Visual Arts News Digest, Complied by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, November 30, 2016


Red Deer

Group of Seven paintings of Alberta come to Red Deer.  Paintings of the West by Canada’s iconic Group of Seven artists are going up in Red Deer. Shaping the Image of Alberta, a new exhibit at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, presents a rare local opportunity to see a significant number of Group of Seven paintings. “It’s the first show in which there are so many major works,” said the museum’s executive director, Lorna Johnson.  Red Deer Advocate, November 28, 2016


On Board Culture and Rule Breaking.  Skateboarders have an uncanny knack for playing out of bounds, often to the chagrin of urban planners and institutional authorities. But for one night only last week, the Winnipeg Art Gallery threw out the rule book and transformed the gallery’s soaring atrium into a skateboard park, inviting local skaters and audiences alike to rethink the boundaries of public space. The occasion was the opening for “BoarderX,” an exhibition that unpacks the cultural, political and environmental influence of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing on the practices of seven contemporary Indigenous artists: Jordan Bennett, Roger Crait, Steven Thomas Davies, Mark Igloliorte, Mason Mashon, Meghann O’Brien and Les Ramsay.  Canadian Art, November 24, 2016


Photographer Wins $50K Aimia Prize. Berlin-born, Düsseldorf-based artist Ursula Schulz-Dornburg has won the 2016 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, which recognizes “Canadian and international artists whose work has exhibited extraordinary potential over the preceding five years.” The win was determined by a public vote and announced tonight at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Schulz-Dornburg will take home the top prize of $50,000. Canadian Art, November 29, 2016.  See also Ursula Schulz-Dornburg wins Aimia/AGO Photography PrizeGlobe & Mail, November 29, 2016

MOCA delays launch to fall, puts house in order.  Here, perhaps, is the least-surprising news you’ll hear this week: the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada has delayed its grand opening from May 2017 to sometime in the fall of next year.  One look at the Automotive Tower on Sterling Rd. would tell you near as much.  Toronto Star, November 29, 2016


Ottawa Art Gallery receives $1.5M donation for expansion project.  The Ottawa Art Gallery Tuesday night celebrated the largest private donation to its Art Now capital campaign as John and Jennifer Ruddy announced a $1.5 million donation from their Trinity Development Foundation. Ottawa Citizen, November 29, 2016


Virtual reality, Victorian style.  According to a new exhibition at Montreal’s McCord Museum, William Notman was an innovator who anticipated social and technological changes. The show tries to establish a Victorian prehistory for Montreal’s robust industry of digital imagery and positions Notman as a precursor of those who have made Softimage and Moment Factory leaders in visual make-believe Globe & Mail, November 29, 2016

6 New Montreal Art Spaces to Watch.  Montreal has long been fertile territory for independent, experimental art and DIY projects. Cheap rents, the unique ecosystem of Francophone culture, the influx of young Anglophones from the rest of Canada seeking an expat experience within their own country and the camaraderie and seclusion bought on by long, cold winters are just a few of the factors that add up to a city that both generates and welcomes artists who thrive on doing their own thing.  Canadian Art, November 29, 2016


P.E.I. artist Becka Viau honoured by Governor General.  Becka Viau has been honoured for rejuvenating contemporary arts on the Island. She is one of the founders of This Town is Small Inc. — a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and understanding of contemporary art forms. Viau has also worked on the popular Art in the Open festival.   CBC News, November 27, 2016


Making arts experiences accessible to all is more important than ever.  Everywhere you turn, arts institutions are getting wildly creative about drawing new audiences – or is that wildly desperate? Anecdotal evidence from arts administrators suggests their audiences are in serious decline. And this week the Canadian Index of Wellbeing came out with a challenging report suggesting that the decline is real and part of a larger social trend.  Canadians are volunteering far less for cultural and recreational organizations than they did back in the 1990s; they cut back on both vacation travel and attending live performances after the 2008 recession and they now spend a bit less time socializing with their friends than they did 20 years ago. Meanwhile, their spending on cultural activities has dipped and the time they devote to them is flat.  Globe & Mail, November 25, 2016

