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


Photos: VAG’s Walker Evans: Depth of Field exhibit will make you want to shoot film again. Walker Evans may be best known for his work created for the Farm Security Administration program, but the latest exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery proves that the man’s career covered much more ground than post-Depression America.  The exhibit, appropriately titled Depth of Field, showcases more than 200 photographs from Evans’s 50-year career, beginning in the 1920s and ending just before his death in 1975, from various periods throughout the iconic photographer’s life.   Georgia Straight, October 27, 2016

Seven things to do this week, Nov. 3 to Nov. 10.   “Must do things” this week include taking in Juxtapoz x Superflat opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery on November 5. Vancouver Sun, November 2, 2016

Eastside Culture Crawl Artist Spotlight: Lisa Ochowycz. The Straight gets to know some of the artists participating in this year’s upcoming Eastside Culture Crawl (November 17-20), including Lisa Ochowycz and  Marion Webber   Georgia Straight, November 2, 2016

Aimée Henny Brown Gets Set For Her First ‘Eastside Culture Crawl’ We recently chatted with Aimée Henny Brown, one of the many talented artists participating this year. Her work blends historical content with contemporary art, addressing “both the history and fate of printed matter as tangible objects in a virtual era.” Scout Magazine, October 27, 2016

London, Ontario

On the Canvas: Smart Car installation brings artist back to hometown. New works by London native Jason McLean are featured in an exhibition at a downtown store.  Parking Lot With a Memory is the title of the new show, which features a Smart Car installation from one of McLean’s previous shows in Vancouver and a wide selection of drawings at Michael Gibson Gallery. McLean’s 2013-2016 Smart Art Car Coleman’s Cooler, from his show at the Vancouver Art Gallery (as part of the Canadian Art Foundation’s Gallery Hop Vancouver) is updated with “a whimsical arrangement of biographical texts with allusions to fairy tales and childhood games.   London Free Press, November 2, 2016


At the Power Plant, a souk with a point of view.  In the big main gallery at the Power Plant, thickly woven berber rugs overlap and expand in a luxuriant patchwork of woolly bright colours, as though a bazaar refitted to the palette demands of an of-the-moment interior designer. Before you decry a lack of government funding forcing the public gallery to rent out space to make ends meet (a reasonable fear, but another story) a little name check, please: Yto Barrada, a French-Moroccan artist, is in control here, and the only thing for sale is a smartly absurdist point of view. Toronto Star, October 31, 2016


Ottawa startup creates virtual tour of local art gallery. An Ottawa tech company is changing perspectives on art, offering a virtual reality tour of the Ottawa Art Gallery. Users can click through the space on a desktop browser or, if they have a Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, load the tour on a phone and walk about the virtual gallery.  Metro News, November 2, 2016


Kevin Tierney: Is the federal arts machine fair to anglophones?  Fact: every senior federal arts position in Canada is held by a francophone… The allocation of influential positions in Canadian politics in general has always been a bit of a shell game. It is based on a great tradition that only gets talked about periodically: regionalism.  Montreal Gazette, October 28, 2016

Saint John

Gifts of the Earth: Crafting Ceramics from Maritime Mud.  Darren Emenau disappears into the basement of his Saint John home to retrieve the tools we’ll need for the day’s expedition of digging local clay from a beach on the St. John River. “I love having these secret little spots that are close to home,” Emenau, a potter and ceramic artist who works under the phonetic tag MNO, says as he crashes through the fall forest, overstepping fallen cedars and hacking at dead branches en route to the shore. Canadian Art, November 2, 2016

Los Angeles

An Artist’s Fantastical Drawings of Cars, Made While Living in One.  For 18 years, William A. Hall lived in his car, a pale yellow 1972 Dodge Dart, and spent the same amount of time reimagining it. Hall’s drawings are as meticulous as they are sweeping and expansive, their settings difficult to place in either the past or future. Hall was born in 1943 in Los Angeles and, though self-taught, has made art since he was a child. While it’d be incorrect to say cars are his sole focus,  they might be his favorite subjects.  Hyperallergic, November 2, 2016


