Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, November 9, 2016



Eastside Culture Crawl Artist Spotlight: Sherry Cooper.  The Straight gets to know some of the artists participating in this year’s upcoming Eastside Culture Crawl including Sherry CooperGeorgia Straight, November 7, 2016


What Happened When One Artist Tried to Walk Calgary’s 174-km City Limits.  What bodies move alongside, within and outside of the designated city boundaries? Who inhabits the spaces along the city limits? How is the border of Calgary inscribed in the land and felt in space?  These were just some of the questions that artist Alana Bartol hoped to explore when she set out to walk Calgary’s city limits—estimated at roughly 174 kilometres long—earlier this year.  Bartol recently presented some of related “answers”—in the form of photographs, video and a talk—at Calgary’s New Gallery during the Mountain Standard Time Performative Arts Festival.  Canadian Art, November 7, 2016


Anish Kapoor creates warming hut for Winnipeg river trail.  World-renowned artist Anish Kapoor, whose sculptures are in public places around the globe, is creating a warming hut that will be featured this winter along Winnipeg’s river trail.  CBC News, November 8, 2016


The world’s biggest small mystery.  To understand how the Thomson Collection of European Art’s miniature carved boxwood prayer beads at the Art Gallery of Ontario were made – a mystery that has defied human understanding for more than 500 years – curator Alexandra Suda and conservator Lisa Ellis took the radical step of radiating one of the pieces in an $800,000 micro-CT scanner in 2012.   The final result is an international exhibition, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, that premieres Saturday in Toronto at the AGO, and then travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum. Toronto’s boxwood has hit the big time, baby.  Globe & Mail, November 7, 2016


School of photographic arts moving to new digs in Little Italy.  After about a dozen years in the Byward Market, Ottawa’s School of the Photographic Arts is moving.   The school will be setting up shop on the edge of Little Italy in a low rise building that is being renovated near the corner of Preston and Pamilla streets.   While there is some nostalgia about leaving the location on Dalhousie Street, SPAO director Jonathan Hobin says the school desperately needs to expand.  Ottawa Citizen, November 3, 2016


Kapwani Kiwanga: An Artist Anthropologist. Growing up in multicultural Hamilton and Brantford, Ontario, “gave me a thirst and desire to visit other places,” she says. Kapwani Kiwanga this lived experience of Canadianness trumps more fabricated nationalistic elements, such as a relationship to nature or founding narratives, which can distance Canada from its reality as colonial project.  Canadian Art, November 7, 2016


Mapplethorpe complaint at Westmount library brings censorship into focus.  In 2016, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presented an interesting, if not entirely satisfactory, exhibit of the same Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, called Focus: Perfection.  To coincide with the exhibit, the Westmount Public Library features in its public “vitrine” showcase Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs, a book featuring work from the permanent collection of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  Three days later, the book was no longer there. Why? A complaint was submitted by a library member who will remain unnamed.  Montreal Gazette, November 3, 2016


Are Potlucks the New Artist Talks? A few months ago, I went to a potluck dinner party.  The dinner party offered a rare opportunity to get to the heart, and take real sustenance through dialogue, something I don’t often feel or experience at many artist talks—a fact I note because this dinner party was also, explicitly, an artist talk for Amy Wong’s exhibition “The Art of Hanging Pictures” at Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax…This dinner party made me wonder: What is an artist talk? What is its purpose? What is the history of the artist talk? Has it always been an artist showing images to an attentive audience? Or could it be something more?   Canadian Art, November 8, 2016


Beaverbrook Art Gallery set for grand opening in late June.  There is still work to do on the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, but the gallery’s director said it should be ready for a grand opening in June.  “We’re on time, and we’re on schedule, and we’re on budget,” said Terry Graff after presenting the progress at a Fredericton council-in-committee meeting on Monday night. CBC News, November 8, 2016

