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

8 Things Artists and Art Orgs Need to Know About the 2017 Federal Budget The 2017 federal budget was released yesterday to much fanfare—but in general, there were fewer big surprises this year in comparison with the 2016 budget, which was received with adulation in many arts circles, given the vast increase last year to Canada Council for the Arts funding. “This is a stay-the-course kind of budget,” noted Kate Cornell of the Canadian Arts Coalition in post-budget conversation with Canadian Art. However, there are still important things related to the new budget that Canada’s artists and art organizations need to know about. Here are some of the top items. Canadian Art, March 23, 2017

City of Vancouver staff pick winners and losers in applications for Public Art Boost funding The Vancouver Mural Festival appears to have come out ahead in an upcoming allocation of public-art funding. A city staff report recommends that more than 40 percent of this year’s Public Art Boost funding go to Create Vancouver Society, which puts on the event. Boost projects “harness the creativity and commitment of art organizations to increase the number and variety of opportunities for public art expression across the city”, according to the staff report. It calls for $200,000 of $490,000 in Boost funds be granted to the Vancouver Mural Festival in 2017 and 2018. Georgia Straight, March 26, 2017

Welcome to the machine At Arsenal gallery on Ernest Ave. in the city’s west end right now, there’s a portal to another world. It’s awfully convincing, if only temporary: navigate a boxy, dimly lit maze of Astroturf walls to arrive at a misshapen idol perched above you, its golden hide shimmering. Here, an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is waiting. You’re not going anywhere — in the real world, at least — but this is where your journey begins. The piece, by Montreal artist Jon Rafman, is to put it mildly a trip. Toronto Star, March 26, 2017

Group of Seven works among five paintings donated to National Gallery Five Canadian paintings donated to the National Gallery of Canada to mark the country’s 150th birthday juxtapose the faces of its art. The five paintings donated to the National Gallery will be on public display together through Sunday before entering the collection of later Canadian art. Billboard (Jazz) [by Lawren Harris] will be on view in the new Canadian and Indigenous Galleries opening June 15. Imperial’s history is intertwined with Canada’s, president and CEO Rich Kruger said. Both the national gallery and the former Imperial Oil Company were founded in 1880. Ottawa Citizen, March 23, 2017

A hidden treasure trove of Outsider art in the Midwest turns 50 this year In a small city in America’s dairyland, there is an overlooked arts centre that is a treasure trove of vernacular works of art. The John Michael Kohler Arts Centre (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin—a 100,000 sq. ft non-profit institution that includes 12 galleries, a theatre, studio classrooms and other communal spaces, along with a collection of over 20,000 works of art and artist-built environments—celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. But it remains a relatively unknown player in the broader art world, mirroring the position of many of the Outsider artists that it represents. The Art Newspaper, March 24, 2017

New York
Romare Bearden’s Fevered Dream Romare Bearden is a key figure in this alternative tradition of American art. The exhibition Romare Bearden: Bayou Fever & Related Works at DC Moore (March 23 – April 29, 2017), contains twenty-one collage panels of the Bayou Fever series, which have never been exhibited before in New York, that Bearden conceived for a ballet in 1979, hoping that it would be choreographed by Alvin Ailey, with whom he had worked before, when he created a backdrop for the ballet Ancestral Voices. Hyperallergic, March 25, 2017

Doug Wheeler installs spiky-floored Synthetic Desert at New York’s Guggenheim Museum American artist Doug Wheeler has transformed a gallery at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York into an all-white room designed to evoke the sensation of vast infinite space. PSAD Synthetic Desert III was unveiled yesterday at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed museum in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Based on drawings Wheeler created in the 1960s, the installation comprises an entirely white space. Sharp pyramids cover the floor, and walls gently curve at the corners and edges. A platform among the spikes allows visitors to move into the room, surrounding themselves with the environment and filling their fields of vision. Dezeen, March 24, 2017

Tate Britain to open till midnight to cope with Hockney show demand Tate Britain will be opening its doors until midnight for the first time to cope with demand for the David Hockney exhibition. The retrospective of the Yorkshire-born painter broke pre-sale records for all Tate galleries, selling more than 350,000 tickets before the doors opened in February, and has gone on to become one of the most popular shows in Tate Britain’s history. The midnight openings will be held on the last weekend of the exhibition at the end of May. The show is the most comprehensive of Hockney’s career, featuring more than 100 works spanning from his early works as an art student to recent landscape paintings and depictions of his luscious LA garden, which were drawn using an iPad. The Guardian, March 24, 2017

Rodin’s mistress Camille Claudel steps out of sculptor’s shadow with a museum of her own More than 70 years after her death, the sculptor Camille Claudel—Auguste Rodin’s muse and mistress—has a museum of her own. The Musée Camille Claudel opened in her former family home in Nogent-sur-Seine, around 70 miles southeast of Paris, on 26 March. Better known for her passionate, tragic relationship with Rodin and her 30-year confinement in a psychiatric hospital near Avignon, Claudel was largely forgotten as an artist until the late 1970s. The new museum holds most of the sculptures that she did not destroy when her affair with Rodin ended. It aims to offer a broad overview of Claudel’s artistic trajectory that complements the smaller collection of her works at the Musée Rodin in Paris. The Art Newspaper, March 27, 2017

Abu Dhabi
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi should be postponed or downsized, says the man who launched the project The plan to build a Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi should be postponed or downsized believes Thomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York, who brokered the 2006 deal to establish a Guggenheim designed by architect Frank Gehry in the United Arab Emirates. Speaking on the podcast In Other Words, produced by the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners, Krens said the project to establish a major cultural complex on Saadiyat Island with five new museums was conceived at a time when “people were far more naive” and “could never have happened” today. The Art Newspaper, March 27, 2017

Hong Kong
How to look at a work of art “Is there a right length of time to look at – or engage with – an artwork?” asks Linda Kennedy in this video from Art Basel Hong Kong. “What’s worth a glance? What deserves a gaze?” The annual Slow Art Day encourages people to choose a few pieces of art and stare longer. “In an art fair like this, people are just racing around, trying to take photos, see as much as they can take in,” says art critic Payal Uttam. “Slow art is really the polar opposite – it’s about taking time.” BBC Culture, March 24, 2017

Mao, Lenin, Thatcher, and Other Leaders Haunt Art Basel Hong Kong The corpse of Mao Zedong, the chairman and founder of the People’s Republic of China who transformed the country into a communist nation, lies in state at the most peculiar of places: Art Basel Hong Kong, which runs at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre through March 25. Encased in a glass coffin, Mao’s body represents a number of things — the special administrative region’s connection to China, communist ideology and the flawed realities that came with it. The bodies of four other late communist leaders — Soviet Union chairman Vladimir Lenin, North Korean prime minister Kim II Sung, Vietnamese prime minister and president Ho Chi Minh and Cuban president Fidel Castro — surround Mao in an installation entitled “Summit” by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin. Hyperallergic, March 24, 2017

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