Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 27, 2017

Vancouver artist separates art from politics to attend Trump Tower opening Vancouver artist of Mexican descent is separating politics from art so she can attend Tuesday’s grand opening of the Trump Tower to see her artwork. Miriam Aroeste said when she accepted the commission to create art for the 63-storey tower several years ago, Donald Trump wasn’t even a candidate for the Republican party. The official opening next week of the twisting tower on West Georgia is the first of a Trump property since he was officially sworn in as the 45th president of the U.S. on Jan. 20. Aroeste said she’ll be attending the opening because the $360 million tower has 180 of her works — her largest commission. The Province, February 25, 2017

Vancouver animator Robert Valley’s unexpected journey from Kickstarter to Oscars Vancouver animator Robert Valley has hardly been hurting for work. As a hired gun for a wide swath of projects, Valley has contributed to high-profile works including “Tron: Uprising,” “Wonder Woman” shorts and music videos for virtual band Gorillaz. Still, something was missing for Valley and he looked to devote time to a personal project: a biographical film documenting his turbulent relationship with a childhood friend who went by the name Techno Stypes. He turned to the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for support and the resulting project, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” is now in the running for an Oscar in the best animated short category. The Province, February 23, 2017

A space for culture The groundwork is being laid for a public art gallery in Kenora to house a collection of local and national cultural significance. “That’s a great step for us, because now we can move forward,” said museum director Lori Nelson. She said the people who are donating their collection of W.J. Phillips’ watercolour and woodblock art, numbering about 70 pieces, came to her about three years ago to express their interest in gifting their collection to the museum. Phillips’ best known artworks feature life on Lake of the Woods in the 1920s and 30s, and his pieces can be found in the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Pavilion Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada and the Smithsonian. Kenora Daily Miner and News, February 24, 2017

Ottawa invests $1.4 million in Canadian Canoe Museum move Before a large gathering of museum board members, staff and volunteers, Parks Canada employees and community leaders, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef announced the project is receiving $1,410,672 from Ottawa. Culled from the federal government’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, the money will cover the cost of architectural and engineering plans for the construction of the museum’s new home at the base of the Peterborough Lift Lock on the west shore of the Trent-Severn Waterway… Estimated to cost close to $50 million when all is said and done, the new museum, located on Parks Canada property, will be comprised of three main components: a 17,000 square foot exhibition gallery, a restaurant/café and gift shop, and a 250-seat multi-purpose room. KawarthaNow, February 24, 2017

Seven sublime works by Daniel Mazzone, the Toronto artist beloved by Blue Jays and Wall Streeters As a kid, Toronto artist Daniel Mazzone could be found at his artist mother’s side, helping cut pieces of stained glass and paint porcelian and ceramics. That childhood fascination transformed into a career creating mosaic portraits: he assembles historical artifacts like letters, magazine covers, newspaper articles and song lyrics like pieces of a puzzle. His works have caught the eye of the Blue Jays—José Bautista has commissioned 10 works by Mazzone and Marcus Stroman bought a piece at Art Basel Miami… We asked Mazzone to tell us the story behind seven of his works. Toronto Life, February 23, 2017

Musée d’art contemporain presents two views of the battleground Violence in Mexico and the role of the “war hotel” in shaping our view of conflict are the subjects of two new exhibitions at the Musée d’art contemporain. Teresa Margolles, a Mexican artist who, in her words, “shows horror without showing it,” uses blood to infuse her works with a human dimension. She explores the killings that are endemic to parts of Mexico where drug gangs hold sway, and ties it to the cross-border exchange of drugs for money and weaponry… Emanuel Licha, a Montreal-born artist, explores the idea of the war hotel in his exhibition, Now Have a Look at This Machine. The war hotel is the gathering place where journalists and their local fixers, aid workers, politicians and even the protagonists converge to exchange information during a conflict. Montreal Gazette, February 24, 2017

