Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 26, 2016

Canada
John Bentley Mays: 1941–2016  I imagine that each person leaves a distinct hole in the universe when they die, but some of those spaces are more sprawling, more labyrinthine than others. With the news of the death of John Bentley Mays last week, one was left to contemplate that vacuum. For 18 years the art critic of the Globe and Mail (from 1980 to 1998), Mays would go on to explore and unpack his adopted city of Toronto with a kind of epic inquisitiveness, perhaps born of his outsider status. Canadian Art, September 22, 2016

Vancouver
Town Talk: Large but little-known Persian art collection revealed  One of the more striking contemporary-art collections hereabouts has nothing to do with Michael Audain, Bob Rennie and suchlike. Its close to 1,000 pieces that have so filled Iran-born Nader and Mana Mobargha’s 7,000-square-foot home that they’ve commissioned one three times larger to avoid tripping over each other and Persian cat Shangool. That size shouldn’t daunt architect Hossein Amanat who, at age 24, designed the massive white-marble tower in Tehran’s Azadi Square. Vancouver Sun, September 22, 2016

Museum of Anthropology at UBC unveils a globe-spanning season  The Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s just-announced 2016-17 season takes visitors on journeys through the worlds of Amazonian culture, Asian art and calligraphy, and fabrics from almost every corner of the globe. The season kicks off on November 17 with the opening of Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth across Cultures, curated by Jennifer Kramer (the MOA’s Pacific Northwest curator), showcasing the facility’s own expansive textile collection (the second largest in Western Canada). Georgia Straight, September 22, 2016

Victoria
Japanese screen ‘crowning jewel’ in exhibit  The old Japanese screen once owned by architect Frank Lloyd Wright is in pristine condition. But when it was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1995, it was in deplorable shape. “It looked like it’d been used for a hockey backstop. It had dents and holes in it,” said Barry Till, the gallery’s Asian arts curator. The $500,000 screen, created by artist Sanraku Kano, is a crowning jewel in the gallery’s new exhibit, Millennia: Asian Art Through the Ages. Till describes the 100-piece show as “the best of the best” of the AGGV’s Asian collection, itself ranked as one of the most important and comprehensive in Canada. Times Colonist, September 14, 2016

Abbotsford
The Reach Gallery Museum opens more exhibits  The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford opens its second suite of fall exhibitions on Thursday, Sept. 29. The opening reception takes place at 7 p.m. at The Reach (32388 Veterans Way), and is also the kickoff to the creatiValley festival. Ruth Beer’s The States of Matter was developed in collaboration with the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George. The Vancouver artist uses sculpture, woven structures and video to address the interlaced relationships between extracted resources, such as oil and copper, and the environment and culture. Abbotsford News, September 25, 2016

Toronto
Nuit Blanche offering Toronto a leaner selection of dusk-to-dawn art projects  This is “the day and age of whatever,” as the Canadian artist, writer and academic John Kissick wrote recently – a time in the visual arts when there is more in heaven and earth than was ever dreamt of in the philosophies of Vasari, John Ruskin, Clement Greenberg and other art pontiffs. For proof of this plenitude, all you need do is wander the streets of Toronto between 6:58 p.m. Oct. 1 and 7:17 a.m. Oct. 2 as the 11th annual Nuit Blanche dusk-to-dawn “contemporary art thing” engulfs much of Canada’s largest city under the marketing rubric, “More Art, Less Sleep.” The Globe and Mail, September 23, 2016

Ottawa
Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook found dead in Rideau River  Pootoogook [age 46], born in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, was an acclaimed, award-winning contemporary Inuit artist best known for her frank, ink-and-crayon drawings of contemporary northern life. Her work was reflective of her own life and community, at times chronicling her experience of physical and sexual abuse and living with relatives suffering from alcoholism… The Sobey Art Foundation issued a statement late Friday that said “Annie’s spirit shone through her work and she has left a tremendous legacy to the Canadian cultural fabric.” Toronto Star, September 23, 2016

Montreal
Montreal art centre Le Livart a welcoming space steeped in memory  Belgian curator Philippe Pirotte is fond of happy accidents, as he said more than once during a lunch presentation on Wednesday about his concept for the forthcoming Biennale de Montreal. One such lucky break was the room in which he spoke, in a striking new centre for art that will be ready to open to the public on the Biennale’s first day of activity, Oct. 19. The private, not-for-profit centre is called Le Livart, and it occupies a disused presbytery and convent next to the former shrine of the Saint Jude Oratory, on St. Denis Street. The Globe and Mail, September 23, 2016

North America
International Examiner Fall Arts Guide 2016 This is the current comprehensive guide to Asian exhibitions and art events in North America.

Buffalo
Albright-Knox Gallery Receives $42.5 M. Gift, Will Change Name  The Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo announced today that investor and art collector Jeffrey Gundlach has donated $42.5 million to the museum. To recognize the gift, the Albright-Knox will be rechristened as the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum. The money from Gundlach, whom the museum describes as a “financial visionary” in its news release, will go toward AK360, a capital campaign and expansion project that is being headed up by architect Shohei Shigematsu, of Rem Koolhaas’s firm, OMA. Artnews, September 23, 2016

Washington
See how Washington’s National Gallery of Art has grown  From the outside, not much has changed. After a three-year, $69m renovation, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, looks about the same as it did when it first opened in June 1978. The I.M. Pei-designed building, dedicated to the museum’s collection of Modern art, still comprises two triangular blocks of stone, with the architect’s signature glass pyramids at its front entrance…. The gallery, which reopens to the public on 30 September, has managed to carve out more than 12,250 sq. ft of additional exhibition space without expanding its physical footprint. The Art Newspaper, September 26, 2016

How the Corcoran’s art gained a second lease of life  In early 2014, the beleaguered Corcoran Gallery and School of Art in Washington, DC, having exhausted every option for saving itself, agreed to a takeover by George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art (NGA). The university absorbed the school and $48m in cash and endowment as well as the Corcoran’s Beaux-Arts building across the street from the White House. The NGA agreed to run the Corcoran’s former art galleries and take over its collection. Curators at the NGA got first pick of the 17,000 works and will help to distribute the rest, with a preference given to local institutions. The Art Newspaper, September 26, 2016

London
Turner Prize exhibition opens with giant buttocks, brick suit and a train  Members of the public have their first chance to see the artwork nominated for the Turner Prize when an exhibition featuring the four artists opens later. Anthea Hamilton is nominated for work focusing on fetishism including an enormous sculpture of a man’s buttocks. Josephine Pryde’s work features a train, while Michael Dean uses salvaged metal. Helen Marten, who works in collage and screen-printing, is also in the running for the prestigious £25,000 prize. BBC news, September 26, 2016

Seoul
‘You could disappear into it’: Anish Kapoor on his exclusive rights to the ‘blackest black’ In Seoul for the opening of his Gathering Clouds exhibition at the Kukje Gallery, the British architect and artist Anish Kapoor is discussing his controversial deal with developers of Vantablack: the “blackest black” pigment of paint, a colour Kapoor now owns exclusive rights to use. After reading a newspaper story about the discovery of the pigment – which “we think is the blackest material in the universe, after a black hole”, Kapoor says – the excited artist contacted the British manufacturers, NanoSystem, and offered to collaborate with them. The Guardian, September 26, 2016

 

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