United States

Artists express dismay at Donald Trump’s US election victory.  Leading artists raised millions for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign to become the first female US President while her rival, the Republican nominee Donald Trump, found little favour with the art world. On the morning after the property developer and political outsider’s victory, artists in the US and abroad have been quick to express their disappointment.  The Berlin- and London-based artist, Wolfgang Tillmans, re-posted on Instagram an image of the Statue of Liberty weeping, while the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz simply posted a black square from Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. The New York-based artist Pablo Helguera says he is not sure how to break the news to his young daughter, who was “certain when she went to bed that a woman would be president”.  On Instagram, the British artist David Shrigley posted an image of an apple pie and a skull, and Jake Chapman reacted by posting the word “Idiocracy”.   Ahead of yesterday’s vote, the US artist Barbara Kruger designed the front cover of New York Magazine. It featured a close-up image of Trump’s face with the word “Loser” outlined in the artist’s unique font. Other artists who opposed Trump’s bid for the White House, and financially backed pro-Clinton funds, included Jeff Koons, Chuck Close and Marina Abramovic.  The Art Newspaper, November 8, 2016

Los Angeles

Gentrification Protesters in Los Angeles Target Art Galleries.  The message on the steel roll-up gate of Mihai Nicodim’s gallery in Boyle Heights could not have been clearer: With obscene language, the spray-painted words condemned what they labeled “white art.”  Few neighborhoods have seen the change as much as Boyle Heights, just east of downtown, where at least a dozen galleries, both local and from out of town, have opened in the past three years.  New York Times, November 5, 2016

Wichita, Kansas

Miró‘s Only Marble and Glass Mural Is Restored. Joan Miró painted many murals in his lifetime, but he designed only one made of glass and marble, for Wichita State University’s Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art. “Personnages Oiseaux,” or “Bird People,” was commissioned by the museum’s founding director Martin H. Bush. It adorned the building’s southern-facing wall from 1978 until 2011, when the museum removed it for an extensive, $2.2 million restoration project to repair the deteriorating mosaic. Last month — nearly exactly 38 years from its unveiling — the mural of colorful characters  finally returned to its wall, with its hundreds and thousands of tesserae at last enforced, each cleaned or replaced by Russell-Marti Conservation Services, Inc. Hyperallergic, November 6, 2016


Pergamon Museum renovation costs spiral as reopening is delayed.  The estimated cost of renovating Berlin’s Pergamon Museum has rocketed to €477m, almost double the initial estimate of €261m. The German government has warned that the full reopening of the museum will be delayed by four years until 2023.   The reason for the delay is the discovery of a vast concrete pumping station under the museum, according to a spokesman for the construction ministry who spoke to the Deutsche Presse Agentur.   The Art Newspaper, November 1, 2016


Austrian Authorities Thwart Group Trying to Sell Fake Picassos.  “Austria’s criminal intelligence service announced this week that it had uncovered a group selling forgeries of high-profile art, including fakes that had been attributed to Chagall and Picasso.” The ring’s stash in Slovenia included fake Klimts and Monets as well.  New York Times, November 8, 2016

Hobart, Tasmania

David Walsh of Mona: on art, sex and why (gallery) size matters   David Walsh brought me into the room to admire My Lonesome Cowboy by Takashi Murakami (1998). The artwork is worth $20m, making it one of the most expensive pieces of art currently held in Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art – the largest privately funded museum in the country.  “Collectors can pretend they collected it because of ‘the infinite irony of Murakami’, but they didn’t. They collected it because he’s got a big dick.”… Mona’s latest exhibition is the gallery’s most ambitious yet, and it deals specifically with a question Walsh has long sought to answer: why do humans make art? The show works from Walsh’s thesis that art is not purely a cultural project but one that has its basis in biology. The rooms Walsh and I are standing in, though, are the gallerist’s favourite. In them, the evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller aims to show us that art is merely another method of sexual selection: a mechanism for attracting mates that has evolved over millennia.  The Guardian, November 8, 2016


What’s Driving the Surge in Art Books? The art market appears to be positively high on books. But, again, why enter publishing now, a faltering field that’s economically unviable? Is the galleries’ enthusiasm for printed matter simply the flipside of a plight that has befallen the art book sector as a whole? Or is it about conquering the symbolic realm of word and image, where claims must be staked in the fight for artists and collectors?  ArtNet News, November 4, 2016

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