Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 23, 2017

Vancouver

Susan Point’s art brings ancient wheel spinning into modern world.  “It’s hard to imagine what contemporary Coast Salish art would look like without Susan Point.” I made this observation in 2008, in a review of her carved cedar gateways, then newly installed in Stanley Park. Point, I added, “has almost single-handedly recovered her people’s graphic and sculptural traditions from obscurity”.  So, okay, I’m quoting myself, mostly because I’m gratified that my beliefs are so well proven by Point’s major retrospective exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.”  Georgia Straight, February 22, 2017

Spring arts preview 2017 visual arts critics’ picks: Polar bears in the plaza, an ode to Charles H. Scott, and a look at Mexico.  There’s a “looking forward through looking back” theme in the visual arts this spring—partly because two long-standing arts institutions are preparing for big changes this fall. Presentation House Gallery, which has occupied the third floor of an old wooden building in North Vancouver for 40 years, will be moving into splendid new digs on the waterfront under the name of the Polygon Gallery. And the Charles H. Scott Gallery will be relocating (with its academic home, Emily Carr University of Art + Design) to a new building on Great Northern Way.  Georgia Straight, February 22, 2017

ART SEEN: Geoffrey Farmer sets the stage for childhood memories in The Big Kitchen.  Have you ever gone back to a place you knew intimately as a child and found it, well, small? What you once thought was a giant playground full of fascinating mountains and rivers and buildings turns out to be a tiny sandbox with sand and dirt and pebbles. With the addition of more and more experiences as we age, the passage of time can often reduce the psychic imprint of the past and bring it down to size in our memory.  As adults, can you recapture that feeling of mystery and awe we had as children? One way is through a change of scale. At Catriona Jeffries Gallery, artist Geoffrey Farmer has taken backdrops used in theatrical stage productions to make adults feel like children again.  Vancouver Sun, February 22, 2017

Provincial budget skips increases to B.C. Arts Council. In the case of this week’s 2017-18 provincial budget, it was more about what they didn’t say than what they did. When finance minister Michael de Jong presented the B.C. government’s February 21, he made no mention of increases to the B.C. Arts Council.  Georgia Straight, February 22, 2017

Alex MacKenzie’s Bungalow installation connects the past and present.  In the neighbourhood around Falaise Park, the city created a community where returning troops from the Second World War could recuperate and have a fresh start with their families.  While many remain unaware of the site’s cultural history, however, artist Alex MacKenzie has recreated a slice of Vancouver’s past with his Bungalow installation. “The Board of Parks and Recreation established the Fieldhouse initiative, which allows artists to create site-specific work,” he tells the Straight on the line from his Vancouver home.   Georgia Straight, February 16, 2017

Edmonton

Paula Simons: Five new sculptures aim to animate Capital Boulevard in time for Canada’s 150th birthday.  This summer, Capital Boulevard will become a sculpture walk, with five art installations, designed to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial — one per block. “These are five different ways of telling the Canada 150 story,” says Linda Wedman, executive director of The Places, Edmonton’s public art and design program, which commissioned the works.   Edmonton Journal, February 16, 2017

Kitchener

Robert Linsley: 1952–2017.  Kitchener artist Robert Linsley, known for his writing and teaching in addition to his painting, died earlier this February in a biking accident at the age of 64. Linsley moved to Kitchener to teach at the University of Waterloo in 2002. Originally born in Winnipeg, Linsley moved to Vancouver, where he later studied at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He was also a valued contributor to Canadian Art.  Here, artists and writers who knew and worked with Linsley remember him. Canadian Art, February 23, 2017

Nunatsiavut (Labrador)

The Rise of Nunatsiavut Art. Labrador Inuit objects made in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries can be found in museum collections worldwide. Yet in publications on modern Canadian Inuit art, Labrador Inuit artists and craftspeople are almost completely absent. Four living generations of artists have witnessed a dramatic time of transition on the Labrador coast. Their stories, memories, and knowledge, passed down through the generations of Inuit in our region, are little known outside of Nunatsiavut.  The Walrus, February 17, 2017

Denver

Denver Art Museum Receives $12 Million Gift  The Denver Art Museum has announced that Colorado philanthropists Anna and John J. Sie have pledged $12 million to support the institution’s North Building revitalization project, which aims to unify the museum’s campus.   Artforum, February 22, 2017

