Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, November 10, 2016


At Juxtapoz x Superflat, cute meets grotesque in surreal irreverence. “MADSAKI’s graffiti mural of cartoon characters, with Big Bird carrying a “Fuck Off!” sign. Erin M. Riley’s handwoven tapestry based on a scene of homemade pornography. Paco Pomet’s painting of complacent country-clubbers whose absurdly elongated legs morph into a heap of slimy pink guts. David Shrigley’s larger-than-life sculpture of a weirdly proportioned naked man who periodically pisses into a bucket. There’s no shortage of provocation in Juxtapoz x Superflat. No shortage of street-culture strategies, pop-culture memes, and youthful irreverence, either.” Georgia Straight, November 9, 2016

Judy Chartrand: What a Wonderful World uses everything from ceramic soup cans to cereal boxes to take on racism and colonialism. Judy Chartrand’s ceramic art initially attracts viewers with its beauty—its lustrous glazes, brightly coloured imagery, and appealing motifs. Then it grips us with its message, demanding that we recognize the brutal history of colonialism and the racist attitudes and policies white society still directs toward indigenous peoples.  Georgia Straight, November 7, 2016

Map: Explore the 2016 Eastside Culture Crawl. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Eastside Culture Crawl.  The four-day celebration of arts, design, and crafts doesn’t officially begin until next Thursday (November 17) but our coverage is already rolling out. Georgia Straight, November 8, 2016.  See also The Straight’s Spotlight: Richard Tetrault, Georgia Straight, November 7, 2016

Opus masters the art of following the fine print on success.  David Van Berckel, owner of Vancouver’s Opus Art Supplies, has been immersed in the world of artists’ paper, fine brushes, paints and pencils for four decades.  It’s a strange and precarious business.  Vancouver Sun, November 9, 2016


Kamloops Art Gallery appoints new Executive Director.   Kamloops Art Gallery Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Margaret Chrumka as the new Executive Director of the Kamloops Art Gallery, effective November 8, 2016.  Vernon Info News, November 9, 2016


Luke Ramsey named Victoria’s artist in residence for 2017.  People in Victoria have a chance to meet and create art with the city’s new artist in residence, Luke Ramsey, this coming Tuesday.  CBC News, November 9, 2016

British Columbia

Haida Artist Behind Trudeau’s Tattoo: “I’m Just Appalled”.  Last December, I interviewed Haida artist Robert Davidson, whose artwork Raven Bringing Light to the World was adapted into a tattoo that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears on his left arm. Last week, we followed up with Davidson to see if he wanted to issue a statement updating his original article. During a phone call, he told us about his feelings regarding the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, which is happening on his doorstep. It means that a pipeline will export liquefied natural gas from northern BC out to Asian markets. “I’m just appalled…Traditionally in Haida culture—and even in modern pop culture—a tattoo is a statement of the values you stand for. Trudeau selected an image depicting one of the origin histories of the Haida Nation, where Raven brings light to the world. By selecting that image, he must uphold the responsibilities that come with that image.”  Canadian Art, November 9, 2016


Museum renewal gets $2.5 million in federal support.  The renewal campaign at the Manitoba Museum took a large step forward on Wednesday with the announcement of $2.5-million in support from the federal government.  Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre) made the announcement of funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. Winnipeg Sun, November 9, 2016


The greatest illusion of all. The works on display at the Montreal Biennale point to a social and political sleight of hand that demands attention.  Art-making conventionally relies on illusion, though many of the works on view at the Biennale (subtitled The Grand Balcony) point to a sleight of hand operating beyond themselves. The system of social and political trompe-l’oeil in which we live is more demanding of notice, they suggest, than any trick of visual perspective. Globe & Mail, November, November 9, 2016

United States

Canadian Artists in America React to U.S. Election Result.  This morning, Canadian Art editors reached out to others who have seen the US election unfold up close— Ken Lum, Chloe Wise, Brendan Fernandes and other Canadian artists and arts workers based in the USA share their initial reactions to the election result.… Canadian Art, November 9, 2016

US election casts a shadow over art market.  The US is bracing itself for the political fallout from its presidential election tomorrow, but the art world may already be feeling its economic effects. Along with the plummeting value of the British pound following the country’s Brexit decision, financial uncertainties have spurred auction houses to take precautionary measures for their flagship autumn sales in New York. The Art Newspaper, November 7, 2016


The Radical Eye review – Elton John’s ravishing photography collection. Sir Elton John’s image, his glasses askew and playing up for the camera in Irving Penn’s 1997 portrait, greets visitors to The Radical Eye. It is an endearing gag, leaving one unprepared for an exhibition as serious as it is surprising, and which could serve as a short course in the development of photography from around 1910 to 1950. The Sir Elton John collection currently contains more than 8,000 works, and even though there are fewer than a couple of hundred here, what a selection it is.  The Guardian, November 8, 2016

Glow with the flow: big names float big ideas to light up Thames at night.  Every evening, as twilight falls over London, sharp shafts of light will plunge down from the night sky like apocalyptic laser beams, zapping the city’s bridges one by one while an ominous rumbling noise fills the air. “Just as the chiming of church bells once served to gather villagers,” says American architect Liz Diller, “the civic-scale lighting ceremony will celebrate a new form of urban collectivity.” Her proposal is one of the six shortlisted schemes in the mayor of London’s Illuminated River competition, a £20m plan to bring nocturnal sparkle to the dull, grey Thames.  The Guardian, November 8, 2016


How a Forged Sculpture Boosted Michelangelo’s Early Career.  If you’ve seen any of Michelangelo’s artworks in person, you have probably felt the same awe that millions of pilgrims to the Sistine Chapel have experienced, while staring up at his singular ceiling frescoes. With masterpieces like the Pieta and the astonishing statue of David, he is decidedly one of the most influential artists in the history of the western world. But what most people don’t know is that, at the beginning of his career, Michelangelo was a forger. Atlas Obscura, November 1, 2016


‘Caravaggio’ found in French attic unveiled in Milan. The  disputed Caravaggio painting found in an attic near Toulouse and classed as a French national treasure is to go on show to the public for the first time this week at Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera. The Art Newspaper, November 8, 2016

Abu Dhabi

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection grows as curatorial team shrinks.  The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s second, collection-based exhibition is due to open next March, three years after mainly abstract works acquired for the planned contemporary art museum were first shown in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The announcement comes amid speculation over the momentum of the much-delayed project, which was launched ten years ago, prompted by the recent departure of two key members of its curatorial team.  The project’s associate curator for Middle Eastern art, Reem Fadda, and its assistant curator, Fawz Kabra, both quietly left this summer, reducing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s New York-based team of curators from five to three. The Art Newspaper, November 8, 2016

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