Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 31, 2017

North Vancouver

Overcoming adversity through art. It takes Annie Aculiak four days to create one felt tapestry, starting with a memory. The stories of her early life and cultural upbringing are woven into in the art. She draws the scene and then cuts the felt materials and pieces them together like a puzzle onto the paper.  cally, Aculiak, who now lives on the Sunshine Coast, will be selling her art all summer inside Lonsdale Quay Market on Saturdays, at the Shipyards Market on Friday evenings and at Ambleside Artisan Farmers’ Market on Sundays.   North Shore News, May 30, 2017


Calgary artist Jason de Haan explores invisible forces of the living, the dead and the fossilized with Esker Foundation exhibit. The sprawling collection, on display until Aug. 27 at the Esker Foundation alongside Russian artist Anton Vidokle’s film The Communist Revolution Was Caused By the Sun, showcases Jason de Haan’s broad talents as a multidisciplinary artist. It playfully encompasses installation, video, sculpture, drawing, collage and photography to explore what the Esker Foundation calls “the invisible forces and paradoxes of vision.” Calgary Herald, May 27, 2017


‘Art can change your life’: The Works festival features more than 600 artists, 49 exhibits  The 32nd annual The Works Art and Design Festival could represent the very definition of overwhelming. With over 600 artists in 49 exhibits, including 700 works of art, plus more than 200 special events, performances and workshops, it would be easy to get blurry-eyed and wander home to mommy.  Edmonton Journal, May 30, 2017

New gallery at Grey Nuns shows healing power of art. Artist Shawn Zinyk’s painting The Forgotten Wood, is on display at the newly opened gallery featuring art created by artist who have experienced mental illness, at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton… Edmonton Journal, May 25, 2017


Video: In the Studio with Rajni Perera.  Toronto-based artist Rajni Perera works out of her Kensington Market laneway home—but as the scale of her pieces continues to ramp up, she’ll likely need a larger space. She’s preparing for a number of upcoming shows in Toronto and beyond, including an exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University. For that group show, “Migrating the Margins,” Perera will relocate to the Jane and Finch area this summer to create work in situ ahead of the exhibition opening in the fall.  Canadian Art, May 29, 2017

 Video: In the Studio with Laura Dawe.  Laura Dawe has been making artwork for longer than she has identified as an artist. While completing a degree in history at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where she moved from London, Ontario, she financed her first feature film, Light Is the Day (2010), by selling her paintings, and has long used her creative skills to her advantage, trading a drawing for a drink, or a sketch for a snip at the hair salon.  Canadian Art, May 25, 2017

New art show at Galleria Mall captures an anxious moment as development looms.   David Acheson’s sculpture Presence is a pair of towering pale figures. One of them strides purposefully in one direction, hunched in close scrutiny at something in the palm of its hand, while its partner meanders off in another, blindfolded.  Toronto Star, May 29, 2017

Rob Sobey learns the fine art of early retirement: Govani. Having left the corporate world and stepped up, over the last many years, as the all-hands-on-deck frontman for the Sobey Art Award — the country’s largest and most prestigious privately-funded art boon — he’s also now spreading his wings by stepping into the role that Belinda Stronach played at the Power Ball last year.   Toronto Star, May 29, 2017

Beauty is only skin deep. All of the images in Toronto artist Radha Chaddah’s latest exhibition show the same thing: adult-human stem cells that have been reprogrammed to change from skin into neural tissue. The overall effect is similar to taking a voyage through a world that is both utterly exotic yet intimately related to the voyager.   Globe & Mail, May 29, 2017


MCA exhibit explores more serious side of Takashi Murakami. “Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” – the artist’s first major retrospective in the United States in 10 years. It opens June 6 and runs through Sept. 24 at the MCA and then travels in 2018 to the Vancouver Art Gallery in British Columbia and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas).  Certainly, Murakami, 52, is a neo-pop artist who draws inspiration from Japanese animation and comic books and likes to blur the boundaries between so-called high and low art with his mass-market product lines and collaborations with rapper Kanye West and the fashion house, Louis Vuitton.   Chicago Sun Times, May 30, 2017.  See also: The surreal work of artist Takashi Murakami is coming to the MCA.  Time Out, May 30, 2017 


