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


Industry expert: Vancouver street artist iHeart talks anonymity, ladders, and debt.  If you’ve ever passed Vancouver General Hospital, headed down Main Street, or cycled through Stanley Park, you’re probably already familiar with the work of one of Vancouver’s premier street artists, iHeart. Inevitably compared to the designs of global superstar Banksy, iHeart’s paintings target issues like social-media usage, homelessness, and consumer culture with striking and humorous imagery.  Georgia Straight, September 21, 2016

Best of Vancouver 2016: Arts.  The list includes: Best sign that women are breaking the glass ceiling in one industry, at least (Kim Gaynor, new head of Vancouver Opera; Kelly Tweeddale as president at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Kathleen Bartels at the reins of the Vancouver Art Gallery; and Emily Molnar in charge of Ballet BC and the list goes on…);  Best new (and newish) arts festivals (Vancouver Mural Festival, Façade Festival…etc); Best place to question your province’s name (Lawrence Paul Xuweluptun’s Unceded Territories).    Georgia Straight, September 21, 2016

Stranded British artist on Hanjin ship docks in Tokyo.  Rebecca Moss, the British artist stranded on a ship off the coast of Japan, has disembarked in Tokyo after 25 days at sea.  Moss was on a residency organized by Access Gallery in Vancouver which took place on a Hanjin Shipping container ship crossing the Pacific Ocean. While at sea, Hanjin went bankrupt which meant its ships could not dock in ports around the world.  Moss will spend the next few days connecting with Vancouver’s art community in Tokyo.  Vanessa Kwan, Cindy Mochizuki and Makiko Hara from Vancouver are in Tokyo for the opening of Mochizuki’s exhibition in the Wakayama Media Arts Museum in Ginza. Vancouver Sun, September 17, 2016


‘Still life’ thrives at Surrey Art Gallery this fall (photos).  Five “still life”-inspired exhibits and projects fill Surrey Art Gallery this fall.  A launch party for the exhibits was held Saturday (Sept. 17) at the gallery, at Bear Creek Park. Featured artists include Fiona Ackerman, Kelly Lycan, April Hickox, Jay Bundy Johnson and many others.  Surrey Now, September 21, 2016


Museum’s sculpture display a ‘double legacy’ to late artist.  A bronze sculpture by noted Victoria artist Elza Mayhew was unveiled Wednesday in its new public home at the Royal B.C. Museum. The bronze piece, nearly three metres in height and weighing 489 kilograms, has taken up permanent residence in the native plant garden outside the museum.  Times Colonist, September 22, 2016


2016 Saskatchewan Arts Awards nominees announced.  Nominees in six categories, such as lifetime achievement, artistic excellence and emerging artists can potentially win the award and tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.   Lori Blondeau, performance and installation artist and Martin Tagseth, a potter who uses western Canadian, 17th century Korean and Chinese influences in his work were nominated in the category of Artistic Excellence.  The Bridges Art Movement, a group collective from Saskatoon that showcases new artists through a storefront gallery and studio was nominated in the Emerging Artist category. CBC News, September 21, 2016


Writer John Bentley Mays was a noted observer of art and architecture.  John Bentley May’s life’s work was as a critic and he was for four decades one of Canada’s great observers, interpreters and explainers of art and architecture. Before he was struck by a sudden and fatal heart attack on Sept. 16, he had just submitted a column on residential architecture for The Globe and Mail – the last of many pieces to display his erudition, his powers of observation and his finely honed, sometimes piercing prose.  Globe & Mail, September 21, 2016.  See also:  In Memoriam: John Bentley MaysAzure Magazine, September 19, 2016

Stephenville Crossing, NFLD

N.L. Mi’kmaq artist’s eBay fashion collaboration a sellout success.  Acclaimed visual artist Jordan Bennett’s first foray into the fashion world has been a sellout success within a matter of hours, and no one is more surprised than Bennett himself.  “It’s pretty amazing, a bit overwhelming, and exciting to see these Mi’kmaq designs go into the mainstream fashion world,” Bennett said of the whirlwind launch of his two scarves, a collaborative project between the Stephenville Crossing artist and online giant eBay.  Jordan is currently undertaking a Masters degree at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.  CBC News, September 21, 2016

Los Angeles

‘In Real Life,’ 100 Days of Film and Performance at the Hammer Museum.  The Hammer Museum’s In Real Life includes four monthlong, curated film and video exhibitions, 15 weekends of performances and durational, immersive works, as well as weekday rehearsals by a select group of performers including theater, dance, music, and experimental recitation. In Real Life runs through January 2017.  Hyperallergic, September 21, 2016

Broad Museum Smashes Attendance Projections in First Year. Downtown’s Broad Museum of Contemporary Art had a banner inaugural year, drawing in more than 820,000 visitors, according to figures the museum released Tuesday. The attendance total of 823,216 tripled pre-opening projections and placed the Broad among the top U.S. art museums for annual visitors, museum officials said in a news release.   Los Angeles Business Journal, September 20, 2016


