bharti Kher Matter, the first major retrospective in North America of internationally acclaimed artist Bharti Kher. Opening on July 9, this exhibition incorporates elements of painting, photography and sculpture that have been the hallmarks of her practice over the past two decades. Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis (Chief Curator/Associate Director) and Diana Freundl (Associate Curator, Asian Art), this exhibition is presented as part of the Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art initiative which features historical, contemporary and emerging international and local Asian artists., July 8, 2016

Robert Amos: When Emily met Wolfgang  Wolfgang Paalen, a big-league European surrealist, and Emily Carr, the great Canadian modernist, met at her studio in Victoria in August 1939. This sounds like a momentous event. Their time together is the focus of a new exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and a book written by guest curator Colin Browne. Paalen and his wife and sponsor visited Carr three times in quick succession, and they took her out to dinner at the Empress. Both Carr and Paalen are interesting artists, but it’s hard to see that their meeting added up to anything very significant. The Times Colonist, July 10, 2016

Alert Bay
Work to conserve U’mista masks and regalia almost complete The pieces were confiscated during the years of the potlatch ban in Canada. The Kwakwaka’wakw people fought to get them returned from collections around the world. Dozens of items suffered smoke or water damage when someone set fire to the museum in 2013. Experts rushed to Alert Bay to help with the preservation effort. The museum was able to reopen several months later after repairs, but work has continued to preserve the integrity of each piece in the collection., July 3, 2016

$500K earmarked for repairs and renos at Nunavut’s cultural centres  Nunavut’s museums and cultural centres may be able to tap into $500,000 set aside by the territorial government to help with renovations and upgrades. The Government of Nunavut has put out a call for proposals for capital projects in heritage facilities across the territory. “The existing heritage facilities that we have within Nunavut, they provide a great attraction for tourists in communities, especially in small communities,” said Alexander Stubbing, Nunavut’s director of Heritage., July 8, 2016

Q&A: Actor Steve Martin on bringing Lawren Harris to Americans and his AGO show As every Canadian must know by now, Steve Martin – uh-huh, that Stephen Glenn Martin! – has had a decades-long passion for art, building a much-admired and diverse collection that includes three paintings by none other than Canadian master Lawren Harris (1885-1970). About four years ago Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, spotted one of these Harrises at Martin’s home, expressed her admiration and before long was urging Martin to curate a touring exhibition of some of the painter’s strongest work. Result? A much-publicized show, titled The Idea of North, that opened last fall at the Hammer Museum, then moved to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Now a much-expanded version has arrived at its final destination, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. The Globe and Mail, July 1, 2016

Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum at the AGO  Contemporary American artist Theaster Gates makes his Canadian debut this summer with a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In a series of large-scale installations, Gates creates symbolic spaces in the tradition of the house museum, each dedicated to the potential of Black creativity and freedom – past, present and future. Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum opens in Toronto on July 21, 2016 and runs until Oct. 30, 2016, filling the entire fifth floor of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower. Curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art, the exhibition upends the conservative customs associated with house museums, which are so often connected to narrow ideas of cultural heritage and national identity. Canadian Architect, July 7, 2016

50-year-old Inuit drawings offer snapshot of life in the Arctic  In 1964, Terry Ryan travelled to North Baffin Island, going from camp to camp by dogsled. He carried with him a pile of archival paper and pencils, his mission to get Inuit living in traditional camps in the region to create drawings depicting their day-to-day life. Now this collection of 1,840 drawings from Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay are in an art exhibition that will be travelling to the North in 2017. “This collection was made for an Inuit audience,” says Norman Vorano, curator of contemporary Inuit art at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. Many of the drawings contain writing in Inuktitut, explaining the images and offering information about the artists., July 10, 2016

New wing of Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec impresses with subtle beauty The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion does not want your attention. It is not an artichoke or a shard or a swoosh. Rather, the new wing at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is lucid and frank: a stack of white-box galleries wrapped in structural steel and veils of luminous, greenish glass. It embraces a nearby church. It gestures toward the city and reflects back the verdant National Battlefields Park next door. It stays quiet. That was the intention: Its lead architect, Shohei Shigematsu of the firm OMA, says they strove to make the building defer to its context. “The most iconic move we made is to make it transparent,” argues Shigematsu. “This building is open, transparent and provides a gateway from the city to the park.” The Globe and Mail, July 8, 2016

Artist sued for $5M over painting he insists he didn’t paint  OK, Peter Doig may have tried LSD a few times when he was growing up in Canada during the 1970s. But he knows, he said, when a painting is or isn’t his. So when Doig — whose eerie, magical landscapes have made him one of the world’s most popular artists — was sent a photograph of a canvas he said he didn’t recognize, he disavowed it. “I said, ‘Nice painting,’ ” he recalled in an interview. “ ‘Not by me.’ The owner, however, disagreed and sued him, setting up one of the stranger art-authentication cases in recent history. The Seattle Times, July 10, 2016

Frida Kahlo’s potent portrait on US-Mexico border heads to Philadelphia  Less than two weeks before the US presidential election in November, a powerful self-portrait by Frida Kahlo standing astride the US-Mexico border will go on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Part of the exhibition Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910-1950 (25 October-8 January 2017), co-organised with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the work could be seen as a timely witness to the anti-immigration rhetoric of politicians such as Donald Trump, who said during his campaign that he will force Mexico to build a border wall. The Art Newspaper, July 11, 2016

New York
Dada Was Born 100 Years Ago. So What?  On July 14, 1916, the poet Hugo Ball proclaimed the manifesto for a new movement. Its name: Dada. Its aim: to “get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanised, enervated.” This aim could be achieved simply by saying: “Dada.”… However short-lived, Dada constitutes something like the Big Bang of Modernism. Here, New York Times critics trace the movement’s influence in music, art and dance, while tracking some living heirs. The New York Times, July 8, 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Names Justine Simons Deputy Mayor for Culture  London mayor Sadiq Khan announced that Justine Simons was appointed deputy mayor for culture on July 1. “Justine is a tour-de-force in London’s cultural scene,” Khan said. “She shares my passion to ensure culture is at the heart of city life. I am delighted to have her on board to deliver my ambitious program at such a critical time.” Simons, who has served as head of culture at City Hall for over fourteen years, oversees the mayor’s work in music, theater, and the visual arts. Artforum, July 8, 2016

Liverpool Biennial: Isil iconoclasm, a Scouse musical and a laser show in a reservoir  The ninth edition of the Liverpool Biennial (until 16 October) invites international artists to examine the city’s past, present and future. While the stories they spin are not all to be trusted, the works that linger in the mind are those that engage closest with the local context. In some cases, fiction proves more seductive than reality. The Art Newspaper, July 11, 2016


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