Visual Art News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, July 26, 2016

Syrian refugees learn about Canadian culture at Vancouver Art Gallery Almost 30 Syrian newcomers gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery Monday to learn more about the culture of their new home. Mohammad Salem Abde, who is originally from Aleppo and arrived in Vancouver exactly one month and 20 days ago, said this was one of his family’s first cultural outings in the city. Urgent matters like medical check ups and house repairs were finally taken care of and his family could now focus on other things, said the father of four. “I would like to know everything about Canada,” he said through an interpreter. “Whenever you go to a new country, it’s important to know about the history.” Monday’s event was part of a series called Ahlan, created by the Institute of Canadian Citizenship, which aims to introduce Syrian newcomers to Canadian history and art. Metronews, July 26, 2016

Vancouver director Sergio Toporek’s Animated Documentary on Art History  Vancouver director Sergio Toporek took seven years to complete Beware of Images. His ambitious, animated feature-length documentary is a journey through the history of mediated representation and its relationship to our experience. The film traces the relationship we have with past, present and even future media technologies and their socio-cultural impact. A 1929 quote by Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte about his work inspired Toporek to embark on the project, which was financed in part through 1,026 Kickstarter backers who pledged $53,378. Screening of Beware of Images is on July 27, 7 p.m. at the Vancity Theatre. Vancouver Sun, July 24, 2016

Audain Art Museum hosts panel discussion The Audain Art Museum is set to host a panel discussion next month featuring two world-renowned art collectors and museum developers. The Art of Philanthropy, Collecting and Museum Building will take place on Aug. 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and explore “the intricacies of art collecting, museum building and the importance of philanthropic activities to the arts in Canada,” according to a press release. “Furthermore, this dialogue will explore the effect on visual arts literacy and community building using Lord Beaverbrook and his legacy of Beaverbrook Art Gallery as a comparison to the more contemporary examples.” Panelists include Michael Audain, chair of the Audain Art Museum, and Bob Rennie, of Vancouver’s Rennie Collection, with the Audain Art Museum’s Darrin Martens, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chief Curator, moderating. Whistler Question, July 25, 2016

Major Cohen-Inspired Exhibition Coming To Montreal The bard of Montreal, Leonard Cohen, is regularly cited by musicians and writers as a key inspiration and influence. Recognising this, Montreal’s prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art (The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal or MAC) is now commissioning artists to come up with original pieces, performances, films and writings based on Leonard Cohen’s work. The results will be featured in an exhibition that will coincide with next year’s 375th anniversary of Montreal. FYI Music News, July 19, 2016

FABG renovates and expands Quebec’s Musée d’art de Joliette  Local firm FABG has made major improvements to the Musée d’art de Joliette outside Montreal, restoring the original building and adding three new volumes to the museum. The Montreal-based firm was tasked with improving and expanding the museum. The original structure – built in 1976 – was in dire need of repairs. Additionally, there was a desire to “enhance the connection between the institution and the public”, said the studio….The Musée d’art de Joliette is recognised as one of the most successful regional museums in Quebec. Its collection is made up of approximately 8,500 works encompassing Canadian art, European art, contemporary art and archaeology. Dezeen, July 25, 2016

ART SEEN: Exhibition focusses on physicality of minimalist works at Western Washington University  If you want to see major minimalist outdoor artworks by top U.S. artists you don’t have to travel to big cities such as Seattle, San Francisco or New York. Numerous examples of them are right cross the border in Bellingham. More than 25 minimalist and post-minimalist works are in the Outdoor Sculpture Collection at Western Washington University. They include pieces by artists such as Donald Judd, Robert Morris and Richard Serra….The exhibition at the university’s Western Gallery includes performances, talks and tours. The exhibition ends Wednesday, Aug. 31. Vancouver Sun, July 22, 2016

This Map Shows How Artists Built New York  Sol LeWitt wrote Eva Hesse letters and postcards, challenging her to push forward with her art through bouts of uncertainty and doubt. By the end of her short career, Hesse, a profoundly important postwar sculptor who died in 1970 at the age of 34, may have influenced LeWitt’s work every bit as much as he tried to guide hers. “Converging Lines,” an exhibit of both artists’ sculptures, drawings, and paintings now on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, shows how both artists benefited mutually from their close friendship., July 22, 2016 

Artwork on gun violence can’t keep up with Chicago’s shootings  In 2010, Krista Wortendyke started taking her camera to Chicago crime scenes, her mission: to capture the place each person was killed by gun violence that summer. The 172 photos she took have since been shown through her exhibit “Killing Season Chicago,” featuring a large wall of mounted photos in the form of a skyline that has been displayed around the city, from Wicker Park’s The Violet Hour to Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. But this year, she said, feels different. The photos no longer seem to reflect the magnitude of an even more violent year. “It seems sparse,” she said of the photos, now part of the “This Heat” exhibit, which encompasses three rooms at the Weinberg/Newton Gallery through Sept. 24. So far this year, there have been 358 homicides in Chicago… Chicago Tribune, July 20, 2016

New York
Bruce Conner: It’s All True, Museum of Modern Art, New York — review Bruce Conner didn’t want to be famous. Public success appalled and disoriented him, and he fled what he called the “feeling of death from recognition”. Having earned his place in a major museum, he felt as if he had climbed into a coffin. So it’s hard to know what this proudly obscure painter/ sculptor/ draughtsman/ filmmaker who died in 2008 would have made of this smashing retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Would he have seen it as a posthumous indignity or — as I do — a magnanimous way of sharing his gifts with new generations? The Financial Times, July 24, 2016

The great art cover-up: Renaissance nudity still has power to shock  Why has so much great Renaissance art been censored over the centuries? The nudity of Eve in the 1505 manuscript at the Fitzwilliam reflects the classical sensuality of the Renaissance. This explosion of the carnal in art, when Europe rediscovered the beauty of the nude and the freedom of ancient Greek and Roman thought, crashed into religious revivals, iconoclasm and holy war during the Reformation and counter-Reformation, not to mention the later hypocrisies of the Victorian age. Religion turned against the sexual freedom of Renaissance art. The Guardian, July 25, 2016

Unveiled: Adam and Eve naked again after centuries-old cover-up  Adam and Eve are once again as naked as the day they were created, centuries after some prudish hand wrapped his loins in a grass skirt and draped a veil around her, in an illustrated book to go on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The original naked figures – correct according to the biblical account where Adam and Eve only became ashamed of their bare bodies when they ate the forbidden fruit and were expelled from the Garden of Eden – were considered perfectly suitable by Queen Anne of Brittany in 1505, who commissioned the book as a gift for her five-year-old daughter, Claude. The book, made by a court painter known as the Master of Antoine de Roche, was created to teach the little princess the alphabet as well as the story of creation. The Guardian, July 25, 2016

Louvre-Lens to restore Le Brun lost after the French Revolution  An important picture by the 17th-century French court painter Charles Le Brun that was missing for more than two centuries is being restored at the Louvre-Lens museum before going on show at the Louvre in Paris later this year. The circular painting Christ in the Garden of Olives was commissioned by the Marquise du Plessis-Bellière, a leading patroness of the arts under Louis XIV, in around 1660. It was later bought by the king…It disappeared sometime after the French Revolution, along with thousands of other works seized from royalists and religious institutions by the revolutionary government. It was eventually recovered, in 2008, from the Abbaye de La Trappe, a monastery in the Orne region, where it had been since 1820. The Art Newspaper, July 25, 2016


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