How the First Female Photographer Changed the Way the World Sees Algae.  Anna Atkins, a British botanist working in the 19th century, transformed algae into art. Using early photographic techniques, Atkins portrayed the aquatic organisms as ethereal tufts and tendrils floating over vibrant blue backgrounds. She is widely recognized as the world’s first female photographer, and her pioneering book on algae will soon go on display at a museum in the Netherlands, Mindy Weisberger reports for Live Science. Smithsonian, May 30, 2017

New York

How Renzo Piano Builds Cities.  Renzo Piano, whose book of complete works has been recently updated and re-released (Renzo Piano: The Complete Logbook 1966-2016, Thames and Hudson), spoke with CityLab earlier this spring from his New York office in a room facing the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which he designed. Our conversation touched on a variety of topics including Manhattanville, urban peripheries, and the importance of designing buildings that reject paranoia in a world increasingly concerned with terrorism.  Citylab, May 25, 2017


Modern master: how Nick Serota’s Tate skyrocketed to success.  When Nicholas Serota, aged 42, took up the post of director of the Tate Gallery in September 1988, his domain was a patch of land on the north bank of the Thames, and a newly opened outpost on Albert Dock, Liverpool. As he readies himself to leave the post almost 30 years on, Tate has surely grown bigger than he could have imagined…. Asked for his three top shows, Serota names 2002’s Matisse Picasso, along with 1996’s Cézanne, and Century City in 2001, which he says “set the direction for Tate Modern to look beyond the art of Europe and North America”. For the Guardian’s Adrian Searle, highlights have included Bridget Riley in 2003, Helio Oiticica four years later, and Roni Horn in 2009.  The Guardian, May 30, 2017

Tracey Emin: ‘Being an artist is about making art, not money  Tracey Emin is 54 and thinking hard about her legacy, which is important to her, she said. She is in the process of creating an archive that would be open to everyone after her death. “I’m in the process of moving studio so I’ll have a giant studio and hopefully that can become a museum of some kind. I’m thinking about the future.”  The Guardian, May 28, 2017

‘I wasn’t cock-a-hoop that I’d fooled the experts’: Britain’s master forger tells all.  Between 1978 and 2006, Shaun Greenlaugh created several hundred exquisite forgeries. Some sold to English royalty (he claims a silver gilt Christ in the 12th-century English style is still part of the Royal Collection), others to presidents (a terracotta bust of Thomas Jefferson, owned by Bill Clinton) and many more to museums. Greenhalgh’s talent was broad: one month he was an Egyptian granite carver, the next an impressionistic sculptor, the next an American watercolourist.  The Guardian, May 28, 2017


The Art of Vaccination.  What can artists bring to emotionally charged debates around vaccination? How can art help grow global immunity? Why should scientists and public health experts integrate art methods into their research? And how, in the age of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” might an artwork be more convincing than a scientific report?  These are some of the questions provoked by “Immune Nations” a Canadian-led art exhibition just opened at the UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Geneva showing follows the exhibition’s world debut in March at the 2017 Global Health ​and Vaccination Research Conference in Trondheim, Norway.  Canadian Art, May 25, 2017


Trouble Me Venice: An Indigenous Curator’s View of the Biennale.  On the occasion of the 57th Venice Biennale, I descended upon the international art exposition as part of a delegation comprised of 32 emerging and established Indigenous curators from Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Canada. Besides myself, the Indigenous curatorial delegation from Canada also included Michelle LaVallee, France Trépanier, Heather Igloliorte and Jaimie Isaac, and it was accompanied by Jim Logan, program officer at the Canada Council for the Arts.  Canadian Art, May 30, 2017


An art world in crisis.  Obsessed with economic worth on one side and claiming to be our conscience on the other, the global scene is risking its relevance, Russell Smith writes.  Globe & Mail, May 26, 2017


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