Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 11, 2017


Best photo books of 2016.  Among the best photo books of 2016 is one about Vancouver photographer, Fred Herzog.  New York Times, December 22, 2016.


New exhibition set for Burnaby Art Gallery.  The Burnaby Art Gallery is getting set to welcome an exhibition of work by Vancouver artist Hank Bull.  Transforming 50 years of archives and personal collections into a sculptural installation, Connexion illuminates decades of Hank Bull’s prolific collaborations through the vestiges of a life lived as art. The exhibition is curated by Joni Low (Vancouver) and Pan Wendt (Confederation Centre Art Gallery, P.E.I.). It’s being organized and circulated by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.   Burnaby Now, January 5, 2017


Risky Jump heads into the void again at the Surrey Art Gallery If you missed Scott Billings’ great video installation A Risky Jump the first time around, you can see it again when it opens at the Surrey Art Gallery later this month.  I wrote about Billings’ video when it premiered at Wil Aballe Art Projects in spring 2015. It’s both a video of the sleeping artist falling in ultra slow motion and waking up/coming to rest on a crash pad and the physical apparatus of a projector on a track that follows the artist’s fall.  Vancouver Sun, January 5, 2017


Kamloops Art Gallery welcomes new exhibition and interim curator  The Kamloops Art Gallery is welcoming 2017 by hosting a racy new exhibition that uses nudity to highlight how humans differ from animals.   Interim curator Adrienne Fast says Becoming Animal, Becoming Landscape will feature “a lot of body parts.”  CBC News, January 9, 2017


Indigenous Activists Speak in New Instagram Documentary. What Brings Us Here is a project billed as the first NFB documentary to use Instagram as its primary platform.  Created by Governor General’s Award–winning Métis poet Katherena Vermette (who lives a short skip from the river) and NFB producer Alicia Smith, What Brings Us Here brings image and text together to represent some of the individuals driving Indigenous activism in Winnipeg—particularly the Bear Clan Patrol and Drag the Red, organizations which pick up where state-sponsored protection has failed.  Canadian Art, January 5, 2017


Toronto’s OCAD University may boast another city landmark.  A decade ago, OCAD University changed Toronto’s streetscape with a box on stilts.  Now, the school may be about to do it again. OCAD announced Tuesday that its new “Creative City Campus,” a series of renovations and additions to its campus on McCaul Street, will be led by the Southern California architects Morphosis.  The project includes an addition to OCADU’s main building of about 55,000 square feet and a renovation of about 95,000 square feet.  Globe & Mail, January 10, 2017

AGO extends Mystical Landscapes exhibit. Mystical Landscapes, the spiritualized, blockbuster art exhibition rethink at the Art Gallery of Ontario, has extended its closing date by two weeks due to continuing demand, the gallery said.  Featuring works by van Gogh, Gaugin and Monet alongside Canadian art icons like Emily Carr, Frederick Varley and Lawren Harris, the show, organized by the AGO, is set to travel to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris later this year.   Toronto Star, January 10, 2017

In Studio: Sky Glabush, A New Garden. If there’s a rule to be followed with Sky Glabush, the London-based polymath whose work has ever been a moving target of material and form, it’s to not be surprised by anything.  “It’s a bit much sometimes, to be honest,” chuckled Glabush recently, sorting through a stack of weavings bound for Toronto and his gallery, MKG127, where a new exhibition of his work opens Saturday. Toronto Star, January 7, 2017

The images that draw me in. Going to galleries can elicit or evoke a response, creating something unexpected, a new way of experiencing and rearranging life. I’m an adult playing like a child. I can forget about daily life and travel afar, savouring a moment out of my usual time and become transformed into one of those formal elements I once discussed at the back of the art class years ago. I am shape, form, content, line and design that magically appears and disappears as I move, an intended piece of the artist’s palette – the viewer incorporated into the ephemeral work that continually alters the work.  Globe & Mail, January 9, 2017


Study: Canadians Spending Less Time on Arts and Culture. Canadians are spending less time engaged in the arts, culture and social leisure than they did before the recession, a recent study says.  And arts organizations—from galleries and museums to symphonies and dance troupes—need to take action, says the study’s lead researcher.  See University of Waterloo report: Wellbeing as the lens for decision-making in Canada  (Report site was temporarily down 1/11/2017)  Canadian Art, January 10, 2017

8 Tarot Predictions for Art’s Future. What does the future of art look like? We asked eight artists who practice tarot to pull a card from their personal decks.  Canadian Art, January 9, 2017

New York

‘Inventing Downtown’ Recalls When Artists Ran the Galleries.  Something happened in the 1950s and early 1960s, that has never been fully accounted for, a kind of foreshock of the earthquake that propelled the cutting edge of the art world south. “Inventing Downtown,” an art-packed historical deep-dive at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, tells the story of that lost chapter, the upstart gallery scene that flourished for more than a decade in the East Village, bequeathing a body of work that considerably scrambles not only the map but also the lock-step narrative of 20th-century art movements.  New York Times, January 10, 2017


Visits to Smithsonian top 30 million for 2016. The Smithsonian Institution reported 30.2 million visits were made to its museums last year, a 7 percent increase fueled by the addition of two sites.  The National Museum of African American History and Culture welcomed 733,000 to its galleries in the 14 weeks it was opened in 2016, while the Renwick Gallery, a part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum that reopened in November of 2015, attracted large crowds in the first half of the year. Its 2016 total was 764,000, compared to 164,000 in 2015.   Washington Post, January 6, 2017

United States

Why US universities are investing in their art museums.  Over the past decade, many university leaders and donors have come to the same conclusion: investment in the arts is essential to building a competitive institution in an increasingly global world. This year, around half a dozen new museums and arts centres are opening on campuses across the country, from Columbia University in New York to Rice University in Texas. They come on the heels of recently completed projects at Stanford in California, Harvard in Massachusetts and Yale in Connecticut.  This multi-million-dollar investment in culture is fuelled by several factors: administrators’ recognition that the arts can promote nimble thinking, student demand and donor co-operation.  The Art Newspaper, January 5, 2017

US-Russia museum loans could resume as deadlock ends. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, is optimistic that museum loans between Russia and the US can begin again soon. Piotrovsky spoke to The Art Newspaper as the US Senate voted to pass new legislation that will protect works of art on loan to the US from foreign institutions.  The Art Newspaper, January 4, 2017


First ladies of art: three trailblazing female artists from history. Why has women’s artistry historically been – and continues to be – so vastly underrepresented in artistic institutions? “Becoming a professional female artist was once a nigh-on impossible goal – particularly in the Renaissance,” says Vickery, “yet in every century I’ve discovered extraordinary women who overcame opposition to become celebrated artists in their own right.” Here, she introduces three remarkable artistic women… BBC Blog January 10, 2017



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