Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, December 6, 2016

Vancouver
The Vancouver Art Gallery begins new series featuring local contemporary artists  Many visitors come to the Vancouver Art Gallery seeking Emily Carr paintings, or blockbuster shows that happen to pass through town … But Vancouver is also home to a vibrant, thriving contemporary-art scene. It was one of four “art cities” examined in Season 8 of the PBS series Art 21; and the only city in continental North America profiled in the 2013 publication Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Gardes, with names such as Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen and Geoffrey Farmer regularly cited as giants of contemporary art. These artists work in studios and artist-run centres around the city, and some are shown in local galleries. But as of Dec. 3, their work can also be seen at the brass-ring epicentre of the city’s art scene, the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Globe and Mail, December 2, 2016

North Vancouver
Artist pushes to save treasured North Vancouver mural  A prominent North Shore artist is mourning the impending demise of one of North Vancouver’s most visible murals. Jane Clark won a competition in 2009 to adorn the 2,000-square foot cinderblock wall of Hesp Automotive at the corner of Esplanade and Forbes Avenue with Spirit Corner, to celebrate the 2010 Olympics and creation of the Spirit Trail – and to make beautiful a wall that was a magnet for particularly “disgusting graffiti.” … The city sponsored the work, as did the Squamish Nation and members of the community. The building now faces demolition and redevelopment into a new campus for private school Alcuin College, pending a public hearing and vote by council Monday night. North Shore News, December 3, 2016

Saskatoon
Remai Modern Art Gallery opening at least eight months away  When the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan finally opens its doors to visitors, Saskatoon will have gone without a public art gallery for more than two years… Alain Gaucher, chair of the Remai Modern board, appeared before city council’s finance committee on Monday to explain the gallery’s schedule for opening. Gaucher said lots of work will be required to prepare the gallery once construction work is done. That likely means the most optimistic opening date would be sometime in the fall of 2017. The Mendel Art Gallery, the Remai Modern’s predecessor, closed on June 7, 2015. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, December 5, 2016

Toronto
How photographing Castro started lifelong obsession for this Toronto artist  On Jan. 8, 1959, 24-year-old Harry Tanner leaned over the balcony of his girlfriend’s Havana apartment hoping to catch a glimpse of the man who would change the political edifice of Cuba. A Cuban resident born to Canadian parents, Tanner was working as a journalist at the time and hoping to get a still image of Fidel Castro, the country’s revolutionary new leader. CBC.ca, December 4, 2016

Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit demonstrates how the future of art is in virtual reality “Virtual reality has allowed us to answer questions – and find new ones we never even thought to ask – about art,” proclaimed the opening presentation of the Small Wonders: The VR Experience exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), the first VR art exhibit of its kind.  The AGO teamed up with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Labs and Seneca College to make this exhibit happen. The AGO is also working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to showcase the exhibit, which is live at the AGO until Jan 22, 2017. The art in question were ‘prayer beads,’ a pint-sized globe-shaped piece of art that, when opened up, reveals two distinct images – most often retellings of biblical stories. Betakit, December 2, 2016

Montreal
Visual arts: The ancient treasures of two Americans in Paris  Montreal has an exhibition of ancient jade, porcelain, fabrics and sculpture that is a world premiere, thanks to a curator who has created exhibitions for the Pointe-À-Callière museum. Jean-Paul Desroches, along with museum director Francine Lelièvre, discovered a collection of 5,000 works of Asian art accumulated over half a century by an American couple who have lived in Paris since 1966. About 450 pieces — the best in the collection, according to Filippo Salviati, a lecturer in Chinese and Korean Art at the University of Rome — are in the exhibition From the Lands of Asia: The Sam and Myrna Myers Collection. Montreal Gazette, December 4, 2016

