Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 2, 2017

Vancouver

Seven things to do this week, March 2 to March 9: Western Front Gala and Auction and more… If you want to know what’s happening in Vancouver’s contemporary art scene, the Western Front’s annual art auction is the crash course to attend. Organizers ensure a who’s who of “It” artists are represented, while legendary auctioneer Hank Bull’s provides wonderful insight into each art work. Vancouver Sun, March, 2, 2017

Coquitlam

Train Dreams rolls into Coquitlam art gallery. On Saturday, the filmmaker and audio artist Nick Kuepfer — one-half of Common Collective, which also includes Mark Preston (photographer, documentary video editor and video artist) and Luke Mistruzzi (stop-motion animation and documentary artist) — will be in Coquitlam, at the Art Gallery at Evergreen, to show Train Dreams. Produced in 2014, the installation was the first artistic project for Common Collective.  Train Dreams, which has been shown around Ontario and after Coquitlam will travel to Nelson, has special meaning this year as the country marks its 150th anniversary.  Tricity News, February 28, 2017

Saskatoon

Remai Modern Art Gallery receives $3M from federal government.  Ottawa gave Saskatoon’s Remai Modern Art Gallery a $3.1-million boost this morning.  Staff at the Remai Modern said the one-time grant will go toward finishing construction on the “Marquee” and “Feature” galleries. A portion of it will also be used to buy specialized equipment for handling art.  The money brings Ottawa’s contribution to the project to $16 million, and comes from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.  CBC News, March 1, 2017

Toronto

In the Studio with geetha thurairajah.  Often, artists’ studios are filled with ephemera that offers clues into to their work—clippings of old print publications, images that resonate with them, texts or books that are relevant to whatever they’re thinking about at the moment. Toronto artist geetha thurairajah’s sunny space, by contrast, is notably tidy, primarily occupied by materials and in-progress works. This makes sense, though, when you consider thurairajah’s primary source of inspiration, and the space where her works originate: the digital realm.  Canadian Art, March 1, 2017

“Everything I Do Has the Smell of Digital”: Lorna Mills on Her Art.  The Canadian artist Lorna Mills talks about image circulation, digital ownership, and how she obsessively mines the internet for her art. Hyperallergic, March 1, 2017

Boulder

The Broken Promises of American Indian Treaties, Sewn onto Quilts.  Gina Adams sews text from the American Indian Treaties onto quilts, articulating the deception and violence used to marginalize Native Americans in the formation of the United States. Adams is a descendant of both indigenous and colonial Americans. Her grandfather was Ojibwe, and was forcefully enrolled in the Carlisle Indian Industrial School — an assimilationist boarding school for Native Americans — at the age of eight. Because her grandfather passed on the Ojibwe names of Adams’s ancestors, she was able to find records of them while working in 2015 as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. She also traced her lineage back to John Adams, the second US President.  Hyperallergic, February 27, 2017

New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art struggles with success and loses its director.  After years of rumbling and rumors, the announcement came today: Thomas P. Campbell, head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is stepping down. The pervasive assumption within the art world is that the decision was not his. For all of the success the Met had with audiences, including tourists and digital visitors from around the globe, there were mounting financial problems. Last year, in response to a $30 million deficit, the Met announced it was laying off 34 employees. Major initiatives launched under Campbell’s direction had to be curtailed or cut. A proposed $600 million new wing devoted to contemporary and modern art proved to be unfeasible, and some questioned the wisdom of the $17 million annual cost of the eight-year lease the Met took on the Breuer building.  Washington Post, March 1, 2017.  See also: Holland Carter’s Suggestions For Fixing The Met Museum  New York Times, March 1, 2017

How the Met’s Sale of a Max Beckmann Painting Changed US Museums.  In 1971, “deaccessioning” was, at the time, a new term for a very old practice that remained, at least as far as the Met’s board was concerned, in a kind of gray area — without much oversight or regulation in the way of official guidelines.  All of this changed, however, the instant Henry Geldzahler, head of the Department of 20th-Century Art, presented the Met’s acquisitions committee with a scheme, the outcome of which (though none knew it at the time) would change the way the museum handled the deaccessioning of objects and alter the relationship of the Metropolitan Museum to the public forever.  Hyperallergic, February 16, 2017

Your Concise Guide to Armory Week 2017 — with GIFs!  Art fairs can often feel like animated GIFs, their endlessly cycling patterns of repeating graphics occasionally catching viewers’ eyes, but always eventually numbing their minds. This year’s Armory Week in New York City has some slight variations from 2016 — the disappearance of Pulse, NADA joining the ranks — but in many ways it’s business as usual for the art market.Hyperallergic, February 27, 2017.  See also:  What’s Next for Art? Looking at 3 Bleeding-Edge Artists at the Armory ShowArtnet News, March 2, 2017

The Beautiful and the Unexpected.  “When I was young, and new to modern art, I doted on the Expressionist heads and faces by the Russian-born artist Alexei Jawlensky, which he painted in thick layers of clamorous color, and wondered why a bigger deal wasn’t made of them. A flavorsome retrospective of the artist, at the Neue Galerie, renews that appeal…The most beautiful and most bracing show in town is of paintings, prints, drawings, and painted sculptures by Vija Celmins, at the Matthew Marks Gallery. It is also a rare event, the first solo show in nearly seven years of work by an artist, now seventy-eight, who is not only esteemed but cherished in the art world, as a paragon of aesthetic rigor, poetic sapience, and brusque, funny personal charm.”  New Yorker, February 27, 2017

Miami

Marcus Gosse only Newfoundland artist featured in Miami exhibition.  Marcus Gosse not only takes pride in representing this province and Canada while exhibiting his work in Miami, but also the Qalipu First Nation Band.  The Mi’kmaq artist was chosen by the Macaya Gallery in Miami, Florida to represent Newfoundland and Labrador in the 150 years of Canada art show.  Western Star, February 28, 2017

Madrid

Architecture’s Pritzker Prize lauds Spanish trio for ‘a strong sense of place’  Architecture’s biggest award has gone not to a star, but to a group of three Spanish designers deeply committed to creating a sense of place.   The Hyatt Foundation announced Wednesday that Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, who lead the Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes, had won the $100,000 (U.S.) Pritzker Architecture Prize.  Globe & Mail, March 1, 2017  See also: Pritzker prize for architecture won by little known Catalan trioThe Guardian, March 1, 2017  and Key projects by Pritzker Prize 2017 winner RCR Arquitectes  Dezeen, March 1, 2017

London

Klimt painting sells for $59-million at record-breaking London auction. A painting of flowers by Gustav Klimt sold in London for 48 million pounds ($59 million), a record for a work by the Austrian artist and the third-highest price for any work sold at auction in Europe, Sotheby’s said on Thursday. Globe & Mail, March 2, 2017

De Stijl turns 100 – but still cannot touch the greats of abstract act. Piet Mondrian is perhaps the greatest modern artist who ever lived”, boasts the latter’s website. Thanks for putting in that “perhaps”. Yet the other night I was shocked by my own reaction to some of Mondrian’s works, on view at London’s Tate Modern. There is no other word for what I felt except boredom. What a thing to feel, in front of “the greatest modern artist who ever lived”! What struck me suddenly was how small and square Mondrian’s paintings are. They are intellectual constructs that don’t give your soul much room to move around in. Which brings me to my second confession. European abstract art of the early 20th century is, to my eyes, dead stuff that belongs in textbooks. It is terribly “important”. Yet it completely lacks the excitement and humanity of the truly great abstract art of the later 20th century: American abstract expressionism.  The Guardian, March 1, 2017

 

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