Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 25, 2017

Vancouver

It’s a heated race to fill Emily Carr space on Granville Island.  Federal and provincial officials are tight-lipped about the future tenants of two Granville Island buildings now occupied by Emily Carr University, saying only that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education are in discussions.  Langara College and Arts Umbrella both eager to move in when art and design university migrates to new campus.  CBC News, January 20, 2017

Victoria

Early B.C. artist who was born black, was white in Victoria  Few people are born black and die white, but that was just one of the amazing reincarnations of Grafton Tyler Brown, the first professional artist to have an exhibition of his paintings in British Columbia. Now, 134 years later, Brown is having his second show in British Columbia, only a half block from the location of the first. Times Colonist, January 22, 2017

Edmonton

Sudden death of Edmonton homeless artist leads to outpouring of grief.  Originally from the Sagkeeng First Nation reserve in Manitoba, Sterling Gauthier first got noticed in Edmonton’s inner city about eight years ago, often showing up to Boyle Street for something to eat or just to hang out.  Gauthier spent many hours working at his craft, quietly sitting at the tables creating paintings at the Stanley Milner library.  Edmonton Journal, January 25, 2017

Thunder Bay

Creating art helps stimulate brain.   A new art program is giving people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease a unique outlet for expression.  Over the fall, a group of people with dementia worked with Thunder Bay artist and arts educator Eleanor Albanese using collage and a variety of mediums to create a unique piece of art, which is on display at the Waverley Resource Library until Feb. 4.  The Chronicle Journal, January 24, 2017

Toronto

Kent Monkman fills in the blanks in Canadian history.  If you’re at all acquainted with the work of Kent Monkman, who is Cree and one of Canada’s best-known artists, you’d have little choice but to be just as familiar with Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, his drag-warrior avatar. With her campy good humour, Miss Chief has always been Monkman’s spoonful of sugar to help his vital medicine, of inserting First Nations stories into the narrow, politely official version of Canada, go down. Never has she been lost for words — until, that is, here and now.  Toronto Star, January 22, 2017.  Shame and Prejudice art exhibit looks at ‘150 years of Indigenous experience’ in Canada.  CBC News, January 25, 2017

Where the Universe Sings gives us a portrait of painter Lawren Harris.  A new film by Peter Raymont (Shake Hands with the Devil) and Nancy Lang explores Harris’s life and influences, from his 1885 birth in Brantford, Ont., to his death 84 years later in Vancouver. He was the second-last of the original Group of Seven painters to pass away, followed four years later by A.Y. Jackson. Here are five things we learned from the documentary Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris.  Montreal Gazette, January 24, 2017

Montreal

Jenny Holzer to Pay Tribute to Leonard Cohen in Giant Projection.  American artist Jenny Holzer, internationally renowned for her text-based works, will pay tribute to Leonard Cohen with a massive projection later this year. In November 2017, Silo No. 5, a huge decommissioned site in Montreal’s Old Port, will be lit up in Leonard Cohen’s honour. The project is part of “A Crack in Everything,” a celebration of Cohen’s work curated by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Canadian Art, January 24, 2017

Halifax

Exhibition depicts Canada’s PMs with majesty and mischief.  Canada’s 23 prime ministers are presented with both majesty and mischief at the exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to mark the country’s 150th birthday. It features artwork in a variety of mediums — from paintings and engraved stamps to editorial cartoons and statues and even cash money.  Globe & Mail, January 24, 2017

Tacoma

Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie Stebich Moving on to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  After an almost 12-year tenure at the Tacoma Art Museum, executive director Stephanie Stebich is heading to Washington D.C. to a new role as the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  The Stranger, January 22, 2017

New York

Ars Longa, Except When MoMA Throws It Out. The New York sculptor Pat Lasch has spent her career making work that plays with the distinction between ordinary things and things belonging in museums: realistic-looking ball gowns made from dried acrylic paint; plaster eggs; towering decorative cakes fashioned from wood and paper.  Recently Ms. Lasch, 72, discovered a mistake that even the loveliest rose is unlikely to fix: The Museum of Modern Art, which commissioned a 5-foot-2-inch-tall cake sculpture in 1979 as part of its 50th anniversary, appears to have discarded the piece, which Ms. Lasch wanted to borrow for a retrospective of her work opening in March at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California.  New York Times, January 22, 2017

Washington

How A Work Of Art Makes It Onto The Wall Of The White House. On his first day on the job, President Trump made some changes to the Oval Office; he installed gold drapes and moved some statues. First Families have some leeway to make changes to the White House, and that includes changes to its art collection… It’s too soon to say what impact Donald and Melania Trump will have on the White House art collection. But former curator Mark Rosenthal says these decisions are worth watching.  “What a person or family chooses to live with is incredibly telling about their openness to visual experiences,” he says. “One ought to be expanding one’s horizons all the time.”  NPR, January 23, 2017  In Oval Office Rehang, Trump Continues to Copy OthersHyperallergic, January 24, 2017

London

Can selfies really be art? London’s Saatchi Gallery thinks so.  London’s Saatchi Gallery is planning a new exhibition to explore the importance of selfies as an art form.  It will feature not only self portraits by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, but also more recent celebrity selfies.  Members of the public will also be invited to submit their own photos for inclusion in the exhibition.  BBC News, January 23, 2017

Syria

The artists who have chosen to stay in Syria.  The civil war in Syria has fuelled an exodus of the country’s creative individuals: artists, film-makers, writers and poets have relocated to cities such as Paris and Berlin. But some veteran visual artists have chosen to stay. They include: Mouneer Al Shaarani, 64, a calligrapher and book designer who has exhibited his work around the world, and Youssef Abdelke, 65, whose work is in international collections such as those of the British Museum in London.  The Art Newspaper, January 25, 2017

International

Art at Women’s Marches Across Canada, and Beyond.  Thousands of people across Canada participated in Women’s March events this past weekend. Estimates landed at 60,000 in Toronto, 15,000 in Vancouver, 5,000 in Montreal and Calgary, 6,000 in Ottawa, 4,000 in Edmonton. More than a thousand each gathered in Halifax and Winnipeg, and many more gathered in cities like Fredericton, Charlottetown, Yellowknife, Saskatoon and Whitehorse.  Protest signage to inspire, critique and resist was on ample view, some created by professional artists, others by amateurs, using photography, painting, performance, textiles and more.  Canadian Art, January 23, 2017

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