Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 16, 2016

Robert Amos: A wealth of fine art lives downtown  Saturday morning, 10 a.m. It’s opening time at the Martin Batchelor Gallery, and Martin is out front washing the windows… The little shop at 712 Cormorant St. was the Barton-Leier Gallery before he took it over 20 years ago, and at the moment the area is undergoing a lot of changes. [overview of Victoria galleries] Times Colonist, August 13, 2016

‘Anything is possible’: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau buys Tofino yoga portrait  A Tofino, B.C., artist that pulled an overnighter to paint a picture of her “personal hero” Sophie Gregoire Trudeau doing yoga has had her dream come true. Deanna Lankin was notified that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife would be visiting her boutique art gallery and jewelry store last week during their vacation to the Vancouver Island town. Ahead of their visit, the artist felt inspired to paint the PM’s wife striking a yoga pose on Chesterman Beach. CTV News, August 16, 2016

The Vancouver Art Gallery courts Chinese donors When Amelia Gao set out to plan a splashy $8,000-a-table fundraiser for the gallery’s Institute of Asian Art, launched in the fall of 2014, she wasn’t sure there would be much interest among her target audience of new Canadians of Chinese descent. “We weren’t very confident that people would be interested in paying that much for a ticket,” says Gao, a gallery trustee and Victoria-based collector who immigrated to Canada in the late ’90s. But the VAG event, held in late January at the gallery, blew through its $380,000 target, raising a total of $600,000—making it one of the gallery’s biggest fundraisers of the year. BC Business, August 11, 2016

Midsummer Ball Weekend transformative for artists and guests alike  The recent (July 22-24) 37th Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Midsummer Ball Weekend raised an impressive $1.073 million for the Centre’s Artists’ Fund. The 37th annual was attended by more than 310 industry, government, arts and culture and community leaders from across Alberta, Canada, the United States and overseas. Not surprising given the Ball Weekend is the best event of the summer, if not the year. Calgary Herald, August 15, 2016

New home found for ‘priceless’ giant portrait of Queen that once hung in Winnipeg Arena She is roughly five metres high, four metres wide and her face is a little banged up from the hockey pucks fired at her over the years. But for the city of Winnipeg the gigantic portrait of the Queen is a cherished artifact and, after spending the better part of 17 years in storage, she is once again headed for public display. The National Post, August 15, 2016

Inside the walls with Wanda Nanibush, the AGO’s agent of change  Nanibush knows the role carries heavy freight. She’s only the second person in Canadian museums with her title [Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art] — Greg Hill, at the National Gallery in Ottawa, is the other. And in this era of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which earlier this year released its report on Canada’s residential school program, a barbaric system that for decades wrested First Nations children from their parents with the goal of assimilation by any means necessary, no gesture between officialdom and indigenous people is uncomplicated. “That’s the burden of being indigenous — we don’t get to just have a job,” Nanibush says, matter-of-factly. “We have to change the world for everyone.” Then she smiles, knowing and impish all at once. “But that’s OK,” she says. “We’re used to it.” Toronto Star, August 15, 2016

What the giant mural at Yonge and St. Clair says about Toronto Mural, mural on the wall? What used to be a blank side of a 12-storey building at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue is now a giant wall painting and curiosity by the British street artist and illustrator Phlegm. The Globe and Mail spoke with Alexis Kane Speer, the founding director of the STEPS Initiative, a public arts organization, about the large-scale mural and what it means. The Globe and Mail, August 11, 2016

Joseph Rosa Named New Director and CEO of Frye Art Museum Seattle’s Frye Art Museum has announced that Joseph Rosa, director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, was appointed the institution’s new director and chief executive officer. “We found Joe to be a curatorially experienced, managerially gifted art historian and museum director,” Mike Doherty, trustee and chair of the search committee said. “He has a strong reputation for building and sustaining relationships. We are confident that Joe will build on what has already been accomplished and, drawing on our new strategic plan, take the Frye to even greater heights.” Artforum, August 12, 2016

