Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 8, 2017


Vancouver female photo-art masters get the nod in Scotiabank Photography Award longlist.  Vancouver artists Vikky Alexander, Dana Claxton, and Nancy Davenport have made the nomination longlist for the annual Scotiabank Photography Award.  Georgia Straight, February 7, 2017


Canadian Artists Take on Cancer.  The relationship between body and self is often expressed in terms more appropriate to the battlefield: “fighting a cold” or “battling cancer.” In “FLUX: Responding to Head and Neck Cancer,” a recent Edmonton exhibition, six artists delivered a powerful, emotional challenge to this way of thinking about both our bodies and the bodies of others. Instead of positioning the body as something separate from the self—something that betrays us—the artists propose new ways of seeing, experiencing and understanding the body in a state of change.  The artistic team is similarly interdisciplinary, with intermedia artist Kyle Terrance; visual artists Jill Ho-You and Heather Huston; sculptor Jude Griebel; printmaker and professor Sean Caulfield; multimedia artist Ingrid Bachmann; and artist, curator and psychiatry PhD student Brad Necyk.   Canadian Art, February 8, 2017


Winnipeg Art Gallery to exhibit two Pablo Picasso shows this summer.  The Winnipeg Art Gallery has announced it will present a rare showcase of the art of Pablo Picasso this summer.   Two exhibitions will feature key masterworks by the iconic artist.  The first show is organized by the art gallery in conjunction with the Canada 150 Celebrations while the second is organized by the National Gallery of Canada.  Vancouver Sun, February 3, 2017


Artist creating Iranian woman’s memoir with large-scale calligraphy at Carleton University. With countries around the world closing their doors to immigrants and refugees, an Iranian Canadian artist has come to Ottawa with “a borderless story.”  Gita Hashemi, a Canadian artist born in Shiraz, Iran, is the first artist to take advantage of Carleton University’s new Open Space Lab. The initiative turns the university’s art gallery into a large working space in between shows, where artists can create something new and big while the public watches.  Metronews, February 7, 2017


How abstract sculpture re-energizes in a world gone mad.  Practising cultural journalism during times of shocking events or big political news can be a tricky business. Escaping into an intricate plot or relishing an aesthetic experience can seem irrelevant or even callous.  I learned that if you stuck with an art museum beyond Picasso and Matisse, you would eventually come to remarkable things. They weren’t oil paintings or portrait busts; they were large unexplained objects that occupied space with the mystery and majesty of a Stonehenge. They were things that gave me pause … and relief.  I was about to give up when I spotted a ground-floor gallery surmounted by one large word: Caro.  Globe & Mail, February 3, 2017

Scotiabank Announces Longlist for $50,000 Photography Award. Eleven nominees were announced this morning for the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award. The award winner will receive a $50,000 prize, a major solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto and have a book of their work published and distributed by Steidl of Germany.  Canadian Art, February 7, 2017


‘Blue collar’ artists thrive in Toronto suburbs.  The city of Oshawa has always been better known for autos than for art.   Cars did, however, take a back seat to culture when pioneering abstract expressionist painter Alexandra Luke held salons at her cottage studio at Thickson Point on the shores of Lake Ontario back in the 1950s.  Toronto Star, February 6, 2017


Meet Lawren Harris, anti-icon. Have we reached peak Harris? It’s a fair question to have on your mind as you make the trek to the woodsy sprawl of the McMichael Collection of Canadian Art, where, yet again, a mass of paintings by the Group of Seven commandant — 60-plus, all told — are now on view. Toronto Star, February 6, 2017


Artist Takashi Murakami’s goofy octopus costume is a manifesto about creative resilience. Takashi Murakami knows how to make an entrance.  At a Feb. 3 press event for his upcoming retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art  in Chicago, the 55-year-old Japanese artist burst into the stage wearing a trippy, head-to-toe octopus costume.    Quartz, February 7, 2017 Smart, Deseret News, File

Salt Lake City

Lawmakers consider making Spiral Jetty official state work of art.  Artist Robert Smithson created the Spiral Jetty in April of 1970.  Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake has proposed that the spiraling formation of basalt rock and earth be recognized by the state.  Smithson’s creations helped pioneer the genre known as “land art” by transforming landscapes and objects in natural settings into sculpted structures. KSL, 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.  Artnet News, February 7, 2017

Is the Met Museum ‘a Great Institution in Decline’?  Even as crowds poured into shows on Hellenistic kingdoms and high-tech fashion, the Met’s deficit was approaching $40 million and had forced the buyout or layoff of some 90 employees. An expansion into a satellite building cost millions of dollars more than expected. A new Met logo and marketing plan were rolled out at great expense — and greeted with ridicule. Then, last month, a new $600 million wing was postponed by several years, frustrating the Met’s efforts to become a serious player in the competitive field of Modern and contemporary art.   New York Times, February 4, 2017


‘I’m Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together’: How Picasso met Marie-Thérèse Walter.  On an otherwise ordinary day in January, 1927, in front of the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, Pablo Picasso looked across the street and saw a young woman whose appearance captivated him. He didn’t know her but he called out, “I’m Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together.”  So they did, and the great things are still talked about. She was Marie-Thérèse Walter, his model and lover for years after their abrupt meeting. The Tate Modern in London and the Picasso Museum in Paris, have announced a major show focussed on her image for this autumn.  Vancouver Sun, February 6, 2017

We don’t pay visual artists properly – that needs to change.  To take up the cause of industrial fairness for artists and other arts professionals, the peak industry body, the National Association for the Visual Arts (Nava), has launched a Fair Pay for Artists campaign. Nava argues that artists deserve the same recompense as all other professionals who are paid for their labour, as well as the cost of any materials they use in their work.   The Guardian, February 7, 2017


Canadians Announced for 2017 Venice Biennale Exhibition.  Geoffrey Farmer may be Canada’s most visible representation at this year’s Venice Biennale, with his work in the Canada Pavilion, but he’s far from the only Canadian artist at the event.  This morning, the list of the 120 artists participating within the main exhibition was released, and it includes three artists from Cape Dorset, Vancouver and Montreal. The late Inuit sculptor and printmaker Kananginak Pootoogook; Vancouver-raised, Berlin-based artist Jeremy Shaw and Montreal-based multimedia artist Hajra Waheed have all been selected for inclusion.  Canadian Art, February 7, 2017


This 100-Year-Old Dutch Movement Shaped Web Design Today. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of a Dutch art movement that has had a worldwide impact: De Stijl. Right up to the present day, De Stijl has influenced art, architecture, and product design. But the impact of De Stijl is particularly apparent in contemporary design—more specifically, in digital design. Backchannel, February 7, 2017

The Violence of Cultural Appropriation Artist Latifa Laâbissi recently performed her piece Self Portrait Camouflage at MoMA PS1 nude, wearing only a faux Plains-style headdress. It was her intention to make a political statement by making herself vulnerable in these symbolic ways: nakedness, headdress. I contend that it was not only her own body she made vulnerable on that stage; she conscripted and claimed unwilling bodies through her use of the headdress as a catch-all stand-in for marginalized peoples. Canadian Art, February 7, 2017

Xenofeminism and New Tactics for the Left.  “Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation” is a multi-voiced manifesto authored by Laboria Cuboniks, the collective name chosen by a group of six women living in five countries—cyberfeminists, philosophers, social theorists, programmers, archaeologists and artists—who met at a conference in Berlin called “Emancipation as Navigation.” That was the only time they were all in the same room together. Canadian Art, February 6, 2017


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