Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, October 3, 2016

Sibling Harmony The Vancouver Art Gallery considers Georgia-at-Cambie’s Larwill Park as its future home. VAG director Kathleen Bartels and others visited that former bus terminal site recently to launch indigenous artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s multi-coloured, multi-piece installation titled Ovoidism. Contrasting the works’ firm elements and the artist’s sometimes crusty character, his sister Lauraleigh’s Bigheart Bannock Catering firm served snacks that truly deserve their #fluffyfriedaddictions hashtag. Vancouver Sun, September 29, 2016

More Ecological Art in Vancouver, Please!  Public art can soothe, annoy, confuse, or give us a shot of beauty on a dreary day. But does public art also have the power to inspire, and change our minds? Can it change society? For many years the City of Vancouver has been encouraging more public art around the city. Developers of large projects are required to make a contribution to the city for public art (an actual work or cash-in-lieu). The Tyee, October 1, 2016

‘The most famous art detective in the world’ tells tales from his career  As a former FBI investigator who helped recover more than $300 million US worth of stolen art and cultural property over two decades, Robert K. Wittman has his share of incredible tales. Wittman, slated to give an Orion Lecture at the University of Victoria, joined the FBI in 1988 and became a senior investigator with its national Art Crime Team. He says one of the best stories is the time thieves armed with machine guns and grenades stole $42 million worth of paintings from the Swedish National Museum in 2000. For the Orion Lecture, art detective Robert K. Wittman will be held at the Bob Wright Centre, Room B150, University of Victoria on Oct. 4, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Times Colonist, September 29, 2016

Aboriginal painter and printmaker Daphne Odjig dead at 97  Canadian Indigenous painter and printmaker Daphne Odjig has died at the age of 97… Odjig was born on Wikwemikong First Nation, on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario on Sept. 11, 1919. She studied art formally in Ottawa, as well as in Sweden. Her work fused together the various cultures that influenced her life, often mixing Indigenous symbols and icons with European styles. Her vibrant work helped shape Canadian history by bringing First Nations voices and political issues into the mainstream, particularly during the 1960s and ’70s. CBC News, October 2, 2016

‘Grapes and Tortillas’: artist shares stories of sacrifice in B.C.’s wine industry  A new installation at the Kelowna Art Gallery shares the stories of the Mexican workers behind some of B.C.’s most famous wines. Grapes and Tortillas is an exhibition by artist Deborah Koenker inspired by the many Mexican agricultural workers hired by the Okanagan Valley’s fruit orchards and vineyard. It’s meant to pay tribute to their hard work and personal sacrifice…Grapes and Tortillas runs until October 30. CBC News, October 2, 2016

Artist Iris Haussler weaves together art and fiction in Toronto exhibition The persistent will eventually discover the truth about Sophie La Rosière. The little-known French painter and sculptor of the early 20th century is the subject of an investigation and two-part exhibition by Toronto artist Iris Haussler now showing at the Art Gallery of York University and the Scrap Metal Gallery. The Globe and Mail, September 30, 2016

Why do public art ‘experts’ mess with success? Keenan  The TORONTO sign — the name of the city spelled out larger than life in bright, primary-coloured lights — is, as I’ve said before, public art lightning in a bottle. An inexpensive and unheralded installation that was supposed to be temporary and almost instantly became much-admired, much-heralded, beloved. It was the goofy thing we didn’t know we needed to bring a touch of magical life to Nathan Phillips Square. A splash of braggy colour, a focal point, a tangible item that anchors a sense of place simply by naming that place. Toronto Star, October 3, 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit aims to revive photographer’s work […] Mapplethorpe’s photos still have the power to startle and even to shock, which is why the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts put part of its retrospective Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe behind barriers of smoked glass…But this show isn’t really about finding new angles on its subject. It’s about reviving Mapplethorpe for people old enough to feel a kind of reverse nostalgia for the culture wars of the 1980s, and for those too young to remember. Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe continues at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through Jan. 22. The Globe and Mail, September 28, 2016

United States
US museums’ Cuban dreams deferred  US museums have been dreaming of ambitious exchanges with Cuban institutions since the two countries renewed diplomatic ties last year. But they may have set their sights too high. Snarls in securing loans from Cuban state institutions caused an exodus of benefactors from the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York. Other US institutions are now bypassing government collections in favour of more reliable sources. The Art Newspaper, September 30, 2016

Canadian Museum for Human Rights nabs award at ‘Oscars for museums’ in London Winnipeg’s own Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is one of the cultural hotspots travellers across the world need to put on their vacation bucket lists, according to London-based Leading Culture Organizations. The organization honoured the CMHR Friday with the award for Best Soft Power Cultural Organization, a newly-created category designed to acknowledge the importance of cultural organizations “that have powerful influence and impact based on excellence, relevance, transparency, accountability and sustainability…The museum also won the International Architecture Award from the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design in 2016, as well as two other awards by the Canadian Museums Association for educational programming. CBC News, September 30, 2016

Stanley Spencer: Letters offer a portrait of the artist as a young man  At 90, Shirin Spencer can still recall her father Stanley painting one of his masterpieces – the World War One murals at the chapel in Burghclere in Hampshire. Now she’s looking forward to new light being shed on his war as the family publishes the correspondence of the artist as a young man. It is 57 years since the painter Sir Stanley Spencer died. Interest in his work and his sometimes tangled private life has, if anything, grown since then. Stanley Spencer – Looking to Heaven is published in November by the Unicorn Press. BBC News, October 1, 2016

Centre Pompidou to open museum in Brussels in former Citroën building  The Centre Pompidou and the Brussels-Capital Region have signed a memorandum of understanding to open a Modern and contemporary art museum in a former Citroën building in the Belgian capital, northwest of the city’s centre, due to open in 2020. The news was announced at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, 29 September by the museum’s director, Serge Lasvignes, and the Minister-President of the Brussels region, Rudi Vertvoort. The region acquired the 16,000 sq. m Art Deco-style building in October 2015. The Art Newspaper, September 29, 2016

Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam found in Italy Italian police have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen during a dramatic raid on an Amsterdam museum in 2002. The works were recovered from the Naples mafia, they said. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam said the works were found during a “massive, continuing investigation” by Italian prosecutors and organised crime officials. The paintings were taken when thieves used a ladder and sledgehammers to break into the museum. They were eventually found wrapped in cloth in a safe in a house in the picturesque seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii. BBC News, September 30, 2016



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