Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, November 24, 2016


Vancouver’s Audain donates $2 million to Victoria art gallery.   The great-great-grandson of Robert Dunsmuir will donate $2 million for the expansion of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, it was announced Wednesday. Vancouver businessman Michael Audain, one of Canada’s leading philanthropists, said: “I believe it essential that the capital of our great province, which has so many distinguished artists, should have a significant public art gallery.” Times Colonist, November 23, 2016.  See also: Audain Foundation donates $2 million to Art Gallery of Greater VictoriaVancouver Sun, November 23, 2016


Layers of Influence unfurls lush world of fabric at MOA.  From birth to death, Jennifer Kramer says, people are wrapped in cloth. “We wear clothing for warmth or protection from the sun,” she adds, “but also as an expression of political power, social prestige, pride in identity, and spiritual protection.” A Pacific Northwest curator at the Museum of Anthropology, Kramer is guiding media through Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures.  Georgia Straight, November 23, 2016

91-Year-Old Inuit Artist Addresses Youth Suicide in Large Drawing  The rate of suicide among Inuit is 11 times the Canadian average—a national tragedy. Inuit youth, in particular, are at high risk.Now, a 91-year-old Inuit artist is trying to call attention to this problem with a 9-metre-long drawing. Elisapee Ishulutaq’s artwork In His Memory, on display at Marion Scott Gallery Kardosh Projects in Vancouver until November 26, is a four-panel drawing created earlier this year in her home community of Pangnirtung, on Baffin Island.  Canadian Art, November 23, 2016


Kamloops artist getting recognized for stone tools. First Nations artist Ed Jensen has been making tools since he was a child, but it’s only recently that he’s started getting real recognition for his work. He has just been cast in a mini-series that will air on APTN this coming January, and a number of galleries and stores are selling his work across B.C. and the world.  CBC News, November 23, 2016


Auction Roundup: Lawren Harris Painting Hits $9.5 Mil, Sets Records.  Multiple records were broken at Canadian art auctions this week. Leading the pack was Heffel’s much-anticipated sale of Lawren Harris’s 1926 painting Mountain Forms, which was hammered down for $9.5 million tonight, two to three times its estimate of $3 to $5 million.  Canadian Art, November 23, 2016  See also: Lawren Harris painting shatters record at Heffel auctionThe Province, November 23, 2016

Video: In the Studio with Tau Lewis.  I first came across Tau Lewis’s sculptures on Instagram, where it felt like most of Toronto was photographing her recent solo exhibition “foraged, ain’t free” at Studio 223a. Her works, which combined cast figural sculptures, found objects and plants, were arresting. But Lewis maintains a healthy skepticism towards this type of engagement with art, considering a quick scroll and a Like to be a relatively superficial form of engagement—especially undesirable given Lewis’s focus on black identity and careful attention to symbolism.  Canadian Art, November 24, 2016

Mercer Union gets cosmic, Ydessa Hendeles comes home and Diaz Contemporary says goodbye.  Toronto Star looks as exhibitions: Astral Bodies at Mercer Union  (with works by Shary Boyle, Shuvinai Ashoona, Karen Azoulay, Spring Hurlbut and Pamela Norrish) and Death to Pigs by Ydessa Hendeles at Barbara Edwards Contemporary.  And laments:  Diaz Contemporary, one of the leading galleries in the city the past decade, closes its doors on Saturday for good, the victim of — what else? — condominium development. Toronto Star, November 23, 2016


Indigenous artist Alex Janvier’s work on display at the National Gallery. Imagine you are an eagle, flying high over the land, what do you see?   You probably won’t see what Alex Janvier sees; the swirling, merging colours of the elements that form the unique vision of the 81-year-old Denesuline Salteaux artist. His work, more than 150 pieces, is on display in a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada.   Ottawa Citizen, November 23, 2016


