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

First look: Where to find the 40+ murals featured in the Vancouver Mural Festival  The first annual Vancouver Mural Festival may not be taking place until August 20, but the artwork that the event will be celebrating is already well underway. A total of 39 local and six international artists will be completing murals in the Mount Pleasant area ahead of the festival, and we’ve got the details on which aritsts will be painting which walls, and where those walls are located. Georgia Straight, August 9, 2016

FAÇADE Festival Returns to Vancouver August 30 CBC Vancouver is the proud exclusive media sponsor of the FAÇADE Festival! The festival is a monumental public art project and cultural event that takes place in the heart of downtown Vancouver during the 1st week of September. Utilizing the cutting-edge technology known as projection mapping, the Burrard Arts Foundation commissions both emerging and established contemporary artists from British Columbia to create stunning works of art., August 10, 2016

Vancouver exhibit uses skate decks as a canvas  A Vancouver gallery is hosting an art event this weekend combining the work of traditional artists and pro skateboarders. Vancouver-based lawyer Dan Manchee and co-founder Michael Schafer are behind the aSymmetry Project — an idea that began three years ago when Manchee had a friend paint a board, skate on it, then hang it as art. He began reaching out to artists, inviting them to use a skate deck as a canvas, and then asking skateboarders to take them to the streets to create unique works. 24 Hours Vancouver, August 10, 2016

New curator takes the reins at the Vernon museum  Her name is Tracy Satin, and she is the new curator for the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives… Satin has a long history in museum work, including working as a curator for the University of Alberta’s Classics Museum, doing archeological excavations in Italy, and spending time as a conservation consultant in Rome. Tracy will be a welcome addition to the museum and archives, especially as we look forward to a new multi-purpose facility to house the museum and art gallery in the future,” museum board chair Dan Stuart says in a media release., August 10, 2016

Build a Portrait Gallery of Canada in the old American Embassy: Editorial  …the decades-old dream of a national portrait gallery in Ottawa has proven frustratingly difficult to realize. The federal government’s collection of portraiture, which includes more than four million photographs, 20,000 paintings, drawings and prints, and thousands of caricatures, has long been shamefully languishing in a warehouse in Gatineau, Que….On Monday the federal government took journalists on a tour of the former American embassy, across the street from Parliament Hill, to announce Ottawa will soon launch public consultations on what should be done with the glamourous Beaux Arts building. The former embassy would be an ideal permanent site for a portrait gallery. Toronto Star, August 9, 2016

Hajra Waheed rises to Sobey Art Award’s challenge  Hajra Waheed, a rising international star, represents Quebec as one of five finalists for the Sobey Art Award, which recognizes Canadian artists 40 and under with prizes worth a total of $100,000. Born in Calgary and raised in Saudi Arabia, Waheed lives and works in Montreal. Her use of archival materials to convey alternative histories was seen by the Sobey jury as “pertinent” to today’s world. Montreal Gazette, August 11, 2016

Mural painted by Inuit children brightens east end Montreal parking lot  “The idea is to give these kids a voice, to give them a platform to communicate something from their world all the way down here,” said Alexa Hatanaka, one of the project’s facilitators. “And at the same time, for people in the city, they walk by it and hopefully they engage with and ask themselves, ‘What’s my connection to the north? What do I know about this place?’”… The mural, which stands near the corner of Ontario St. E. and Dufresne St., is the second in a project by Embassy of Imagination that aims to provide young Inuit artists exposure in urban Canada. Montreal Gazette, August 10, 2016

United States
Pressure mounts for US museums to increase diversity at the top  Two recent studies paint a stark picture of the lack of ethnic and racial diversity among top museum staff in the US. While people of colour represent 38% of the country’s population, they make up only 9% of museum boards and 16% of the administrators, curators, conservators and educators who make decisions about what is exhibited and preserved as culturally important. These hard numbers show just how little the offices and boardrooms of US cultural institutions reflect rapidly shifting demographics. Now, those institutions must decide what to do about it. The Art Newspaper, August 3, 2016

New York
House Arrest: How One Topsy-Turvy Season at Sotheby’s Could Change the Auction World Forever There was little fanfare when bidders arrived at Sotheby’s headquarters at 1334 York Avenue May 9 for the auction house’s Impressionist and modern evening sale. Reporters murmured about the catalogue’s bloat and lack of buzzy eight-figure works…In the end, the sale netted only $144.5 million, a full $20 million under the low end of its estimate. More than 20 lots were left unsold, a considerable amount of debris for a May evening sale in New York—and a dismal sell-through rate of 66 percent. Artnews, August 10, 2016

Ernst Neizvestny—sculptor who stood up to Khrushchev’s criticism—has died, aged 91 Ernst Neizvestny, an artist and sculptor who famously stood up against Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of his art as “degenerate”—and was later commissioned by the deposed Soviet leader’s family to design his tombstone—died in New York on Tuesday, 9 August. He was 91. The Art Newspaper, August 10, 2016

Mexico City
The Architect Who Became a Diamond: A conceptual artist devises an ingenious plan for negotiating access to a hidden archive. [Luis] Barragán, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1980, is revered for his geometric, brightly colored buildings, all of them in Mexico, which blend vernacular hacienda elements with modernist influences from Europe and America… But, since his death, Barragán has slipped from view, largely because of an odd arrangement concerning his archive and his copyrights. Since 1995, when both were purchased by a Swiss manufacturing family, the archive has been held in a bunker in Basel… Among those who study twentieth-century architecture, the inaccessibility of Barragán’s archive and the bizarre conditions of its custodianship have become almost as much of a preoccupation as his buildings. The New Yorker, August 1, 2016

Diminutive Rio 2016 cauldron complemented by massive kinetic sculpture  American artist Anthony Howe has designed a large kinetic sculpture to heighten the impact of the modest-sized cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic games. Anthony Howe created the huge moving sculpture to amplify and reflect the light from the relatively small Olympic cauldron during this year’s opening ceremony, which was held on Friday at the Maracanã Stadium. Dezeen, August 8, 2016

Rio 2016 motif is “first 3D logo in the history of the Olympics” says designer  Rio 2016: producing an Olympics logo is the world’s hardest graphic design challenge says Fred Gelli, who created the identity for this year’s summer games in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian graphic designer developed a three-dimensional logo for Rio 2016, which depicts three colourful figures holding hands and linking feet. “It’s the first 3D logo in the history of the Olympics,” said Gelli during a talk at the Design Indaba conference earlier this year. Dezeen, August 11, 2016

Passion and persecution: photographing Bangladesh’s outcasts  Before he began photographing the LGBT community in his native Bangladesh towards the end of 2008, Gazi Nafis Ahmed spent a year in their midst without taking a single shot. “I was content just to hang around and socialise,” he says. “Though my work is rooted in traditional documentary, I cannot photograph people I cannot be friends with. So it is important for me to first create a space for us to be comfortable. The work flows from that.” The result is Inner Face, an insider view of a community that is relatively invisible in Bangladesh’s conservative, patriarchal society. The Guardian, August 4, 2016


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