Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 12, 2016

Fall Arts Preview: Local art works part of global and historical conversation  Artists who make work in Vancouver are usually doing so as part of a global and historical conversation. Go into a local gallery this fall and you’ll see art inspired by the great works of European art history seen through a Northwest Coast filter. Or monochromatic paintings that riff on modernism and the craft of quilting. Or installations that make you wonder whether you’ve wandered into movie set produced by the dark night of Surrealism. If art is doing its job, it should make you see the world with new eyes. Vancouver Sun, September 9, 2016

ART SEEN: Art galleries move into historic 1931 building on East Hastings  …[LaTiesha] Fazakas Gallery moved from Manitoba and Columbia on 6th Avenue to the historic Heatley Block at 688 East Hastings. She’s on the main floor and Wil Aballe Art Projects underneath. WAAP, formerly on Frances by Clark, is accessed from the rear…For more than 40 years, the Heatley Block was the home of Spartacus Books. The two-storey wood-frame building was built in 1931 by Samuel Plastino, an Italian immigrant and hotelier. With Monica Reyes’ Back Gallery Project a short walk away, there are now three contemporary art galleries in the same block on East Hastings. Vancouver Sun, September 9, 2016

Photo Gallery: “BHARTI KHER Matter” at Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada  “BHARTI KHER Matter” explores the Indian artist’s oeuvre, from her iconic bindi paintings to her sculptures and photography of hybrid creatures. Curated by Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director, and Diana Freundl, Associate Curator, Asian Art, the exhibition sheds light on the artist’s exploration into the meaning of human relationships, spirituality, the animal world and the role of femininity in today’s society. As the Vancouver Art Gallery writes, ‘Her work leaves us to ponder what it means to be human today’. Art Radar, September 10, 2016

$2M launches effort to bring indigenous artifacts home  The Royal B.C. Museum and First Nations are embarking on an initiative to repatriate ancestral remains and artifacts to their rightful indigenous homes. Premier Christy Clark announced Wednesday a $2-million commitment for the project during the Cabinet-First Nations Leaders Gathering in Vancouver. The Royal B.C. Museum will act as a resource for First Nations peoples who are interested in seeing the return of cultural objects lodged in museums in B.C., Canada and around the world. Those objects were often taken away without the permission of First Nations. Times Colonist, September 8, 2016

Nanaimo Art Gallery opens exhibit featuring work of Muybridge and Edgerton  Eadweard Muybridge and Harold Edgerton revolutionized motion capture photography. Nanaimo art lovers have a rare opportunity to see the two artists’ work in the upcoming exhibit, Out of Sight, hosted by the Nanaimo Art Gallery…As part of the exhibit, Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be making a presentation in the lobby of the Port Theatre on Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. to discuss the future of the Vancouver Art Gallery and new opportunities for B.C. artists. Out of Sight is the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s last exhibit of the year. The gallery will be closed for renovations, which includes lighting upgrades and structural changes to the interior of the building, and will open in the early spring next year. BC Local News, September 7, 2016

At the Art Museum, Toronto Art History 101  Form Follows Fiction: Art and Artists in Toronto is a curious indulgence in broad, inclusive — and very, very long — cultural history in a place that has typically worn its amnesia like a badge of honour. Indeed, the exhibition, hosted by the University of Toronto’s Art Museum and curated with loving care by Luis Jacob, an artist with an admirably stubborn devotion to our forward-looking hometown, offers a very different view. Toronto Star, September 10, 2016

‘It’s not about shocking people’: Montreal museum explores explicit world of Robert Mapplethorpe  The exhibition FOCUS: PERFECTION – ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE is a retrospective of the artist’s work, made up of nudes, portraitures, sexual imagery and floral stills. Mapplethorpe is considered to be one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, but also one of the most controversial. His sexually charged photographs of nude males in sadomasochistic and homoerotic scenes taken during the 70s and 80s, were considered by some to be provocative and pornographic., September 10, 2016

Possible end to tussles with feds over property taxes  Has Ottawa finally solved the property tax conundrum that hamstrings national museums? For as long as anyone can remember, the federal government has fought with municipalities over payments in lieu of property taxes (PILT) for the more than 22,000 buildings and other physical assets it owns in 1,250 municipalities across the country. Ottawa expends more than $1 billion each year on PILT, and yet it does little to ease the hunger of municipalities and their huge infrastructure deficits. The battle is never more fierce than when it comes to calculating PILT on unique federal assets, chief among them national museums and other cultural institutions. Winnipeg Free Press, September 8, 2016

San Francisco
Political art that packs a punch installed in San Francisco’s Presidio park  A good deal of contemporary art doesn’t carry nearly as much political weight as it thinks, its purported critique proving too weak to detect or too oblique to decipher. But several works in Home Land Security—the group show opening this weekend in San Francisco’s Presidio that was organised by Cheryl Haines of For-Site following her Ai Weiwei show on Alcatraz—avoid that trap by focusing less on faceless socioeconomic or religious forces and more on the individuals who are impacted. These works also belong to a larger tradition of art and literature that manages to capture and perhaps counter the dehumanising effects of war. The Art Newspaper, September 9, 2016

New York
National Gallery sued over ‘stolen’ Matisse portrait  The National Gallery in London is being sued by heirs of the subject of a 1908 Matisse portrait. Three grandchildren of Margarete Moll, known as Greta, claim the gallery is unlawfully displaying the painting, and say it was stolen after World War Two. They began proceedings in a federal court in New York on Wednesday, claiming the Portrait of Greta Moll is rightfully theirs. The National Gallery said it will defend itself against the legal action. BBC News, September 9, 2016

Art Basel Parent Company MCH Group to Take Majority Stake in India Art Fair  In March, MCH Group, the Swiss fair conglomerate that owns Art Basel, announced that it would establish a “new portfolio of leading regional art fairs,” by either taking a stake in existing art fairs around the globe, or creating new ones. Today, the first of these initiatives was announced: MCH Group will take a majority stake in India Art Fair, the largest contemporary art event in South Asia. MCH Group will own 60.3 percent of the fair, the previous owner Angus Montgomery will own 29.7 percent, and Neha Kirpal, the fair’s founding director, will retain 10 percent. Artnews, September 12, 2016

Why a growing number of museum veterans are crossing over to the commercial sector In today’s art world, private collectors build world-class museums, galleries mount shows where nothing is for sale and museum directors organise sections at art fairs. In August, Sotheby’s launched an online channel that combines original videos produced by the auction house with syndicated content from leading institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Tate Modern in London. Such moves are “becoming more and more accepted”, says Amin Jaffer, who joined Christie’s Asian art department in 2007 after 12 years at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Art Newspaper, September 7, 2016


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