Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, July 28, 2016

The Arts News is taking an extended long weekend.  We’ll be back on Wednesday, August 3, 2016.  May the sun shine wherever you are.


Vancouver Weekend: We’re Thinking….Outdoor Arts.  If you like your art to tell you something about the context of your life—something that shifts your awareness of where you stand—then go stand before local artist Marina Roy’s mural Your Kingdom to Command, now looming marvellously over Offsite, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s outdoor exhibition space on West Georgia Street.  Georgia Straight, July 21, 2016


A closer look at ‘Arts 2016’ show at Surrey Art Gallery (photos).  More than 50 works in a variety of media are featured during “Arts 2016,” the annual juried exhibit at Surrey Art Gallery.  The showcase always features a broad range of styles and themes, making it a popular attraction at the Bear Creek Park facility during the summer months.   Surrey Now, July 27, 2016


Wylie: Escape Artists at the Kelowna Art Gallery.  The Kelowna Art Gallery launched its Artist’s Garden Project four years ago, commissioning local artists to conceive and carry out garden installations in our open-air Rotary Courtyard Space. The results have been inspiring and widely varied.   This year two Okanagan-based artists have collaborated to produce Escape Artists—the brainchild of Wanda Lock and Rena Warren.  Kelowna Capital News, July 27, 2016


And then there were four.  Four international artists have been shortlisted for the 2016 AIMIA Art Gallery of Ontario Photography Prize: Elizabeth Zvonar, Talia Chetrit, Jimmy Robert and Ursula Schulz-Dornburg.  The prize, which is Canada’s most significant photography award, was initially launched in 2007 by Aeroplan and the AGO.  Globe & Mail, July 26, 2016.  See also: Finalists Announced for $50,000 Aimia Photography Prize Canadian Art, July 27, 2016 and Vancouver’s Elizabeth Zvonar among finalists for Aimia/AGO Photography PrizeTimes Colonist, July 27, 2016

Why Ontario’s New Culture Strategy Still Needs Work.  Last week at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon launched Ontario’s first culture strategy. The strategy “establishes goals and actions to promote participation in arts and culture, build on the sector’s economic impact in communities across the province and help Ontarians tell their stories and express themselves”.  So far, the response to the plan has been largely positive, particularly when it comes to supporting the use of more Canadian authors’ content in schools—an angle emphasized in the government’s press materials…Looking at how art and artists are supported—or not—through various government departments in and outside of culture is key to improving the situation.  According to Ontario Culture Strategy press materials, there are some 58,000 artists in Ontario—nearly twice as many as any other province.   Canadian Art, July 27, 2016

Thunder Bay

Ojibwa artist paints Seven Fallen Feathers to ease pain, remember seven young lives. Christian Morrisseau felt he had to do something to honour the memory of his son and the six other indigenous students who died.   Closure never came after the eight-month long inquest into their deaths finished. Toronto Star, July 25, 2016


Why Were So Many Women Excluded from the History of Abstract Expressionism?  A podcast that focuses on the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Curated by Gwen Chanzit, the show is full of wonderful works, highlighting what has largely been overlooked in the history of the movement. But the bigger question I explore in this episode is: why were the women largely left out of the history books on Abstract Expressionism?  Hyperallergic, July 25, 2016


The Sinuous Lines of Influence Between Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt.   Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #46: Vertical lines, not straight, not touching, uniformly dispersed with maximum density, covers the entire surface of the wall.” LeWitt created it in Paris in 1970, four days after his friend and fellow artist Eva Hesse died in New York from a brain tumor. It was a tribute to her and his first time making a work with “not straight” lines. “I wanted to do something at the time of her death that would be a bond between us, in our work,” he later explained. “So I took something of hers and mine and they worked together well. You may say it was her influence on me.”  This utterly moving story of LeWitt’s homage to Hesse speaks to the power of mutual influence; it should be in all the art history books. Yet, from what I can tell, it’s not. The discussion we hear instead tends to be about LeWitt’s one-way effect on Hesse, how he helped and shaped her work, even in a new documentary about her.   Because LeWitt was older and, of course, because he was a man.   Hyperallergic, July 27, 2016

New York

Hoarders or collectors? Our frightened society has forgotten the difference. The US is a nation of compulsive collectors – at least if responses to an exhibition at New York City’s New Museum are anything to go by. The Keeper is a collection of collections, a survey of the collecting passion in art and beyond that finds room for everything from a menagerie of tiny whittled animals made by Levi Fisher Ames of Wisconsin to Vladimir Nabokov’s collection of butterflies in three floors of stuff. All of which begs the question: what is the difference between artful collecting and mad hoarding? Or are they the same thing?  The Guardian, July 27, 2016


Photographer Files $1 Billion Suit Against Getty for Licensing Her Public Domain Images.  In December, documentary photographer Carol Highsmith received a letter from Getty Images accusing her of copyright infringement for featuring one of her own photographs on her own website. It demanded payment of $120. This was how Highsmith came to learn that stock photo agencies Getty and Alamy had been sending similar threat letters and charging fees to users of her images, which she had donated to the Library of Congress for use by the general public at no charge. Hyperallergic, July 27, 2016

United States

Rarely Seen Color Images of America Emerging From the Great Depression.   A small portion of photographs taken as the Depression was ending, are in color, and though they aren’t as well-known as their black-and-white counterparts, they constitute a distinct and striking record of the country while it was emerging from a decadelong trauma. A selection are collected in Peter Walther’s new book, New Deal Photography: USA 1935-1943, which Taschen published in July.  Slate, July 27, 2016


Bikes, buses and bridges: Boris Johnson’s nine biggest design blunders.  As plans for the Garden Bridge teeter, behold Boris’s most public design disasters, from Thomas Heatherwick’s mobile sweatbox to an Olympic white elephant.  The Guardian, July 27, 2016


Russell Smith: The urban landscape, as seen through a digital screen  Political street art, in the style of Banksy’s stencilled paintings or projections of rebellious statements onto the homes of the powerful, is having a heyday… I have been taken recently with the work of Mathieu Tremblin, a Frenchman, who comes from the world of pop-culture graffiti (those swirly tags that cover every urban and suburban surface).  Globe & Mail, July 27, 2016


Anonymous Donors Help Restore a Renaissance Nymphaeum in Rome. The centerpiece of a Renaissance villa in Rome, once used as a papal country retreat, has been restored to its former glory, with financial backing from an unexpected source: a group of anonymous Japanese donors. The stunning nymphaeum (a type of monument built in homage to the nymphs) of Villa Giulia, built by Pope Julius III between 1550 and 1555, now boasts gleaming mosaic and marble work, all set in a lush, sunken water garden.   Hyperallergic, July 25, 2016


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