Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 9, 2017

Canada 150: Jack Shadbolt believed in art’s place in society In 1989, Jack Shadbolt was made the 19th freeman of the City of Vancouver. He really liked the idea of an artist, as he said, “belonging to a city.” It reminded him of how other artists were honoured by their cities, such as Hieronymus Bosch by Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands and Michelangelo by Florence, Italy. Shadbolt even made a joke about it. “To paraphrase W. C. Fields,” he said, “a city that values its artists cannot be all bad.” About nine years later, just after Shadbolt died, curator and writer Scott Watson said that Shadbolt had the power to both reveal the crisis of the human condition and to heal it. Vancouver Sun, May 5, 2017.

Vancouver Art Gallery struggles with Group of Seven authenticity mystery It was a spectacular story, infused in mystery: In early 2015, the Vancouver Art Gallery announced the donation of 10 “newly discovered and never-before-displayed” oil sketches by Group of Seven co-founder J.E.H. MacDonald from early in his career. Where had they been all these years? The Globe and Mail, May 6, 2017

Looking for identity through history Deconstructing Diaspora: Institute of Asian Art Inaugural Symposium will be taking place at the Vancouver Art Gallery May 18–19. As part of the Marking Place Speaker Series, artist Jin-me Yoon will be giving a talk traversing the 26 years of her practice, exploring ideas of diaspora, nationalism, migration and displacement. Yoon is a visual arts professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA). As a child, she made many collages with catalogues and magazines but never thought she would become an artist. The Source, May 9, 2017

National Gallery of Canada receives major gift of contemporary art from collector Bob Rennie The Vancouver-based real estate magnate and collector Bob Rennie has given a collection of contemporary art worth more than C$12m to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary. The donation by is “by volume and value, the largest single gift of contemporary art in the history of the gallery,” the museum’s director Marc Mayer says. The Rennie Collection is known for its focus on works tackling issues of identity, social commentary and injustice. Most of the 197 paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces in the collection are by Vancouver artists like Ian Wallace, Rodney Graham, Damien Moppet, Brian Jungen and Geoffrey Farmer. The Art Newspaper, May 9, 2017

West Coast totem pole on busy Montreal street a reminder of Canada’s residential schools A new totem pole casts a shadow on a busy Montreal street, serving as a stark reminder of Canada’s dark history of residential schools. The totem pole was erected on May 3 just outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts during an event attended by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and several elders from surrounding Mohawk communities. The display of the pole in Montreal is part of the city’s open-air museum, which includes works of art by Canadian and international artists to commemorate the city’s 375th anniversary and Canada’s 150th anniversary. Created by B.C. Kwakiutl artist Charles Joseph, the Residential School Totem Pole stands out in Montreal, considering the totem pole is an art form exclusively associated with First Nations along the Pacific northwest., May 5, 2017

Montreal artist accused of trying to sell forged Riopelle painting on eBay An accomplished Montreal artist appears intent on having a trial by jury on charges alleging he forged a work by Jean-Paul Riopelle, and tried to sell it on eBay for nearly $300,000. Michel Vermeulen, 55, a resident of the LaSalle borough, made his second appearance at the Montreal courthouse on Friday since having been charged, in October, with forgery and attempting to sell a painting he knew was a forgery. Montreal Gazette, May 5, 2017

New York
Occupy Museums Hosts a Faux Graduation Ceremony at the Whitney Museum Last Friday, Occupy Museums held a “counter-commencement” at the Whitney Museum of American Art that called attention to student debt and “speculative investment in art and culture.”… The counter-commencement featured some 40 “students,” some in traditional graduation caps and gowns who would later reveal their naked bodies covered with green, black, and white paint, and stuck with fake $100 bills. Museum staff did not intervene, as they permitted the participating artists to hold the floor as 21 of them gave speeches for 90 minutes without interruption. Hyperallergic, May 8, 2017

North America
Association of Art Museum Curators Announces Awards for Excellence The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) has announced the winners of its 2017 Awards for Excellence, which recognize “groundbreaking new scholarship in the field.” The 26 curators who received awards were chosen from a group of 120 nominations. The awardees were selected for their work on projects that ranged from exhibitions and catalogues to essays and digital publications completed last year…. Artnews, May 8, 2017

Five of Mexico’s best new museum buildings Mexico and the US celebrate Cinco de Mayo today, commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1862. To mark the occasion, we’ve pulled together five of the country’s best contemporary museum buildings, including projects by Toyo Ito and David Chipperfield. Dezeen, May 5, 2017

Banksy takes aim at Brexit with latest mural A mural by street artist Banksy has appeared in the English town of Dover, showing a worker chipping a star away from the European Union flag. The four-storey artwork, located on the wall of a derelict building beside the major A20 road, went up overnight on Saturday. It depicts a man in overalls up a ladder, using a hammer and chisel to remove one of the EU flag’s 12 gold stars. Dezeen, May 9, 2017

French art world breathes sigh of relief as Macron wins presidency France’s cultural sector has breathed a sigh of relief after centrist Emmanuel Macron became elected president of France on Sunday, making the 39-year-old the youngest president in French history. He won with 66.1% of the vote, over 33.9% for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, making him the eighth president of the Fifth Republic. The decision of Macron to make his victory speech to his supporters in front of I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre, a one-time royal palace turned museum, indicated a bridging of history and culture and entailed unprecedented security in the Louvre’s grounds. The Art Newspaper, May 8, 2017

MoMA collection takes a Paris vacation In a landmark exchange, the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) is lending 200 works of art to the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris for an exhibition opening this autumn. Etre Moderne: Le MoMA á Paris (11 October-5 march 2018) will present key works from all six MoMA departments, including examples by Paul Cézanne, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso and Ellsworth Kelly. Some works, like Andy Warhol’s 32-part Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), have never before been shown in France. The show will occupy the entire Paris museum and includes documentary materials chronicling MoMA’s acquisition history. The Art Newspaper, May 5, 2017

In Search of Olga, Picasso’s Muse and First Wife There’s a telling photo of Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova in Rome in 1917, at the very beginning of the couple’s courtship. Picasso, flanked by the grinning woman who would soon become his first wife and his friend, the playwright Jean Cocteau, isn’t even looking at the camera. His body is turned to the side, his piercing gaze intensely fixed on Olga… Olga would dominate his works over the next several years, reading or holding their son Paul, yet always seeming to shy away from his scrutiny. By the end of the following decade, Picasso had shifted his attentions to another woman, but that same ferocity would return in the form of blistering depictions of Olga. Olga Picasso continues at the Musée National Picasso (5 rue de Thorigny, Paris) through September 3. Hyperallergic, May 7, 2017

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