Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 23, 2017

Vancouver city council will vote on $2.6 million in advance arts grants Dozens of cultural organizations will be paying close attention to this Tuesday’s (January 24) Vancouver city council meeting. That’s because that’s when local politicians are scheduled to vote on staff recommendations for $2.6 million in advance arts grants. The largest is a $545,250 first-quarter installment to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Georgia Straight, January 22, 2017

Architect Joe Wai dies  A visionary architect, an activist and a gentleman. That’s how mourners are remembering Joe Wai, who died last week at age 76. It was only last November that Wai earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Architectural Institute of B.C. — one of many accolades throughout his career… Wai and architect Don Vaughan designed the Chinese Garden in Chinatown, Wai was also behind the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum-Archives in 1998, the Heritage Alley-Han Dynasty Bell in 2001, the Chinatown Plaza Parkade in 2002, the Chinatown Millennium Gate in 2002 and the Chinese Freemasons Building restoration in 2006. Wai fought the freeway expansion that would have destroyed Strathcona and he’s known for infill houses dubbed Joe Wai Specials in Strathcona. Vancouver Courier, January 16, 2017

Hank Bull retrospective documents a central figure in Vancouver visual art  A major force in the Vancouver cultural scene, multidisciplinary artist Hank Bull finally gets the spotlight in a new retrospective, Connexion, at the Burnaby Art Gallery starting Friday (January 20). Here, his collection and archives take the form of a big installation that traces almost 50 years of Bull’s many artistic collaborations. Look for photos, video, props, and other pieces. Georgia Straight, January 18, 2017

LunarFest 2017 to celebrate Year of the Rooster with art collection created by emerging artists from Taiwan This year’s LunarFest will be celebrating the Year of the Rooster through two different components: a three-day festival at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza (January 27 to 29) and an art exhibition at Oakridge Centre (January 18 to February 6). Organized by the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association (ACSEA), the three-day outdoor festival has relocated to a new location this year due to ongoing renovations at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Georgia Straight, January 19, 2017

Cold Lake
Janvier exhibit to tour country  Artwork by Cold Lake First Nation’s Alex Janvier will be hitting the road over the next year, as the National Gallery of Canada prepares a national touring exhibit for the acclaimed artist. The City of Cold Lake recently received a letter from the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), to whom they have loaned one of the pieces currently on display in the nation’s capitol as part of the Alex Janvier exhibit, asking that they extend the length of the loan so that the NGC can serve a wider audience with a national road show… The touring exhibition would be called Alex Janvier – Modern Indigenous Master and would make stops at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina during the summer of 2017, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection north of Toronto during the fall of 2017 and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary during the summer of 2018. Cold Lake Sun, January 18, 2017

AGO celebrates life of ‘Indian Group of Seven’ artist Daphne Odjig Hundreds of family, friends and admirers gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday night to celebrate the life of Daphne Odjig, the woman known as the grandmother of contemporary Indigenous art. Odjig was born on Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in 1919 and died in Kelowna, B.C., in October. She was 97. She was a founding member of the “Indian Group of Seven,” and her work has been displayed in galleries around the world and on Canadian postage. In her early career, Odjig studied art in Ottawa and Sweden, but the AGO was a major source of inspiration as she developed her unmistakable, colourful style., January 19, 2017

Does love overcome all obstacles? Glimpse into lives of couples ’embracing diversity’ The couple is sitting on a scooter bundled up on a fall day on a street that could only be in Montreal, exchanging a look of such love. To see it prompts a smile. The photograph of Carolyne Jannard and Zabi Enâyat-Zâda is one of three portraits of the pair hanging at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. “It makes me proud that we can be together. It is very rare that Afghans get together with other people than Afghans,” Carolyne said as she looked at the photos. They are one of 30 interracial couples whose love is on display in the exhibition, entitled Montreal in Love: Embracing Diversity., January 21, 2017

United States
Required Reading: Women’s March Posters  Yesterday, over three million (and some say over four million) people joined the Women’s Marches across the United States and the world. They are believed to be the biggest protests in US history. An NYU psychology professor Jay Van Bavel collected the protest numbers in a Google doc, and his estimate is a total 3,667,305 people on the low side and 4,577,523 on the high side… Here are some of the most creative and playful signs we spotted in person and on social media. Hyperallergic, January 21, 2017

