Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 6, 2017


Nature meets culture in photographs by Marian Penner Bancroft and Mark Mizgala. The complex and sometimes barbed interface between nature and culture is addressed by two small exhibitions, on now as part of the expansive Capture Photography Festival. Marian Penner Bancroft’s Radial Systems, which includes nine C-prints and a video work, is at Republic Gallery, up two steep flights of stairs from Richards Street. Shift, Mark Mizgala’s show of ink-jet prints, is on view in the art rental and sales space, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.   Georgia Straight, April 5, 2017

Winners Announced for BC’s Biggest Art Prizes.   The winners have been announced for British Columbia’s biggest art awards.  Carole Itter has won the $30,000 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. Lyse Lemieux is the winner of the $12,000 VIVA Award. And Grant Arnold is being honoured with the Alvin Balkind Curator’s PrizeCanadian Art, April 5, 2017.  See also: Artist Carole Itter to receive Audain PrizeGeorgia Straight, April 5, 2017 and  Carole Itter receives 2017 Audain Prize in visual arts.  Vancouver Sun, April 5, 2017

Haida master carver James Hart tells the story of Indian residential schools in reconciliation totem pole.  James Hart and his son, Gwaliga, have worked on many projects together, but the latest, a totem pole led by the Haida master carver, holds a special significance for both: in it, they address the past, present, and future of Canada with regard to the effects of the Indian residential school system. Commissioned by philanthropist and art collector Michael Audain, the 55-foot pole is being carved by James, Gwaliga, John Brent Bennett, Brandon Brown, Jaalen Edenshaw, Derek White, Leon Ridley, and Hart’s late son, Carl, (all of the Haida Nation) from an 800-year-old ts’uu, or red cedar, and has taken more than two years to complete.  Georgia Straight, March 31, 2017

Gwy’ai (Kingcome Inlet)

An Elegy for Beau Dick (1955–2017)  Beau Dick was given the name “Walis Gwy Um,” which means “maker of monsters” in the Kwak’wala language. His carvings tap into the supernatural, as though everything he made is invested with spirit.  Momus, April 5, 2017


Toronto’s Luminato returns to its roots under new artistic director. With new artistic director Josephine Ridge at the helm, Luminato will return to its roots, abandoning the east-end Hearn Generating Station for its traditional downtown locations. Its goal, according to the Australian arts veteran Ridge, is to refocus its definition of the word “festival” and to nail down Luminato’s blueprint for the years to come. Toronto Star, April 4, 2017


Small city, big art: How Guelph, Ontario is leading the way for local arts communities. As Canada’s major urban centres become less affordable, artists are increasingly relocating to smaller cities. Cheaper living means less time spent at ‘joe’ jobs and more focus on creative work. But a smaller population also means less public to share that work with. One of the solutions to this conundrum is to pool resources and audience through interdisciplinary events — and Guelph’s Kazoo! Fest is a shining example of this approach.  CBC News, April 5, 2017


K-W Art Gallery to open with a BigBang!   The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is going to opens its doors this Friday with a BigBang!  After four months of renovations, the gallery will be hosting a one night only event featuring the work of two Guelph artists, Jenn E. Norton and Steph Yates.  CBC News, April 5, 2017


Artist’s Vimy tribute at the Canadian War Museum is written in the stars.  Artist Sarah Hatton’s latest installation is written in the stars.  Detachment was unveiled Wednesday at the Canadian War Museum as part of the Battle of Vimy Ridge exhibit, with the museum marking the centenary of the iconic battle Thursday with an array of special exhibits.  Ottawa Citizen, April 5, 2017


