Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, July 19, 2016

Vancouver
Iranian-Canadian artist home in Vancouver after having passport confiscated  A celebrated Iranian-Canadian sculptor considered one of the greatest living artists of the Middle East says he still doesn’t know what prompted Iranian authorities to confiscate his passport and bar him from leaving Iran two weeks ago. “They never told me really,” Tanavoli said minutes after emerging from the international arrivals section of the Vancouver International Airport on Monday afternoon. “I’ve been doing this work for 50 years. I am not a political man. I just continue doing my artwork. And this artwork, it was never, ever before questioned.” CTV.ca, July 18, 2016

Pixar’s light wizard Farhez Rayani started his journey to find Dory in Vancouver B.C.  When the animated fish Dory wiggles past sea anemones, light glints and gleams to makes her underwater world so believable, and the trick was crafted by a light wizard whose creative spark first ignited in Vancouver B.C. Kenyan-born Farhez Rayani moved to Canada as a toddler and that was just the start of his circuitous journey, not unlike Dory’s, to achieve his dreams. “I just followed the passion,” said Rayani, 41, who is now a lighting technical director for Pixar Animation Studios in San Francisco, California. CBC.ca, July 18, 2016

Victoria
Art, appropriation and the damaging economic effect on Indigenous artists  On a recent trip to her local farmers market in Victoria, B.C., poet and broadcaster Janet Rogers was surprised to see a non-Indigenous artist selling a colouring book in the Northwest Coast style. That set her on a journey to find out just how much protection Indigenous artists in Canada have from cultural appropriation. She found Shain Jackson, a Coast Salish artist and former lawyer who is the project leader for Authentic Indigenous: Arts Resurgence Campaign, a B.C.-based group that promotes and supports authentic Indigenous artworks in the marketplace. CBC.ca, July 17, 2016

Hazelton
Gitxsan artist defied assimilation with art and cultural leadership  Gitxsan artist and educator Judith Morgan died June 30, 2016, in Hazelton, B.C., at age 86. She was a woman who defied every barrier and expectation that was ever placed in front of her. In 1949, at the age of 19, residential school survivor Morgan showed 20 of her paintings, depicting traditional Gitxsan life, at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa… Her cultural and historical prowess transcended the art world. She was also a revered teacher who ran Bible classes and taught in elementary and secondary schools in Kansas and later on in her traditional territory of Gitwangak. CBC.ca, July 18, 2016

Sault Ste. Marie
Robert-Ralph Carmichael, creator of loonie’s design, dies at 78 The man who created the design for Canada’s loonie coin has died. Artist Robert-Ralph Carmichael’s image of a solitary loon was introduced in 1987, when Canada replaced its one dollar bill with a coin. It was “the most significant change to Canada’s coinage system in over 50 years,” the Royal Canadian Mint said. “Since that time, Mr. Carmichael’s design has appeared on over one billion one-dollar coins,” the mint said in a statement. “We thank him for his remarkable contribution in creating what has become a true Canadian symbol.” Carmichael died Saturday at a hospice in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Toronto Star, July 18, 2016

Ottawa
Luce Lebart Appointed Director of the Canadian Photography Institute  The National Gallery of Canada has announced that Luce Lebart, director of collections and curator at Paris’s French Society of Photography, was named the first director of the Canadian Photography Institute. She will assume her new role on August 29. A photography historian with degrees from Université Paris 1, Université Paris 8, and École nationale supérieure de la photographie in Arles, Lebart specializes in scientific and documentary photography, the history of archiving, and photographic techniques and processes. Housed within the National Gallery, the institute was established by the National Gallery of Canada and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation in 2015. The research and exhibition center aims to grow the gallery’s collection of more than 50,000 photographs and 146,000 negatives. Artforum, July 15, 2016

Saint John
Saint John’s historic district to become art canvas in August Saint John is about to become an art canvas, at least for a few hours in the historic district. The Third Space Gallery is setting up its second annual Third Shift art display in an attempt to revive the uptown scenery. “We’re able to take over that night and install works of art amongst the more under utilized spaces of the uptown,” said Emily Saab, executive director of Third Space Gallery. The event is pulling in artists from California to Vancouver and across Canada, with a mix of established and up-and-coming artists. CBC New Brunswick, July 15, 2016