Eyesore no more: scholars reassess Degas’s later works, when the artist’s sight failed him but his ingenuity did not. Twenty-eight years ago, the Grand Palais in Paris opened a retrospective devoted to Edgar Degas, the first in more than 50 years. The 400-work show, which later travelled to the Musee des Beaux-Arts du Canada in Ottawa and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was lovingly reviewed by critics like Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times—although he had reservations about the late work. “In the 1890s, Degas’s work became more searching and haunted,” he wrote, adding that the painter’s “sight failed him”.   It took time and scholarship and subsequent exhibitions, but that feeling has largely dissipated, which gave Tinterow and Loyrette reason to return to Degas with another retrospective, which opens next month at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  The Art Newspaper, September 20, 2016


High Museum in Atlanta Lowers Admission Fees for Adults.  The iron law of museum admissions is that they can only go up—or up, up, up in the case of some institutions.  Unlike many other art museums, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta has decided to cut its admission fee for adults from $19.50 to $14.50, taking $5 off the price.  Artnews, September 21, 2016

New York

With ‘An Occupation of Loss,’ Taryn Simon Brings You Face-to-Face With Death.  The mysterious transit of the soul to the afterlife, soothing wounds, collective bereavement, inscriptions in sound and song of thought that words cannot express: These subjects and more are beautifully brought forth in a somber, stirring, sepulchral 40-minute interactive performance, “An Occupation of Loss,” organized by artist Taryn Simon in the vast darkened drill hall at the Park Avenue Armory.  Vulture, September 21, 2016

United States

Autocorrect: The Politics of Museum Collection Re-Hangs.  Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, recently framed the curator’s central dilemma in terms of the problem of storage: at any given moment, only a tiny fraction of a museum’s collection can be displayed, leaving the vast majority of its holdings to languish unseen in warehouses and vaults. At the same time, even as the storage rooms threaten to overflow, the imperative to collect persists; we no longer conceive of the museum as a repository of unquestioned masterpieces but as a living organism, open to debate and contestation, preserving the past and interpreting it according to the priorities of the present. As Temkin writes in a 2010 Artforum essay, “We cannot afford to allow the displays in the so-called permanent-collection galleries of painting and sculpture to be static, precisely because of what awaits us in storage.” Artnews, September 19, 2016


Historic first as Tate Britain buys early portrait by female artist.  The Tate Britain has announced that Portrait of an Unknown Lady 1650-5 has the distinction of being the earliest work by a female artist to enter the national collection.  It was acquired by the Tate for £35,000 from the art dealer Bendor Grosvenor, who bought it at the end of 2014 from an auction house in Salisbury. The Guardian, September 21, 2016

William Kentridge review – love and propaganda on a trip through the stars.  William Kentridge’s melancholy carnival of an exhibition is the most convincing attempt I have seen by an artist of this century to meditate on the history of the last. It is a dazzling cinematic montage of modern times that chews on everything from relativity to Leon Trotsky to the fantastic early films of Georges Méliès. The Guardian, September 21, 2016

Residents overlooked by Tate Modern extension should ‘get net curtains’  You have paid £4.5m for a luxury London flat with floor to ceiling windows and glorious views across the Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral. So do you want to put up net curtains?  Residents in the block Neo Bankside should consider it if they want their privacy to be maintained, the director of Tate Sir Nicholas Serota said on Wednesday. The Guardian, September 21, 2016


Banksy artwork removed from Liverpool street to enter street art museum.  A Banksy artwork has been removed from a car park in Liverpool so it can be installed in a new street art gallery.  Sam Fishwick, a graffiti artist from Liverpool, dismissed the idea of a street art gallery. “It’s not street art any more if it’s hung up in a museum,” he told the BBC.  BBC News, September 19, 2016


Winners of 2016 Emerging Asian Artist Awards Allege Mistreatment by Award Representatives  Five artists who won 2016 Prudential Eye Awards, which supports emerging Asian artists, claim that they are facing “unexpected and disrespectful” treatment from the award representatives. Eight months after the award’s recipients were announced, some of the artists say have not received their cash prizes and are still waiting for their artwork—exhibited at the show honoring the finalists—to be returned to them. Huang Po Chih, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Manish Nai, Shumon Ahmed, and Svay Sareth were awarded best emerging artist awards in the categories of installation, digital/video, painting, photography, and sculpture, respectively. Artforum, September 21, 2016


Kim Jong-un or Jesus? North Korean artist turns propaganda on its head.  It was after he fled North Korea in 1990s that artist Sun Mu decided to turn the regime’s propaganda painting style on its head. He began producing satirical works that have since been described as “Disney characters with a military aesthetic”.  The Guardian, September 21, 2016


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