Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 2, 2017

ART SEEN: Saying goodbye to Beau Dick Dick died on Monday, March 27 at age 61. He was buried in the cemetery at Alert Bay following a traditional Kwakwaka’wakw funeral. A memorial potlatch will take place on the one-year anniversary of his death. Just before he died, Dick had finished one addition to a set of masks being shown as part of the international art exhibition documenta 14. The masks are now in display in Athens and will move to Kassel in June. Vancouver Sun, April 28, 2017

Cuthand: Indigenous artifacts belong with indigenous people A couple of weeks ago, a Saskatoon lawyer and Kawacatoose band member was on holidays in London when he came across a display on Chief Poundmaker in the British Museum. Along with a picture and some prose was Poundmaker’s pipe. The display featured a picture of Poundmaker and stated that he led the Plains Cree at the time of the Riel rebellion. This statement is false and out of date. The unrest at Fort Battleford was a direct result of the government’s refusal to uphold the treaties… As for the Poundmaker pipe on display, some feel it was a pipe that he smoked casually and that it was not used for ceremonial purposes. If it was used for ceremony, then it should not be on display. Saskatoon Star Phoenix, April 29, 2017

Eight astonishing shows to see at this year’s Contact Photography Festival Every year, hundreds of artists and galleries band together for Contact, the city’s sprawling photography festival. Here, some of our favourite shots. Toronto Life, May 1, 2017

Painter inspired by Indigenous art accused of ‘cultural genocide’ as gallery cancels show Outrage over a Toronto artist borrowing from the style of an acclaimed Indigenous painter has prompted a gallery to cancel its plans for an upcoming exhibit. Visions Gallery had planned to showcase the work of Amanda PL, 29, a local non-Indigenous artist who says she was inspired by the Woodlands style made famous in the ’60s by the Anishinabe artist Norval Morrisseau, who focussed on nature, animals, Indigenous spirituality and medicine., April 28, 2017

Art installations at airports provide unexpected dose of serenity Across Canada, airports are becoming much more savvy to the ways that good art and design can improve the passenger experience. Whether it’s the dinosaur skeletons at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, or the large-scale sculpture Aperture in Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport, these pieces break up the routine of the traveller, promote relaxation and make the airports destinations to see in and of themselves. The Globe and Mail, April 27, 2017

A Retrospective of a Forgotten 1930s Photographer of Famous Faces Lusha Nelson’s art career was brief, but prolific. In the 1930s as a staff photographer for Condé Nast publications including Vogue and Vanity Fair, he captured icons like Katharine Hepburn and Jesse Owens with a direct elegance, always avoiding retouching or manipulation of his portraits. He mingled with Alfred Stieglitz and was mentored by Edward Steichen; he was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1937 photography survey; he surveyed the streets of Depression-era New York with a documentarian eye… Nelson died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 30 in May of 1938… It wasn’t until a 2015 acquisition of over 4,000 of his prints, negatives, and archival materials by the Philbrook Museum of Art that the breadth of his work was exhumed. Hyperallergic, April 30, 2017

Bipartisan Bill Would Boost NEA and NEH Budgets by $1.9 Million Each An omnibus spending bill released early this morning by both houses of the US Congress includes increased funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities (NEA and NEH), as well as for the Smithsonian Institution. According to Bloomberg, President Trump is expected to sign the legislation, which would fund the federal government through September 30, 2017, the end of the current fiscal year (FY). Hyperallergic, May 1, 2017

New York
Vito Acconci (1940–2017) The legendary artist Vito Acconci, best known for his works of the 1960s and ’70s for which he did a number of controversial acts ranging from biting himself to masturbating under the floorboards of Sonnabend Gallery, has died at the age of seventy-seven. According to art dealer Kenny Schacter, the cause of death was a stroke. Born in the Bronx in 1940, Acconci earned his bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and his master’s degree in writing at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1964 before returning to New York. Over the course of his career, he created a diverse body of work in poetry, criticism, performance art, sound, film and video, photography, and sculpture that often explored themes of the human body and the relationship between himself and the public space. Artforum, April 28, 2017. – See also Artnews obituary.

Sotheby’s Holds First-Ever Modern and Contemporary African Art Sale Sotheby’s has announced that it will stage its first-ever sale of modern and contemporary African work. Taking place in London on May 16, the auction features pieces by more than sixty artists from fourteen countries across the continent, including Algeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe. “The marketplace for modern and contemporary art from Africa has transformed dramatically over the past decade, but despite this long-overdue correction, there’s still a considerable way to go towards addressing the underrepresentation of African artists, who account for just 0.01 percent of the international art market,” Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s head of modern and contemporary African art, said. Artforum, April 27, 2017

Laure de Beauvau-Craon, princess and former chair of Sotheby’s France, has died, aged 74 Laure de Beauvau-Craon, who led Sotheby’s France for almost 15 years, died on Saturday, 29 April in Anjou, in the Loire valley, aged 74. Born Laure de Rougemont, she became a princess when she married Marc de Beauveau-Craon, the heir of a noble house tied to the duchy of Lorraine. Her royal title did not stop her from waging—and winning—a war on another ancient order, France’s “commissaires-priseurs”.  Established by King Henry II in 1556, the organisation held a monopoly over the auction market in France for centuries. The Art Newspaper, May 1, 2017

Dutch masterpieces owned by the Russian tsars to travel to Amsterdam Dutch Golden Age masterpieces from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg are making a rare return to the Netherlands this autumn. Amassed by Russia’s tsars since Peter the Great, the museum’s collection of 17th-century Dutch paintings is the largest outside the Netherlands, with around 1,500 works. Sixty-three pieces by 50 artists are due to travel to the Hermitage Amsterdam for the first dedicated exhibition, Dutch Masters from the Hermitage: Treasures of the Tsars (7 October-27 May 2018). The Art Newspaper, May 2, 2017

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