Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, October 20, 2016


Tomoyo Ihaya and the duo Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten take compellingly different angles on migration and culture. “Cultural values, human migrations, and an awareness of the less privileged inform two quite different shows in downtown Vancouver.  Tomoyo Ihaya’s Eyes Water Fire, at Art Beatus, compresses large themes into small works, including drawings, videos, and a mixed-media installation. White, Steel, Slice, Mask, an exhibition of found objects by collaborating artists Sameer Farooq and Mirjam Linschooten, employs the windows of the Contemporary Art Gallery to address discriminatory museum practices.”   Georgia Straight, October 18, 2016

Artists at Heart of the City Festival throw fresh light on the Downtown Eastside.  “Images don’t get much more diverse than the ones dancing across the wall of Richard Tetrault’s Strathcona studio. A Ukrainian folk performer, First Nations artists, an African-Canadian/Cherokee singer, a Japanese taiko drummer, a Latin-American guitarist, and a Chinese pipa player all find space amid the figures in his massive new triptych.”  Georgia Straight, October 19, 2016

Scream into my Sculptures, Please: Babak Golkar and the Art of Frustration  “A pot you are supposed to scream into. An Ikea vase recast in porcelain and returned to the store, never to be seen again. A sculpture of a fox with a silver tray that is actually a time capsule not to be opened for a 100 years, lest its financial and cultural value drops to zero. These are just some of the works created by Tehran-raised, Vancouver-based artist Babak Golkar. And they are becoming better-known worldwide.”  Canadian Art, October 5, 2016

Splash 2016: B.C. storm postpones Arts Umbrella’s annual fundraiser.  Arts Umbrella’s annual art auction and gala—Splash 2016—was set to take place on Saturday (October 15) at Granville Island, but the forecasted storm forced the non-profit arts organization to move its fundraiser to a later date.  The cancellation meant that over $25,000 in catering was donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, coupled with additional costs associated with postponing and moving the event to a different date and venue.  Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Splash 2016 will take place at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on November 3.  Georgia Straight, October 15, 2016

Prince George

Gallery curator honoured by museum association.  One of the region’s veteran cultural professionals has been applauded provincially for his efforts here.  George Harris, the longtime curator of the Two Rivers Gallery was spotlighted this past weekend at the B.C. Museums Association (BCMA) awards show and conference held this year in Whistler.  Prince George Citizen, October 18, 2016


SAAG receives bridge funding from city. The Southern Alberta Art Gallery is getting back on its feet and laying a new path despite losing a significant portion of grant funding two years ago. In 2014, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts made cuts to grant funding for several galleries across the province. The SAAG was one of them and to help close the gap, representatives came before Lethbridge City Council to request bridge funding.  Lethbridge Herald, October 18, 2016


On Inventing Women Artists in a Post-Truth Era. “I want Sophie La Rosière to be real. Born in 1867 to middle-class parents in Nogent-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, France, La Rosière’s biography benefits from the details it lacks.  Iris Häussler, the artist who invented La Rosière, has furnished two Toronto galleries with ample evidence of her existence.”  Canadian Art, October 19, 2016

A Different Way for Teenage Girls to Go Wild.  “When I was a teenage girl (one white and middle-class, in the deep dark years of 1988 to 1994), I found myself confronted with expectations from society in general, and other teenage girls in particular, that I possess or display the following qualities: silliness; vapidity; boy-craziness; proficiency with and interest in hair, clothes and makeup; straightness/heteronormativity; interest in narratives of romance; interest in sex; interest in gossip.  These old stereotypes of teenage girlhood—and associated societal and personal narratives of sex, terror and superficiality—came up again in my mind as I took in the film Rudzienko by American artist Sharon Lockhart, currently on view at Gallery TPW in Toronto.”  Canadian Art, October 19, 2016

Daphne Odjig: 1919–2016.  “Daphne Odjig was a bold, risk-taking artist herself, always experimenting with media, technique and themes. And she was devoted to young artists, especially young Indigenous artists. She loved to hear about their emerging work, their successes, and their aspirations.  It seemed fitting to learn of Odjig’s death under the trees near the shores of Lake Huron, for she was born near the lake on Manitoulin Island and spent her formative years near its waters.”  Canadian Art, October 6, 2016

Tangled Art Gallery: Redefining Disability Arts. The exhibit currently on display at TAG is called “Mad Room” and is curated by Gloria Swain, a black feminist woman in her 60s who is sharing work inspired by her anxiety and depression. The Strand, October 19, 2016


Montreal is a canvas for its own art scene.  Through the likes of murals and new multimedia installations, all of Montreal seems to be a canvas. There’s no place that demonstrates that better than Ê.A.T. The wall art, from deviant wildlife to pop-culture mash-ups, was created by a who’s who of famous graffiti and street artists — most of them local.  Toronto Star, October 15, 2016


