Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 17, 2016


Video: Liz Magor in Her Studio.  “Art isn’t a material. It’s not a medium—it’s not a certain product. It is the choices I’ve been able to make.”  So says renowned Vancouver-based sculptor Liz Magor, as she whittles down a plaster sculpture while a studio assistant trims fur off a teddy bear. This preview, from the upcoming series of PBS’s Art in the Twenty-First Century, offers a glimpse into Magor’s studio, which will be included in an episode that focuses on artists’ relationships with the cities in which they live.  Canadian Art, August 15, 2016

Totems of the Balmoral Hotel — an art exhibit. Gifted aboriginal artist Danny Dennis transformed three ugly, concrete support pillars in the bar of the Balmoral Hotel into stunning works of art 31 years ago.  Friends Tom Detlor, Jo McRobb and Barbie Wallace had planned a retrospective art show of his work and stopped in at the pub to get a look at how the paintings were doing in a building that’s more than 100 years old. They took photos, and were excited to see that the art on the two large pillars was mostly intact. Since their visit, the floor in the bar has collapsed, forcing the City of Vancouver to shut down the pub, leaving the future of the art in doubt.   Vancouver Sun, August 16, 2016


Art collector heavy weights take to the stage.  It isn’t often that an art gallery in Whistler hosts two art collectors who have built their own museums, let alone engage them in a philosophical discussion on their differences.   On August 25, at 7 p.m. the Audain Art Museum will delve into the minds of Michael Audain, Bob Rennie, and Lord Beaverbrook in The Art of Philanthropy: Collecting and Museum Building. Moderated by chief curator, Darrin Martens, the one-hour discussion with Audain and Rennie will look at the similarities and differences between the three collectors.   Whistler Question, August 16, 2016


Calgary Galleries Collaborate on Cross-City Landscape Show.  Lorenzo Fusi is new to Alberta. Arriving seven months ago from Liverpool, the academic curator of the Illingworth Kerr Gallery at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary began taking notes.  “I started thinking, what can we do at the gallery that speaks to [the landscape], but at the same time is challenging more conventional readings and interpretations of landscape traditions. How can I talk to local audiences in a way that pushes them a little bit beyond their comfort zones?”  Canadian Art, August 11, 2016


Yayoi Kusama Comes to Canada.  The Art Gallery of Ontario announced this morning that 87-year-old Japanese artist (and social-media darling) Yayoi Kusama’s institutional survey exhibition will make a Canadian stop at the gallery in 2018. Touted as the “most significant North American tour” of Kusama’s work in some two decades, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and will also be travelling to the Seattle Art Museum, the Broad in Los Angeles and the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Canadian Art, August 16, 2016

Watch UK Street Artist Phlegm Create an 8-Storey Mural in Toronto.  Meet the newest addition to Toronto’s ample portfolio of street art—a giant, 8-storey mural on the side of an office tower at Yonge and St. Clair. The piece was funded and developed by public-arts organization The STEPS Initiative, in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto (StART) program and Slate Asset Management.  Canadian Art, August 15, 2016

New Grange Park playground a nod to its AGO neighbour.  A new playground outside the AGO will elevate fun to an art form.  Nestled in the northeast corner of Grange Park, covering the block south of the museum, the play structures are inspired by art supplies, from a platform in the shape of a painter’s palette, a tipped over paint can forming a tunnel, and a climbing structure inspired by balls of crumpled paper.  Toronto Star, August 14, 2016

Once Upon A City: One small step for shoes, one giant leap for Sonja Bata.  For the past two decades, Sonja Bata’s collection has been housed in the Bata Shoe Museum at Bloor and St. George Sts., but it was an uphill climb to get it there.   Attempts to establish the first museum of its kind in the Western hemisphere became so entangled in red tape, Bata contemplated putting it in Europe.  “But I’m a Torontonian,” she told a Toronto Star reporter in 1990. “I want to give this to Toronto.” The Bata Shoe Museum opened in 1995.  Toronto Star, August 14, 2016


Students becoming teachers at Ottawa’s School of Photographic Arts. Jonathan Hobin is returning home to Ottawa to take on the role of creative and executive director at SPAO, the school Michael Tardioli co-founded about a decade ago. Ottawa Citizen, August 12, 2016

My Studio, The Diefenbunker. “For the past six years, I’ve been making steel sculptures related to the First World War and the Second World War. I really wanted to engage the history of this material—if we had never learned to produce steel in the late 1800s, I sometimes think we never would have learned to create tanks, bombs and airplanes”. – Anna Frlan.  Canadian Art, August 10, 2016

Los Angeles

Why Loris Gréaud and Willem Dafoe made a film few will see.  From Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will screen Sculpt, a $1.5m feature film by the 38-year-old French artist Loris Gréaud. It will be shown at Lacma’s Bing theater, an auditorium that normally seats 600 people, but with an almighty caveat: Gréaud has requested that all of the seats be removed except for one, which will sit in the centre of the space, forlorn and exposed. The film, which is about two hours long, will be shown between four and six times a day. Viewers will be invited to watch it alone.  The Guardian, August 16, 2016


Two Detroit Artists Face Up to Four Years in Prison for Political Graffiti.  As a founding member of the Raiz Up Collective in Southwest Detroit, Antonio Cosme, 28, has been an outspoken critic of the city’s redevelopment regime: speaking at public meetings, interrupting the mayor’s state of the city address, and using his own body to prevent officials from shutting off a pregnant woman’s water supply in the middle of Ramadan. Recently, however, Cosme has also become a subject of the emergency management system he’s been criticizing. He and fellow Raiz Up artist and activist William Lucka, 22, are facing up to $75,000 in fines and four years in prison for allegedly painting “Free the Water” in large block letters up the side of a water tower in Highland Park.  Hyperallergic, August 12, 2016

New York

Paint and Switch? Did Alec Baldwin Pay $190,000 for the Wrong Picture?  Mr. Baldwin said that something about the painting always gave him unease. The colors weren’t quite the same. It smelled, somehow, new. In fact, he said, just a few months ago he discovered that he had not bought the painting he pined for. Instead, he said, for reasons that remain disputed, Ms. Boone sent him another version of the painting. He claims she passed it off as the original.  New York Times, August 13, 2016

Rio de Janeiro

Why is the aquatics venue wrapped in art?  Rio-born Adriana Varejao is the artist who designed the artwork adorning the Olympic aquatics venue.   The BBC’s Julia Carneiro has been finding out what is behind the piece.  BBC, August 13, 2016


Rem review – jet-setting portrait of world’s most talked-about architect.  Globe-trotting documentary by Rem Koolhaas’s son Tomas finds the film-maker racing to keep up with his 71-year-old father and struggling to achieve objectivity.  Set to premiere at this year’s Venice film festival in September, Rem is the culmination of film-maker Tomas Koolhaas chasing his busy father across time zones for four years.   The Guardian, August 11, 2016


Gustavo Aceves to install monumental horse sculptures in front of Rome’s Colosseum.  Forty monumental statues of horses are to be placed in front of the Colosseum and at Trajan’s Market in Rome next month. The works, by the Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves, are made from a variety of materials including bronze, marble, wood, iron and granite. The horses are shown in fragments; some of them are standing in boats, others are positioned on top of classical columns. The Art Newspaper, August 15, 2016



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