Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 20, 2017

British Columbia
Female First Nations artists carve their way into the spotlight On the West Coast, in the rich and diverse world of First Nations art, the master carvers responsible for the totem poles and myriad other monumental works are usually men. There are exceptions. And two exceptional women – trailblazing female First Nations artists who have carved their way into Canadian cultural history – are getting their due in two new exhibitions. Pioneering Kwakwaka’wakw carver Ellen Neel is being celebrated at a show in Victoria, 50 years after her death. And Musqueam artist Susan Point has a comprehensive, magnificent solo show opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery this weekend. It wasn’t planned, but having these two shows mounted at the same time on the West Coast is notable and meaningful. The Globe and Mail, February 17, 2017

Musqueam artist Susan Point shares her favourite place in B.C Animals and nature are such a strong aspect of artist Susan Point’s ubiquitous work, it’s no surprise that her favourite place in B.C. features both prominently. Point’s well-known public art includes pieces at the Vancouver International Airport, Stanley Park, UBC and the Victoria Conference Centre. In 2004, she also designed the storm drain covers throughout Vancouver. Her latest work is Spindle Whorl, an exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery that opened Saturday and runs until May 28. She is the first Musqueam artist to have a solo exhibit at the gallery., February 18, 2017

ART SEEN: Capture Photography Festival expands to include emerging artists and amateurs The Capture Photography Festival is expanding the kind of photography it shows. This year, for the first time, the festival has created an Open Program for emerging and amateur artists. Kim Spencer-Nairn, the festival’s executive director, said the new initiative originated with feedback from the public. “We have invited the greater photographer community to be a part of capture this year,” Spencer-Nairn said at a media preview Thursday. The new initiative is in addition to its usual curatorial approach of selecting photo and lens-based artists. The fifth Capture Festival runs from April 1 to 28. Vancouver Sun, February 17, 2017

Architect pledges $750,000 art collection to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria A retired Victoria architect has pledged his $750,000 art collection to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Philanthropist Andrew Beckerman will also donate $100,000 to the Moss Street gallery for its proposed expansion — provided other donors match the sum, the AGGV announced Thursday. In addition, the gallery has received two other anonymous pledges of $500,000 and $200,000. These come with the proviso they be matched by provincial funding, director Jon Tupper said. Beckerman is a 69-year-old Brooklyn native who lived in San Francisco and Santa Fe before immigrating to Canada 11 years ago. He said his art collection, with hundreds of items, includes paintings by such notable San Francisco artists as Joan Brown, William T. Wiley and Roy De Forest. Times Colonist, February 2, 2017

Ground Control: Chris Flodberg’s paintings focus on the gritty urban aspects of Calgary Calgary’s Masters Gallery has represented Flodberg since 2002 and recently contributed to Chris Flodberg: Paintings (Douglas & McIntyre), a book that features 160 canvases created over the first two decades of the artist’s career. Flodberg began painting seriously as a student at Crescent Heights High School. He earned a bachelor of fine arts at the Alberta College of Art + Design and then a master’s degree at the University of Alberta. His first major solo exhibition, Matters of Denial, came in 2008 at the Art Gallery of Calgary (now Contemporary Calgary). The show featured the large, enigmatic oil paintings that comprise Flodberg’s banquet series. Calgary Herald, February 17, 2017

Portraits help tell newcomers’ stories at Regina exhibit A Saskatchewan artist is using portraits to help share the stories of newcomers to the province. A Rightful Place is a project by Common Weal Community Arts and photographer Michael Bell. The resulting photo exhibit is on display at the Art Gallery of Regina.”As we all know, racial discrimination is a factor in our society so we wanted to do something about that,” Gerry Ruecker, southern artistic director for Common Weal Community Arts, told CBC Radio’s Afternoon Edition. Ruecker travelled with Bell to eight newcomer welcome centres across the province to meet the people who are now featured in the photos of the exhibit., February 17, 2017

