Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 30, 2017


A scream for tolerance – Tsang Kin-Wah’s Canadian debut Vancouver Art Gallery curator Diana Freundl invited Tsang on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China. To commemorate this event, the Art Gallery exhibits several artworks from Hong Kong-based artists. Tsang represented Hong Kong in the 2015 Venice Biennale and is known all over the world for his unique word-based style. Never before has his work been exhibited in Canada, which makes Vancouver the stage of his Canadian debut. The Onsite/Offsite exhibition in Vancouver is a scream for tolerance towards immigrants and a rant against racism, a topic that forms a common thread in the work of Tsang. The Source, May 30, 2017

Art School High exhibit revels in nostalgia, and darker memories too Writer, curator, and academic Patrik Andersson has put together a mostly upbeat exhibition (and catalogue) that considers the high-school experience from different creative angles and perspectives. Art School High features a range of works by 12 local artists, most of them acclaimed and admired (at least now, in adulthood)… While previewing the exhibition with the Straight, Andersson said that this retrospective aspect is intentional, metaphorically paralleling a high-school reunion. At the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art until August 26. Georgia Straight, May 29, 2017


Black: For Canada 150, let’s build a national portrait gallery A national portrait gallery of Canada would support Canadian artists, enhance our collective knowledge and enshrine all aspects of portraiture. These works must not be lost to Canadians in vaults or closets in artists’ studios. They deserve to be accessible to audiences of today, and the future, generating pride, knowledge and debate. Ottawa Citizen, May 25, 2017


Times have changed around cultural appropriation, but has the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts? The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’s 2011 retrospective of work by French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier was a smash hit in Montreal, and toured the globe for five years. More than two million people saw it in 12 cities – a record for a Canadian exhibition. This week, as a coda to that success, the MMFA opened a much smaller display of three dozen Gaultier wedding outfits, arrayed on tiered platforms that resemble a wedding cake. On the cake’s top layer stands a spectacular costume that is dragging the museum’s festive display into an increasingly sharp debate over cultural appropriation. Montreal Gazette, May 26, 2017


After Protests from Native American Community, Walker Art Center Will Remove Public Sculpture  Less than a week before the Walker Art Center was scheduled to open its newly renovated sculpture garden, it announced that one of the major new works added to the park will be removed. The sculpture in question, “Scaffold” (2012) by Los Angeles-based artist Sam Durant, is a giant structure made of steel and wood, placed adjacent in the park to “Spoonbridge and Cherry” (1985–88) by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Originally created for Documenta in 2012 in Kassel, Germany, the piece had been installed at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a partnership between the museum and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, for more than a month, but it wasn’t until late last week that it became the subject of controversy. Hyperallergic, May 29, 2017


‘The clues exist in the work’: The American pop artist behind the most celebrated album cover in history The cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, The Beatles’ best-selling album, has etched itself into British pop culture. Five decades on, the brightly coloured line-up of John, Ringo, Paul and George surrounded by a celebrity motley crew remains instantly recognisable. This record sleeve is still, despite his 60-year-career, Peter Blake’s most famous work – something his representatives say “gets a bit tedious”. Blake didn’t, however, work alone. His then wife, American artist Jann Haworth, says she was jointly commissioned by art dealer Robert ‘Groovy Bob’ Fraser. But she’s been largely left out of the history of the cover’s creation as other characters, such as Paul McCartney, have shuffled to the fore. Now, as Sgt Pepper approaches its 50th anniversary, she tells her story. The Telegraph [reprinted in the National Post], May 26, 2017

John Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery informs summer pavilion for London Festival of Architecture Designed by London-based practice IF_DO to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the gallery’s opening, the Dulwich Pavilion features reflective panels that mirror the building’s brick facades and is described as a “lively marriage of moving mirrored screens”. The art gallery was designed in 1811 by British architect John Soane and claims to be the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery.  Dezeen, May 30, 2017

Hong Kong

Hong Kong show traces origins of Modern art in Vietnam  The relationships shaping Vietnam’s society and art get an airing in Departures, an exhibition that opened last Friday (until July 8) at de Sarthe Gallery Hong Kong. Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnamese-American artist Richard Streitmatter-Tran created new works engaging with 40 pieces by Modern Vietnamese masters and their Western mentors to explore the artistic interplays between Vietnam and the West as well as the country’s past and present and Modern and contemporary art. The Art Newspaper, May 30, 2017


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