Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 17, 2017

Vancouver
Susan Point, pioneering indigenous artist, gets first solo show at Vancouver Art Gallery The subtitle of the exhibition comes from the name of the tool used mainly by Coast Salish women to prepare wool before it was woven into blankets and ceremonial robes… Most of the works in the exhibition are either Point’s amazingly varied two-dimensional riffs on the round shape of the spindle whorl or are sculptural works based on the form of a straight rod piercing a carved, circular disc… Point’s career has been one of not only rediscovering what had been lost, but also making her own contemporary contribution to Coast Salish culture. Susan Point: Spindle Whorl opens Saturday, Feb. 18 and continues to Sunday, May 28 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Vancouver Sun, February 17, 2017

Vancouver artists Landon Mackenzie and Glenn Lewis nab 2017 Governor General’s awards. Painter Landon Mackenzie and cross-disciplinary artist Glenn Lewis have each won the prize, which carries a $25,000 cash award and recognizes outstanding career achievement. The awards are funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.  Georgia Straight, February 15, 2017

Celebrated Iranian-Canadian sculptor skips New York show, can’t risk U.S. travel ban As much as he wants to, Vancouver artist Parviz Tanavoli won’t go to New York to see his sculpture that the Museum of Modern Art recently put back on display… Tanavoli likely won’t get to see the exhibition for the very reason that MOMA made the dramatic gesture to showcase permanent works in its collection by Muslim artists — U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens and people born in seven Muslim-majority countries. The ban comes as the 79-year-old is finally achieving wider international recognition. His first solo show in the United States was at the Davis Museum in Wellesley, Mass. last year. At London’s Tate Modern, his work was included in the four-month, pop art exhibition that ended last month. Vancouver Sun, February 16, 2017

Thunder Bay
No mental health support available for First Nations artist who died in jail, chief says. A well-known First Nations artist who was “warm, outgoing and giving” died in a Thunder Bay, Ont., jail because he couldn’t get help for his mental illness, according to those who knew him. Moses Amik Beaver, 59, was a Woodlands school artist who was known for his depictions of spirits and animals, painted in vivid colours and outlined in black. CBC, February 15, 2017

Halifax
Halifax jewelry artist wins Governor General’s Award. A Halifax jewelry artist has won a prestigious national award, but you’d be hard-pressed to find her work in your local store. NSCAD University Prof. Pamela Ritchie is the winner of the 2017 Saidye Bronfman Award, part of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. CBC February 15, 2017

St. John’s
Sad Songs and Strange Birds.  A new exhibition at the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, curated by Mireille Eagan, breathes exquisite life back into a dead flamingo.  Sprawling in size and scope, the exhibition gathers together more than 11 artists, both Canadian and international, to produce an affecting elegy for this pink-feathered oddity, and to explore the moral of its sad story: humans are afraid of what does not belong. In that context, these new and recent works—four of which are new commissions—provide softly edged statements on how collection practices and colonialism work to possess and destroy what is different or unfamiliar. Canadian Art, February 15, 2017

Los Angeles
In the face of fascism, he showed industrial-strength optimism: The art of Moholy-Nagy at LACMA. The optimism of László Moholy-Nagy is staggering.  Here was an artist who, born into difficult circumstances in a small farming village in southern Hungary, turned 19 just eight days before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, igniting the fuse of the Great War.  Moholy-Nagy barely survived military duty on the unspeakably brutal Russian and Italian fronts. Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2017

New York
The Enigmatic Art of Raymond Pettibon.  In his art, Raymond Pettibon only sometimes addresses topical politics, or topical anything, but he knows his archetypes, and it’s nice to have eschatological expertise on current events. How seriously to take it is an uncertainty that haunts all of Pettibon’s art, which is surveyed in “A Pen of All Work,” a retrospective at the New Museum of some seven hundred creations, mostly drawings with text. New Yorker, February 13&20, 2017

Nancy Spector Named Artistic Director and Chief Curator of Guggenheim Museums.  After recently becoming the deputy director and chief curator at the Brooklyn Museum, Nancy Spector is heading back to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, this time in a new role: artistic director, the first such position at the museum, and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator. Artforum, February 15, 2017

London
Wolfgang Tillmans review – a rollercoaster ride around the world.  Room after room, turn after turn, Wolfgang Tillmans’ Tate Modern exhibition teems with images large and small. Images alone and arrays of larger and smaller photographs, framed and unframed and attached to the wall with bulldog clips, hung high over doorways and shuffled on a table. The Guardian, February 14, 2017

Richard Mosse: Incoming review – shows the white-hot misery of the migrant crisis. The Irish artist follows migrants with a thermal military camera as they flee Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, turning them into a teeming mass of ghosts. The Guardian, February 15, 2017

Berlin
Midas touch: the artist using gold to turn films into flickering frescos Joe Ramirez does not do things by halves. He has in his time made a chair with 112 joints, lacquered a car 17 times, and once spent five years restoring frescos in a Benedictine chapel in Chicago. So it comes as no surprise to learn that the California artist has been working on The Gold Projections since 2005. It is the latest instance of him being possessed by what he calls an “irresistible urge to master a craft”. The Guardian, February 15, 2017

Beijing
Organizers of Disavowed Anselm Kiefer Exhibition Speak Out. “Throughout my career I have been heavily involved in all my major international exhibitions and it is a matter of deep regret and frustration that the organizers of my first show in China have seen fit to exclude me from this process.”—A. Kiefer Now the curator and newly appointed president of the German committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), Beate Reifenscheid, who has always defended the project, is claiming that the galleries involved didn’t want the exhibition to go ahead as they wanted control over Kiefer’s work in the Asian market. Artnet News, February 15, 2017

International
How to Navigate a Museum.  There are ways to get the most out a museum visit, according to Natasha Schlesinger, an art historian, curator and the founder of ArtMuse, a company that provides private tours of museums and galleries in New York City and Europe. “You want to do the museum justice and have fun at the same time,” she said.  Here, Ms. Schlesinger’s top tips on navigating a museum successfully. New York Times, February 15, 2017

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