Farewell bash at Honest Ed’s a party for everyone A group of volunteers had a mission when they got keys to the city’s most famous bargain department store in the first week of February. Toronto For Everyone didn’t want to just throw the “first, last and only farewell” to Honest Ed’s as we knew it. The group wanted to imagine what inclusive city building could look like moving forward. Honest Ed’s “was one of the first businesses in the city that thought about how to incorporate philanthropy,” said #TO4E co-producer Hima Batavia, 32… We’re in the mad-dash stage,” says Adil Dhalla of the Centre for Social Innovation, which is bringing more than 300 volunteers and 40 artists together to host the final bash and city-building experiment as part of the Toronto For Everyone project, before the building is demolished. The event launches Thurs. Feb. 23. Toronto Star, February 17, 2017

Ottawa Art Gallery, Art Courts project gets $6.5M boost The Ottawa Art Gallery expansion and Arts Court redevelopment got an influx of cash from the federal government on Friday. The redevelopment project will receive $5.25 million to fund the expansion of the gallery and the redevelopment of the Arts Court building. The gallery will also receive an additional $1.3 million for specialized equipment for the new space. The city applied for funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Program announced in the 2016 federal budget, after the former Conservative government refused to fund the project. The new Ottawa Art Gallery, which has been under construction since 2015, will triple in size and include several galleries and a new screening room., February 17, 2017

Montreal festival takes art underground – literally The poster for Montreal’s Festival Art Souterrain shows a man running from a big steel ball between the bumpers of a giant pinball machine. The image conveys both the size of the festival’s main exhibition space – six kilometres of underground mall – and one perspective on its theme this year, which is Play and Distraction. The festival, its ninth edition opening on March 4, might as easily have chosen Play in Distraction. Everyone who careens through the sensory overload of Montreal’s underground city at rush hour has something on their mind, and it’s probably not art… Art Souterrain’s hard mission is to seduce passersby and prompt aesthetic contemplation when they least expect it. The Globe and Mail, February 19, 2017

See the Original 1958 Sketches for the Peace Symbol The peace symbol is so ubiquitous as a visual of protest and activism, including in the current anti-Trump administration demonstrations, that its creation by an artist in the 1950s is often overlooked. Back in 1958, British artist Gerald Holtom designed the symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) on the occasion of its first major march. This March, Holtom’s sketches for the symbol will have a rare public showing in People Power: Fighting for Peace at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. Hyperallergic, February 17, 2017

An Online Catalogue for All 25,000 of William Henry Fox Talbot’s Photographs William Henry Fox Talbot’s influence on photography was immense, from his introduction of the negative in 1839, allowing multiple prints of the same image, to his invention of a salted paper process. The online William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, launched this month by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, is a portal to all 25,000 surviving images in Talbot’s archive. Hyperallergic, February 16, 2017

Louvre exhibition debunks ‘isolated genius’ myth of Vermeer The myth of Johannes Vermeer as an isolated artist, confined to his home city of Delft, looks set to be shattered. A new exhibition, opening at the Louvre on Wednesday (22 February), emphasises that he was deeply influenced by other Dutch genre painters of his time. Vermeer and Delft have until now been firmly linked in the history of art. There is little documentary evidence that the painter travelled far… Blaise Ducos, the Louvre’s co-curator of Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, says that although he has been working on the exhibition for five years, it is only now with the paintings hanging that the full extent of links between Dutch genre artists has become apparent. The Art Newspaper, February 20, 2017

Cornelius Gurlitt’s Nazi-Era Art Collection Will Be Exhibited in November The controversial collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, consisting of 1,500 works amassed by his father Hildebrand Gurlitt—an art dealer who sold works on behalf of the Nazis—will go on view in Germany and Switzerland in November. Bern’s Kunstmuseum received the collection after a Munich court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Gurlitt’s cousin, Uta Werner, in order to keep the works in Germany after Cornelius’s death… The museum will collaborate with the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn to concurrently show the long-awaited exhibitions. In a joint statement the institutions said the exhibitions will cast the works through different thematic lenses in order to “bring to light further evidence to help clarify the provenances of those works whose origins remain unknown.” Artforum, February 16, 2017

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