Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 31, 2016


Facade Festival lights up exterior of Vancouver Art Gallery.  After 43 years, Eric Metcalfe‘s black leopard spots are returning to the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery…   The first time Metcalf’s leopard spots appeared on the VAG was in 1973.   This week, works by Eric Metcalfe and four other artists will be projected on the Vancouver Art Gallery facade for the second annual, six-day Façade Festival, …Unlike a leopard, Metcalfe, 76, has changed his spots for this year’s festival. Instead of being painted on like they were the first time, Metcalfe’s new spots will be projected on the outside of the neo-classical building. The new leopard spots, like the old ones, are meant to represent the darker side of life.  Vancouver Sun, August 28, 2016

Skawennati takes aboriginal storytelling into cyberspace. Skawennati, the award-winning new-media artist, did not set out to create a career for herself in cyberspace. Based in Montreal, she was born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, grew up in the suburb of Châteauguay, and studied design art at Concordia University… Skawennati is speaking to the Georgia Straight while seated on a sofa in the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Burrard Marina Field House, where she has been artist in residence for the past couple of weeks.  Georgia Straight, August 24, 2016

Vancouver artists evicted from Downtown Eastside studios.  An estimated 30 artists, musicians and other tenants are being evicted from a warehouse on the Downtown Eastside. Many are scrambling to meet Wednesday’s deadline to remove all their art supplies and equipment and vacate 339 Railway.  Vancouver Sun, August 30, 2016

Vancouver architects design building to house rainforest in Dubai desert. Vancouver architects Brad McTavish and Clive Grout are behind a new bio-dome called the Green Planet that will open in Dubai on Sept. 1. Their firm, Grout McTavish Architects, also designed the Robson Square ice rink plaza and the YVR international terminal.  Vancouver Sun, August 30, 2016


ART SEEN: Richmond Art Gallery director leaves to return to U.S.  After three years at the helm of the Richmond Art Gallery, Rachel Rosenfield Lafo is leaving. Her last day as director is Friday, Oct. 14. Lafo and her husband are moving back to Portland, Oregon to be closer to family and friends.  One of the shows she singled out as significant was Peter Aspell: The Mad Alchemist which the RAG presented in collaboration with the West Vancouver Museum.  Vancouver Sun, August 26, 2016


Exhibition at Penticton Art Gallery sheds light on the Syrian civil war. Photography has helped people around the world comprehend – or at the very least, pay attention to – the situation in Syria. Shots of cities in ruins, refugees in despair and, of course, those photos of little Alan Kurdi, dead at the age of three on a beach, have woken the world up to the catastrophic situation.  Paul Crawford knows that beyond photojournalism, art can also play a significant role in fostering global understanding and empathy.  Crawford is director/curator of the Penticton Art Gallery where, right now, the Syrian civil war and its calamitous consequences come alive in the summer exhibition Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian ArtGlobe & Mail, August 30, 2016


Robert Amos: Young artist enjoys the old-school ways.  Legends is Victoria’s comic-book shop for true believers. The art show I visited this week is in a tiny back room there. The walls have been covered with brown paper, and a bevy of original watercolours is posted with push pins. Most are priced from $25 to $200. These bare facts give no indication of the wonderful talent of their creator, Renée Nault. Times Colonist, August 28, 2016


Artist installs giant mobile in Art Gallery of Alberta atrium.  The giant mobile is part of the upcoming exhibition Damian Moppett and Ron Moppett’s Every Story Has Two SidesMetro News, August 25, 2016


Singles mingle at the art gallery: WAG hosts meet-and-greets.  The Winnipeg Art Gallery will offer art lovers an opportunity to pursue love of another kind at singles meet-and-greets this fall. The gallery is hosting two afternoon meet-and-greets this fall: one for singles in their 30s and 40s on Sept. 11, and another for singles who are 50 and older on Sept. 18.   CBC News, August 24, 2016