Minneapolis Institute of Art Launches Multi-Year Asian Art Initiative with $6 Million Donation The Minneapolis Institute of Art has announced that it is launching a longterm initiative to create public programming, exhibitions, and new scholarship dedicated to Asian art. The Gale Asian Art initiative is named after Alfred P. Gale whose $6 million bequest will fund programming, including public workshops on Japanese courtly painting and tea ceremonies, events designed to make local Asian communities aware of the institute’s growing 2,400-object Asian art collection, family days to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and special exhibitions such as a presentation of Asian funerary objects curated by the Vietnam-based art collective, the Propeller Group. Artforum, August 15, 2016

The end, and a new beginning, for Detroit’s iconic Heidelberg Project After 30 years, the iconic Heidelberg Project — [Tyree] Guyton’s internationally acclaimed outdoor wonderland of wit and whimsy, painted abandoned homes and repurposed urban debris on Detroit’s east side — is being dismantled. No, it’s not going to happen right away. No, hostile city officials are not dispatching bulldozers to knock it down as they did in 1991 and 1999. No, Guyton is not abandoning his life’s work or waving a white flag in the face of 12 arson-fueled fires that have destroyed six houses since 2013. During the next few years, the Heidelberg Project, which draws an estimated 200,000 visitors a year from all over the globe, will morph into something the organization is calling Heidelberg 3.0 — an “arts-infused community” rather than an installation driven by one man. Detroit Free Press, August 14, 2016

This Canadian Olympian is Gucci’s graffiti artist  By the time Trouble Andrew was 25, he’d already achieved more than most people do in an entire lifetime. The Nova Scotia native who grew up spending his summers in Montreal was a champion snowboarder who represented Team Canada (with his given name, Trevor Andrew) on the halfpipe in two winter Olympics, Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. It was when he won his first big snowboarding prize at 17 that he made a purchase that would help define his second career as the Brooklyn-based artist he is today: A Gucci watch that for him was a manifestation of the hard work that had propelled him to the pinnacle of the snow-capped mountain of success. CultMontreal, August 15, 2016

Hudson Valley
Rotating and tilting ReActor house accommodates two artists for five days  A pair of artists built and lived in this house balanced on a pole in upstate New York, which spun around and inclined as they moved around it during their week-long residency. Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder built the inhabitable ReActor structure at the OMI Art Center, which is located in the Hudson Valley near the town of Ghent… The duo calls this art form “social relationship architecture”. Both participants lived in the sculpture for five days, in full view of the public. Dezeen, August 15, 2016

Kusama fever spreads with five-city tour across North America  The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC announced Tuesday, 16 August, that it will send its bonanza exhibition of work by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama—including six of her Infinity Rooms—on a major tour to four other stops in North America. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, which opens at the Hirshhorn on 23 February 2017, will travel to the Seattle Art Museum (30 June 2017-20 September 2017), the Broad in Los Angeles (October 2017- January 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March 2018-May 2018) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July 2018-October 2018). The Art Newspaper, August 16, 2016

ICA brings Middle Eastern art scene to London  The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (ICA) has partnered with two Middle East-focussed projects in September, bringing a selection of the region’s film and underground culture to the city. The Masafat festival will present four days of performances, installations, talks and workshops, by underground artists and musicians working within the context of the Middle East. Opening at the ICA (1-4 September), the festival will then head to Cairo (20-24 September), with the aim of promoting artistic exchange between the Middle East and Europe. The Art Newspaper, August 16, 2016

The Sculptural, Musical Paintings of Mary Heilmann  Many may not have heard of Heilmann, overshadowed as she was by the previous decade’s Irascibles and the Minimalism and Pop art of the ’60s, but with this show she has been rightly brought to the fore, her own evolution of painting given center stage. Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures continues at the Whitechapel Gallery (77–82 Whitechapel High Street, London, UK) through August 21. Hyperallergic, August 16, 2016

Frank Gehry’s Luma project takes shape in Arles  Luma Arles, the 20-acre cultural campus springing up in the southern French town of Arles, is taking shape with its centrepiece structure—a 58-metre high, arts resource centre designed by Frank Gehry—under construction. The ambitious cultural project is driven by the Swiss pharmaceutical heiress and contemporary art collector Maja Hoffmann, whose Luma Foundation is providing around €100m in funding for the campus project. The Art Newspaper, August 16, 2016


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