Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, December 12, 2016

Vancouver
VAG exhibition celebrates Vancouver’s ‘Pleasures’  It’s a shame that, in a 2007 article entitled 36 Hours in Vancouver, a New York Times writer sniffed that “Vancouver isn’t known for its art scene”, and then lazily directed any art-loving visitors towards the Vancouver Art Gallery and its collection of Jeff Wall photographs… But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a thriving, dare we say world-class milieu to be explored – something the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is now publicly dedicating itself to celebrating with Vancouver Special, a provocative triennial series that will showcase a cross-section of the city’s contemporary art every three years. Westender, December 7, 2016

ART SEEN: Tony Emery called the “best thing that could have happened to the Vancouver Art Gallery” Tony Emery, one of the most visionary directors in the history of the Vancouver Art Gallery, has died. He was 96 years old. Emery is reported to have died earlier this year in Sidney near Victoria where he lived after retiring. In 1967, when he took over as director of the VAG, a new, younger art scene had been forming and developing in Vancouver. As part of his mandate, he opened the gallery to experimental and avant garde art practices in the province. Vancouver Sun, December 8, 2016

City of Vancouver releases design concept for plaza in 800 block of Robson Street  The City of Vancouver is about to take the next step in remaking the block of Robson Street behind the Vancouver Art Gallery. Today, the city released its high-level design concept for a plaza that will be built there. According to a city news release, the goal is to create a “flexible and adaptable space” that can accommodate many uses. Council will hear a staff presentation on the concept on Wednesday (December 14)… The overall cost is $6.5 million, including improvements to the neighbouring blocks. Georgia Straight, December 8, 2016

Pentiction
Penticton Art Gallery faces funding challenges With costs rising and grant funding declining the Penticton Art Gallery is seeking further funding from the city and donors. “I’ve been here 10 years. When I first started here we were getting $80,000 from the city. So we haven’t really gone up a whole lot, but there’s the reality of the cost of just doing business,” said Paul Crawford, curator at the Penticton Art Gallery. Shipping, insurance and other costs have risen but funding has not matched the increases, whether that is from the city or grant funding. Penticton Western News, December 9, 2016

Toronto
Indulging in peace, quiet and masterpieces at the AGO  The low light and calm in the corridors of the Art Gallery of Ontario one recent afternoon — a typical school day, as this was, sees trains of students chugging merrily from one exhibition to the next — would tell you that it’s Monday, the one day each week the gallery is closed. But in the antechamber of Mystical Landscapes, the AGO’s out-there blockbuster of Gauguins, Monets, van Goghs and many others, a small crowd was building, however quietly, nonetheless. “I’m going to ask you to remain silent for the next hour and a half, OK?” said Jacques Oulé, in the hushed purr of his continental French accent. “Put your hand in mine and let us proceed.” Toronto Star, December 12, 2016

Montreal
Nazi-looted paintings belonging to Montrealer Max Stern recovered  Two Nazi-stolen Dutch Old Master paintings have been returned to the Max and Iris Stern Foundation, which has Concordia and McGill universities among its beneficiaries. The paintings once belonged to Max Stern, a Jewish art dealer who was forced to sell his collection by Nazis during the Second World War. Stern moved to Montreal after surviving the war.  The Stern foundation had learned that one of the paintings, Ships in Distress from a Stormy Sea, had been consigned in a German city thanks to an anonymous tip from within the art trade, Concordia University announced on Monday. The company had “amicable discussions” with representatives from the Holocaust Claims Processing Office and the art was returned. Montreal Gazette, December 12, 2016

New York
How vintage picture agency Magnum Photos is reinventing itself for the Instagram age at 70  Against the odds, Magnum is on the verge of its 70th anniversary. For decades its existence has been as perilous as those of the great war photographers who made its reputation. But its financial fortunes have been revived with the new relevance of still pictures in an era when two billion people carry a decent camera on the phone in their pockets. The Drum, December 8, 2016

Philadelphia
Mexico: The Cauldron of Modernism  The image of Mexico as the center of the new world—and as what André Breton called “the surrealist country par excellence”—is a take-away from the exhibition “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910-1950,” now showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Just as Éluard’s map can be read as an early polemic against Eurocentrism, so “Paint the Revolution” presents a Mexican response to European art that, at least up until World War II, was equal to and in some regards stronger than that of North America. The New York Review of Books, December 12, 2016

London
V&A museum asks artists to travel through time to tackle Brexit  The Victoria & Albert Museum is to examine Brexit by asking 12 artists to imagine how we might look back on modern Europe in 2,000 years. The V&A has commissioned artists from across Europe to make installations for February’s Collecting Europe festival. It comes three months after the V&A’s German-born director Martin Roth announced his departure. He said his decision was partly because “the terms and conditions” of life in Britain were changing after Brexit. The Collecting Europe festival will take over parts of the London museum from 1-7 February. BBC News, December 12, 2016

Piacenza
The mystery of the stolen Klimt Nearly 20 years ago a valuable portrait was stolen, in bizarre circumstances, from a gallery in the northern Italian city of Piacenza. Until recently there appeared to be little prospect of it ever being recovered – but then police received some perplexing new information, and they now think it will be back in the city within weeks or months. BBC News, December 8, 2016

International
Pantone names Greenery its 2017 colour of the year Colour company Pantone has revealed a zesty shade of green as its colour of the year for 2017. The colour, named Greenery, is described by Pantone as a “tangy yellow-green” often seen in foliage. “Bringing forth a refreshing take, Greenery is a tangy yellow-green that speaks to our need to explore, experiment and reinvent,” said Pantone. Dezeen, December 8, 2016

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