How the Albright-Knox Art Gallery raised more than $100m in just three months. Last April, Janne Sirén, the director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, got an email that most museum leaders only dream about. A man who had never before donated to the institution pledged to jump-start its $80m capital campaign with an ambitious matching scheme. The Los Angeles-based billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach ended up giving $42.5m and the museum’s trustees pledged $21.3m this summer. The Art Newspaper, November 2, 2016

New York

Artist Cai Guo-Qiang Talks The Importance of Artistic Freedom, Donald Trump and How a Documentary Captured the More Authentic Him. Upon meeting Cai Guo-Qiang in his East Village studio, he describes himself as “the subject” that Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang, follows. “The film was not initiated by me and in fact is an artwork of the director and producers,” remarks Guo-Qiang, whose fearless paintings and firework installations provide an insatiable sense of entertainment for a uniquely wide audience. Art critics, regular spectators and world leaders have all been mesmerized by his work.  Paper Magazine, November 2, 2016

New York’s love for the Astor Place cube epitomizes the value of public art.  A lot of people missed the spinning Astor Place cube sculpture, which was removed from New York’s East Village in October 2014 and was finally reinstated on Tuesday. Alex Quick, who dressed up as the artwork for Halloween last year, knows that from experience. The Guardian, November 2, 2016

The Extravagant Intimacy of Pipilotti Rist.  With Pixel Forest, the architecture feels as if it were designed for the show rather than the other way around. Pipilotti Rist has all but dissolved the walls and ceilings through the strategic deployment of video screens, black paint, fluttering sheets of sheer fabric and hanging cables studded with LED lights . But the expert use of space is just the setup: Rist has reimagined the idea of video display to such an extent that each floor, including the nooks and crannies, presents a wholly different tour de force of light, sound, and surface.  Hyperallergic, October 27, 2016

Affidavit, A New Online Art Publication, Pushes Boundaries.  The publishing industry is in a state of perennial crisis, and art publishing is certainly not immune. Despite that, recent years have seen a resurgence of the form, from the print quarterly Even to web-based journals like Momus. Now comes the unconventional online magazine Affidavit, launched by a public relations firm, Cultural Counsel.  I spoke with founder Adam Abdalla about the new venture, conflicts of interest, and rewarding writers. Blouin Art Info, November 1, 2016

Albany, Troy and Schenectady,  New York

Can an art project (finally) save a neighborhood?  The white house is one of 200 empty properties that make up “Breathing Lights,” a $1.2 million art project created by Adam Frelin and architect Barbara Nelson in the browned-out, former manufacturing hub of Albany, Troy and Schenectady, N.Y. Using LED strips, portable batteries and programmed Arduino boards, they have built light panels and had them installed inside window frames. They’re looking to draw attention, through art, to abandoned spots once called homes.  Washington Post, October 29, 2016

United States

Why Do Colleges Have So Much Art?   Not everyone agrees that school museums should compete with their mainstream counterparts or that students necessarily benefit more from having art of such magnitude as opposed to more modest collections. The ongoing art wave raises questions about whether college museums have outlived their primary purpose as educational institutions and perhaps now serve a different function in both academic and art circles. The Atlantic, November 1, 2016


Picasso’s brown period: was he the first to make art from excrement?  Picasso did everything first. In 1907, he painted the first completely modern work of art, in any field – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.  Now it turns out Picasso may have been the first artist to work with human shit.  The Guardian, November 2, 2016

Louvre may safeguard artefacts from war-torn areas.  Endangered works of art from war-torn regions may be housed at the Louvre’s planned new storage facility in Liévin near Lens, said François Hollande, the President of France, yesterday (1 November).   The Art Newspaper, November 2, 2016


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