Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 17, 2016

Eccentric, Polymorphous, Abstract: Vancouver Art and other Mythologies of the Near-Future In the central rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Alison Yip has constructed a mural of a ruined gazebo. Rendered in trompe l’oeil, Yip’s Gazebo (2016) is a scene sensed at twilight. Occupied by skunks, foxes, overgrown weeds, garden tools, and a raft of mythological figures, her vision is steeped in a strange mingling of dream, nature and everyday domesticity… Acting as a portal between the first floor and the second floor, Yip’s Gazebo functions as the architectural keystone for the VAG’s triennial exhibition Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures (Dec 3, 2016 – April 17, 2017). The Mainlander, January 14, 2017

Vancouver exhibit features graffiti tagging over Emily Carr paintings The new exhibit [at the Vancouver Art Gallery] contains numerous Carr replicas that [Sonny] Assu has been “tagging” since late 2013, and that he has given sardonic titles to including It was, like a super long time ago that ppl were here, right? and Choke on an Ovoid. Assu said he began digitally covering Carr’s work — and signature — with colourful ovoid shapes as a way of criticizing Carr’s perceived depictions of Indigenous people being a dying race. But during his process, Assu said he came to understand that Carr actually had profound appreciation for Indigenous communities, so he started keeping her signature intact, only outlining it. Metronews Vancouver, January 13, 2017

After latest construction delay, targeted opening date on Remai Modern ‘to be determined’ The completion of the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan continues to be pushed back. According to a letter from Remai Modern board chair Alain Gaucher being presented to a city council committee on Monday, the targeted “substantial completion” date is now Feb. 27… Once that date is hit, gallery staff and the board can obtain access to the building. According to gallery officials, it will take eight months after substantial completion to reach the point where the gallery can open to the public. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, January 13, 2017

Artist Sheila Hicks, textile queen, has first major show in Canada  Although she’s had a 60-year career and is the reigning queen of her medium, you’ve probably never heard of artist Sheila Hicks. That might be because Ms. Hicks is a woman in her 80s who works in textiles. But drop any fears of little old lady crochet and run, don’t walk, to the (also unfairly overlooked) Textile Museum of Canada to catch Material Voices, the first major show of Hicks’ work in Canada. A blazingly original artist at the top of her powers, Hicks is no little old lady. Toronto Star, January 13, 2017

A Celebration of Indigenous Artists  As Canada and Montreal celebrate anniversaries this year, a group of Indigenous artists is taking a look at this country’s history through a less eurocentric lens. Taking place between Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 at Montréal Arts Interculturels, this year’s edition of Eclectik, “Welcome to Indian Country,” will feature art and performances by Indigenous artists.  “It really gives the power to the artists to self-express their claim of space and identity and history […] It’s really reflecting more on who we are as Indigenous people,” said Lara Kramer, an Oji-Cree artist, and curator of the show. The Link, January 17, 2017

New Waterford
New Waterford man’s folk art finds way to Art Gallery of Nova Scotia  Murray Gallant, 78, of New Waterford, has been carving wood in the special space he refers to as “my barn” for the past 30 years, a room filled with deep, rich colours, polka dots and eye-catching, unique folk art. “Many of my neighbours don’t even know what goes on in here and anyone who does come in here is surprised,” he said, smiling, while showing one of his carvings of a group of people playing bingo. Gallant not only has pieces on display all over the world but there are also 15 pieces preserved forever in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which will soon become 16. Queen’s County Advance, January 12, 2017

New York
Richard Prince Disowns His Ivanka Trump Portrait, Possibly Increasing Its Value  Richard Prince claims he has returned the $36,000 he received from Ivanka Trump for a work he recently disavowed as “fake.” The artist intended the gesture as an act of protest directed at Trump’s father… but it may have the unintended consequence of making the work more (rather than less) valuable. The piece, from Prince’s ongoing New Portraits series, is a screenshot of a photo from Trump’s Instagram feed (a mid-makeover selfie), comments and all, printed on canvas. It was specially commissioned by Trump in a transaction brokered by an art advisor in November 2014. Hyperallergic, January 13, 2017

Lord Snowdon: more than just a flatterer of the fashionable and famous [obituary]  “I don’t want people to feel at ease,” Lord Snowdon [Anthony Armstrong-Jones] once said of his approach to portrait photography. “You want a bit of an edge.” You would be hard pressed, though, to detect that edge in his work, which tended more towards the immaculately ordered, but emotionally detached. The portrait photographer, who has died aged 86, moved in aristocratic circles, but when he left this gilded realm a different side of his photography emerged…. The Guardian, January 13, 2017

Maria Balshaw: Manchester gallery boss to be Tate’s first female director  Maria Balshaw, the head of Manchester’s acclaimed Whitworth Art Gallery, has been chosen to run the Tate art empire. Dr Balshaw will become the first female director in the Tate’s 120-year history and will replace Sir Nicholas Serota, who has been at the helm since 1988. She will take charge of the Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London as well as offshoots in Liverpool and St Ives. Under her stewardship, the Whitworth had an award-winning expansion in 2015. BBC News, January 17, 2017

V&A appoints politician Tristram Hunt as new director  The V&A museum in London has named British politician Tristram Hunt as it new director, following the resignation of Martin Roth. The Labour politician – an expert of 18th- and 19th-century history – will leave his post as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central to lead the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design.He is expected to take up the post in the coming months, picking up from former director Roth, who left the role at the end of 2016 to return to his native Germany. Dezeen, January 13, 2017

“The stigma of growing old needs to be creatively challenged” Designers need to overcome deep-rooted stereotypes and take on the challenges presented by ageing populations, says Jeremy Myerson, curator of the New Old exhibition that just opened at London’s Design Museum. Unless you’ve spent the last decade living in a cave, you will know that every developed nation now has a rapidly ageing population. This demographic shift towards a society in which there are large numbers of older people and decreasing numbers of young people offers both challenges and opportunities for designers. Across Europe, half the population will be over 50 by 2020. In the UK, 70 per cent of population growth over the next 25 years will be in the over-60 age group and it is predicted that half of all children born today will live to be 103. Dezeen, January 16, 2017

Hull Ferens art gallery to reopen after £5m revamp Hull’s main art gallery is to reopen following a £5m refurbishment in time for the City of Culture celebrations. The Ferens will host the Turner Prize for contemporary art and other events during the year-long [City of Culture] arts festival. It has been closed for the past 15 months to improve lighting and climate control. The gallery will reopen on Friday with the unveiling of a 14th Century painting by Pietro Lorenzetti, restored by the National Gallery. BBC News, January 12, 2017

Munch’s $54m Girls on the Bridge will be highlight of billionaire’s new museum in Potsdam Edvard Munch’s Girls on the Bridge, which sold for $54.5m at Sotheby’s New York in November, will be one of the biggest attractions of a new private museum in Potsdam, Germany that is due to open to the public on 23 January. The painting, which will form part of the inaugural exhibition Modern Art Classics: Liebermann, Munch, Nolde, Kandinsky (until 28 May), is thought to have been bought by Hasso Plattner, the software billionaire behind the new Museum Barberini, according to sources. The Art Newspaper, January 16, 2017

Feminism and playfulness at heart of United Arab Emirates pavilion in Venice Five established and emerging artists will represent the United Arab Emirates at the 57th Venice Biennale this summer in an exhibition focusing on aspects of “play” in contemporary art practice, says the curator Hammad Nasar. The exhibition, Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play (13 May-26 November), will be overseen by the influential Abu Dhabi-based philanthropic organisation, the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. The Art Newspaper, January 17, 2017

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