Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, March 28, 2017

Susan Point spindle whorls A diverse display of Coast Salish spindle whorls by artist Susan Point is now being shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The career-spanning exhibit features various depictions of the spindle whorl, a circular tool traditionally used to prepare wool for clothing and regalia. Though the normally small instrument is usually made from wood, Point’s artistic depictions use many mediums from prints to sculptural work in a range of materials including steel, concrete and paper. Point, from Musqueam Indian Band, said that though her work is rooted in Coast Salish culture, she considers herself a contemporary artist. Salish Sea Sentinel, March 2017

BIG’s Serpentine Pavilion finds permanent home in Vancouver The “unzipped wall” designed by Bjarke Ingels’ firm for the Serpentine Pavilion 2016 commission is set to be re-erected in Downtown Vancouver. Canadian developer Westbank, which was a major sponsor of the pavilion, revealed its plans to bring the structure to its home city exclusively to Dezeen. Danish architect Ingels also confirmed the move, and explained that the structure was purposefully designed to be easily disassembled and transported. Dezeen, March 28, 2017

Free Art Gallery of Alberta admission for kids, students from now on “There is no must in art, because art is free,” said the great Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. The Art Gallery of Alberta seems to be taking that motto to heart, in a rather literal sense. As of Tuesday, the AGA will be offering free admission to all children and youth under the age of 18. Admission will also be free to anyone registered as a student in an Alberta post-secondary institution, regardless of age. Edmonton Journal, March 28, 2017

New Hamburg
Maud Lewis painting found in southern Ontario thrift shop to be auctioned A painting by Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis has turned up in a southern Ontario thrift shop. Volunteers at the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Centre in New Hamburg, Ont., southwest of Kitchener, came across the piece while sorting through donations. The work, entitled Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fishermen, Bay View, N.S. is painted on beaverboard, a pulp board Lewis used for many of her paintings. Living in poverty for most of her life, Lewis sold her paintings from her small home near Digby, N.S., for as little as $2 and $3. Since her death in 1970, Lewis’s paintings have sold for up to $22,000., March 27, 2017

Twitter account maps Tom Thomson’s final journey to Algonquin Park 100 years ago today, legendary Canadian artist Tom Thomson embarked on his last trip from Toronto to Algonquin Park. Now art enthusiasts and history buffs can follow along in real time, thanks to an Ottawa man who has recreated Thomson’s final months on Twitter. Tim Bouma runs the account @TTLastSpring and the blog Tom Thomson’s Last Spring. He first began documenting Thomson’s final spring in Algonquin Park in 2011, and he’s revamped the account this year for the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death., March 23, 2017

A Man of Our Time  Lawren Harris is once again jolted out of his casket, in reappraisals that paint him as a resolute modernist and urbanite… Was he a trust-fund oddball or a true bohemian, a reactionary minter of jingoistic, white-on-white Canadiana or a radical unraveller of the artistic status quo? Of course, he was to some extent all of these things, but as the newest project on Harris makes clear, he was first and foremost a striver. Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries, the publication that accompanies the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s current exhibition of the same name, was organized by Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens, and it sets Harris within the fuller North American story, teasing out further complexities in a legacy that seems to get more complicated with each passing year. Literary Review of Canada, April 2017

Hidden Lights: Art-World Professionals Answer a Question—Who Are the Most Underrated Artists Today? For the third time in two decades, ARTnews approached a cross section of museum directors and curators to opine about one of their favorite subjects: Who are the most underrated artists today, both living and dead? While the names may have changed, some trends are consistent. Women artists remain vastly overlooked both in terms of their achievements and their market… Artists whose base is peripheral to art-world hubs still suffer from underexposure… What follows are the considered and uninhibited responses of an authoritative and eclectic group of art world professionals. Artnews, March 21, 2017

George Michael portrait by Damien Hirst sells for $580,000 A portrait of the late George Michael by artist Damien Hirst has sold for just under half a million pounds at a charity auction.The money raised from the sale of Beautiful Beautiful George Michael Love Painting will go to HIV/Aids charity The Goss-Michael Foundation. The charity was founded by Michael and his former partner Kenny Goss. BBC News, March 28, 2017

New York
Life’s a Beach: With Her First Show in New York, Agnès Varda Gives Herself the Right to Become an Artist By her own calculation, Agnès Varda has had three lives, each corresponding to different parts of her career. “I have been a photographer, then I turned into a filmmaker, then I turned into a visual artist,” she told me earlier this month, adding that she didn’t need anyone’s approval to keep changing. “I gave myself the right to become a visual artist.” Though canonized in the history of cinema, Varda’s work including installations, sculptures, and photography has been little-seen in New York. But now on view at the Upper East Side gallery Blum & Poe is the French New Wave filmmaker’s first-ever New York solo show: a survey of five decades of art from Henri Cartier-Bresson–like photographs from the 1950s to video installations from the 21st century. Artnews, March 27, 2017

575,000 Images by Civil Rights Photographer Bob Adelman Go to Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LOC) has acquired the archive of Bob Adelman, a photographer who helped document the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and continued to be active in social justice issues in the decades that followed, until his death in 2016. The trove, gifted by an anonymous donor, comprises 575,000 images, negatives, and slides, including 50,000 prints… Born in New York City in 1930 and growing up on Long Island, Adelman began his photography career after earning a master’s in philosophy from Columbia University and studying law at Harvard. He studied the form with Alexey Brodovitch, art director of Harper’s Bazaar, and then volunteered for the Congress of Racial Equality as a photographer. “I realized that my involvement would be very dangerous, but I had a long think with myself and decided that this was something worth risking your life for…” Hyperallergic, March 27, 2017

Philadelphia Museum of Art Begins $196 Million Expansion On the eve of its one hundredth anniversary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is beginning a $196 million expansion project—an endeavor by architect Frank Gehry that took about ten years to develop, writes  Katherine Scott of 6ABC. “The core project, as it suggests, really starts at the heart of the museum. It’s an extraordinary design and one that both respects the building, but makes it ready for the next one hundred years,” said Timothy Rub, the museum’s director. Artforum, March 28, 2017

Let there be neon light: Tate Britain unveils ‘drawing in space’ It is made from almost two kilometres of spiralling neon light and has been described as a “drawing in space” and a “celestial map”. The sculpture, by Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans, is the latest artwork to go on show at Tate Britain. The vast maze of neon tubes is one of the most challenging commissions ever to be installed in the neo-classical Duveen Galleries. “It’s an extremely ambitious neon drawing in space that gradually unfolds over time,” said senior curator Clarrie Wallis as the piece was unveiled on Monday. “It took 19 days solid to install with 25 people working on it…” BBC News, March 27, 2017

China show signals Met’s expanding global role The next director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over an institution with a greatly expanded global role, perhaps the most significant long-term legacy of its outgoing director, Thomas Campbell, who announced in late February that he would be stepping down in June… Campbell spoke to The Art Newspaper ahead of the opening of Art of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221BC-AD220) on 3 April (until 16 July). The major exhibition, which features more than 160 loans from 32 museums and archaeological institutions across China, is the culmination of years of research and negotiations with colleagues in China, and involved several visits to China by Campbell and the Met’s curators of Asian art. The Art Newspaper, March 28, 2017

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