Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 15, 2016


Fall arts preview 2016 visual arts critics’ picks: Hybrids emerge from spaces in between.  “This season, local and international artists explore hybridity or in-between-ness, whether cultural, geographical, or historical.  Ceramic artists, especially, shine this season, including Brendan Lee Satish Tang, whose engaging works fuse Ming Dynasty porcelain motifs with techno-pop forms (at Gallery Jones to October 1); Sally Michener and Tam Irving, whose two-person show demonstrates very different approaches to their medium (at the West Vancouver Museum to November 5); and Judy Chartrand, whose beautiful plates ironically comment on life in the Downtown Eastside and contemporary relations between indigenous and nonindigenous people (at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, October 20 to February 19).”  Included on the Straight’s list of ‘must-see’ exhibitions is: Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures, a big and ambitious show will survey the latest of contemporary-art practices in our city (at the Vancouver Art Gallery, opening Dec. 3).  Georgia Straight, September 14, 2016

Fall arts preview 2016: Photo artist Viki Wu reflects on image making.  “Viki Wu is sipping a cup of hot water while talking to the Georgia Straight in a back gallery at Art Beatus, where her photographs are on view. She earlier confessed nervousness at the prospect of being interviewed, but at this moment, as she discusses the formal strategies and conceptual content of her photo art, she appears composed and self-possessed.” Georgia Straight, September 14, 2016

Fall arts preview 2016: Engineer turned curator Wil Aballe breaks into the art world.  “Wil Aballe laughs as he recounts finding his way into the role of gallerist and independent curator. Talking with the Georgia Straight at a South Granville café, he describes the first time he participated as a dealer in a major art fair, a mere five months after opening his own exhibition space in Vancouver.”  Georgia Straight, September 14, 2016

Bobbing aimlessly’: container shipper’s collapse leaves British artist all at sea. British artist Rebecca Moss is one of 25 people stranded amid thousands of shipping containers on a 65,000-tonne ship currently sitting off the coast of Japan with no destination.  Moss embarked on the ship as part of an artist residency – titled “23 Days at Sea” – organised by Vancouver’s Access Gallery. Wednesday was her 22nd day on board. An MA student at the Royal College of Art in London, her aim was to explore the comedic potential of the clash between mechanical systems and nature.  The Guardian, September 14, 2016


Five-day arts and science event Beakerhead launches in Calgary.  More than 100,000 people are expected to take in Beakerhead this year, as the unique arts, science and engineering mash-up returns to Calgary with large-scale art installations, interactive workshops, musical and theatrical shows, memorable meals and a free street party.  Calgary Herald, September 14, 2016


Duane Linklater Imagines Indigenous Futures.  The first time I met Duane Linklater was moments before the announcement of his 2013 Sobey Art Award win with Tautology, a series of five identical neon birds referencing Norval Morrisseau’s “Androgyny” (1983).  The result of two years’ work, “From Our Hands” site-specifically inserts—and asserts—intergenerational Indigenous exhibition-making apropos to the institutional history of Mercer Union and the colonial history of Toronto, Indigenous sovereignty in legislation, and the unexpected poetry that can be uncovered in it.  Canadian Art, September 14, 2016

Sexual Assault: The Roadshow gives survivors a ‘sacred’ space. A shipping container covered in pastel graffiti sits in the corner of Nathan Phillips Square — an odd enough sight already, and made all the more eye-catching by a slogan spray-painted on one of its sides in bright blue, two-feet-tall letters.  Sexual Assault: The RoadshowToronto Star, September 12, 2016

Beverly Hills

Helen Frankenthaler: new exhibition reveals her true colors.  In spite of the fact that almost six decades elapsed between 1952 and her death in 2011, most of the obituaries for the artist Helen Frankenthaler dwelled on the year 1952, as if this marked the sum of her achievements.  An exhibition opening this week hopes to view her work through a broader lens. Entitled Line into Color, Color into Line, the show comprises 18 paintings created between 1962 and 1987 and is scheduled to open at Gagosian gallery in Beverly Hills on 16 September (until 29 October). The Guardian, September 14, 2016

New York

A $150 Million Stairway to Nowhere on the Far West Side.  By the look of the renderings officially unveiled on Wednesday morning, New York’s next significant landmark may be the city’s biggest Rorschach test, too. Big, bold and basket-shaped, the structure, “Vessel,” stands 15 stories, weighs 600 tons and is filled with 2,500 climbable steps. Long under wraps, it is the creation of Thomas Heatherwick, 46, an acclaimed and controversial British designer, and will rise in the mammoth Far West Side development Hudson Yards, anchoring a five-acre plaza and garden that will not open until 2018.  New York Times, September 15, 2016

Someone please give Alec Baldwin a history of art lesson. Ross Bleckner’s paintings are ethereal and gorgeous. They are like post-modern Monets. Whether he is painting flowers or a cerebral cortex he captures the fragility of life in bright flashes of effervescent colour hovering over nothingness. Bleckner paints tender elegies for a world that is always passing from the light into the dark.  Baldwin is suing the famous Manhattan gallerist Mary Boone because he claims she sold him a version of Bleckner’s 1996 painting Sea and Mirror on the false premise that it was the original.  What exactly is he saying? It is not, apparently, that he was sold a fake or a print, simply that the Bleckner painting he bought is not the Bleckner painting he thought he was buying.  The Guardian, September 14, 2016

In New Paintings, Elisabeth Condon Pours on Color and Unexpected Forms.  In Bird and Flower, a just-opened exhibition of her newest works, with a paint bucket and a stack of floral-patterned wallpaper samples at her side, the New York-based artist Elisabeth Condon addresses some aesthetic and technical concerns. For many years, pouring watery washes of color onto the surface of a canvas has been one of the principal image-making methods in her art-making kit; she has also worked with Mylar sheets, metallic paints, rhinestones, and other materials. Hyperallergic, September 10, 2016


How Daniel Buren’s Institutional Critique Became Institutional Chic.  Lacking any discernible content outside of context, the translucent, cheery façade of Daniel Buren’s “Observatory of Light” (2016) at the Foundation Louis Vuitton is another example of how once-radical conceptual artists have become co-opted and turned into spiffy designer-decorators. Hyperallergic, September 14, 2016


Theaster Gates Contemplates What Creates and Destroys Communities.  Following the major economic crises in Europe and the US, political art has become increasingly visible in those parts of the world. At the same time, it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore questions about the art’s actual effectiveness. It is with this in mind that I went to see Theaster Gates’s solo exhibition at the Fondazione Prada’s Milan location — a vast complex designed by Rem Koolhaas that opened in May 2015 in a former 20th-century gin distillery, comprising warehouses, former silos, and a bar designed by Wes Andersen.  The show, curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose and entitled True Value, represents Gates’s continued efforts to examine the structures that underpin economic and social value.  Hyperallergic, September 14, 2016


The Art Dealers Finding Alternatives to the Gallery Model. The gallery business has transformed immensely. From little fortresses governed by individual, and oftentimes, radical choices, galleries are today like ships, sailing the choppy waters from one port (or art fair) to the next, threatened by a myriad dangers—either they get bigger, or they sink, eaten up by a bigger galleon. Artnet September 14, 2016






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