Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, January 31, 2017

ART SEEN: Daina Augaitis reflects on 20 years at the Vancouver Art Gallery Most bottles of wine are just bottles of wine but the one Daina Augaitis received last year was different. Augaitis was given the bottle at an annual event at the Vancouver Art Gallery to recognize the contributions of staff members. The gift was a gift to acknowledge that she’d been at the gallery for 20 years. It was then that it struck Augaitis: she’d been at the VAG for a long time… On Thursday, the VAG officially announced that Augaitis, the gallery’s chief curator/associate director, will be leaving the VAG at the end of December. Vancouver Sun, January 30, 2017

Clive Wilkinson transforms Vancouver department store into headquarters for Microsoft Clive Wilkinson Architects has converted the upper floors of a downtown Vancouver store into an open-plan office for US tech company Microsoft to house its growing Canadian workforce. The Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre is located within a former department store in the city’s downtown district. The adaptive reuse project entailed transforming the top two floors of the building into an open and flexible office for the company’s growing workforce of nearly 600 employees in the Canadian city. Dezeen, January 30, 2017

North Vancouver
The Blue Cabin receives funding to help turn it into a floating artist residency Grunt gallery has received $45,000 of Collaborative Spaces funding from the B.C. Government to help save the Blue Cabin and turn it into a thriving artist residence. It was the last heritage squatter’s cabin on Vancouver’s North Shore. The money will fund the remediation, renovation, and relocation of the structure as a floating artist residency. It will live on as a place where artists can interpret foreshore ecology from a perspective on the water. Georgia Straight, January 26, 2017

Shawn Hunt featured in Audain Art Museum’s Meet Our Artists Shawn Hunt is a multi-talented artist who paints, creates jewelry and carvings that often draw inspiration from Heiltsuk and Northern traditional design. As one of the B.C. artists with work in the Audain Art Museum’s permanent collection, Hunt will be featured in the Meet Our Artists session on Saturday (Feb. 4) at the museum at 2 p.m. The Question recently caught up with Hunt by email to ask him a few questions ahead of the event. Whistler Question, January 30, 2017

Tale of the tape art enchants downtown office workers It’s a sticky wicket ensnaring many Calgarians in its artful embrace. The creation of two Montreal artists has transformed a downtown Plus-15 into a three-storey web of packing tape that’s constantly morphing at the whims of both its creators and office workers invited to enter their adhesive lair. “It’s kind of what beehives do, one thing informs the next — it’s built in a collaboration between ourselves and whoever comes and works with us,” said dancer Peter Trosztmer. “It becomes a community build.” As he spoke, about 15 passersby making their way through the Plus-15 connecting Bankers Hall with the Core are either gawking at the cascading sticky shroud or willingly enmeshing themselves in the work dubbed Boxtape. Calgary Herald, January 26, 2017

Survival and resistance, with a cheeky sense of humour Canadian indigenous artists — like the 11 featured in a new exhibition at the McMaster University Museum of Art — couldn’t help but be influenced by what was happening around them. The twin themes of survival and resistance poured into their art. The respected Anishinaabe scholar Gerald Vizenor called it “survivance.” Rhéanne Chartrand, the McMaster Museum’s aboriginal art curator, borrowed Vizenor’s neologism for the title of the new exhibition Unapologetic: Acts of Survivance, which runs until March 25. Hamilton Spectator, January 27, 2017

Montreal architecture icon Phyllis Lambert helped shape a city Regrets, she’s had a few. But then again, too few to mention. Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), can look back on a lifetime devoted to heritage and urban design and say, in the words of Ol’ Blue Eyes, “I did it my way.” Lambert, Montreal’s “Joan of Architecture,” turns 90 on Tuesday. To mark the occasion, the CCA is hosting a small exhibition on her life and work. Curated by Lambert herself, it recounts a life of architectural activism, starting with the commissioning of the landmark Seagram’s Building in New York from 1954-58. At a press conference last week to launch the retrospective, Lambert said her proudest accomplishment is having helped “change Montrealers’ mindset” about their built environment. Montreal Gazette, January 22, 2017

New York
Trump’s Visa Ban Threatens Plans of Artists and Arts Institutions For the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the ban may disrupt exhibition programming, archaeological excavations, and research projects in the Middle East. Director Thomas P. Campbell said, “Scholarly exchanges and international collaborations are key to our ongoing work, and we are very concerned that a number of programs we have in place could be threatened, just at a time when the world needs more, not less, exchange and mutual understanding.” A representative of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art also expressed concern about being able to continue their research and work with artists and curators from the Middle East as well as borrowing pieces for an upcoming exhibition of Iranian art, given the current restrictions in place. Artforum, January 30, 2017

‘Spiderman burglar’ goes on trial over Paris art theft A man dubbed the “Spiderman burglar” has gone on trial in Paris over a €100m (£85m; $107m) art theft from a museum in the French capital. Vjeran Tomic, 49, is accused of stealing five paintings, including works by Picasso and Matisse, from the Modern Art Museum in May 2010. The paintings were stolen after an intruder cut through a padlocked gate and broke a window to enter the museum. Two alleged accomplices are being tried alongside Mr Tomic. BBC News, January 30, 2017

Philip Guston gets first Venice museum show The Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, best known as a treasure house of Italian Renaissance masters such as Mantegna, Titian and Tintoretto, will this summer present the work of Philip Guston, the Modern painter they inspired. Opening on 10 May, in time for the 57th Venice Biennale, Philip Guston and the Poets (until 3 September) will bring together 75 paintings and drawings ranging from Guston’s beginnings as a teenage muralist in 1930 to his death in 1980. The Art Newspaper, January 31, 2017

Saloua Raouda Choucair, pioneering Lebanese artist, dies aged 100 The Beirut-born artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, an important figure in abstract art who rose to prominence in 2013 with a major show at Tate Modern in London, has died aged 100. A spokeswoman for the New York-based CRG Gallery, which represents Choucair, says that the artist was a pioneer inspired by the “pure lines” of Islamic art and architecture, embracing science, mathematics and poetry in her practice. Choucair studied at the American University of Beirut in the mid-1940s and worked in the Paris studio of Fernand Léger in 1948, returning to Lebanon in the 1950s. “A critic once told me that my work has a European influence. No, it’s a universal experience in fact. What I experience, everyone in the world experiences.” The Art Newspaper, January 30, 2017

Inside the Gypsum-Window Workshop at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque Walking around Jerusalem’s iconic, gleaming Dome of the Rock with Bassam Hallak is a history lesson, architecture class, and news brief all rolled into one whirlwind tour session. But Hallak isn’t a tour guide. He’s the chief architect at the Haram al-Sharif, as it is known in the Islamic tradition, which houses the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. He’s also a very busy man, responsible for the 144-acre site’s upkeep, conservation, restoration, and decoration. On this particular morning, he’s checking in at the Haram’s most hidden artistic treasure: its gypsum-window workshop. Hyperallergic, January 30, 2017

Foster + Partners reveals cascading tower complex for Mecca pilgrims Foster + Partners has won a competition for a complex of stepped towers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, providing accommodation for pilgrims en route to the world’s largest mosque… The mixed-use scheme will include luxury hotels and apartments for the rapidly growing number of visitors passing through Mecca. Clusters of vertical structures will be arranged in a stepped formation that references the dense urban plan of traditional Arabic cities, as well as the rolling shape of the surrounding mountainous terrain. Dezeen, January 31, 2017

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