Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 16, 2017

Vancouver
Canada 150: Bill Reid made Haida art recognizable across the country Bill Reid’s final resting place was chosen with great care. The artist’s ashes were taken by canoe and laid to rest at Quadusgaa, a former village in Haida Gwaii close to Tanu where Reid’s grandmother was born. When he died on March 13, 1998, he was 78 years old and one of the country’s most celebrated artists. His work continues to be seen by thousands of people every day. Vancouver Sun, May 16, 2017

Victoria
Passion yields remarkable Coast Salish find for Victoria gallery owner A Victoria art gallery owner’s passion for what he calls one of his most important finds has inspired another journey across the Salish Sea for a historic First Nations paddle. Out of the Mist owner Thomas Stark was so determined to buy the Coast Salish decorated paddle last summer that he ended up paying an American art dealer twice the asking price… The buzz generated by the rare paddle at his gallery caught the attention of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of B.C., where it will be part of its northwest coast First Nations art collection for two years. Vancouver Sun, May 13, 2017

Cambridge, Ontario
Looking good, eh? Fashion museum showcases the best of Canadian style In our short 150 years, Canada has made some bold contributions to the world of fashion. The Fashion History Museum in Cambridge is showcasing the best of Canadian couture all year with the exhibit Fashioning Canada Since 1867, part of the country’s 150th anniversary celebrations. CBC.ca, May 15, 2017

Kleinburg
Higher States: Lawren S. Harris and his North American Contemporaries As a member of the Group of Seven, he helped pioneer a new and distinctly Canadian style of painting, building his own early reputation on a novel pictorial approach to Canada’s vast northern spaces. In 1936, however, he also made the not-so-easy decision to overturn his iconic imagery, and never looked back. Visitors to the exhibition, Higher States: Lawren Harris and his American Contemporaries, on view at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, will perhaps be surprised not to encounter the paradigmatic landscape painter. Instead, they will discover, or rediscover, Harris the abstract artist. National Gallery of Canada Magazine, May 15, 2017

Toronto
Self portrait from one of Canada’s greatest painters is being sold by heir Normally the best provenance for a Paul Peel painting would come from the bluebloods who used to own his work, such as Col. Sam McLaughlin, the founder of General Motors Canada, or Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII. But a painting for sale at the May 24 Heffel auction of Fine Canadian Art may have the ultimate Paul Peel provenance — it’s being sold by Paul Peel III. The self-portrait was painted in 1882, when Peel was only 21.  Vancouver Sun, May 15, 2017

Washington
Artist projects ‘Pay Trump Bribes Here’ message on president’s D.C. hotel A multimedia artist caused a commotion in Washington, D.C., late Monday when he projected a series of images on Trump International Hotel that skewered the president over accusations about his business ties with foreign governments. Robin Bell, a Washington-based artist known for his political projections, said the work was meant to highlight benefits Donald Trump continues to reap since his ascension to the presidency, including revenue generated at his D.C. hotel. The artwork, which went up around 10 p.m. local time, quickly spread on Twitter before it was shut down by hotel security. Huffington Post, May 16, 2017

New York
Picasso’s Seated Woman in Blue Dress sells for $45m One of Pablo Picasso’s best-known portraits has been sold at auction in New York for $45m (£35m). Femme Assise, Robe Bleu (Seated Woman in Blue Dress) features one of his many lovers, Dora Maar. During World War Two, the Nazis seized the painting but were intercepted on their way from Paris to Moravia by French Resistance fighters… Dora Maar and Picasso had an intense relationship for nine years. He painted Seated Woman in 1939, when he was 58 and she was 31. CBC.ca, May 16, 2017

Magnum Photos: how it all began 70 years ago Magnum Photos, the celebrated co-operative of leading photographers, is marking its 70th anniversary this year with exhibitions in New York, Paris and London and the publication of an illustrated history of the group. Entitled Magnum Manifesto, the book includes key documents from the organisation’s archive as well as images by different generations of its members. It is edited by Clément Chéroux, the senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, who has co-organised an accompanying travelling exhibition, which is due to open at the International Center of Photography in New York (26 May-3 October), before travelling to Europe. The Art Newspaper, May 16, 2017

‘There’s Really No Platform in New York’: The Institute of Arab and Islamic Art’s Director, Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, on Its Ambitious Plans Until the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art opened in New York earlier this month, with a four-woman show of work by Dana Awartani, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Zarina, and Nasreen Mohamedi, the city did not have an institution devoted to modern and contemporary art in that field. For now, it is occupying a temporary location on sunny Howard Street in Nolita, but its staffers eventually plan to find a permanent home in New York. Ahead of the opening of its first exhibition, the IAIA’s founding director and chief curator, Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, and I met at its current home to discuss his goals and his inaugural show. Artnews, May 15, 2017

Michael Zwack (1949–2017) Michael Zwack, a New York–based artist who was associated with the Pictures Generation, died of lung cancer on May 5. Zwack was born in Buffalo in 1949 and studied sculpture at Buffalo State College until 1970. Before moving to New York City in 1976, the artist cofounded Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center with Buffalo artists Cindy Sherman, Charles Clough, Nancy Dwyer, and Robert Longo. Artforum, May 12, 2017

France
Renzo Piano–Designed Art Space Opens at Château La Coste Architect Renzo Piano has designed a new exhibition space for contemporary art on the five hundred-acre property of Château La Coste, a vineyard in the South of France… The main exhibition space is flanked by two cellars that store the vineyard’s renowned wines. Currently on view in the space is photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition “The Sea and Mirror,” which runs until September 3, 2017. Artforum, May 16, 2017

Venice
Kenya works a miracle to bring its exhibition to the Venice Biennale Kenya has made it to the Venice Biennale, despite receiving none of the money promised by its government for its national pavilion. At the opening of the Kenya pavilion last Friday, 12 May, the curator Simon Njami, who has acted as the project adviser, described it as “a miracle”, adding: “The fact that we are here is in itself a success.”… The Kenyans will use their pavilion, which is loosely inspired by James Baldwin’s 1962 novel Another Country, for a public programme which will engage with the children in the Palladio school and the wider community on Giudecca. Kenyan artists will travel to Venice for residencies, and there are plans for lectures, screenings and site-specific works to be installed in and around the school. The Art Newspaper, May 15, 2017

Athens
‘Crapumenta!’ … Anger in Athens as the blue lambs of Documenta hit town Despite a budget of €37m – at least half of which has been directed to hosting the event in the austerity-ravaged Greek capital – it has also offered plenty of ground for disagreement and heated debate. Documenta 14’s launch in Athens last month (the second part opens in Kassel on 10 June) came amid accusations of “colonial attitudes” with some employees complaining of exploitation and being deliberately misled over invigilator fees. Even the exhibition’s working title, Learning from Athens, was called condescending. Graffiti castigating the spectacle as “Crapumenta 14” soon appeared. The Guardian, May 14, 2017

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