Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 7, 2017

Simon Starling at Rennie Collection Simon Starling is an artist who is interested in stories, and, as evident in his exhibition here, they often involve the twentieth-century sculptor [Henry Moore]. Starling’s photograph Musselled Moore (Reclining Figure, 1950), 2008, depicts a maquette that riffs on a Moore sculpture—Warrior with Shield, 1953–54—acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 1955. In 2006, Starling submerged his steel copy of Moore’s work into Lake Ontario, where it became covered with a foreign species of mussels. The creatures, introduced to the lake by trading ships in the 1980s, were intended as a metaphor for the tension following the AGO’s purchase of a work by a British artist, when many felt the Canadian gallery should be focused on supporting more local artists. [Simon Starling is at the Rennie Collection until March 25] Artforum, February 2017

Robert Amos: A lifetime of visionary totem-pole art  Ellen Neel is an important name in the history of First Nations art. Born in 1916 at Alert Bay, Neel was the granddaughter of esteemed Kwakwaka’wakw carver Yakuglas/Charlie James, with whom she trained. The years before 1951 were a dark time for native people on the coast, for the “potlatch ban” was in place, making almost all forms of indigenous culture criminal under Canadian law. Neel was further trained by Mungo Martin, her uncle, who was an essential inspiration for the renaissance of native carving… Ellen Neel: The First Woman Totem Pole Carver, at University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries until April 1. Times Colonist, February 4, 2017

Canada 150: Hannah Maynard was early master of new art of photography Hannah was born in Bude, England, on Jan. 17, 1834. After marrying, she immigrated as an 18-year-old to Ontario, where four of her five children were swiftly born. Although the first photographs as we would recognize them appear around 1838, photography was still at the outer fringes of high technology for its time. She mastered it when half the female population was illiterate and higher education was largely denied even to those who could read… If Maynard was remarkable in teaching herself this high technology, what she did with it is astonishing for the day. Time-lapse images, double exposures, multiple exposures, collages, posing subjects as art objects, light experiments, not to mention those mugshots of “fallen women” that rival fine studio portraits. Vancouver Sun, February 3, 2017

Red Deer
Red Deer museum exhibit shows printmaking at its wackiest Taking their cue from TV’s Jackass or MythBusters, two guerrilla print-makers have smashed a pickup truck against a wall, dropped a cinder block onto paper, and steamrollered over a print block — all to demystify art making. The wacky results of Patrick Bulas and Jordan Schwab’s labours can be seen in the Making a Good First Impression exhibit at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery. The two artists, respectively from Edmonton and Prince George, B.C., came up with the collaborative idea of taking the stuffiness out of the printmaking process — while having some laughs doing it. Red Deer Advocate, February 4, 2017

Kitchener artist Robert Linsley remembered after fatal bike crash Many fans and former students of Kitchener artist Robert Linsley are expressing sadness online after learning he was killed last week while cycling near Conestoga Mall. Linsley, 64, died after a collision with a car in north Waterloo Thursday. The award-winning painter had shows across Canada and internationally. He often gave lectures and was a respected art critic and author. He also served as an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo from Sept. 2001 to Dec. 2006. His work is housed in public art collections at the Vancouver Art Gallery, City of Vancouver, Edmonton Art Gallery and Simon Fraser University., February 7, 2017

Artists to give Toronto lifeguard stations a winter makeover From February 20, Toronto’s beachfront will be dotted with art installations that will take over lifeguard stations unused during the winter season. Five winning designs were chosen for the third annual Winter Stations Design Competition, including local and international artists, designers, architects and landscape architects, all of whom will transform the winter waterfront. They are joined by three student projects from nearby colleges and universities. The theme for the 2017 competition is Catalyst, and artists and designers were asked to consider their submissions as a “catalyst for change” — particularly in terms of how the materials might be re-purposed or reused., February 5, 2017

Six dazzling new art galleries to check out this winter The biggest art event of the year is set for the fall, when the revamped Museum of Contemporary Art opens its doors in an old sheet-casting factory in the Junction Triangle. In the meantime, there are a slew of bright new spaces showcasing the city’s best artists. Here, a guide to your next gallery crawl. Toronto Life, February 7, 2017

Tell their stories or opt out? Indigenous artists torn about joining Canada 150 party As Canada 150 celebrations extol the glory of Canada’s past and present, one group of artists is not so quick to join the party. Indigenous artists view the sesquicentennial with mixed feelings, with some using it as a platform to tell their peoples’ side of the story, and others opting to boycott the celebrations altogether., February 7, 2017

New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 375,000 Public-Domain Images in Creative Commons As part of a new initiative it’s calling Open Access, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has placed 375,000 images of public-domain works in the Creative Commons. This major, though not unprecedented, move by one of the world’s most important museums means that users can now access pictures of many of the Met’s holdings on Wikimedia, and that these images are now subject to free use, with no copyright restrictions… In a blog post on Wikimedia, Richard Knipel, the Met’s “Wikimedian-in-Residence,” stated the goal of the initiative was to “Wiki-fy the Met, and Met-ify the Wiki.” Artnews, February 7, 2017

Anish Kapoor Wins $1 M. Genesis Prize, Will Put Money Toward Helping Syrian Refugees The Genesis Prize Foundation announced yesterday that Anish Kapoor, the Turner Prize–winning artist known for monumentally sized works, has been named its 2017 laureate. The annual prize recognizes a person who has made a significant contribution to Jewish politics and culture; it comes with $1 million. Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, has created many major public works. The best known among them is probably the bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He is also responsible for the Holocaust Memorial at London’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue… Occasionally Kapoor’s work has gotten political, and the London–based artist said that he will put the prize money toward helping the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced an estimated 12.5 million people. Artnews, February 6, 2017

Vanessa Bell: stepping out of the shadows of the Bloomsbury set The first major solo exhibition devoted to the work of Vanessa Bell, the artist who created the country retreat for the Bloomsbury set and in the process almost buried her own reputation, opens this week at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London… The exhibition covers her long career as an artist, from student works in 1905 to her last self-portraits before her death in 1961, and includes many pictures that have spent decades in storage, and others that have always been in private collections. The Guardian, February 7, 2017

United Kingdom
Pride and prejudice: museums celebrate the decriminalisation of homosexuality Museums across the UK are preparing exhibitions to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, the legislation that partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967. In London, the National Portrait Gallery will present a special display on the city’s gay scene in the 1980s (David Gwinnutt: Before We Were Men, due to open 9 March) while the first major exhibition dedicated to queer British art is to open at Tate Britain (Queer British Art 1861-1967, 5 April-1 October). With sections focusing on Oscar Wilde’s trial for “gross indecency” in 1895 and the tangled love lives of the Bloomsbury group, the show spans more than a century, from the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy to the passing of the Sexual Offences Act. The cell door behind which Wilde was famously imprisoned at Reading Gaol is to go on show beside his portrait, which was sold off after the legal fees for his trial left him bankrupt. The Art Newspaper, February 6, 2017

57th Venice Biennale Releases List of 120 Participating Artists Opening on May 13, the 2017 Venice Biennale has revealed the list of one hundred and twenty artists participating in the international exhibition curated by Christine Macel, “Viva Arte Viva.” Fifty-one countries are represented… The exhibition will also include eighty-five national participations featured in the historic pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and in the historic city center of Venice. Four countries will be participating for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan. Here are the full lists of participating artists and national pavilions. Artforum, February 7, 2017

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