Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 1, 2017


Emily Carr University unveils new logo.  The new Emily Carr University of Art + Design on Great Northern Way is on schedule to open for classes after Labour Day.  Ron Burnett, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, announced Tuesday that the official opening is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16.  Earlier, Burnett unveiled a new logo and visual identity for the university. Designed by Camp Pacific, the logo’s overlapping colours and shape are inspired by the painting palette of artist Emily Carr, the university’s namesake.   Vancouver Sun, January 31, 2017

Skull recreation attempts to solve ‘perfect mystery’ behind untimely death of artist Tom Thomson.  Drawing on autopsy photographs of a skull unearthed from a grave that once (at least briefly) contained Thomson’s body, Michael Markowsky, an artist and professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, and sculptor Louise Solecki Weir have produced a head that bears an uncanny resemblance to photographs of Thomson.  Ottawa Citizen, January 29, 2017


Hank Bull: Connexion is a vivid flashback to the collaborative, counterculture 1970s.  The exhibition titled Hank Bull: Connexion provokes questions about itself—about how best to represent the accomplishments of this interdisciplinary Vancouver artist and arts organizer. Long associated with the Western Front, Bull has embraced a range of collaborative and networking practices, including performance, video, mail art, and telecommunications art. Georgia Straight, January 31, 2017


Edmonton art galleries unveiling invigorating exhibitions in 2017  Between the public, private, artist-run and commercial galleries, the shows we’ll see in 2017 are invigorating. Here are just some of the highlights: Edmonton Journal, January 26, 2017


A Home Is Not a Building. While dwelling may occur, in its most essential form, in the physical act of inhabiting, belonging is an intangible kind of ownership—an attachment that moves through and beyond the material, institutional and cultural places we dwell.  Where is Home?,curated by Zviko Mhakayakora at Xpace Cultural Centre, is perhaps the most literal call to situate this rootedness. In a show focused on home—attempting to locate belonging after migration, displacement and conflict—there are few, if any, inhabitable environments.  Canadian Art, February 1, 2017

Isaac Julien at the ROM: an expedition in the here and now.  Renowned British artist makes political works he hopes will transcend the current moment, but they’re more timely than he’d like.  Toronto Star, January 31, 2017

City moves to save 401 Richmond and other cultural institutions.  In the wake of a huge tax hike on downtown arts haven 401 Richmond, Toronto has appealed to the province with a plan to save cultural spaces like it from vanishing in the city core.   City council unanimously passed a motion late Tuesday afternoon that asks the province to change Ontario’s tax code regarding heritage properties and those used to house cultural agencies and activities.  Toronto Star, January 31, 2017


Chagall’s big picture, finally in focus.  The MMFA exhibition, Chagall: Colour and Music, argues that he was much more than a repetitive folk artist who scrambled into the world of fine art. The show claims that Chagall’s art was inherently musical, that he was a bold explorer of multimedia and the monumental, and that he devoted himself to creating what the curators call “the total work of art.” Globe & Mail, January 27, 2017


My Mother Gave Me My IMFA—Indigenous Master’s of Fine Arts.  My mother taught me everything I know about art. She was my school. She gave me my degree and my IMFA—my very own Indigenous Master’s of Fine Art. She has been my professor, mentor and guidance counsellor longer than any extended-studies or PhD program. My mother is the one and only reason why I have this opportunity to write for Canadian Art.” – Raven Davis.   Canadian Art, January 31, 2017


Canadian Artists Struggle with US Travel Ban.  Some Canadian artists feel they have been put in limbo by the ban US President Trump has ordered on travellers, residents and green-card holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Canadian artist Sanaz Maziniani, who was born in Iran, is currently based in San Francisco, where she is a green-card holder and permanent resident.  Up until recently—in addition to caring for her two-month-old baby—Mazinani had been preparing for two San Francisco exhibitions: one due to begin February 16 at Camera Work, and another opening February 18 at San Francisco State University.Both exhibitions were to slated include collaborations with her brother, the Toronto-based Canadian artist Mani Mazinani, who was also born in Iran. Canadian Art, January 31, 2017

