Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 18, 2016


Vancouver artist Ola Volo splashes stories upon walls. Few other Vancouver artists are making their mark on quite the scale that Ola Volo is. The in-demand talent has just endowed a historic brick building in downtown Sudbury with her swirling, stylized, folk-art-infused feathers and flora as part of that city’s Up Here festival.  Georgia Straight, August 17, 2016

Vines Art Festival takes diverse approach to eco art.  Eco art is a growing phenomenon, but locally, it has generally been limited to visual art. What sets Vines apart is that it features so much interdisciplinary performance.   Art installations include Linnea McPhail getting the public to help her fold and hang 1,000 origami whales, and Elissa Hanson and Claris Figuera’s At House, At Home, a structure built from salvaged wood pallets. There is much more dance, music, visual art, and storytelling throughout the day.  Georgia Straight, August 17, 2016


Construction finished on new Royal Alberta Museum downtown, expected to open late 2017. Construction on the new Royal Alberta Museum in downtown Edmonton has finished and now begins the task of moving more than two million objects from the old museum.  The $375.5-million museum is expected to open in late 2017. Edmonton Journal, August 17, 2016


Artist’s 93-year-old mother becomes his muse. Elia, a longtime Toronto resident, has become Tony’s muse since moving in with him in 2014 after a bad fall near her old St. Clair W. home. She’s played hopscotch for him, donned a helmet to pretend to skateboard, and screamed through a pane of glass in front of the lens. Today, she’ll be sharing a chair with her son as they work on a piece for a series involving their hands. In the converted Mormon church where they live, they’ve crafted an unlikely artistic partnership: he a painter experimenting with photography and Photoshop; she his willing and patient model.  Toronto Star, August 16, 2016


Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion Embraces Mixed-Use Diversity.  Providing a financially viable solution to the Ottawa Art Gallery’s shortage of space and lack of affordability, the Arthaus Residences at Art Court’s  mixed-use configuration offers an affordable pathway to expand and modernize the non-profit gallery, allowing much of the project to be financed by the hotel and condominium components.  On Waller Street, the new gallery location will be fronted by a public space. Meanwhile, the 23-storey tower will feature a le Germain Hotel, which will occupy the first 15 levels, while condominium suites will top the building’s upper 9 floors.  Urban, August 16, 2016


Homeless art, lost jobs and low enrollment: Two years later, Corcoran’s breakup still stings. Whether you consider it a civic tragedy or the preservation of a legacy, the breakup of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and its College of Art & Design still haunts the city. Two years after the dismantling of what was the District’s oldest private museum, passions still run high over the causes — and more important, the result — of a court decision that forever changed the city’s cultural landscape. Washington Post, August 16, 2016

New York

Bruce Conner’s Crusade of Reinvention.  MOMA’s retrospective of the mercurial Bay Area artist showcases his work as a sculptor, filmmaker, painter, photographer, and puller of stunts.  The Kansas-born Conner first made his mark in the late fifties, with assemblages of found dolls, doodads, and nylon stockings. Many look dated now, but some still have the power to stun, notably the soot-black, wax-encrusted “Couch” (1963), a primal scream of a sculpture. Conner was included in MOMA’s genre-defining show “The Art of Assemblage,” in 1961, and abandoned the practice several years later.  The New Yorker, August 22, 2016 issue


Notes Towards an In(con)clusive Identity Politics.  BIPOC (Black, Idigenous, People of Colour) artists are given two simplistic and contradictory options: 1. Make identity politics “your thing” as a native informant who epitomizes this category; languish in cultural centres funded by fickle equity grants; risk alienating white audiences; or, 2. Assimilate the language of white formalism; whitewash yourself to be palatable enough not to make white people uncomfortable; risk alienating your predecessors and others like you.  Canadian Art, August 17, 2016


Marina Abramović and the White Artist’s Gaze. In advanced copies of the performance artist Marina Abramović’s forthcoming memoir, one passage presents the Aboriginal people of Australia as if they are something other than human.  Outrage ensued after the excerpt leaked online, giving rise to the hashtag #TheRacistIsPresent, a reference to Abramović’s 2010 MoMA performance The Artist Is Present.  The Atlantic, August 15, 2016 See also: Marina Abramović responds to allegations of racism over comments about Indigenous AustraliansThe Guardian, August 17, 2016

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