Quebec
Six nouvelles expositions au pavillon Pierre-Lassonde  Les amateurs d’art seront servis en 2017 avec le pavillon Pierre-Lassonde, qui a attiré 260 000 visiteurs depuis son ouverture en juin. Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) puisera non seulement dans sa collection, mais poursuivra un important partenariat avec la France pour quatre des six nouvelles expositions. Dans le but de faire rayonner le pavillon hors de nos frontières, le dévoilement de la programmation 2017 a été fait à Paris, devant plusieurs médias français, à la résidence de la déléguée générale du Québec, hier. Le Journal de Québec, December 4, 2016

Denver
A Garden of Ceramic Delights  Kim Dickey produces subjective dilemmas in her new survey, Words Are Leaves, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The more than 60 works spanning 30 years pivot from functional objects to theatrical spaces to conceptual installations. The exhibition, which is heavy on ceramics, subtly and surprisingly highlights the influence that objects and architecture have in shaping perception. Dickey choreographs interactions between the body and the surrounding that expose desires and discomforts. Hyperallergic, December 5, 2016

Chicago
Architects Float Plan to Block Trump Tower Chicago Sign with Golden Pigs  It was an adynaton on many of our minds throughout this year’s election: Donald Trump will take power in the White House when pigs fly. And they’re flying now, in one very worthy proposal by a Chicago architecture firm that visualizes four gilded pigs floating in the air to conceal Trump Tower Chicago’s 20-foot-tall TRUMP sign as a way to “provide visual relief to the citizens of Chicago.” The sign has drawn plenty of backlash since its installation in 2014, seen by critics as an aesthetic assault on the surrounding scenic waterfront view. New World Design Ltd. conceived of its drift of plump pigs as golden balloons bobbing serenely in an orderly row, anchored to buoys in the Chicago River. Hyperallergic, December 6, 2016

Alabama
William Christenberry obituary  William Christenberry, who has died aged 80, was a pioneer of American colour photography. His richly hued images of the vernacular architecture of the deep south – wooden churches, shacks and dilapidated houses – were all made in Hale County, Alabama, south of the city of Tuscaloosa, where Christenberry was born and raised. Their cumulative power comes from the strong sense of place they evoke, as well as their evocation of a rural world that, even as he was chronicling it back in the 1950s and 60s, was already fading into history. His biggest influence was the great social documentary photographer Walker Evans, who had photographed the people and places of Hale County in 1936, the year Christenberry was born. The Guardian, December 4, 2016

Miami
Art Basel Miami: how the art fair landscape reflects Trump’s America  Less than a month after the election, collectors, gallerists, critics and art tourists assembled in Miami for Art Basel’s circus-like rotation of champagne-fuelled parties, raucous DJ sets, exclusive dinners on chartered yachts, and, of course, a dizzying array of gallery booths. While artworks charged with political urgency permeate the fair, the general mood of hotel party-hoppers and well-heeled PR agents is disconnected from that of the current socio-political climate and is, instead, marked by complacency. The Guardian, December 5, 2016

Veracruz, Mexico
Mexico seizes fugitive governor’s art  Mexican police have raided a ranch belonging to the former governor of the state of Veracruz, Javier Duarte. Mr Duarte stood down from his post in October to face corruption charges and disappeared a week later. Officers searching his luxury ranch seized 17 paintings believed to be by famous artists such as Joan Miro, Fernando Botero and Leonora Carrington… Officials said the paintings would still have to be verified by experts but they believe they are dealing with works by Mexican painters David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo, Spanish artist Joan Miro and English-born Mexican painter Leonora Carrington. BBC News, December 5, 2016

London
Turner Prize: Helen Marten wins 2016 award  Helen Marten has won the Turner Prize, and has said she intends to share the £25,000 award with her fellow nominees. The youngest on the shortlist, Marten uses sculpture, screen printing and writing to create her work. The prestigious prize is awarded to a British artist, under the age of 50, considered to have put on the best exhibition of the past year. It is the second prize in a month for Marten, who also won the inaugural Hepworth Prize. BBC News, December 6, 2016

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