Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 19, 2017

The Vancouver Art Gallery Library will be closed on April 20, 2017.   The Arts News will be back on Monday, April 24, 2017.  Hope to see you then!


Howie Tsui’s Subversive, Epic New Work.  In a sprawling video projection at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Howie Tsui explores the martial-arts genre that shaped him—and the city in which he was born.  Canadian Art, April 18, 2017

Vancouver Art Gallery announces Susan Point and Rodney Graham acquisitions.  On the heels of Coast Salish artist Susan Point’s major retrospective, Susan Point: Spindle Whorl, the Vancouver Art Gallery recently announced a new acquisition of significant contemporary works.  The addition includes artworks by Vancouver-based artists Point and Rodney Graham, among many others.  Georgia Straight, April 18, 2017

First Nations art of Xi xanya dzam gathers many lifetimes of deep talent.  “Xi xanya dzam, the title of a small exhibition at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, is borrowed from the Kwak’wala language. Pronounced “hee hun ya zam”, it is used to describe “incredibly talented and gifted people who create works of art”. Aptly, it is applied here to past lifetime-achievement-award winners of the B.C. Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art.  In addition to spotlighting the accomplishments of Primrose Adams (Haida), Dempsey Bob (Tahltan-Tlingit), Rena Point Bolton (Sto:lo), Mandy Brown (Nlaka’pamux), Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth), Robert Davidson (Haida), Alvin Mack (Nuxalk), Mary Michell (Carrier), Earl Muldon (Gitxsan), Susan Point (Musqueam), and Norman Tait (Nisga’a), the exhibition grapples with different social and linguistic readings of “achievement” and “excellence”. It also provides an opportunity to consider how these qualities are celebrated and rewarded across cultures.”  Georgia Straight, April 13, 2017

Vancouver’s lost history uncovered at art deco exhibition. Art deco is peppered throughout Vancouver. The architectural style that took form in the early 1900’s is present in the Commodore Ballroom, the Burrard Street Bridge, and the downtown Marine Building. The exhibition, The Lost Vancouver: An Unexpected Art Deco Tour is part of the Capture Photography Festival and runs at the Space Gallery on Clark Drive.  CBC News, April 16, 2017

North Vancouver

498 artifacts fly as museum clears clutter.  The North Vancouver Museum and Archives is throwing out everything including the kitchen sink. The NVMA recently won approval from city council to do away with 498 items, including a sink. Since 2012, the NVMA has unloaded nearly 5,000 artifacts. In terms of volume, the museum has reduced their collection by 30 per cent, which should allow it to squeeze into their new 3,000 square foot storage facility. The NVMA must vacate their current warehouse before the lease expires in May 2019. The museum is slated to move into a new home on the first floor at 131 West Esplanade, following city council granting approval in December 2016.   North Shore News, April 18, 2016


Comment: The arts contribute to a diversified economy. “In a province that prides itself on fiscal restraint, one of the easiest targets has been the arts. It is simple to see why: Given a choice between investments in culture or social housing, it’s usually no contest. The problem is that from an economic perspective, it is a big mistake. Beyond the usual multipliers that indicate that for every $1 million invested in the arts, there is a $1.1-million return, there is the case that British Columbia needs as diverse an economy as it can build.”   – Jon Tupper, Director of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  Times Colonist, April 18, 2017


Remai Modern targets June moving day.  Staff of the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan plan to move into the new building at River Landing in early June.  At some point after that, gallery officials and the board of directors will decide on the official opening date, gallery executive director and CEO Gregory Burke said in an email on Tuesday.  Star Phoenix, April 18, 2017


Mark Lewis’s Canada, quietly in motion at the AGO. “Mark lewis ;” reads the sign above the gallery door at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in big blocky letters, and you’d be forgiven for expecting an epic visual ode to the true north strong and free. Pause to consider, then, what lies beyond the threshold, where three big, silent video works capturing decidedly unheroic, not particularly Canadian scenes await: The sickly green of an industrial canal; a lone swimmer on a beach; a woman reading, seaside, in beatific light. Each of them was shot here, but less as intention than incidental fact. Toronto Star, April 16, 2017

ROM to reveal architecture of the Holocaust with exhibit created at University of Waterloo.  A shocking exhibition about how the architecture of Auschwitz enabled the horrors of the Nazi death camp is coming to Toronto. The Royal Ontario Museum will soon announce that it has snagged it for a seven-month run from June 24 to Jan. 28.  Reaching the public in Southern Ontario is a homecoming for The Evidence Room. It was initially created at the University of Waterloo for the 2016 Venice Biennale architecture exhibit.  Globe & Mail, April 17, 2017


25 Artists Longlisted for $50K Sobey Art Award. The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada today announced the longlist of nominees for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. These 25 longlisted artists—five for each of five regions—are vying are for the top prize worth $50,000. Each of four other finalists will receive $10,000.  A related shortlist of five artists will be released on June 6, with the top winner of the prize being announced on October 25 in Toronto.  Canadian Art, April 19, 2017

The Capital Builders: How architect Douglas Cardinal designed a museum ‘for all cultures’  After months of presenting his vision of a new national museum to federal government officials for approval, architect Douglas Cardinal was summoned one morning in 1983 to the office of Pierre Trudeau, then the prime minister…[After their meeting] Cabinet quickly approved plans to build a new Canadian Museum of Civilization — today it’s known as the Canadian Museum of History — that would eventually change the way the world saw Ottawa. It was to be one of three symbols of nationhood Trudeau envisaged as his legacy: the Constitution, the National Gallery, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Ottawa Citizen, April 16, 2017


