Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 7, 2016


Geoffrey Farmer, Music-Video Director. Vancouver-based, Venice Biennale–bound artist Geoffrey Farmer has turned his Instagram feed, which is a trove of found archival material, into a music video for the single “Day I Left Home” by the Canadian band the Hidden Cameras.   The four-minute video combines footage of obscure films, instructional videos, commercials and performances.  Canadian Art, September 1, 2016

Godfrey, Ontario

An artist’s retreat at Godfrey Sculpture Park. A twisted orange ribbon emerges from the earth, a tangle of red wire embraces a pine, a wave of steel salutes the sun.   “Placing them directly in nature like this, it’s kind of nice to see how it interacts, right?” Stefan Duerst says. “It must blend in — but it sticks out too.” For five years, the artist has been scattering his metal sculptures throughout the meandering gardens, fields and woodland of his picturesque 24-hectare property.  Toronto Star, August 31, 2016


National Portrait Gallery’s potential revival is up to the public – and it’s complicated.  Canadians haven’t heard much about the National Portrait Gallery since the fall of 2009, when Stephen Harper’s Conservative government essentially shelved the project after more than two years of often dizzying equivocation. Now, the public has until Sept. 9 to let the country’s political masters know a) if it would like to see the project revived, and b) if so, should the gallery be housed in an 84-year-old former U.S. embassy, vacant since the late 1990s, located directly across from Parliament Hill at 100 Wellington St. Globe & Mail, September 2, 2016


A Biennial Is Not a Festival.  In what is widely seen as a coup, the Biennale de Montréal hired Philippe Pirotte as the curator of its 2016 edition, which means that in addition to his responsibilities as director of the Städelschule in Frankfurt, this Belgian art historian and exhibition maker has been crossing the pond at regular intervals to immerse himself in the Canadian art scene. “I encountered a very active but weird art world,” he says from his office. “I encountered Montreal, a fantastic city with incredible architecture and diversity, which never managed to become a hub on the international arts scene.” Canadian Art, September 5, 2016

St. John’s

Glimpses of Eden: 85-year-old St. John’s artist delights with first ever exhibit at The Rooms. One of the newest exhibitions at The Rooms comes from an artist doing his best to prove that sometimes, the most creative periods come later in life.  Glimpses of Eden, which is showing until Oct. 9, is the work of 85-year-old William Allderdice.   CBC News, September 4, 2016


Old Music for New Paintings: In the Studio with Rudi Aker “There used to be only two albums I could listen to when I was painting,” Rudi Aker tells me. When I ask her which two, she pulls out the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack (2009), and Sufjan Stevens’s Seven Swans (2004). “I like albums that are good for crying and for dancing. Both things at the same time,” she describes. Rudi has been studying visual art at Concordia…For now, she’s moved back to Fredericton, New Brunswick—the city where I’ve made my home since finishing my BFA in Vancouver. This is where Rudi grew up, spending her formative teenage years living with her maternal grandparents at St. Mary’s (Sitansisk) Maliseet Reserve on Fredericton’s North side. Canadian Art, September 6, 2016


News in Brief: Canada Council’s New Funding Deadlines, Powerhouse Prize Finalists, Curatorial Promotions at the AGO.  The Canada Council for the Arts released the deadlines for grant applications under its new funding model on Wednesday. The new deadlines are for 2017 and 2018.  Two curatorial promotions were announced this week at the Art Gallery of Ontario: Sophie Hackett is now the curator of photography, and Sasha Suda is now the curator of European art and the R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print and Drawing Council and La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse in Montreal announced the finalists of the bi-annual Powerhouse Prize on Monday.  Canadian Art, September 2, 2016

Newtown, Connecticut

Sandy Hook Rebuilds. How Svigals + Partners “spoke to the heart” and navigated a fraught commission… The new school, which welcomes its first students on August 29, is unconventional in appearance. Its façade, a long, concave, curving wall—an “embrace” according to the architects—made of vertical wooden planks with a gently undulating roofline, has a look that is decidedly anti-institutional. The Architect Magazine, August 23, 2016

New York

How Nancy Spector, Chief Curator of the Brooklyn Museum, Gets It All Done  Nancy Spector is the new chief curator of the Brooklyn Museum. She previously spent 30 years at the Guggenheim before being hired earlier this year. She has two teenage daughters, a husband who is an architect, and a new puppy. She often finds she writes best at 3 a.m. She takes one day a week to go see art and believes both men and women should care about parental leave. Here’s how she gets it all doneNew York Magazine, August 29, 2016


Terrorist Attacks and Floods Cause 20 Percent Drop in Louvre Attendance.  Tourism to Paris is in bad shape—and the city’s cultural institutions have been feeling the pain.  In a report from the Associated Press, the string of terrorist attacks and floods in France have resulted in a significant decline in visitors to Paris, notably among tourists from Japan, Russia, and China. The state’s minister of foreign affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has even announced a summit this September to develop strategies of reviving the tourism sector, which accounts for roughly 7 percent of the country’s economy.  Artnet News, August 25, 2016


A Glimpse of Photography’s Hand-Colored Past.  In the days when black-and-white photography reigned, professional colorists took on the task of creating technicolor views by meticulously painting pictures by hand. Most of us today have never likely even attempted the process, but a lovely short documentary now recalls the days before images immediately translated the vivid hues of our surroundings, when an artist worked hard to elevate the visions of another creative mind. Directed by filmmaker Greg Wood and art historian Peter Alsop, “The Colourist” features 83-year-old Grace Rawson reminiscing on her days as a professional colorist in the 1950s.   Hyperallergic, September 2, 2016


Camera-phone Lucida.  In the world of social media, Instagram may be an oasis, but as a collective creative project its size is staggering, almost beyond comprehension. In the past year, 30 billion photographs were uploaded. Eighty million go up every day. What does that even mean?   The scale of Instagram beggars all attempts to describe it piecemeal. It’s a tidal wave of visual information sweeping away all the old shibboleths of art criticism as it comes to shore.  The Point, August 16, 2016


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