Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 26, 2017


The Tonal Ambivalence of Feminist Land Art Retreat.  Rebecca Belmore stands out in the greater context of the Land Art movement, addressing trauma and memory from the embodied position of someone whose relationship to the land has been severed. Her overtly political restructuring of Land Art tactics maintains a certain proximity to earlier generations of feminist Land Artists. By contrast, others working in the movement, like Vancouver-based Feminist Land Art Retreat (FLAR), seem to interrogate these politics in more indirect, ambivalent ways.  Momus, April 26, 2017

Tickets to Solange Knowles’s Vancouver shows sell out within minutes amid backlash from local activists.  If you were hoping to nab a seat at Solange Knowles’s recently announced performance in Vancouver but were offline this morning (April 25), tough luck.   The performances sold out within minutes. In March, Knowles debuted “Scales” at Houston’s Menil Collection. The Rennie Museum is one of only a handful of art and gallery spaces that the Grammy Award-winning singer will be presenting in over the next few months.   Meanwhile, the Anti-Oppression Network, a local activist group, that aims to forward decolonization and anti-oppression policies while advocating for marginalized and underprivileged people, launched an online petition on April 20 urging Knowles to cancel or relocate her shows from the Rennie Museum due to the venue’s ties to Bob Rennie.  Georgia Straight, April 25, 2017


Robert Amos: Artist finds a focus in complexity.  Noah Becker was something of a wunderkind in Victoria. Born in 1970, he enrolled at the Victoria College of Art at age 15, graduating in 1988.  In the next 10 years, he exhibited in Vancouver, was presented by several American galleries, and regularly went to the Miami Art Fair and Art Basel. Then, a “traumatic experience with a gallery” made him realize that he couldn’t pursue an international career this way.  “We’re on an island and it’s remote,” he said. “You have to overcome the marginalization somehow.” He returned to New York in 2009.   Times Colonist, April 23, 2017


More than just flower power.  She is one of the most acclaimed and controversial artists of the 20th century. And yet, readings of the New Mexico painter’s work have been surprisingly one-dimensional. A new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario shifts attention away from Georgia O’Keeffe’s overexposed flower studies and attempts to position her as the Great American Woman Artist, and toward her work as a pioneering abstractionist.  Globe & Mail, April 26, 2017

On Becoming My Mother.  One aspect of the creative process that I find marvellous is never knowing when an idea is gestating. It was likely the repetition of this comment throughout our tour that planted the idea of Trisha, a project in which I investigated this resemblance through the recreation of several vintage photos of my mother taken during her honeymoon in Jasper, with me replacing her as subject.  Canadian Art, April 25, 2017


Art Award Atlantic finalists. The Atlantic longlist winners are: Melanie Colosimo, Eleanor King, Lisa Lipton, Graeme Patterson and Ursula Johnson. The Atlantic artists, as well as the artists from across Canada, will be shortlisted, with one finalist named from each region, and one overall winner. The Chronicle Herald, April 24, 2017

Los Angeles

UCLA’s Hitoshi Abe and USC’s Qingyun Ma on the ugliness of L.A. architecture, ‘Uberism’ and more.  In 2007, L.A. architecture saw a major changing of the guard as Hitoshi Abe, an architect from Sendai, Japan, became chair of the department of architecture and urban design at UCLA and Shanghai-based Qingyun Ma took over as dean of the USC School of Architecture. Now both men are moving on from those posts: Abe stepped down last year, while Ma’s final day in the job is June 30. (Both will retain professorships at their respective schools.). For this week’s column, I sat down with the two of them to conduct a kind of exit interview about the decade they’ve spent running the two departments.  Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2017


Artist Marisol’s estate is donated to art gallery.   The entire estate of 1960s pop artist Marisol has been donated to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.  The estate includes more than 100 sculptures spanning the artist’s 60-year career.  The bequest includes 150 works on paper, thousands of photographs, a group of works by other artists, Marisol’s tools and her New York loft apartment.  MetroNews, April 25, 2017


A tiny wifi-enabled, cloud-based people counter makes a big impact.  “At the Barnes, we have a strict capacity limit in our galleries — no more than 250 people can be in the collection gallery at any given time. As a result, we do advanced timed ticketing to control the general flow coming into the gallery, but it’s critical to have accurate counting in and out — the duration of a visit may vary greatly and knowing that variance helps us keep the galleries full, but not beyond capacity at any given time.  There are a number of these solutions on the market and we’re using the one from TallyFi. This solution is priced as a yearly venue fee and then you purchase the counters you need. We have three counters now which facilitate counting at collection, special exhibition, and our main entrance.”  The Medium, April 24, 2017


An unequal art world.  From 2011 to 2016, just two in 100 of the top lots sold by living artists at auction were works by women. Of 2,300 artworks in the National Gallery, only 20 are by women, and none of the top ten richest living artists in the world are women.  Arts Professional, April 20, 2017

London residents overlooked by Tate Modern extension suing gallery for breach of human rights.  Residents in a block of multi-million pound flats overlooked by a Tate Modern viewing platform are suing the gallery, arguing that their human rights are being breached by “near constant surveillance”.  Hyperallergic, April 18, 2017

Nogent-sur-Seine, France

Sculptor Camille Claudel Finally Gets Her Own Museum.  After a losing battle with both mental illness and institutionalized sexism, one of the greatest French sculptors of the 19th century died in obscurity. The reputation of Camille Claudel has, however, been on the rise again since the 1980s. And a sleepy French town some 100km from Paris is now determined to reestablish the position she once enjoyed in the capital. Hyperallergic, April 25, 2017


Blake Gopnik and the art of art criticism.  “While “art criticism shouldn’t be the Consumer Reports of art, it shouldn’t give a thumbs up or thumbs down,” it also shouldn’t isolate people who have a curiosity.   “I believe that art criticism, if it’s going to matter, it has to be more ambitious. The cliché about journalism is that it’s the first draft of history and I think art criticism should be the first draft of art history. It should matter in that way.””  — Blake Gopnik.  It’s All Journalism, April 20, 2017

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