New York

Sotheby’s Tries to Block Suit Over a Leonardo Sold and Resold at a Big Markup.  The joy must have been palpable in 2013 when three New York art traders arranged through Sotheby’s to sell a newly discovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance master, for $80 million.  But the traders’ joy later soured, according to court papers, when they learned that the man who bought it, an important Swiss art dealer, had turned around and sold the painting within days to a Russian billionaire for $47.5 million more.  New York Times, November 28, 2016 


Whitney Biennial to Miami Artists: It’s Not Us, It’s You.  As the art world’s eyes turn toward this week’s Art Basel Miami Beach fair, you might imagine its homegrown artists relishing the moment. Yet more than a little grumbling can be heard here, much of it over the recent announcement of the 63 artists selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2017 Biennial.  For the fourth Biennial in a row, not a single Miami artist was chosen.  New York Times, November 27, 2016

Art museum gets $15 million donation from a name you already know.  The longtime arts supporter for whom the 3-year-old public museum is named, Jorge Pérez, has pledged a multimillion-dollar gift to the museum over the next 10 years with specific instructions. The goal: to acquire the works of Cuban and Latin American artists and bolster the museum’s endowment. Miami Herald, November 29, 2016

United States

Fools Gold. Truth to tell, the great sin of the Trump Organization over the past three decades has not been the consistent perpetration of bad architecture. Many of the companies’ projects are fine, or at least do no harm. The problem is one of attitude. Just as philosopher Harry Frankfurt distinguished bullshitting from lying by pointing out that the former is simply indifferent to the truth, the problem is that all the Trump company’s buildings, good or bad, just don’t care one way or the other. Artforum, November 2016


Why Artist Gerhard Richter Destroys His Own Art. In the early 1960s, after Richter escaped to West Germany ahead of the Berlin Wall’s construction, he began a series of photorealistic paintings in which he painted copies of black and white photographs onto large canvases using only a palette of grey. It was these canvases that took a major hit when he decided to cull his oeuvre in his 30s.  The Daily Beast, November 27, 2016


Norman Foster to design Prado extension in historic palace  The British architect Norman Foster has won the prestigious international competition to remodel the 17th-century Hall of Realms as a new wing of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The winning design, conceived jointly with the Spanish architect Carlos Rubio, beat submissions from museums favourites David Chipperfield and Rem Koolhaas on a shortlist announced in June. The Art Newspaper, November 25, 2016


Faking it: Does the forged Vermeer that fooled Goering belong in a museum?   So there I was this weekend, in the small Dutch town of Deventer for my best friend’s wedding. An Original Van Meegeren.” What were the chances? My last book was an illustrated history of forgery, prominently featuring Han van Meegeren, Dutch art forger extraordinaire, and there happens to be a special exhibit of his forgeries a few paces from where my friend is about to get hitched? In I went.  And here’s the thing. Van Meegeren’s paintings may look nothing whatsoever like the work of Vermeer, and it remains extraordinary that the world’s leading specialists were so convinced that Van Meegeren’s forgeries were Vermeer originals — but they are extremely beautiful.  The Salon, November 27, 2016


. ART domain name seeks to become dominant global online site for art.  More than 60 art museums and organizations from around the world — but none from Canada — are part of the launch of .ART, the first Internet domain name dedicated to the art world.  The inaugural group includes recognizable global art brands such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Centre Pompidou, Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate. Vancouver Sun, November 29, 2016

Famous for Six Seconds. On October 27, 2016, contemporary-art organization Rhizome premiered its much-awaited Net Art Anthology. An online-only exhibition spanning 100 works uploaded over the course of 100 weeks, the Anthology undertakes the necessarily tricky task of restoring and restaging a selection of artworks made specifically for the early World Wide Web. Canadian Art, November 28, 2016



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