Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 28, 2016

Contemporary calligrapher Wang Dongling to give special performance at Vancouver Art Gallery  Renowned contemporary calligrapher Wang Dongling will conduct a live performance at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby Street) on October 4 at 7 p.m. Guests will get to watch Wang write the Heart Sutra, one of the most important Mahayana Buddhist scriptures. He will be using his own calligraphic technique known as “chaos scripture (luanshu)”—a style that sees characters and entire column of texts interweave with each other. Georgia Straight, September 27, 2016

Robert Amos: Is Minimalism really worth mocking?  Anybody here remember Minimalism? There was the long project of Modernism: from Impressionism to Expressionism, through Abstract Expressionism to Colour Field and Hard Edge. And, when there was hardly a trace of the artist left, we were offered Minimalism. “It is also known for being anti-humanist in its attempted removal of the artist’s hand, and in its apparently emotionless intellectualism,” says John Hampton. And he ought to know — he is the curator of the show titled Why Can’t Minimal? on now at Open Space Gallery (510 Fort St., 250-383-8833, until Oct. 22). Times Colonist, September 25, 2016

New exhibition celebrates the art and artists of UCalgary Department of Art  With more than 70 pieces of art created by 30 studio instructors and 30 alumni, Generations: Fifty Years of Art at the University and Beyond [September 29 – December 10], highlights the imagination, innovation and impact of the Department of Art in the Faculty of Arts over the last five decades. “It’s an anecdotal history looking at how the department grew and the web of connections that engage the university with wider communities,” says Christine Sowiak, chief curator of Nickle Galleries. “It has formed extensive links, nationally and internationally through the people involved.” UToday, September 28, 2016

New mural adjacent to Rogers Place community rink celebrates ‘all walks of life’  The joint project by Layla Folkmann and Lacey Jane is called Pillars of the Community — a $40,000 mural located adjacent to the new community rink at Rogers Place. “The arena has a big international audience, and it’s where people come together to celebrate athleticism and sports, and to pay homage to the city’s superstars like Wayne Gretzky,” says Jane. “We like celebrating people in all walks of life, unsung heroes, the ones who don’t get praised often. It’s a way to highlight the people who make daily life wonderful and make Edmonton what it is.” Edmonton Journal, September 26, 2016

Duane Linklater at Mercer Union: What Hope Remains  [Sobey Award winner] Duane Linklater is the tallest artist I know — six-foot-five, maybe a little more — and when he stretches one of his long, slender arms skyward, his presence is all the more towering and in more ways than one. That significant span is the measure of a cluster of sculptures now installed in the back gallery of Mercer Union, where Linklater’s new exhibition, From Our Hands, opened this month. Toronto Star, September 24, 2016

Ministry artist captured the growth of Ontario’s transportation expansion  When artist Moma Markovich retired from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in 1970, one friend said his paintings would be remembered longer than some of the provincial highways and byways they portrayed. The observation was prescient. And the story of what has happened over the last four decades to the late artist’s work — now collected into a new exhibit to mark the ministry’s centennial — is almost as intriguing as the life Markovich lived before coming to Canada. Toronto Star, September 27, 2016

Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook’s work revealed the connections between us  The 47-year-old Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook was found dead in the Rideau River earlier this week, after several years of living on the street in the nation’s capital. When the news came, there was about it a kind of grim inevitability. Having emerged into the southern imagination in 2006, with her startling solo exhibition at Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, her rise had come a little later in life (she was 37 at the time), but it was a rocket launch. In that same year, Ms. Pootoogook won the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, going on to represent Canada at the prestigious documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany in 2007. In just a year, she had become one of a handful of indigenous artists to achieve international acclaim in the accelerating global discussion on post-colonialism. The Globe and Mail, September 27, 2016

After big summer show, National Gallery predicts more triumphs ahead  The National Gallery in Ottawa is sighing with relief and patting itself on the back after receiving the news that its big summer show, a survey of paintings by the late 18th-century portraitist Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, was seen by just more than 90,000 patrons. That’s 20 per cent more than the 75,000 it was projecting before the three-month exhibition opened June 10.  The Globe and Mail, September 23, 2016

