Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 29, 2017

Vancouver
New $6.4-million Vancouver Art Gallery plaza will open in late-June The North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery is just weeks away from opening after being closed for nearly a year for the construction of a new event-friendly space. A spokesperson with the City of Vancouver told Daily Hive the redesigned plaza space will open at the end of June, just in time for its first major scheduled event as a venue for the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival from June 23 to 25. Daily Hive, May 27, 2017

Intricate mechanical artwork tells whimsical stories through movement Vancouver artist David Dumbrell started working with autonoma six years ago. His goal was to get good enough to display his work in the Artists in Our Midst Art Walk. This year, that dream came true. Each piece is a mix of textiles, wood, metal, sculpture, painting, metalwork and mechanics coming together in a theatrical and often whimsical tableau scene. CBC.ca, May 28, 2017

Toronto
Maud Lewis Black Cats painting leaps to nearly $37K at auction Maud Lewis painting has been sold for well above its pre-auction estimate for the second time in a month. The Nova Scotia artist’s Black Cats fetched $36,800 at the Consignor Canadian Fine Art live spring auction event Thursday at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. CBC.ca, May 26, 2017

Forgotten painter depicted Toronto’s rural past While cleaning out her father’s house about eight years ago, Verna McLean stumbled upon boxes filled with paintings by a little-known Canadian artist named Clara Harris. Her works depict vibrant landscapes from across Ontario and Toronto’s inner suburbs, at a time when they were far more rural… Harris, who was born in 1887 and died in 1975, had an impressive background. Her work was shown alongside some of Canada’s most famous artists in large exhibitions including members of the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. She also exhibited in a group show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Yet today she is virtually unknown.  Toronto Star, May 25, 2017

Montreal
Montreal Museums Day: Proof that the best things in life are free Montreal Museums Day, a fixture on the local calendar since 1987, is an idea that could scarcely be improved upon. Who, after all, would argue that the only thing better than going to a museum is going to a whole bunch of them for free? Forty-three participating museums means that every possible taste and interest is catered to this Sunday, but the real beauty of Museums Day is that it gives free rein to spontaneity and impulsiveness. Montreal Gazette, May 26, 2017

St. John
Local painter working through the night to finish Canada 150 mural Deanna Musgrave was wrapping up an eight-hour mural painting session as people filtered through the pedway to Saint John’s Market Square on Monday morning. The local visual artist’s Canada 150 mural is taking form as her June 23 deadline approaches. It will take a few all-nighters to fully adorn the walkway, Musgrave said… Musgrave’s work has been featured in the New Brunswick Art Bank, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and the Buckland Merrifield Gallery. CBC.ca, May 29, 2017

San Francisco
Fading Memories of Chinatown in 1940s San Francisco, Preserved in Dioramas “I want to capture my memories, and the only way for me to capture my memories is to make them in three dimensions,” says artist Frank Wong in Forever, Chinatown. The short documentary explores his dioramas of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1940s and ’50s. James Q. Chan, who produced the film with Corey Tong, explains in a director’s statement that he discovered Wong’s dioramas at the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA). Wong donated his dioramas to CHSA in 2004, and they’re on view in their Yick Gallery. Hyperallergic, May 27, 2017

New York
A Hole Beyond Measure: Anish Kapoor on His Watery New ‘Descension’ and the Intersection of Meaning and Not-Meaning As part of its 40th-anniversary celebration, the Public Art Fund has brought Anish Kapoor back to New York City. Eleven years ago, the artist’s Sky Mirror became something of a tourist destination when the Public Art Fund installed it at Rockefeller Center. This time around, his work Descension, a continually spiraling whirlpool, has been sunk into the ground at Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is sited in a green space near the bridge and adjacent to the new DUMBO Ferry terminal, so it, too, will likely be one of this summer’s most popular attractions. Artnews, May 25, 2017

London
Tate Modern continues to champion female artists with shows on Anni Albers and Joan Jonas in 2018 The Tate has announced its 2018 exhibition programme for its four venues, with two of the three major solo exhibitions at Tate Modern going to female artists, continuing the museum’s wider trend of showing more female artists. Solo shows of the US video and performance artist Joan Jonas (14 March-5 August 2018) and the textile pioneer and Bauhaus artist Anni Albers (11 October 2018–13 January 2019) will follow an exhibition of work by Picasso that he made in a single year, Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy (8 March–9 September 2018). The Art Newspaper, May 25, 2017

Barnard Castle
Josephine Bowes: The forgotten ‘pioneer’ of the art world More than a century ago, a French actress-turned-aristocrat achieved her dream of building a world class museum in the north of England. But Josephine Bowes’s impact on the art world was almost expunged from the history books by her widower’s jealous second wife. For 125 years, the sleepy town of Barnard Castle has been a surprising pit-stop for art aficionados. The Bowes Museum… is filled with fine furniture, paintings by El Greco and Canaletto, and attracts 120,000 visitors a year. But its beginnings can be traced back to the vision of Josephine Benoite Coffin-Chevalie – a woman described as a “philanthropist” and “pioneer” of the art world, but who at the time of writing does not even have a Wikipedia page. BBC News, May 27, 2017

Paris
Prix Marcel Duchamp, France’s leading contemporary art prize, goes abroad Keen to make the Prix Marcel Duchamp, France’s contemporary art prize, better known abroad, the ADIAF (Association for the International Diffusion of French Art), is organising two exhibitions in China and one at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The China shows, organised by Alfred Pacquement, the former director of the Centre Pompidou, are at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing (27 May-27 August) and Times Museum in Guangzhou (3 June-27 July). Both titled High—Tension, they spotlight eight of the 16 winners of the prize and have been realised with support from the French Embassy in Beijing and the Institut Français. The Art Newspaper, May 26, 2017

Italy
Controversial Italian court ruling ousts five top museum directors An Italian regional court has ousted five directors at Italy’s top museums, almost two years after they were appointed in an unprecedented shake-up of the country’s bureaucratic museums sector. The reform by the Italian culture ministry saw new leaders—including, for the first time, seven foreigners—take the helm of 20 top institutions and heritage sites, such as the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and the Galleria Borghese in Rome, in August 2015. But on 24 May, the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) ruled that the recruitment process was not transparent and that foreigners had never been eligible to participate under Italian law. The Art Newspaper, May 26, 2017

New Zealand
Dozens of Māori and Moriori Remains Return to New Zealand from European Museums On May 29, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington will welcome home Māori and Moriori remains long held in European museums. The repatriation of the bones, which were exhumed or taken without permission from their ancestral country, is a step forward in the ongoing effort to reverse the colonialist collecting practices still evident on the shelves of many Western institutions. The pōwhiri (a Māori welcoming ceremony) at Te Papa will follow the May 18 handover of 44 Moriori and Māori ancestral remains at the Übersee-Museum Bremen in Germany. Hyperallergic, May 26, 2017

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