Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 30, 2017

Vancouver Art Gallery chief curator Daina Augaitis will leave post at end of year One of the guiding hands at the Vancouver Art Gallery over the past two decades plans to bid adieu at the end of this year. Daina Augaitis has been the gallery’s chief curator and associate director since 1996. In that role, she has curated many solo exhibitions of prominent local artists, including Ian Wallace, Brian Jungen, Geoffrey Farmer, Marianne Nicholson, Stan Douglas, Douglas Coupland, and Paul Wong. She’s also co-curated many exhibitions showing the work of artists such as Rebecca Belmore, Bharti Kher, Charles Edenshaw. Georgia Straight, January 26, 2017. See also the Vancouver Sun, January 27, 2017

Heffel’s art spring auction going, going, gone to Toronto The Heffel Fine Art Auction House is moving its spring art auction from Vancouver to Toronto. This ends 20 years of Vancouver auctions, a period where the Granville Street gallery went from a West Coast upstart to the dominant force in Canada’s art auction business. The first Heffel auction — Nov. 9, 1995 at the Wall Centre Hotel on Burrard Street — grossed $1 million. The last Heffel auction, held Nov. 23, 2016 at the Design Exchange in Toronto, grossed $44,211,587… Heffel has conducted auctions in Toronto since 2003, staging a spring sale in Vancouver and a fall sale back east. The company will still be based in Vancouver, and may do live auctions here in the future. Vancouver Sun, January 27, 2017

Art and Decolonization: ‘This Is My Activism’ Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem, it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.” Inspired by the words of Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Abbotsford’s The Reach, an award-winning gallery on unceded Stó:lō territory, has kicked off its 2017 winter/spring season with a response to Canada 150, the federal government’s celebration of Confederation. Four exhibitions exploring decolonization and reconciliation opened on Jan. 26. From the phallic/feminine dichotomy in a stinging nettle to the colonialism inherent in bricks to a portrait of a community healing, the new shows chart varied perspectives by established and emerging Fraser Valley artists. The Tyee, January 30, 2017

‘Slices of time’ in Surrey show Works by two giants of the history of photography – whose pioneering efforts dramatically expanded understanding of time and motion – are featured in concurrent exhibits originated by the Vancouver Art Gallery and visiting Surrey Art Gallery Jan. 21 to March 5. Out of Sight pays tribute to the photographs of both Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) and Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), while Zoopraxis focuses on Muybridge’s work in capturing the animal kingdom. Surrey Leader, January 6, 2017

Robert Amos: Artist bridged two cultures in unique style The Guangzhou Museum of Art, in a city of 13 million people in the south of China, recently hosted a month-long exhibition for Stephen Lowe (1938-1975). Lowe was born in Quangdong and was long a resident of Victoria before his death from lymphoma at the age of 37. The Lowe family, of Calgary and Victoria, spent 2016 in China, preparing three exhibitions there, and culminating in the recent publication of the long-awaited and definitive book on Stephen Lowe’s life and art. Lowe spent most of his life in Victoria, beloved by students and collectors here. It’s inexplicable how he achieved such skill and produced so much in the short time he had. And it is even more surprising to realize that his work and his example are enormously appreciated in the burgeoning world of Chinese art. Times Colonist, January 29, 2017

Royal Alberta Museum wants your Women’s March signs Did you attend a Women’s March on Washington event? The Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton wants your signs. Museum spokesperson Oksana Gowin said the museum is collecting items from the marches, which drew hundreds of people at the Edmonton event and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. “Items are being collected for archival purposes, and will be included amongst other protest-related artifacts in our collections,” Gowin said. Global News, January 29, 2017

Exhibition offers antidote to Trump’s view of Iran As President Donald Trump’s immigration ban is causing a global uproar, the future of the US-Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor also hangs in the balance… Iran is among the seven countries whose citizens are barred from entering the US for at least the next 90 days. This is the backdrop to the first wide-ranging survey of contemporary Iranian art ever staged in the US. The show, which includes the work of 23 artists, is drawn from the collection of the Iranian-born financier Mohammed Afkhami, who says he wants to present an alternative, “softer” vision of his country to the US. Entitled Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians, the exhibition opens at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto on 4 February (until 4 June). It is then scheduled to travel to “prominent institutions” in California, in Texas and on the East Coast, Afkhami says, although he declined to name the venues. The Art Newspaper, January 30, 2017

