Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 22, 2017


Rebecca Chaperon.  “An escape—be it mental or physical—is meant to propel a person into a different world. Maybe it’s a trashy television show; maybe it’s a good magazine; maybe it’s a beautiful piece of art. Rebecca Chaperon specializes in painting escapes. The Vancouver-based artist creates many works involving the idea of a portal to another dimension, or an alternate space. Because she wants to take you there.” Montecristo Magazine, March 3, 2017


Luminescence art gallery celebrates light during spring equinox.  It’s been a year since Burnaby’s Bill Thompson helped launch an art gallery that explored, as he puts it, “the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality.”  The artists involved dubbed the event Luminescence. They weren’t sure how much public interest there would be — but it proved to be an instant hit. CBC News, March 18, 2017


The Sixties Scoop: Visibility, After Years of Silence. “Confusion.. am I Cree or what did you say I was? .. why is my skin brown and not white like yours? .. you say I don’t belong here; what is a reserve? .. where do I belong?….” More than 20 years ago, Cree artist George Littlechild put these words into an extensive multimedia installation titled Dis-placed Indians: The Sixties Scoop. They were from his cousin, Priscilla Riel, about her time in foster care—an experience Littlechild himself shared, having been in foster care himself for much of his childhood. Littlechild’s groundbreaking installation will finally find a home alongside other works on this topic in Canada’s first major art exhibition about the Sixties Scoop. (The Sixties Scoop being the term most commonly used to describe a long period of Indigenous children being adopted or fostered out.)  The exhibition, titled “A Place Between,” will be held at Urban Shaman in Winnipeg.  Canadian Art, March 21, 2017

Art exhibit closed 2 weeks early after pieces vandalized, stolen.  An art exhibit that showcased 14 works of art inspired by neuroscience research projects was vandalized over the weekend, causing organizers to pull the plug on the display. CBC News, March 21, 2017


Remembering pioneer Barry Lord, who invented the museum planning profession.  Barry Lord, who died on March 9 at the age of 77, was a true pioneer of Canada’s cultural scene – and one of its most colourful rebels.  Early on in life, Lord perceived the need for a systematic approach to this country’s arts world. As explained in the announcement of his death from Lord Cultural Resources, the company he co-founded: “Museum planning as a profession didn’t exist, so he invented it.” Globe & Mail, March 21, 2017

Structures: On Legacy, History and Influence. In light of the recent passing of writer, arts advocate and former editor of artscanada Barry Lord, senior editor Bryne McLaughlin reflects on the intersecting paths of our publication’s history, and the theme of our spring issue    Canadian Art, March 16, 2017

Boobs, butts and birds: How a secretive Toronto artist found a career (and controversy) on Instagram  Fucci is currently part of a group show at Vancouver’s Winsor Gallery, and Friday, he launched yet another exhibition: Soup du Jour. Appearing at Toronto’s OnlyOneGallery to April 7, it might be his only solo offering in Canada this year.   CBC, March 20, 2017

Where the Bodies Go: Lili Huston-Herterich’s Poem to the Power of Community. Lili Huston-Herterich’s current exhibition at the emerging gallery Zalucky Contemporary reaches for community further still, and more directly. Titling her show We of the Middling Sort, she invites us into a plurality from the first. Local politics meets a history in the making, as the artist works in the wake of the recent protests to the American presidential inauguration, and calls up the history of the Junction, the Toronto neighborhood in which Zalucky Contemporary (and this author) resides. Momus, March 22, 2017


Schizophrenic artist from N.D.G. hosts first solo show. Alana Barrell began falling in love with art at about the same time her paranoid schizophrenia took hold. Nearly two decades later, at age 33, she still has to cope with terrifying hallucinations of vicious monsters and people with guns, but her bright, colourful art is the exact opposite of the nightmarish visions that torment her. Her art portrays whimsical scenes loaded with humour, love, fun and passion.  Montreal Gazette, March 21, 2017 


Coming Soon: A Site-Specific Response to Canada 150.  Curated by David Diviney, Ariella Pahlke and Melinda Spooner (a.k.a. ACT), Véronique Leblanc, Natalia Lebedinskaia, Kathleen Ritter and Tania Willard, LandMarks2017/Repères2017 is a network of collaborative, contemporary art projects across Canada’s national parks on the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017. Canadian Art, March 20, 2017

New York

To Get Back on Track, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Sharply Scales Back Its Ambitions Amid a spate of negative press about numerous budget and management challenges facing the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel Weiss, the interim director who will succeed Thomas Campbell when he officially resigns at the end of June, is acting fast. The latest is a sweeping plan to get the institution’s unwieldy budget under control and move forward with some renovation projects—though notably not the most high-profile one. Artnet News, March 21, 2017

Inside a Met Director’s Shocking Exit and the Billion-Dollar Battle for the Museum’s Future.  After the storied museum and its provocative director announced they were parting ways, William D. Cohan examines how a former wunderkind—and his mission to modernize—became a toxic mix for one of the world’s most powerful cultural institutions.  Vanity Fair, March 19, 2017

Whitney Biennial: Emmett Till casket painting by white artist sparks anger. A painting included in this year’s Whitney Biennial in New York is being protested for perceived racial insensitivity.  Open Casket by American painter Dana Schutz depicts the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy murdered in 1955 after it was falsely claimed he flirted with a white woman.  The Guardian, March 21, 2017


Arts groups take action to save funding in DC.  The resistance starts now. Tuesday, March 21, is Arts Advocacy Day, firing the effort to save the federal government’s arts funding programs, which would be eliminated under President Trump’s federal budget proposal released last week.   In Washington, some 650 advocacy day delegates are scheduled to fan out to call on all 435 members of the House of Representatives to urge them to oppose the Trump plan to kill the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other, smaller funding arms.  San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2017

Trump budget cuts could shut great art out of museums.  If there were a federal effort that cost taxpayers virtually nothing, yet generated hundreds of millions of dollars to benefit American families, wouldn’t it be cited as a model of efficiency in government? As it stands now, the Trump administration has proposed to shut down such an enterprise.  The Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program was created with bipartisan support in 1975, in a law signed by President Gerald Ford. Little known outside the administrative offices of major American museums, the program is at risk if the National Endowment for the Arts is eliminated, as proposed in Trump’s budget plan released last week.  San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2017


Man charged over attack on Gainsborough painting at National Gallery.  A wing of the National Gallery was evacuated on Saturday afternoon after a man attacked a Thomas Gainsborough painting with a screwdriver.  At about 2.15pm in the east wing of the gallery, a visitor attacked the 1785 painting Mr and Mrs William Hallett, better known as The Morning Walk. Gallery assistants and visitors detained the man, who was then arrested.  The Guardian, March 21, 2017


Stolen van Gogh paintings return to Amsterdam museum 14 years after heist.  The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam welcomed home two paintings by the Dutch master Tuesday, more than 14 years after they were ripped off the museum’s wall in a nighttime heist.   Toronto Star, March 21, 2017


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