Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 24, 2017

Queen of Vancouver theatre, Joy Coghill, dead at age 90 Joy Coghill made her acting debut with Vancouver Little Theatre on Dec. 7, 1941, the same day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Her last gig was in 2010, when she played Emily Carr in An Interview Between Douglas Coupland and Emily Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery. That’s a seven-decade run at the top of the Vancouver theatre world, a storied span that saw her honoured with the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Award for the Performing Arts. Vancouver Sun, January 24, 2017

State of the art: is Vancouver driving away creative people? Vancouver has given us Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Adbusters magazine and something called the cat-fe while also being home to well-known artists and authors like Douglas Coupland and Wade Compton. But as Vancouver grows, and condo buildings replace old-factories-turned-art-studios, is Vancouver driving away its creative minds? That topic was the subject of the Urbunarium City Debate, “Does Vancouver Repel Creative People?”, January 19, 2017

Fred Herzog photos on display at Audain Art Gallery The Audain Art Museum might be just shy of celebrating its one year anniversary, but already it’s showcased a range of special exhibits from textile arts to film and paintings. Next up: photography. Fred Herzog: Shadowlands, an exhibit showcasing 18 images captured by the accomplished Vancouver photographer, opened last Saturday (Jan. 21) and is running until May 22. “While our collection mandate is, and will continue to be, to collect work from B.C., with our special exhibit spaces, the sky is the limit,” said Darrin Martens, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky chief curator at the museum. “We can do anything we want. In a lot of respects it’s a grand experiment to see what resonates with our members, the community and visitors.” Whistler Question, January 23, 2017

November Paynter named director of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art With the naming today of November Paynter as the director of programs for Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the unpredictable evolution of the museum’s leadership took another turn. Paynter’s appointment comes seven months after Chantal Pontbriand left MOCA as its director and first-ever chief executive officer. Pontbriand’s surprising departure had occurred less than eight months after she assumed the newly created position. Paynter joins MOCA from SALT, a Turkish not-for-profit institution based in Istanbul and Ankara. British-born and educated at the Royal College of Art in London, Paynter was the founding associate director of research and programs at SALT from 2011 to 2016. The Globe and Mail, January 24, 2017

Ryerson art exhibition reflects on black activism, power of protests Past meets present at Ryerson Image Centre’s new art exhibition. Featuring raw photographs and video footage from civil rights movement in the United States of America, the three-month long exhibition opening at Ryerson wants the public to reflect on historical repression and Black protest in comparison to the current reality. On display are dozens of images from the 1971 Attica prison protest, the 1963 Birmingham Alabama demonstrations, as well as the 1968 gun battle between California police and activists from Black Panther Party. While Black protests in reaction to repression are historical in nature, the goal of Power To The People exhibit is to draw learning lessons to what’s happening today. Metronews Toronto, January 18, 2017

Art and Health in Focus at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts  The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has created a new Art and Health Advisory Committee, which will bring together researchers and experts in education, art, medicine and more. The committee will be chaired by Rémi Quirion, Quebec’s chief scientist and chair of the three Fonds de recherche du Québec. “I’m convinced that art is good for you, and we intend to prove it scientifically,” said Nathalie Bondil, director general and chief curator of the museum, in a press release. The MMFA already has a dedicated space for art education and therapy: the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, housed within the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace. Canadian Art, January 20, 2017

Jennifer Bélanger: Self Becomes Art “Jennifer” first appears as the carefully constructed persona she’s created in her artworks—someone cute and also creepy, donning both a grimace and a grin. In her naively styled drawings—which circulate in printed editions and artist books—she’s at once hopeful and heartbroken, and in a series of film shorts titled Jennifer Thinks (2009), she comes across as fanciful, but also sort of deranged. Of course, Jennifer Bélanger’s also a real and relatable person—someone interesting and introverted who continues to make big contributions to the New Brunswick art community I’ve been a part of since arriving here in 2012. It’s with both of these “Jennifers” in mind—their co-habitation and conflation—that I’ll break with the written convention of referring an artist by their surnames in this article. Canadian Art, January 24, 2017

