Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 24, 2017



From wartime Romania to Vancouver, an artist’s memoir.  In her new book,  Light Within the Shadows: A Painter’s Memoir, Vancouver’s Pnina Granirer tells the story of her life in three acts: as a Jewish girl in Nazi-allied Romania, her life in Israel and finally her career as a professional artist.Vancouver Sun, May 21, 2017

Daphne Bramham: Granville Island reboot lacks a daring vision for the future. Granville Island was one bold, big idea. Never before had industrial land been reclaimed as public space with a food market as a centrepiece.  It gave birth to a foodie culture and sparked imitators all over the place. Anyone hoping for something similar in the 2040 reboot will be disappointed. The plan called Granville Island 2040: Bridging Past and Future has two big ideas. As the report’s name suggests, both focus on making it easier to get to Granville Island.   Vancouver Sun, May 23, 2017

Home Front: Painter designer Zoe Pawlak on the beauty of being a designer in Canada.  It’s a great time to be a designer in Canada, says Montreal-based painter designer Zoe Pawlak, because cities like Vancouver have reached a level of maturity in terms of the quality of design they produce.   Pawlak, who is from Vancouver and started out as a painter — known for her figurative work and contemporary West Coast landscapes — has found wider recognition within the design community in the past couple of years through collaborations with the likes of Burritt Bros. Vancouver Sun, May 20, 2017


Arctic visits explored in Burnaby Art Gallery show.  Trips to some of the world’s most remote regions are documented in a new exhibition opening at Burnaby Art Gallery in June. Tara Nicholson: Arctic Claims runs from June 2 to July 2 at the gallery, with an opening reception on June 8.  Burnaby Now, May 19, 2017


National gallery brings acclaimed Indigenous artist’s work to Regina.  Artwork from one of Canada’s best-known Indigenous artists, who started creating art while in residential school, will be displayed in Saskatchewan as part of a national tour.    The National Gallery of Canada put together a retrospective of Alex Janvier’s work and Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery is the first stop for the exhibit.  CBC News, May 20, 2017


An auction season of calm after the storm.  What goes up must come down, they say, and after a fall auction season that saw Mountain Forms, a big, bold canvas by Lawren Harris, sell for $11.2 million, more than doubling a 14-year-old Canadian auction record, the current spring session is downright subdued. Toronto Star, May 24, 2017

Shelley Niro: The way of the subtle warrior.  The Indigenous artist has been working tirelessly for decades. With a sudden surge in profile, it feels like her work has just begun.  Toronto Star, May 21, 2017

Saint John, NB

Shedding Light. When New Brunswick’s Acre Architects made the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2016, a prestigious list of 20 rising stars from around the world, its founders couldn’t get their hands on a copy—the magazine is not sold anywhere in the province. That disconnect between an unlikely base and global ambitions is something Acre co-founders Monica Adair and husband Stephen Kopp have turned to their advantage, building, since 2010, a firm that celebrates the freedom of the fringe. Canadian Art, May 22, 2017

New York

The Defiant Beauty of Elaine Cameron-Weir at the New Museum.  A sweet, dark odour hung softly in the air at Elaine Cameron-Weir’s Bushwick studio when I visited last month, something that smelled like licorice or caramelized meat. That scent has since spread to the New Museum on the Lower East Side, where her debut museum solo show, “viscera has questions about itself,” is on display. A prodigy, but calm and unpretentious, Cameron-Weir was born in 1985 in Red Deer, Alberta. For the past nine years, she has lived in New York City, having graduated from New York University’s MFA program in 2010 after completing her BFA in 2007 at the Alberta College of Art and Design.  Canadian Art, May 23, 2017

‘Solving Problems Through Art’: Agnes Gund on Diversity in the Art World and the Future of MoMA.  How central to the heartbeat of New York City’s art community is Agnes Gund? If you don’t already know, you could reflect on the question while sitting in the Agnes Gund Garden Lobby at the Museum of Modern Art, where she is the president emerita. Or you could ask Jim Coddington, the museum’s Agnes Gund Chief Conservator. She is also the current board chair at MoMA PS1.  Artnet News, May 22, 2017

New York’s New Institution Devoted to Arab and Islamic Art Seeks a Sense of Place.  Zarina Hashmi’s work that imagines “home” as an idea we carry with us sets the tone for the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art’s first exhibition in New York.  Hyperallergic, May 21, 2017

Modern African Art Is Being Gentrified.  Sotheby’s held its first auction of modern and contemporary African art on Tuesday, where 83 pieces by artists from Cameroon to South Africa sold for a total of nearly $4 million. The star of the sale was the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s sculpture made from discarded aluminum bottle caps and copper wire that went for about $950,000.   This was no ordinary event. African art accounts for a very tiny portion of the international art market, and African artists have long been seen as outsiders. But the demand for their work has greatly increased over the past decade.  New York Times, May 20, 2017

North Adams, MA

Massachusetts museum’s expansion enables artists to dream big  “Building 6, is a three-story, 130,000 sq. ft. structure now outfitted with long-term shows and installations by five artists. They include a 15-year installation by Jenny Holzer, whose art will be projected on the building and surrounding landscape, and a 25-year James Turrell retrospective with nine of the artist’s light works.”The Art Newspaper, May 19, 2017


Why These Humans Are Museum Treasures, Too   A portrait photographer captured 24 staffers from the National Museum of Natural History posing with their favorite artifacts from the collections.   Smithsonian, May 22, 2017


How the Royal Academy came close to selling its greatest treasure: Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo.  In the late 1970s the Royal Academy considered selling off its Michelangelo Taddei Tondo, which was then valued at £6m—well over twice what any work of art had ever fetched at auction.  The academy was suffering serious financial problems at this time, and was seeking government support.  The Art Newspaper, May 23, 2017


The simple hack that will help you skip the queues at museums. “We are at the peak of the city break season – a beautiful time of year to enjoy Europe’s great cultural centres.  The only downside is the crowds… Recently I’ve been sidestepping the problem by using Google’s new Popular Times charts. When you search for a [site], they show up in the panel on the right of the main results listings (or if you are on a smartphone, at the top of the results).”  The Telegraph, May 22, 2017




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