Hard Numbers: A Study on Diversity in Canada’s Galleries.  “The Canada Council for the Arts recently revamped its funding policies with an emphasis on diversity. Both press coverage and official program guidelines indicate that “commitment to reflecting—through artistic programming, organizational make-up and development of your publics—the diversity of your geographic community or region” are funding criteria that have new weight. How is the diversity of geographic communities measured? On the most basic level, one would think that this includes taking stock of, for instance, upper management. How we, as a community at large (that is, the visual-art community), reflect the larger community at large is a big question.  We know there’s a severe lack of diversity in the art world (see this publication’s “Canada’s Galleries Fall Short: The Not-So Great White North” by Alison Cooley, Amy Luo and Caoimhe Morgan-Feir, whose information maps interestingly onto my own Waging Culture studies on the socio-economic status of visual artists in Canada). There is however, as per usual in the visual arts in Canada, a severe lack of hard data…” – Michael Miranda, AGYU, Canadian Art, April 5, 2017

Las Vegas

The quest for a major Las Vegas art museum focuses on Symphony Park downtown.   Local proponents have raised $2 million. They also have a memo of understanding from the city of Las Vegas for a Symphony Park parcel, solving the problem of the future museum’s home.  Let’s hope they prove more successful at achieving their dream than such predecessors as the Nevada Institute of Contemporary Art and the Las Vegas Art Museum. Las Vegas Review Journal, April 4, 2017

New York

Controversial Dana Schutz Painting Removed from Whitney Biennial Due to Water Leak. Visitors to the Whitney Museum hoping to see the most controversial painting in this year’s biennial — or the protesters blocking it and calling for its removal — may be frustrated. The small fifth-floor alcove containing Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket” (2016) — a painting based on a 1955 photograph of the body of Emmett Till in his casket — and a handful of other works, was closed to the public over the weekend because of a water leak. Hyperallergic, April 2, 2017


Revolution Museum zooms past $150 million fund-raising goal. The Museum of the American Revolution has announced a joint $2.5 million gift from Comcast/NBCUniversal and the Roberts Foundation, pushing the museum past its $150 million fund-raising goal.  The museum, which opens April 19, has now raised $152 million for its new building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and endowment. Philadelphia Inquirer, April 5, 2017


Drawn from Life Marc Quinn.  Marc Quinn is in love, and lustily so. That is the main news at Sir John Soane’s Museum. If you didn’t know it from the flood of celebrity photographs of the 53-year-old artist in superannuated baseball cap embracing his girlfriend, the towering dancer Jenny Bastet, you could easily deduce it from this show of new sculptures specially made for the Soane. The Guardian, April 2, 2017

V&A to open new galleries for photos acquired from Bradford museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum is to open one of the most comprehensive photography centres in the world, which will house a collection of prints acquired from the Bradford Media Museum last year.  The V&A will expand its current photography space in the north-east wing of its South Kensington museum, opening into a further seven galleries. The first phase of the project will open in autumn 2018. The Guardian, April 5, 2017

United Kingdom

Museums in ‘crisis’ as a quarter are dealt public funding cuts.  Many museums are facing a “funding crisis” the Museums Association has warned, after 24% of museums reported a decrease in public income in its latest sector-wide survey. Despite the cuts, the survey found a greater focus on commercial enterprise, income generation and audience development is paying off, with 35% of museums reporting an increase in overall income and half reporting an increase in visitor numbers. Arts Professional, April 4, 2017


World’s Largest Street Art Museum Takes Shape in Amsterdam.  In a former warehouse, which has already served as an event space and indoor flea market, local curator Peter Ernst Coolen plans to create what would be the largest street art museum in the world, a nod to all the graffiti and tags that used to cover the whole shipyard.  Hyperallergic, April 2, 2017


Spanish Archaeologists Discover Unopened 4000-Year-Old Tomb in Aswan. More discoveries are revealed week after week in Egypt reaching the Spanish Archaeological Mission discovery of an intact burial chamber in Qubbet el-Hawa, West Aswan in Egypt.  The discovered burial belongs to Sarenput II, the brother of one of the most important governors of the 12th Dynasty (middle Kingdom), according to Luxor Times Magazine on Wednesday.   Egyptian Streets, March 22, 2017


Egypt revives major museum projects, six years after revolution.  When the 2011 revolution swept through the Egyptian capital, ambitious museum projects were put on the back burner as the country grappled with political turmoil and economic crisis. But six years later, Egypt’s cultural initiatives are picking up speed. The Art Newspaper, April 5, 2017

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