New York
‘My America’: Whitney Museum of American art explores identity on inauguration day Like many museums in New York City and all across the United US, the Whitney Museum of American art offered programming on 20 January, during the inauguration of Donald Trump as the country’s 45th president, to explore what it means to be a citizen and an American after such a divisive election cycle. This includes “My America”, a 45-minute tour, given six times throughout the day, in the Whitney’s major permanent collection show Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection (until 2 April). The Art Newspaper, January 20, 2017

Trump Team Plans to Eliminate National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities  The Hill has gotten a first look at the federal budget in the works by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, and it is, to put it mildly, brutal. In an effort to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, the plan calls for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). In addition, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would be privatized. The NEA’s current budget is $146 million, which, according to the agency, represents “just 0.012% … of federal discretionary spending.” The NEH also has a budget of $146 million. The CPB receives $445.5 million. By comparison, the budget for the Department of Defense is $607 billion. Hyperallergic, January 19, 2017

Milwaukee Art Museum Receives 500 Works by Jules Chéret, ‘Father of the Modern Poster’ The Milwaukee Art Museum announced today that it has been promised a gift of more than 500 artworks by Jules Chéret, the 19th-century designer and lithographer sometimes cited as the “father of the modern poster.” The gift has been promised by the collectors and Milwaukee natives Susee and James Wiechmann, who have also underwritten a prints-and-drawings curatorship that will be filled by Britany Salsbury, formerly of the art museum at the Rhode Island School of Design. With their bold and expressive designs, Chéret’s posters on the streets of Paris went on to inspire the work of fellow artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pierre Bonnard. Artnews, January 19, 2017

Adrift in a dreamworld – the genius of Michael Andrews makes us doubt our own eyes  In his painting The Colony Room I, Michael Andrews pays homage to two giants of British art. You can’t miss them. One is a short, orange-haired figure in a bomber jacket turned away from us with his paunch spilling out of his trousers. This is unmistakably Francis Bacon… It might seem dangerous to open a Michael Andrews exhibition in this way, given the artist often gets dismissed as one of the so-called School of London painters who worked in the shadow of Freud and Bacon… this beguiling exhibition at the Gagosian in London takes us on a hot-air balloon ride far from the madding Colony Room crowd, into realms of quietness and vastness where he truly found himself as an artist…  By hunting down a dazzling array of his very best paintings and displaying them in perfect light with plenty of space, the Gagosian is doing what a public gallery should have done by now: proving that Andrews, who died in 1995, is the poetic equal of Bacon and Freud. The Guardian, January 22, 2017

Who is Hasso Plattner whose spectacular museum has opened near Berlin? A founder of the German software company SAP, Plattner stepped down as chief executive in 2003. Forbes magazine places him as the tenth richest person in Germany with an estimated personal fortune of around $10bn. As a member of Bill Gates’ organisation The Giving Pledge, he is committed to giving at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes. His latest gift opens to the public today (23 January) and was described by [Angela] Merkel as “breath-taking”. The inaugural exhibition features several paintings from Plattner’s private collection, but he only admits ownership of the [Rufino] Tamayo works, which stand apart from most of the art in the show. It is dominated by a harmonious, sparkling array of landscapes by Gustave Caillebotte, Edvard Munch, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Pierre-August Renoir and an astonishing 41 paintings by Claude Monet. The Art Newspaper, January 23, 2017

Russian team creates 3D model to preserve Palmyra as fighting intensifies The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg has joined forces with a Russian archaeological institute to build an interactive virtual model of Palmyra, a task that is becoming ever-more important as reports emerged today (20 January) that Islamic State (Isil) militants have destroyed the ancient city’s amphitheatre and a tetrapylon. When archaeologists and antiquities experts from the two institutions visited Palmyra, in Syria, in late September, they did not know that drone footage and co-ordinates they collected would capture a snapshot of the Unesco World Heritage site just over two months before it fell to Isil for the second time in less than two years. The Art Newspaper, January 20, 2017

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