New York

Hilton Als Curates Alice Neel’s Portraits of Life in Upper Manhattan.  For this exhibition, author and critic Hilton Als has curated a selection of Alice Neel’s drawings and paintings portraying people of color, mining the portraits she made while living in upper Manhattan — first in the late 1930s, when she moved to Spanish Harlem, and later on the Upper West Side, where she lived for 22 years until her death in 1984.  Hyperallergic, February 22, 2017

Protesters Demand MoMA Drop Trump Advisor from Its Board. Last Friday, February 17, protesters marched from the 2017 College Art Association conference to the entry hall of the Museum of Modern Art to demand that the institution remove Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock, from its board because of his ties to the Trump administration.  Noah Fischer of Occupy Museums told Hyperallergic that this was “the first action in a campaign to get Larry Fink off the board of MoMA and to speak out against the normalization of the Trump regime in the art world.” He explained that they targeted MoMA because it has a direct connection to Trump.  Hyperallergic, February 22, 2017

London

No one should demand the closure of galleries – even for far-right artworks.  Shutting art galleries down is never a good idea. I don’t care how offensive you or I may find the art they show or the events they organise. Haven’t we learned by now that art has the right to offend, and that art galleries are spaces in which to be shocked, provoked, even disgusted? Only yesterday it was conservative taste that found the contemporary art world offensive. Now it is the liberal left that wants to literally “shut down” an east London art space that has shown, among other things, the work of Jake and Dinos Chapman.  The Guardian, February 22, 2017

Paris

‘Spider-man’ and accomplices sentenced in Paris museum theft.  On Monday, 20 February, hefty sentences and fines were handed down for the three defendants in the 2010 theft of five paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Léger—valued at €109m—from the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris. The burglary was referred to by the prosecutor as “one of the worst in a museum in modern history” and “an attack against humanity’s heritage”. The Art Newspaper, February 21, 2017

Münster

Here’s the Artist List for Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017. The artist list for the fourth edition of the once-a-decade show Skulptur Projekte Münster has arrived, and it includes 35 artists, whose work will be installed throughout its namesake German city, as well as the nearby city of Marl, from June 10 through October 1. The list, which follows in full below, includes esteemed veterans of the international art scene, like Pierre Huyghe, Cosima von Bonin, Nicole Eisenman, and Thomas Schütte, as well as formidable younger talents, like Ei Arakawa, Nora Schultz, Mika Rottenberg, and Justin Matherly.   Artnews, February 22, 2017

Venice

Damien Hirst Alienated Collectors. Will His New Work Win Them Back?  The artist Damien Hirst’s first new body of work in several years, to be unveiled in Venice on April 9, a month before the Biennale there. The show, billed as “10 years in the making,” is also the first time the Pinault Collection’s two locations — the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana — will be dedicated to a single artist.  Has the art-world darling of the ’90s — who led the so-called Young British Artists, or Y.B.A.s, and was known for his $12 million shark in a tank — jumped the shark? And given that many buyers were left bitterly holding the bag after Mr. Hirst flooded the market with his work at the Sotheby’s sale, doing an end run around his dealers, will collectors give him another chance?  New York Times, February 22, 2017

Diébédo Francis Kéré reveals tree-inspired design for Serpentine Pavilion 2017African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been selected to design this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, which is set to feature a roof that mimics a tree canopy and a central waterfall.  Kéré – who is based between his home town of Gando, Burkino Faso, and an office in Berlin – will create the 17th edition of the annual pavilion commission, which is built every summer outside the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens.   Dezeen, February 21, 2017

Rome

Jannis Kounellis obituary.  Jannis Kounellis, who has died aged 80, made a highly distinctive contribution to one of the most provocative artistic movements in postwar Europe. As a pioneer of arte povera in the late 1960s, he created spectacular sculptures out of “poor”, mundane objects – pieces of wood, coal, sacking, steel and lead, arranged in startling juxtapositions on gallery walls or piled unceremoniously on the floor. In this way the materials’ different physical qualities and functional associations were emphasised to strengthen their viewers’ perception of everyday reality.  The Guardian, February 17, 2017

International

A Western Cultural History of Pink, from Madame de Pompadour to Pussy Hats. The message of the color pink is so powerful that it rarely needs explanation. We all know what it implies: it’s feminine, frilly, cheery, and delicate, certainly not a color we expect to see on, say, the cover of a scientific journal.  With pink’s complex lineage, it’s useful to think of its cultural footprint as intersectional. While its feminine association with gender is now unquestioned, it’s also a symbol, perhaps more crucially, of age. More than womanhood per se, pink represents girlhood, and it can be understood as a gendered yet asexual marker of femininity.  Hyperallergic, February 20, 2017

 

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