Mark Bradford’s Paintings Bring Out the Politics in Clyfford Still’s  The senior curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Cathleen Chaffee, noticed that in nearly every interview with Bradford he acknowledged Abstract Expressionism as an inspiration that started during his student days at the California Institute of Arts. Given the large collection of Clyfford Still paintings at the Albright-Knox — second only to the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver — Chaffee conceived the idea of Bradford producing new work in conversation with Still. Bradford’s new work in the exhibition Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford persuasively argues that the Abstract Expressionist movement can and should be approached from a social and political perspective to fully reveal its revolutionary nature. Hyperallergic, September 27, 2016

New York
Sound and Vision: David Bowie’s Art Collection Comes Back to New York at Sotheby’s  In July, Sotheby’s announced that it would auction off 400 works from the collection of David Bowie, a sale that would take place over the course of three nights and feature works by British artists Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg and Harold Gilman, as well as Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose 1984 painting Air Power is expected to sell for £2.5 million to £3.5 million ($3.2 to $4.5 million)…. This stop on the “Bowie/Collector” tour features just a few works from the massive 400-work trove, but it manages to offer some insight into what Bowie wanted on his walls, and the sensibility he had when collecting. Artnews, September 27, 2016

The Met Lays Off 34 Employees in First Phase of Financial Restructuring  The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it has laid off thirty-four employees, 1.5 percent of its work force, in order to prevent a $10 million deficit from ballooning. The staff reduction is not as large as the institution originally predicted. In July, after fifty employees took voluntary buyouts, the museum announced that it planned to cut at least fifty more positions. Artnews, September 28, 2016 and further details in The Art Newspaper

Neue Galerie Returns Painting Seized by Nazis and Then Rebuys It in Settlement  The Neue Galerie of New York has reached a restitution settlement for “Nude,” a 1914 painting by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, with the heirs of a Jewish shoe manufacturer and art collector whose artworks were taken when his wife and son were forced to flee Germany by the Nazis in the 1930s, the museum announced Tuesday. The museum said it had returned the painting to the family of Alfred and Tekla Hess and then bought it back at its current fair market value. New York Times, September 27, 2016

A Lesbian Artist Who Painted Her Circle of Women at the Turn of the 20th Century  Tucked into a far corner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), an exhibit showcases the extensive career of artist Romaine Brooks, a turn-of-the-20th-century icon who’s since been largely forgotten by the mainstream. The three rooms that make up the modest but wide-ranging show The Art of Romaine Brooks are sparsely hung with paintings and drawings from the museum’s collection; Brooks donated a large number of her works to SAAM shortly before her death in 1970. Spanning her entire career and delving into the gender politics she enthusiastically rejected, the exhibit is a fascinating glimpse of lesbian subculture in the early 1900s, brought to life in Brooks’s evocative, darkly hued style. Hyperallergic, September 27, 2016

Will sunshine mean Hillary, and rain bring on Trump? James Bridle’s Cloud Index aims to find out Is there any relationship between cloud computing and the clouds high above our heads? Does the weather affect our mood so much it might even influence how we vote? These are some of the questions posed by the writer and digital artist James Bridle in the third of the Serpentine Gallery’s pioneering digital commissions, which goes on public release tomorrow (29 September). The Art Newspaper, September 28, 2016

Sacred works, secret tunnels: Jarvis Cocker’s journey into outsider art  The occasion is the opening of the Gallery of Everything and its inaugural exhibition, Jarvis Cocker’s Journeys Into the Outside. The show is based on a 1998 documentary series in which Pulp’s erstwhile frontman investigated the world of what is usually called outsider art – a contentious term that, since it was coined by writer Roger Cardinal in 1972, has been used to describe everything from art made by people with mental health issues to the work of folk artists. Cocker himself prefers to define it as “art made by people who haven’t gone through an art education system”. Jarvis Cocker’s Journeys into the Outside is at the Gallery of Everything, London, until 20 November. The Guardian, September 26, 2016

Basrah Museum opens against the odds in Iraq  Few outsiders can imagine the challenges of creating a new museum in Iraq. Just a week before the Basrah Museum was scheduled to open inside a converted former palace of Saddam Hussein today (27 September) most of the collection had yet to arrive from Baghdad. The Basrah Museum has been planned for eight years and will join the National Museum in Baghdad as one of the most important institutions in Iraq. For the first time in a generation, the people of southern Iraq will have their own museum—a great achievement under extremely difficult circumstances. The Art Newspaper, September 27, 2016



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