Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, October 4, 2016

Renowned Vancouver architect Bing Thom has died  Renowned Vancouver architect Bing Thom, famous for designing buildings around the world, has died at age 75, his firm announced Tuesday. Thom suffered a brain aneurism Tuesday while on a trip to Hong Kong, and died in the afternoon, according to a statement by Bing Thom Architects. His wife of 50 years, Bonnie Thom, was by his side. In a post on the company’s website, she said her husband’s life’s work culminated in the Xiqu theater in his beloved Hong Kong, his homecoming project. Some of Thom’s well known projects include UBC’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the Central City project with Simon Fraser University, the Mead Centre for American Theater in Washington DC, and the Pacific Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Aquarium.  Also close to home he designed the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond and the Hong Kong Pavilion at Expo 86. Vancouver Sun, October 4, 2016

Uli Sigg traces the arc of Chinese contemporary art at VIFF  Chinese contemporary art has made a big impact in Vancouver over the past decade, thanks to public work by Ai Weiwei and prominent exhibitions like the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Unscrolled in 2014. It’s so well known these days, in fact, that it’s easy to forget how closed a society China was just a few decades ago, and how far underground the artists now celebrated once were. German filmmaker Michael Schindhelm puts the pieces together by focusing on one crucial westerner who helped usher the art out into the world. The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg is the story of a Swiss businessman, and later ambassador, who was able to gain rare access to a country once as closed off as North Korea is today. Georgia Straight, September 28, 2016

Does Global Curating Serve Local Interests?  Nanaimo is a small city of approximately 85,000 on the east coast of Vancouver Island. It was founded on three primary resources: coal, forests and the ocean. Exploring the nuances of these industries and their global connections has been the objective of a series of linked exhibitions curated by Jesse Birch at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Birch’s interest in Nanaimo and its history is both personal and academic. Birch grew up in Nanaimo, where he realized that the city celebrates its natural resources in place names and monuments, but also tends to “celebrate and ignore its history at the same time.” Canadian Art, September 28, 2016

Glenbow Museum to celebrate art collection during 50-year festivities  When Melanie Kjorlien and her team at Glenbow began preparing for the 50th anniversary this weekend of the Calgary museum, the same kind of thinking came into play. “We asked our librarian Lindsay Moir what they charged in 1966,” says Kjorlien, Glenbow’s vice-president of access, collections and exhibitions. “She said it was 50 cents, with kids under six free — that sounded like a good idea.” From Saturday to Wednesday, Glenbow will charge just 50 cents general admission, with kids under six free, to see a show entitled “Glenbow at 50: A pop-up exhibition of 50 extraordinary works of art”. Calgary Herald, September 28, 2016

Inuit art travels the world in two major exhibitions  Inuit art exhibitions opened Sept. 30 in two major venues showcasing the best of Inuit art to audiences in Winnipeg and London. Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic, which opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, displays work from the Government of Nunavut’s fine art collections and some pieces not seen in Canada since before Nunavut was established in 1999, the WAG said…Then, if you’re in London, England, head to the Canada Gallery at Canada House on Trafalgar Square, where Floe Edge: Contemporary Art and Collaborations from Nunavut, opened Sept. 30. Floe Edge brings together 18 artists and collaborators for an exhibition that “reflects the culture, spirit and challenges of this unique region,” a Canadian government release said. Nunatsiaq Online, October 4, 2016

Ian Dejardin, a Scottish champion of Canadian art  A good number of years ago — enough of them that he’s loath to count just how many — a young Ian Dejardin was a curatorial assistant at London’s esteemed Royal College of Art when he happened across an unusual book. Between its covers were dynamic, expressive images of a teeming, faraway wilderness, and a place he had never been. Among the authors of these pictures — Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer — not a single name was familiar. Toronto Star, October 3, 2016

AGO exhibition tackles an era of social turbulence in Toronto  With the sprawling new Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, Wanda Nanibush unearths a vibrant, political and occasionally messy era of the city’s art history. The wide-ranging exhibition of more than 100 works from the AGO’s collection represents 65 artists and collectives, including Michael Snow, Norval Morrisseau, Joanne Tod, Robert Houle, Robin Collyer, Rebecca Belmore and Lillian Allen. The exhibition’s description panels include texts in both English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), an acknowledgment of Toronto as the traditional territory of the Mississauga people. As well, a robust schedule of live events surrounds the exhibition, with special attention paid to performance art, as marginalized a discipline in the 1970s and eighties as it is today. The Globe and Mail, October 3, 2016