Nunatsiavut has highest proportion of artists within province, affirms provincial Vital Signs report.  The newly published Vital Signs report for 2016 reveals that Nunatsiavut has the highest proportion of creative and performing artists within the province.  This finding may come as a surprise when the Inuit region is compared to a hub like St. John’s, which attracts creative-types from across the province.  CBC News, October 17, 2016

Cape Dorset

Video: Kenojuak Ashevak Featured in New Heritage Minute.  “There is no one Inuit word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal.” Those are the beginning words of the first Heritage Minute ever to pay tribute to an Inuit artist.  Kenojuak Ashevak (1927–2013), one of the most famous Inuit artists ever, is pictured in the new heritage minute both as a young woman moving to Cape Dorset (played by Miali Buscemi) and in her old age, drawing (played by Kenojuak’s sister, Koomoatoo Mathewise).  Canadian Art, October 20, 2016

Los Angeles

Sojourner Truth Parsons: Art Practice as Family. Sojourner Truth Parsons wants “to be the best artist that I can be.” Now, at 32, the British Columbia–raised creator, who has Mi’kmaq and African Canadian heritage, is committed: “It’s a relationship,” Parsons insists. “My art practice is my family”.  Since moving to Los Angeles from Toronto in March 2015, Sojourner Truth Parsons is on a roll, receiving enough to continue to buy materials and paint. She’s shown at Toronto’s Cooper Cole, New York’s Tomorrow and LA’s Phil and Night Galleries.  Canadian Art, October 10, 2016

New York

Kai Althoff reveals the pain and the privilege of being an artist.   “My first exposure to Kai Althoff’s work was the handwritten letter he sent to curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in 2011, announcing, with remorse, his withdrawal from Documenta13. Bakargiev exhibited the three-page document as an artwork within a Plexiglas vitrine.  Althoff’s current retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art is, conversely, filled to the brim with stuff: drawings, paintings, photographs, mannequins, antiques, figurines and shoes.”  Apollo, October 19, 2016

How one artist put climate activism on paper.  In 2011, artist Rachel Schragis found herself in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Initially, she was struck by the protesters’ spirit of collaboration. But she was also captivated by the art spilling out of every corner of the park.  At her studio in New York City, Schragis creates intricate mind-maps, drawn diagrams that connect words and images with a dizzying array of lines. For Occupy, she drew a complex flowchart that mapped out the connections between the many issues that became part of the movement. Grist, October 20, 2016

United States

After a Decade of Growth, MFA Enrollment Is Dropping.  Across the country, art schools have minted a growing number of visual art MFA programs over the last 10 to 15 years. Many of them now face a challenge, as application numbers and enrollment figures are falling, according to the better part of a dozen insiders who spoke to artnet News, some of them on condition of anonymity.  Artnet, October 18, 2016


Taking On the Boys’ Club at the Art Museum.  The directors of two of the world’s most popular art museums recently announced their resignations. Martin Roth, the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, will step down this year, and Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate museums, both in Britain, will depart next year. These job vacancies, which search committees are now working to fill, offer an opportunity to correct the gender imbalance in art museum leadership in Britain, America and beyond. New York Times, October 19, 2016

Hans-Ulrich Obrist tops list of art world’s most powerful.  Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries dubbed as the “curator who never sleeps”, has topped this year’s ArtReview Power 100 of the most influential people in the art world. The Guardian, October 19, 2016

A History of Pictures by David Hockney and Martin Gayford review – Clive James takes a magic flight on Air Hockney.  The wonderful, lavishly illustrated book, “A History of Pictures”  comprises conversations between Hockney and Gayford about the making of art, from the caves of Lascaux to today  The Guardian, October 19, 2016


Fears for future of Scotland’s visual arts scene revealed.  Poor pay levels for working artists and fears about the impact of dwindling resources for galleries and other key organisations are revealed in the new nationwide research.It calls for a wide-ranging overhaul of the way the visual arts are supported in Scotland if the country is to maintain its position as a “recognised international centre of excellence.” Creative Scotland’s study found that almost half of Scotland’s artists were having to take on additional jobs to make ends.  The Scotsman, October 18, 2016


Italian mafia trading weapons for Libyan artefacts plundered by Isil? Mafia groups in southern Italy are dealing in antiquities looted by Isil in the Middle East, according to an investigation by the Italian newspaper La Stampa. The Italian mafia groups are reportedly handing over to Isil weapons smuggled out of Moldova and Ukraine by Russian criminal groups in exchange for Roman and Greek artefacts illegally excavated from ancient sites including Leptis Magna, Cyrene and Sabratha in Libya—all Unesco World Heritage Sites.  The Art Newspaper, October 17, 2016


Toxic Art: Is Anyone Sure What’s In A Tube of Paint?  Artists get called many things—geniuses, madmen, rebels, unemployed—but rarely chemists. Painters, however, increasingly find that they need a degree in organic chemistry when they go to an art supply store and try to buy a tube of paint.  New York Observer, October 19, 2016


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