Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 12, 2017


Artist Talk: Mark Mizgala.  Join Art Rental & Sales at the Vancouver Art Gallery for an artist talk with Mark Mizgala. Mizgala’s photographs from his latest series, “Shift“, imagine a future where nature and humanity exist in harmony, and the natural world finds its rightful home alongside the outputs of human production. Georgia Straight, April 11, 2017

Vancouver art organizations get $500,000 grant to encourage local art.   Over the next two years, 10 projects will receive half a million dollars in funding for public art projects.  Burrard Arts Foundation presented the Façade Festival at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2016. They will return to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s north façade in 2017, supported by a Boost grant. Metronews, April 5, 2017


Artist for Life: The biggest exhibition of Jim Adams’ long career opens at Surrey Art.  Jim Adams eagerly talked about “The Irretrievable Moment,” the title of the biggest exhibition of his decades-long career as an artist. The show opened Saturday evening (April 8) at the Surrey Art gallery, located at Bear Creek Park.  Curators at SAG and The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford plan to showcase Adams’ work at both facilities this spring.  “It’s a two-part show,” Adams, a White Rock artist, explained. “First it’s a set of paintings and artwork in Surrey, then a completely different set of paintings and artwork shown in Abbotsford (starting on May 25).   Surrey Now Leader, April 6, 2017


150 Indigenous Artists Receive $1.5 Million in Awards.  The winners of the REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards have been announced, with 150 artists each receiving $10,000—for a total of $1.5 million in cash awards disbursed. The aim of this one-time-only REVEAL prize? To “fuel Indigenous arts practice for the next 150 years,” says the Hnatyshyn Foundation. Practitioners in a wide range of art forms are being honoured, including visual artists, media artists, craftspeople, musicians, writers, storytellers, dancers and actors.  Among the visual artists who are receiving the prize are Shuvinai Ashoona, Meryl McMaster, Shelley Niro, Ruth Cuthand, Kent Monkman and Christi Belcourt. The laureates have been invited to receive their awards on May 22 during a ceremony in Winnipeg.  Canadian Art, April 12, 2017


A Work That Could Resist Documenta’s Crisis Tourism.  The multi-layered engagement with cultural and economic capital seems particularly relevant given the forthcoming presentation of Rosé Porn at the AGO  in proximity to Documenta 14’s programming in Athens this summer. “There’s a lot of tension in Athens, and among Greek artists, about the fact that Documenta is there. I think a lot of people feel used,” Zoja Smutny explains. “I don’t know if you read the article, but [former Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis] Varoufakis basically said, the fact that Documenta is coming to Athens is kind of like very rich white people going to Africa.” With her relationships to both Canada and Greece, Smutny hopes to facilitate the exchanges that make such activity possible. “I think that the danger of this Documenta is that, as an outsider, as a non-Greek artist, you will be a tourist. You’re just going to go to a talk, or see a show, but you will not have access to really engage.”  Canadian Art, April 11, 2017

Living in the present with Kelly Mark: At the galleries.  Last we saw Kelly Mark, at the dearly departed Diaz Contemporary — closed recently to make way for (what else?) condos — it was under a gloomy rubric: The show was called Curmudgeon, and grumpiness was the order of the day. How grumpy? “I added dying to my list of things to do/ That way I’ll probably just never get around to it,” read one of her text works. Her trademark acid wit aside, it was hard to read a ton of optimism into the show; for Mark, who has said that for her making art comes from a joyful place, it seemed in rather short supply.  On Saturday Mark, now at the Olga Korper Gallery, opened Back Burner, and it’s heartening to see her light touch — a gleeful curmudgeonliness, if such a thing can be — return.  Toronto Star, April 6, 2017


New National Gallery exhibitions celebrate diversity of Canadian photography from 1960 to 2000.    Photography in Canada, 1960-2000, the exhibition that opens Friday, is about much more than the most recognizable of Canadians. Through more than 100 diverse photos taken by 70-odd photographers, the exhibition also elicits sparks of recognition and insight with images that are unfamiliar, obscure or even fantastic.  Ottawa Citizen, April 6, 2017

Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum hike admission fees.  The Canadian Museum of History, the capital region’s most visited museum, has hiked its admission fees and membership rates in a move officials say makes things simpler for visitors.  As of April 4, it costs $20 for a regular adult admission to the national museum, while youth pay $16 and seniors $18 — a $5 increase for each ticket type.  CBC News, April 9, 2017


When Nature Becomes a Curatorial Commodity.  A nuclear accident in Chalk River. Mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nations. A funeral for the Don River in Toronto. These are just a few events that have demonstrated Canada’s troubled relationship with an increasingly un-natural, inhospitable environment.  These three events are among many highlighted in the current exhibition “It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment,” a show that sharply contrasts traditionally romantic notions of a barren, unclaimed Canadian landscape or terra nullius.  Canadian Art, April 6, 2017


Halifax Report: Minimal-ish.  Immersive environments, achieved either through excess or extreme paring down, are dominating Halifax’s art scene at the moment.  In particular, in their solo exhibitions across the city, Tove Storch, Angela Henderson and Juss Heinsalu have created pared-down, immersive environments each focused on a single material: steel, concrete or clay. Canadian Art, April 6, 2017


Where are Canada’s starring artists?  “We lack champions,” says Stephen Ranger, business vice-president at Waddington’s auction house in Toronto. “We haven’t created a sort of star system in the way that other countries have, and I think that’s what needs to happen if we’re going to dial forward.” The Canadians closest to achieving name-brand recognition include Michael Snow, Jeff Wall, Brian Jungen, Douglas Coupland and Carl Beam. But compared to America’s Jeff Koons or Britain’s Damien Hirst (one of the “young British artists” famous enough to earn the acronym the YBAs), Canada’s front-runners are—who?  Macleans, April 11, 2017


Wangechi Mutu Wins Anderson Ranch’s National Artist Award. Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu is being honored with the National Artist Award from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen, Colorado, to be presented at the institution’s 21st Annual Recognition Dinner on July 20, 2017. Artnet News, April 11, 2017

New York

What it looks like when Louis Vuitton and Jeff Koons team up to make classic art “accessible” Artist Jeff Koons has teamed up with fashion house Louis Vuitton to create a collection of bags and accessories featuring imitations of some of the world’s most famous paintings.  According to both Koons and Louis Vuitton chief executive Michael Burke, these bags are about bringing classic works to “the street”—where a person with a $3,200 backpack depicting Rubens’ The Tiger Hunt could handily unzip their carryall to reveal a short biography of the Flemish baroque master, perhaps. Quartz, April 10, 2017

FBI Warns There Could Be ‘Hundreds More’ Fake Postwar Paintings by Forgery Mastermind. In a move that reflects just how many fakes Eric Spoutz was pumping into the art market, the FBI’s New York Art Crime Team has released a statement warning against purchasing works that could possibly be forgeries.  The Michigan-based art dealer, who was arrested in 2016, functioned under several aliases, including Robert Chad Smith, John Goodman, and James Sinclair, while selling fake paintings he claimed were by Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell, among others.  Artnet News, April 10, 2017

‘What Next?’ an Uncertain Art World Asks, Sticking to Proven Brands.  On Tuesday, the inaugural New York edition of the Art Business Conference was held at the Time Warner Center. Aimed at “senior art market professionals,” the event sold 240 tickets, priced at $275 to $500, to representatives of more than 140 organizations.  The audience soon learned that this is an industry that is troubled — at least in the West — by a sense of uncertainty. Britain, one of the world’s largest art markets, is leaving the European Union; auction sales were down in 2016; and established contemporary galleries such as Andrea Rosen in New York and Vilma Gold and IBID in London are closing, as is a Christie’s salesroom in the British capital.  New York Times, April 7, 2017


Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand ‘left in limbo’ after contract rebuff.  A shadow has been cast over the future of Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand after the institution’s board declined to renew his five-year tenure for another full term, citing pressures over its controversial $450 million Sydney Modern expansion project.  Toronto Star, April 11, 2017

Ditchling, Sussex

Eric Gill: can we separate the artist from the abuser?  Eric Gill was one of the great British artists of the 20th century – and a sexual abuser of his own daughters. A new exhibition at Ditchling asks: how far should an artist’s life affect our judgment of their work?  The Guardian, April 9, 2017

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