Meet Montreal artist Manuel Mathieu.  One of Montreal’s rising young artists, Haitian-born painter Manuel Mathieu, has recently returned to his adopted city after a stint in London, where he spent the past few years earning an MFA from the prestigious Goldsmiths College.  Cult Montreal, April 18, 2017


Art in Condoland.  Development mania across Canada is marked by eye-catching public art. But what makes such works successful? No one, it seems, can quite agree.  Canadian Art, April 17, 2017

We Have Never Been “Post-AIDS”  In reading HIV/AIDS through the lens of Canadian art, we are often taught to think within the confines of a historical canon that encompasses the work of a few select artists. Undoubtedly, the contributions of household names such as General Idea, AA Bronson, John Greyson and Stephen Andrews continue to inspire important dialogue on this subject. But today, the emergence of a younger, perhaps less visible, group of artists demands that we expand the conversation. As opposed to practices that took shape directly within the early years of the AIDS crisis, these artists address a different set of concerns that reflect their youth and shared place in history.  Canadian Art, April 13, 2017

News in Brief: Kenojuak Ashevak’s Art on $10 Bill, New Canada Council Board Members, Manitoba Budget Slices Arts Funding.  In the news: Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly announced on Friday that eight part-time members have been appointed to the board of directors of the Canada Council for the Arts;  Manitoba’s arts funding will take a cut under the new provincial budget, which was released on Tuesday by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen and Cape Dorset artist Kenojuak Ashevak’s stonecut print Owl’s Bouquet (2007) will be replicated on a commemorative $10 banknote that was unveiled by the Bank of Canada in Ottawa for Canada 150.  Canadian Art, April 14, 2017

New York

My Life As a Failed Artist. “It pains me to say it, but I am a failed artist. “Pains me” because nothing in my life has given me the boundless psychic bliss of making art for tens of hours at a stretch for a decade in my 20s and 30s, doing it every day and always thinking about it, looking for a voice to fit my own time, imagining scenarios of success and failure, feeling my imagined world and the external one merging in things that I was actually making. Now I live on the other side of the critical screen, and all that language beyond words, all that doctor-shamanism of color, structure, and the mysteries of beauty — is gone.”   – Jerry Saltz.  Vulture Magazine, April 18, 2017

What Broke the Met? Thomas P. Campbell’s resignation had triggered a barrage of reports on the managerial mistakes that led to his “shocking exit” — alienating staff, launching tacky and expensive redesigns of the brand, flogging a massive contemporary-art expansion, including a brand-new $600 million wing, without securing the requisite funding.  Vulture Magazine, April 16, 2017


I went to Kusama and all I got was this lousy selfie  “Critics, of course, experience museums in fundamentally different ways from most audiences. But the mad crowds of the Kusama exhibition raise important questions about the basic experience museums offer, and whether they can continue to offer it in an age when success is measured in foot traffic, admission and other revenue (if the museum has an entry fee), and a host of crowd-based metrics (social media success, including Instagram posts, among them).”  Washington Post, April 14, 2017


Statue of suffragist to break male monopoly on Parliament Square.  Gillian Wearing is to become the first woman to create a statue for Parliament Square after being commissioned to make one of the suffragist Millicent Fawcett.  The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced that Wearing had been chosen for what will be a “milestone project” to get a woman represented in the UK’s most important public space for recognising past national achievements. The Guardian, April 13, 2017

How Michelangelo and Sebastiano’s Roman Chapel Was Recreated in London.  The National Gallery’s fascinating exhibition  is an academically rigorous survey examining the 25-year relationship between the two Renaissance artists.  The most startling of these examples is the presence of an almost-life size reconstruction of the domed Borgherini Chapel from Rome’s Church of San Pietro in Montorio, painted by Sebastiano, with the originating Michelangelo drawings displayed adjacent. The National Gallery has championed the combination of pioneering technology and traditional craft behind this feat, which is the work of Factum Arte, part of the Madrid-based Factum Foundation for Digital Technology. Hyperallergic, April 17, 2017

The problem with selling contemporary art at auction: The Artist Pension Trust withdraws 18 lots from Sotheby’s Last week, 18 lots estimated to sell for as much as £200,000 were withdrawn from a contemporary art sale in London. So why was the London sale aborted? “We had conversations with some of the artists, and the closer the auction got, the more the artists and their galleries said that auction was not in their best interests,” says Al Brenner, CEO of the new MutualArt Group. Every artist fears that their work might be undersold, or unsold, at auction, affecting confidence and making sales from the gallery much more difficult.  As it is, artists’ fears of the effects of going unsold at auction are already close to realisation. Not understanding that their work was withdrawn, the widely used Blouin Art Sales Index of auction results has recorded each work as “bought in” (i.e., unsold). That’s something for APT to rectify first thing this morning.  The Telegraph, April 18, 2017



Venice Biennale: How Icelandic artist hands over pavilion to trolls. The artist Egill Sæbjörnsson who won the Icelandic Pavilion commission at the 57th Venice Biennale has surprised the art world by announcing it will be created by Ūgh and Bõögâr, two trolls  The Independent, April 18, 2017


Germany to investigate mass plunder of works of art by Stasi in Cold War era.  Germany has dealt with the long shadow of Nazi-era looting for many years. Now the government is setting aside funding to investigate another dark chapter of the past: the expropriation of works of art by the Stasi, the East German secret police, during the Cold War. The research could open the door to new restitution claims from the families of victims. The Art Newspaper, April 13, 2017

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