St. John’s
‘Never forget them’: How artist Rod Hand paid tribute to the [Royal Newfoundland]Regiment  St. John’s artist Rod Hand says creating a painting about Beaumont-Hamel was a deeply personal experience, one that involved research into the tragedy of the Great War and which also brought in elements of his own family history. The work — titled Forget-Me-Not — is in acrylic and depicts some of the soldiers who went into No Man’s Land at Beaumont-Hamel, France, on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme [July 1, 2016], one of the deadliest days in global warfare. The painting also shows a soldier holding the flowers for which the painting has been named. Forget-Me-Nots have long been associated as symbols of remembrance for members of the Newfoundland Regiment who lost their lives in the Great War. CBC Newfoundland, July 1, 2016

International
Artists speak out against racial injustice in the US  Racial discontent is at its highest since the US president Barack Obama came to power in 2008, according to a poll last week by the New York Times and CBS News…Artists, too, are voicing their anger and frustration at recent events, as well as historical instances of racial injustice and the American civil rights movement….Meanwhile, museums in the US and UK are seeking to redefine black artists’ roles in art history. A survey of works by Kerry James Marshall at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (until 25 September) gives prominence to paintings such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self (1980) and Untitled (2009) of an ebony-skinned woman holding a palette and brush, which inscribe black people—notably the artist himself—into the Western canon of art. The show is due to travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Next summer London’s Tate Modern turns its attention to African-American artists such as Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Lorraine O’Grady and Betye Saar, who sought to redefine the term “black art” between 1963 and 1983. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power opens 12 July 2017 (until 22 October). The Art Newspaper, July 19, 2016

New York
Billy Name, photographer at Andy Warhol’s Factory, dies aged 76  Billy Name, the in-house photographer at Andy Warhol’s studio the Factory in its 60s heyday, has died aged 76. The news was confirmed by the Milk gallery in New York, who mounted an exhibition of Name’s pictures in 2014. The photographer, who had been in poor health for some time due to recurring illnesses including diabetes, died on Monday. Born William Linich Jr in 1940, Name fled Poughkeepsie to New York’s avant garde downtown art scene, where he worked with the likes of LaMonte Young and the Fluxus group, then including Yoko Ono. He met Warhol in 1959 while working a second job as a waiter at the restaurant Serendipity 3 in New York. The pair became lovers, and soon Linich, whom Warhol renamed Billy Name, was working as the pop artist’s right-hand man. The Guardian, July 18, 2016

MoMA Acquires and Hangs a Major Early Faith Ringgold The painting appeared in Ringgold’s first solo show, at the Spectrum co-op gallery in 1967. Twelve feet long and six feet tall, it covers two square canvases. Because her studio at the same was modestly sized, she told me when I interviewed her last fall, she made it while working at the gallery over the summer. It shows a race riot in progress, bodies falling in every direction, even off of the canvas so that only limbs visible. Ringgold fills the painting, creating a all-over composition reminiscent of a Pollock abstraction or a Stuart Davis picture—or, as MoMA points out on its wall label, Picasso’s Guernica, which Ringgold apparently saw there in the 1960s. Artnews, July 18, 2016

London
Unveiled: Rodin’s adoration of a young English actress  Julia was one of the names adopted by the English actress Sybil Mignon Cooke, who Rodin had met in 1907. Then aged 66, he began a relationship with the 21-year-old Cooke (1886-1973). Their affair is revealed in letters that have just been acquired by the Musée Rodin in Paris. The papers came from her descendants, with the sale arranged by the London dealer Bowman Sculpture. Rodin’s love for the young actress is another reminder of the sculptor’s close links with Britain. Called Mignon by her family, Cooke was renowned for her “lovely voice, striking looks and witty charm”, according to Ben Hunter, who researched and handled the Bowman sale. Acting under the stage names Viola or Julia/Juliette, she performed in Berlin in 1907. Later that year she travelled to Paris, where she met Rodin, who was then Europe’s most distinguished sculptor. The Art Newspaper, July 18, 2016

Kabul
ArtLords activists try to reclaim Kabul – with paintbrushes  After years of war in Afghanistan, concrete walls in Kabul known as blast walls have gone up to protect such structures as embassies, police buildings and the homes of the powerful. These days the walls serve also as canvases for a group of activists and artists who call themselves ArtLords and create murals on those walls, with other citizens. “We really wanted to do something to change the face of Kabul,” said ArtLords co-founder Omaid Sharifi in an interview with Applause. “It has to do with advocacy and awareness-raising.” The goal of ArtLords, founded about two years ago, is to provide a platform for dialogue on such issues as corruption, extremism, equality for women and transitional justice, he explained. Montreal Gazette, July 18, 2016

 

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