La Biennale de Montréal Announces Final List of Artists  La Biennale de Montréal, a multisite exhibition taking place at the city’s Musée d’art contemporain, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Society for Arts and Technology, among other institutions and venues, which opens on October 19, 2016 and runs through January 15, 2017, has announced its final list of artists. A total of fifty-five artists and collectives from twenty-three countries will be presented for this edition, titled “Le Grand Balcon” (The Grand Balcony), curated by Philippe Pirotte in consultation with curatorial advisors Aseman Sabet, Corey McCorkle, and Kitty Scott, in close collaboration with Sylvie Fortin, executive and artistic director of the biennale. [List of artists follows] Artforum, October 4, 2016

Why museum leaders are organising shows for private collectors  The director of Tate Modern in London, Frances Morris, has organised an exhibition of post-war art from Europe and Asia due to open this month at the George Economou Collection, a private museum in Athens set up by the eponymous Greek shipping magnate (13 October-9 April 2017). Earlier this year, the same private gallery hosted a survey of Minimalism organised by the Tate curator Mark Godfrey. These shows follow a cash gift made to Tate Modern by the Greek tycoon, who is a trustee of the Tate foundation, an advisory and fundraising board. Although the museum declined to disclose the size of Economou’s gift, it was large enough for one of the galleries in Tate Modern’s new £260m Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension to be named after him. This collaboration between one of the world’s leading museums and a wealthy patron exemplifies the ever closer ties between public institutions and the rich in an era of reduced government funding. The Art Newspaper, October 4, 2016

Obituary: Walter Darby Bannard (1934–2016)  Walter Darby Bannard, an American abstract painter and a pioneer of color field painting in the 1950s, died on Sunday, October 2, in Miami at the age of eighty-two. Bannard was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1934. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University, where he befriended artist Frank Stella and critic and art historian Michael Fried. Throughout his more than six-decade career, Bannard’s paintings would transition between expressionism and color field painting. He wrote over one hundred essays and reviews for various publications… Artforum, October 3, 2016

New York
Carrie Mae Weems Creates Pro-Hillary Clinton Video: ‘The Power of Your Vote’  Late last week, New York–based artist Carrie Mae Weems shared a link on Facebook to a new YouTube video, titled The Power of Your Vote, that shows footage shot in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, one of the country’s most diverse communities, while President Obama’s address to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at its annual dinner last month plays. According to Hillary Clinton’s website, “Weems had been preparing her own script for the piece, but when she heard Obama’s recent address to the Congressional Black Caucus, she thought there was no better message.” In his speech, Obama reminds the audience of the power of one vote. Artnews, October 3, 2016

Welcome to Frieze Week, With On-the-Scene Coverage From Post-Brexit London  If collectors landing in London today for the start of Frieze Week weren’t already spooked by the specter of Brexit, Prime Minister Teresa May was there to remind them of it once again, on the front pages of Britain’s beloved tabloids and broadsheets. “May Focuses on ‘Hard Brexit’” The Guardian proclaimed… Last summer’s shocking vote has become the elephant in the room at this year’s Frieze Week, the annual art world pilgrimage to London for the sake of the namesake fair and its companion fair, Frieze Masters. Artnews, October 3, 2016

Floating fish take over at Philippe Parreno’s Tate Modern show  Visitors to Tate Modern over the next six months might feel like they have stepped into a giant aquarium. French artist Philippe Parreno’s new work – Anywhen – is the latest large-scale commission in the museum’s Turbine Hall. He describes the work as an ever-changing experience “that plays with time and space”. A shoal of helium-filled fish float about the cavernous space to a surreal soundtrack from overhead speakers. BBC News, October 3, 2016

African American artists get Paris debut  The most important exhibition of African American art ever to be mounted in France, and arguably in Continental Europe, opens in Paris on Tuesday, 4 October, at the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac (until 15 January 2017). The Color Line brings together nearly 200 works from the end of the American Civil War in 1865 up to the present day, mostly borrowed from the US. Daniel Soutif, a curator, philosophy professor and writer, who has put together the exhibition, says that, aside from the contemporary artists, most of the earlier artists are barely known in Paris. The Art Newspaper, October 4, 2016


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