MMFA’s Marc Chagall exhibition is a feast of colour and music The new exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts shows Marc Chagall at his best — the painter of the early 1900s who used the tools of Paris’s avant-garde art movements to portray the richness of Jewish life in Russia in his own unique fauvist style. Chagall: Colour and Music includes 400 works of art, mostly from two recent exhibitions in France; around 100 works came from private collectors, with many of them lent by the artist’s family, said Anne Grace, curator of exhibitions and education at the museum. Montreal Gazette, January 27, 2017

Stolen paintings by renowned Quebec artist seized from home after police act on tip Quebec provincial police have recovered three paintings by world-renowned Quebec artist Jean-Paul Riopelle that were stolen in 1999 and are worth about $150,000. Police acting on a tip from the public found the paintings at a private residence in Montreal. No arrests have been made, according to Sgt. Claude Denis, a Sûreté du Québec spokesman. Denis said the paintings were stolen from an airport warehouse where they were being stored… The late artist’s work is much sought after, and his paintings have been targeted by thieves a number of times., January 26, 2017

Los Angeles
Hammer Museum Plans Renovation, Expansion, Will Grow Exhibition Space 60 Percent It feels like not a week goes by without word coming in of a new museum, gallery, or expansion in Los Angeles. Coming across the transom today is news that the Hammer Museum is embarking on a plan to add 40,000 square feet and renovate its existing home. Heading up the project, which is slated for a 2020 completion, is Michael Maltzan, who has also designed other spaces at the museum. The new square footage is located in an office tower adjoining the Hammer’s current home. In total, the renovation will result in 60 percent more room for galleries. The Hammer notes in a new release that it has the third-largest collection in L.A, so officials there are, as you might imagine, pretty excited about having more room to show it. Artnews, January 26, 2017

Oscar-nominated Canadian animators represent snapshot of changing industry Canada is a leader in animation, pumping out scores of professionally trained artists every year from places such as Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., and Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design. But as they enter the industry, they face a tumultuous landscape of rapidly changing technology and economic upheaval. Three of the five films nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday in the category of best animated short were helmed by Canadians. Together, they present a snapshot of the changing industry: One was produced by a multibillion-dollar Hollywood studio; another by a storied, award-winning agency of the federal government; and a third was a one-man labour of love, funded by Kickstarter. The Globe and Mail, January 24, 2017

IKEA flat-pack refugee shelter wins Design of the Year 2016 IKEA’s temporary shelter designed for refugees has been named the 2016 Beazley Design of the Year, beating the artwork for David Bowie’s final album and a robotic surgeon. IKEA Foundation’s Better Shelter was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony that took place at the Design Museum’s new home in west London this evening. Dezeen, January 26, 2017

Foster, Adjaye and Libeskind shortlisted for UK Holocaust memorial The shortlist for the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre was revealed earlier today – Holocaust Memorial Day. The 10 contending teams are: British firms Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects; Zaha Hadid Architects with British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor; Caruso St John Architects with British artists Marcus Taylor and Rachel Whiteread; Foster + Partners with Israeli artist Michal Rovner; David Morley Architects and Finnish firm Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects; Haptic Architects and New York-based Studio Libeskind; John McAslan + Partners and US firm MASS Design Group; Irish architects Heneghan Peng; US practice Allied Works; and Canadian studio Diamond Schmitt Architects. The competition launched by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation requested the teams deliver an “emotionally powerful and sensitively designed memorial”, which is to be located near British parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens. Dezeen, January 27, 2017

Hidden Rene Magritte painting will not be uncovered A section of a lost painting by surrealist master Rene Magritte discovered beneath another of his works will not be physically uncovered, a museum has said. Part of The Enchanted Pose was found last year under Magritte’s work The Human Condition at Norwich Castle. The museum curator said it was “impossible” to uncover the image without destroying the later painting. “Non-invasive” imaging methods will be used to recreate the hidden section. The Enchanted Pose, which showed two almost identical female nudes side by side in a neoclassical style, was exhibited in 1927 but disappeared. The only evidence of the painting’s existence is a single black and white photo. BBC News, January 29, 2017

Campaign launched to save Vincent van Gogh’s grave In the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise, Vincent van Gogh’s grave is in urgent need of restoration. Van Gogh spent the prolific last 70 days of his life in the village northwest of Paris, painting around one picture a day before shooting himself in the surrounding wheat fields in July 1890. The local council of Auvers-sur-Oise and the Institut Van Gogh, a non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving the places which inspired the artist, are working to raise €1.2m to repair the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church and to make the cemetery where Vincent and his art dealer brother Theo are buried more accessible to visitors. The Art Newspaper, January 30, 2017

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