Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 22, 2016

Vancouver
The Georgia Straight presents Vancouver Mural Festival speaker panel: Fairness vs. Public Art  Moderated by Straight writer Amanda Siebert (yours truly), this panel discussion will highlight the need for skilled curation in public art. For the most part, the selection process in Vancouver with regard to public art involves open calls, special committees, diversity of mediums and artists, and community involvement. While these processes are rooted in good intentions, the emphasis on ‘fairness’ can work against how art pieces are selected for public display. Georgia Straight, August 18, 2016

Photos: Local artists brighten South Granville streets under new mural program  In South Granville, a mural program initiated by Stable House Bistro owners and the South Granville Business Improvement Association is also on its way to brightening the streets. The idea was put forth earlier this year by Stable House co-owner and South Granville BIA board member Peter McGee after he witnessed the vibrant street-art culture in Bogotá during a trip to Colombia. Georgia Straight, August 19, 2016

Edmonton
Inside (and out) the new Royal Alberta Museum  This building couldn’t be anywhere else,” explained Clare, a principal at DIALOG, which won the commission to re-envision the RAM in 2011. “For me that’s when a building is really powerful, when it couldn’t be anywhere else.” The new RAM, which celebrated an important milestone Tuesday as primary building construction wrapped up, will tell Alberta’s story not only through the 2.2 million artifacts that will be rotated through its yet-to-be-fabricated human and natural history galleries, but through the design of the building itself. St. Albert Gazette, August 20, 2016

London, Ontario
Museum exhibit opens world of Latin America  The art and culture of Latin America has been prominently featured in museums and galleries across the United States for decades. Museum London is capitalizing on that trend by preparing a new exhibit, TransAMERICAS: a sign, a situation, a concept, which will run this fall and include the works of 15 artists from across Canada and the U.S. Our London, August 17, 2016

Toronto
A change for the better in Dale Chihuly show at ROM  The Royal Ontario Museum is the largest natural history and world culture institution in North America, with collections that span the globe, and the ages, in enviable breadth and depth. So when the museum opened its current Dale Chihuly exhibition in June, the artist appeared to display a curiously indifferent view of one of those world cultures. Toronto Star, August 18, 2016

Ottawa
‘An architectural gem’: Liberals seeking ideas on what to do with empty former U.S. embassy The Liberal government is dusting the cobwebs off the former U.S. embassy on Wellington Street in Ottawa, now empty for about 15 years. Fulfilling an election promise by Catherine McKenna, the environment minister and MP for Ottawa Centre, the Grits are launching a three-week consultation Thursday on how best to put the building to use. It’s been out of commission since 2001 and has cost about $200,000 a year since then to maintain, even though it’s empty. The National Post, August 17, 2016

‘Canada House,’ Indigenous centre among ideas for former U.S. Embassy An art gallery, an Indigenous cultural centre, and a showcase for “the best of the provinces and territories” are among six ideas unveiled Thursday evening for the former U.S. Embassy across from Parliament Hill. The six proposals for the future of the 84-year-old heritage building at 100 Wellington Street were revealed by Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote during a public information session. CBC.ca, August 19, 2016

Portland, Maine
Pioneering women modernists, and the obstacles they faced  “O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists In New York” comes to Portland from the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., where it was organized by Ellen E. Roberts, curator of American art. It’s a beautiful show, filled with distinctive, sly, and assured work from a period — the aftermath of the watershed Armory Show, in 1913 — when modernist ideas about painting in this country were still in their infancy. Boston Globe, July 28, 2016

London
Heatherwick defends Garden Bridge as investigation reveals £22 million funding gap  The 367-metre-long planted bridge is planned to span between South Bank and Temple and was originally expected to cost £175 million – with £60 million in government funding and the remainder raised by the Garden Bridge Trust through private donations. Dezeen, August 18, 2016

Paris
New affordable-art website Collectionair backed by curatorial big-hitters  High-profile art professionals, including Jean-Hubert Martin—the former director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou—have thrown their weight behind a new website offering works for sale priced under $10,000. The new company, Collectionair, focuses mainly on established and emerging artists from “under-represented art scenes”, enabling buyers to browse more than 20 virtual exhibitions featuring artists from countries such as Iran, Oman and Mozambique. The Art Newspaper, August 18, 2016

The Hague
Islamic extremist pleads guilty to destroying Timbuktu mausoleums in landmark trial  In the first case of its kind, the Islamic extremist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has today (22 August), pleaded guilty to war crimes for destroying historic monuments in the ancient city of Timbuktu in northern Mali. Al-Mahdi is accused of ordering the razing of nine mausoleums and the 15th-century Sidi Yahia mosque. It is the first time the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has heard a case about the demolition of cultural heritage. The Art Newspaper, August 22, 2016

Florence
Shaking Up Italy’s Most Popular Museum  Last year, the Uffizi, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens merged into one entity, and 3.4 million people visited, resulting in 17.3 million euros, or about $19.2 million, in ticket revenue for the state, making it the most profitable museum in Italy. Mr. [Eike] Schmidt’s goal is to improve the museum’s flow; oversee a building renovation; reorganize the administration; rationalize a haphazard exhibition schedule; foster serious scholarship; rewrite wall labels; and find innovative ways to showcase a collection that has more than 12,000 paintings, 3,500 ancient sculptures, and 180,000 prints and drawings, including works from Latin America collected over the centuries but rarely shown. The New York Times, August 17, 2016

 

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