New York

The Second Generation Abstract  Expressionist Ed Clark.  Ed Clark had his first New York exhibition at the Brata Gallery in 1958, which is why his work is included in the eye-opening exhibition, Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 at the Grey Art Gallery (January 10 – April 1, 2017), curated by Melissa Rachleff. This exhibition challenges many of the widely accepted, homogeneous views of postwar American art history that began to surface in the early 1960s, coinciding with the expansion of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the rise of Minimalism and Pop Art. It also contributes to a necessary rewriting of history.  Hyperallergic, January 26, 2017


A visceral Canadian vision crosses the Atlantic.  At 34, Andrew Salgado is the youngest person to have a solo exhibition at The Canada Gallery at the Canadian High Commission in London.   Globe & Mail, Jan. 27, 2017

Curator Reminds Us That #RefugeesMakeCulture.  The Centre Pompidou. “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Cloud Gate. Broadway Boogie-Woogie. None of these works of art would exist without refugees.  And Canadian curator Brendan Cormier is trying to make sure the world doesn’t forget that.  Yesterday, in Twitter thread labelled #RefugeesMakeCulture, Cormier—whose day job is as lead curator of 20th and 21st century design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London—posted 22 examples of refugees who have made iconic artworks, musical compositions and design objects.   Canadian Art, January 31, 2017

Artist Jack Penny on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Enduring Allure. I first encountered the British painter Jack Penny at his 2015 debut exhibition, “The Strain,” at Studio Sienko. A Renaissance man, Penny is a trained skipper, skateboarder, and artist who isn’t afraid of rolling up his sleeves. Often found at his easel in a French blue de travail jacket and matching cap, the Chichester-born artist has traveled the world, but is now based in North London.  Artnet News, January 31, 2017

Going live. Facebook Live has helped The National Gallery get closer to a worldwide audience. Tamara El Assawi shares what they’ve learned conducting online tours. The Arts Professional, January 31, 2017

United Kingdom

Museum visitor numbers drop for the first time in a decade.  The number of visitors to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries has fallen for the first time in almost a decade, according to new figures. 47.6 million visits were made to the 15 museums in 2015/16 – 1.4 million fewer than the previous year.   The 2.8% decline is almost all attributable to a fall in visitors from overseas, despite an increase in tourists visiting the UK.  The Arts Professional, January 26, 2017


The art machine: the Centre Pompidou at 40.  It was number 493 of the 681 submissions to a 1971 architectural competition set up by the French government for a grand cultural centre on the Plateau Beaubourg in Paris. The design by the young architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers (together, less famously, with Gianfranco Franchini and the engineers Ove Arup), was a radical proposal for “the construction of a building for information, fun and culture, a sort of machine, an ‘informative tool’”, as Piano and Rogers put it. The Art Newspaper, January 31, 2017


As Top-Tier Artists Age, the Art World Hopes to Cash In. “You have the greatest number of artists there has ever been who are wealthy from their own creative work and have to make provisions for the posthumous stewardship of that work,” said Christine J. Vincent, the project director for the Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative at the Aspen Institute, which helps private foundations created by visual artists. “More and more entities are getting involved in servicing it…”  Allan Schwartzman, Ms. Cappellazzo’s partner in the art advisory service that Sotheby’s acquired last year, said many artists had not “stepped back and looked at the big picture: ‘Do my papers matter to me, or do I want to keep them private? Is it meaningful to me to have a core group of works in the major museum in my hometown?’ Or, ‘I have 12 children from various marriages, and I really want to be able to set each of them up.’” New York Times, January 30, 2017

 Anxiety Art for a New Era.  Anxiety is one aspect of futurity: dread about what’s to come. In a hyper-medicated, social-media age, images give an unprecedented, voyeuristic window into anxiety—and where it dovetails with the performance of gender.  Canadian Art, January 30, 2017

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