Hospitals Are Also Museums For many of us, hospitals are the first and last places we see art. So who decides what is on display? And what is the psychological impact of hospital art, both on patients and their caregivers? Canadian Art, January 23, 2017

New York
‘It’s the Only Fair of Its Kind’: Outsider Art Fair Opens Its 25th Edition in New York  […] why not go by the Outsider Art Fair, now in its 25th year in New York, and take in the gathering of galleries showing work by under-appreciated and self-taught artists? A brisk walkthrough today, during the VIP early access preview, allowed for a fleeting sense of relief that—even as the incoming administration is threatening to cut the budgets of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities—a merry band of outré art dealers from the world over can still come together to celebrate this gloriously fringe, decidedly more anti-market slice of the fair landscape. Artnews, January 19, 2017

Two Museum Exhibits, Refracting a Divide On the first full day in which Barack Obama officially became the former president, visitors to the National Museum of African American History and Culture paused at the end of a sprawling exhibition titled “A Journey to Freedom.” After navigating multiple ramps, rooms and interactive displays detailing the struggle of African-Americans dating back to the 15th century, they reached a display honoring Mr. Obama. “It’s not enough,” said Tony Prokop, 57, a teacher from Delaware. “There’s certainly more to do for Obama. But just to have one showcase here for the impact that he’s made? I’m looking at some of the other people here and the doors that they’ve opened along the way. This guy kicked the door down.” New York Times, January 22, 2017

Los Angeles
Artist to Photograph Doomed Structures at Los Angeles County Museum Since 2013, critics have publicly debated the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s plans for a $600 million campus redesign by Peter Zumthor that requires razing three deteriorating 1965 buildings designed by William Pereira and a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates… “There’s this real sense of nostalgia for place, even if the place doesn’t function anymore,” said the museum’s director, Michael Govan. Rather than sweeping such sentiments under the rug as he stewards the campus overhaul, Mr. Govan has commissioned the artist Vera Lutter “to confront these sites that have meaning and preserve them through her work.” New York Times, January 24, 2017

National Gallery finally takes the Fourth Plinth to its heart The unveiling at the National Gallery, London, of the five proposals for the next two commissions to fill the vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square presents a typically broad and stimulating range of ideas from global contemporary artists. But it also marks a significant shift in the response to the Fourth Plinth phenomenon at the gallery, on whose doorstep the plinth stands… this year’s plinth proposals have been welcomed into the gallery under its present director Gabriele Finaldi. “The Fourth Plinth is literally a few yards from our façade, and we are very close neighbours,” he says. “It’s an extraordinary idea, and I think we’re the envy of many of our colleagues abroad in that we have a space in such a prominent place that commissions works of art that are the object of so much debate and which engage the public.” The Art Newspaper, January 19, 2017

Who will be the Musée d’Orsay’s new director? Michel Draguet, the director-general of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and Laurence des Cars, the director of Paris’s Musée de l’Orangerie, are among the four candidates shortlisted for the post of director of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The successful applicant will replace Guy Cogeval who has led the museum since 2008. The other candidates confirmed by the French Ministry of Culture include Sylvain Amic, the director of museums in Rouen, and Dominique de Font-Réaulx, the director of the Musée Delacroix in Paris. A ministry spokesman declined to say when the new appointment will be announced. The Art Newspaper, January 24, 2017

At the Shanghai Biennale, a Desire to Disrupt the Status Quo A gigantic metallic structure resembling a crashed airplane beckons from the second level of the vast Shanghai Power Station of Art that is host to the 11th edition of the Shanghai Biennale. Designed by the Chinese collective MouSen+MSG, the structure is titled “The Great Chain of Being – Planet Trilogy” (2016), and you can actually venture inside it. Embarking on a disorienting journey down a narrow, uneven pathway through dark cavernous spaces, you encounter a gigantic plant, robots, and ultimately a dystopic extraterrestrial world. The piece unsettles your perception, a running theme in this biennial, which is curated by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, the Indian trio comprising the Raqs Media Collective. Hyperallergic, January 22, 2017

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