11 Powerful Artifacts from the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto.  Few people know that the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto even exist.  Housed in a small room in the basement of the Gerstein Crisis Centre in downtown Toronto, this archive aims to collect and preserve the stories and histories of people with lived mental-health experience, and to value and dignify some of society’s most marginalized, oppressed and misunderstood people.  Canadian Art, August 30, 2016


Seriously Funny: Chris Cran at the National Gallery of Canada.  Chris Cran is one of Canada’s most celebrated painters, but he’s rarely written about as just that. The cult of the Calgary-based artist’s personality precedes him. Many reviews of Cran exhibitions reveal that he is down-to-earth, charming, very funny and prefers to wear all black. Known as a godfather of the Calgary art scene, he’s a board member at Stride Gallery, a teacher at the Alberta College of Art and Design and a mentor and magnanimous supporter of up-and-coming artists in his hometown. To six kids, he’s also Dad. Canadian Art, August 25, 2016

Artist finds confidence and inspiration in Ottawa homeless program.  Ottawa artist Chi Wei Lee knows all too well the debilitating effects of homelessness and, through his art, he is embracing the opportunity to illustrate the significance of helping people find a home.  “At the end of the day, we are only as strong as our weakest link in society,” Lee said. “If homelessness is our weakest link, we should take care of it.”  Ottawa Citizen, August 30, 2016

New York

Don’t Blink: Arresting, but not the best portrayal of Robert Frank’s genius.  Don’t Blink is a semi-shambolic rummage through the life, art and career of Robert Frank. Which is to say it’s the documentary equivalent of the life Frank has lived and the art he’s made since immigrating to the United States from Switzerland in 1947 to become, as The New York Times Magazine augustly declared last year in a 9,000-word profile, “the world’s pre-eminent living photographer.  Don’t Blink is a friendly film by a friend – honest and historically aware, but almost unfailingly affectionate and attuned to the “spontaneous intuition” that, 92 years after his birth, still seems the governing principle of Frank’s life.   Globe & Mail, August 26, 2016

Read our interview with artist Jessica Stockholder.  Blurring the line between painting and sculpture, Jessica Stockholder mixes found and bought objects with constructed and painted elements to a compelling effect. Although currently based in Chicago, Stockholder has exhibited frequently in various New York galleries, as well museums like the Whitney. Over the course of a 30-year career, she’s become one of the most influential artists of her generation, setting the stage for the hybrid style of sculpture and installation that dominates the art world today. Recently, the artist chatted with Time Out New York to discuss her new gallery show in Chelsea at Mitchell-Innes & Nash featuring, colorful assemblages, drawings and a large-scale, site-specific installation.  Time Out New York, August 30, 2016

United States

Is Getting an MFA Worth the Price?  What’s the value of going to art school? The question has become a hot topic of late.  The charge that contemporary art has become over-academic, producing “zombie” art, is not new. “The proverbial romantic artist, struggling alone in a studio and trying to make sense of lived experience, has given way to an alternate model: the university artist, who treats art as a homework assignment.”  Artnet News, August 30, 2016


Spanish avant-garde artist Manolo Millares to show at Frieze 2016.  Manolo Millares, considered one of the greatest figures of 20th century Spanish art, and a major influence for many Spanish and indeed global, avant-garde and conceptual photographers, is to receive his first solo presentation of his work in London, during Frieze Masters 2016.  British Journal of Photography, August 30, 2016

The Extraordinary Detail Of Rembrandt’s Etchings.  In this video from Christie’s, we see contemporary printmaker Alexander Massouras analyze the diversity of Rembrandt’s lines and how they create different textures in the same work of art—something Rembrandt was a master at. We also get to see the etching process firsthand.  Slate, August 26, 2016


Lost heritage: Quake deals blow to Italy’s art treasures.  Within hours of last week’s devastating earthquake in central Italy, members of the national police squad of art experts were already exploring the mounds of rubble in several medieval hill towns.  They have photographed hundreds of centuries-old churches with missing roofs, torn-away frescoes or gaping holes where stained glass once filtered sunlight. The quake and several powerful aftershocks dealt the latest blow to Italy’s long-deteriorating abundance of art and architecture.  Washington Post, August 29, 2016


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