Washington Art Consortium Disbands, Collection to Be Distributed to Its Member Museums The board of the Washington Art Consortium, a collective run by seven Washington State art museums, announced that it will disband. The consortium’s central collection, which comprises more than 400 pieces of 20th-century American art, will be distributed to six of the member museums, along with a $2.3 million endowment fund for their care and maintenance. Formed in 1976 by the Seattle-based philanthropist Virginia Wright, WAC was founded for the purpose of bringing great works of art to Washington state and encouraging collaboration among its art museums. Artnews, February 23, 2017

Los Angeles
The Curator of LA’s New ICA on Opening Up the Insular Art World [Jamillah] James has established herself as a curator to watch. With her recent jump from assistant curator at the Hammer Museum to head curator at the ICA, the revamped Santa Monica Museum of Art slated to open this fall in Downtown LA, she is poised to make an even bigger splash…. James locates her own work as a curator, and the ICA’s vision, within a larger context of opening up an art world that has been insular and exclusionary for far too long. “I want to see us get to a point where museums aren’t just having one black artist a year, one Latino artist a year — that every season there is an artist of color, women artists, queer artists, and that we are all actively working against the canon.” Hyperallergic, February 23, 2017

Boston Museum Directors Pen Letter Defending NEA and NEH Following the publication earlier this week of an op-ed by Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Thomas P. Campbell in the New York Times, several Boston museum directors have co-signed a letter about President Trump’s reported plans to propose a budget defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Those signees are the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Peggy Fogelman, the MIT List Visual Arts Center’s Paul Ha, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Jill Medvedow, the Harvard Art Museums’ Martha Tedeschi, and the Museum of Fine Arts’ Matthew Teitelbaum. [follow link above for full text of the letter] Artnews, February 24, 2017

New York
Parkett to End After More than Three Decades Publishers of the contemporary art magazine Parkett announced today that the next issue of the publication will be its last. Citing the “change in reading behavior brought about by our digital age,” cofounders Bice Curiger, Jacqueline Burckhardt, and Dieter von Graffenried said, “We would like to thank you, our readers, for your interest and your loyalty and we are looking forward to the special double issue this summer.” The current editor is Nikki Columbus. Since its founding in 1984, the Zurich- and New York–based magazine has featured over 215 works by artists in more than forty countries. Artforum, February 23, 2017

The New York entrepreneur behind the biggest private Rembrandt collection Thomas Kaplan, a New York entrepreneur, now owns nearly a third of the Rembrandt paintings in private hands. Since 2005, he has bought 11 Rembrandts out of the 35 or so that belong to collectors around the world—the precise number depends on attributional issues. Kaplan describes himself as the largest private collector of the artist “for a couple of hundred years”… Highlights of the collection, which includes works by Gerard Dou, Frans van Mieris, Jan Steen and Johannes Vermeer, will be unveiled today (22 February) at the Louvre, Paris. After the Louvre exhibition, a much larger show will tour to Shanghai, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The Art Newspaper, February 22, 2017

Italian Renaissance specialist Miguel Falomir chosen to head up Prado The new director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid will be Miguel Falomir, the museum’s long-serving curator and current deputy director, according to Spanish press reports… Falomir, an Italian Renaissance specialist, joined the Prado in 1997 as the head of the department for pre-1700 Italian and French paintings. He has organised major exhibitions on Titian, Tintoretto, Renaissance portraiture and Raphael. Between 2008 and 2010 he held the Andrew W. Mellon professorship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Announcing Falomir’s appointment as deputy director in 2015, Zugaza praised his “commitment to making a decisive contribution” to the Prado’s preparations for its 200-year anniversary in 2019. The Art Newspaper, February 23, 2017

Controversial and renowned Chinese photographer Ren Hang dies aged 29 Ren Hang, one of the leading lights of the new generation of Chinese photographers, despite enduring censorship and intimidation from the authorities throughout his career, has died at the age of 29, his gallerist has confirmed. Ren Hang was arrested many times for his sexually explicit, joyously celebratory photography. Although he was globally renowned, he never gained the recognition he deserved in his home country, in part because he was repeatedly denied the opportunity to display his work in Beijing and throughout China. British Journal of Photography, February 24, 2017

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