Why Kara Walker’s incendiary slavery art is as relevant as ever.  Acertain set of expectations attend any exhibition of the work of Kara Walker, the 47-year old African American artist whose tough-minded, incendiary work on the gulf between black and white in an enduringly racially polarized America shakes even the heartiest of souls. That being so, The Ecstasy of St Kara, Walker’s current exhibition of new work at the Cleveland Museum of Art, doesn’t disappoint.  The Guardian, November 23, 2016

North Dakota

Artists Join the Fight to Protect Standing Rock.  In North Dakota and beyond, Native American artists and their allies are creating work in support of the water protectors fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Hyperallergic, November 23, 2016

New York

Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips Take Different Paths to ‘Sold!’  Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips’s latest biannual series of evening auctions of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, which finished last Thursday, raised a total of $1.1 billion with fees. Despite concerns about a cooling global economy, “Brexit” and fallout from the election of Donald J. Trump, the total was 20 percent higher than the $893.2 million achieved at the equivalent series in May (excluding a $78.1 million themed sale at Christie’s).  New York Times, November 23, 2016

A Forgotten 20th-Century Photographer Who Folded Her Work into the Fabric of Life.  My first reaction upon seeing Told and Untold: The Photo Stories of Kati Horna in the Illustrated Press was: “How is it possible that I have never heard of this person?” The surprise was engendered by the realization that the work in this retrospective exhibition — which was curated by Michel Otayek and Christina De León at the Americas Society — holds its own next to that of all the canonized photographers from the same period with whom I am so familiar.  Hyperallergic, November 23, 2016

York, UK

The Artist Using Ceramics to Make a Profound Statement about Cancer Research. Art may or may not have the power to heal, but British sculptor Jacob van der Beugel is pushing it to make a profound statement about chronic illness. Working closely with a team of epidemiologists at the University of York’s Epidemiology Cancer Statistics Group (ECSG) in the U.K., where he’s an artist in residence, van der Beugel has spent much of the past year transforming reams (or gigabytes) of data about blood cancer patients into sculpture. The resulting works, two 275-pound architectural concrete panels delicately scored by snakelike patterns of rust, go on view from December 9th at the York Art Gallery.  Artsy, November 23, 2016

Leuven, Belgium

It Is Pretty Easy to Get Art Experts to Fall for Fakes.  “What is it about a specific piece of art that makes it become seen as an esteemed creation, while something entirely similar can be viewed as nothing more than (quite literally) a vessel for disposing of human excrement? This was the brazen question that researchers at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Leuven in Belgium recently tackled using the scientific method. The researchers discreetly placed a “©MoMA” watermark at the bottom of some of the photographs and asked the volunteers to rate the quality of the various pieces of art. While the laypeople weren’t swayed by the watermark, the art experts were, preferring the fakes if they had the prestigious stamp.”  New York Magazine, November 22, 2016


28 Ways to Change the Art World for the Better. Last year around this time, artnet News’ former Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Genocchio penned a heartfelt and highly personal list of 25 ways to change the art world for the better. This year, in the wake of the presidential election and close to the eve of Thanksgiving, artnet News has turned to respected colleagues and friends to crowdsource opinion on how to improve the practices, values and aspirations of art’s expanding and restless international community.  Artnet News, November 23, 2016

Dezeen Hot List reveals the architects and designers our audience most wanted to read about this year They include: Zaha Hadid, Bjarke Ingels, Herzog & de Meuron, Kengo Kuma, Ikea, Peter Zumthor…et al.  Dezeen, November 23, 2016

The 50 Most Exciting Artists in Europe Right Now, Part I.  Who’s created the art we want to look at, experience, and read about? The performances we’ve wanted to be a part of (or REALLY wanted to avoid)? Which are the voices in the art world we’ve felt compelled to listen to this year, even if we don’t agree with them? Who’s surprised us, shocked us, woken us out of our stupor?  Artnet News, November 23, 2016

11 Art-Related Movies and Shows to Watch on Netflix Instant. From a Tim Burton artist biopic and a documentary about a master forger to the soothing sounds and brushstrokes of Bob Ross, this handy playlist will get you through Thanksgiving and other tough times.  Hyperallergic, November 23, 2016






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