Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 7, 2017


Rebecca Belmore Wants Us to Listen to the Land   In Rebecca Belmore’s newest body of work titled Wave Soundto be unveiled in three locations across Canada this month as part of LandMarks/Repères2017—the artist seems to invert the strategy she made iconic in Speaking to Their Mother. That is, instead of gesturing towards the power and politics of speaking to the land, Wave Sound invites members of the public to actively listen to the land through objects specially designed by the artist.  Canadian Art, June 7, 2017

Ian Wallace  The gallery space on the floor level of the Rennie Museum is bright, with sunshine streaming through the windows. Mounted on the far side of the wall are eight silk-screens depicting various scenes of scarcity. The photographs —framed by colourful, painted, monochromatic backdrops — are an iteration of “Poverty”: Ian Wallace’s 1980 – 1984 multimedia installation that comments on transience. This variation, in particular, was done in 1982. It’s presented as part of Collected Works, a solo exhibition of the esteemed Vancouver artist’s rare and historic work.  Beat Route, June 6, 2017

British Columbia

Canada 150: E.J. Hughes, a realist in an abstract world.  E.J. Hughes was out-of-step with the art world. When abstract art was all the rage, he painted idiosyncratic scenes of B.C., colourful works filled with ferries and tugboats, mountains and trees, rocky beaches and lush greenery.  Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2017


Sobey Art Award announces five finalists. The five 2017 Sobey Art Award finalists, chosen by region from coast to coast, were announced Tuesday morning, and taken as a whole it’s a hopeful portrait for a 21st-century nation suddenly thrust into the role of being a progressive beacon in a time of rapidly gathering darkness.  Toronto Star, June 6, 2017

Women Dominate Sobey Shortlist for First Time Ever.  And this year, for the first time, women are dominating the Sobey shortlist. In prior years of the award, which was founded in 2002, there has never been more than two women on the five-slot shortlist at a time. This year, four of the five slots have gone to women.  Canadian Art, June 6, 2017.  See also  Winnipeg artist nominated for Sobey awardWinnipeg Free Press, June 6, 2017


The National Gallery’s moment of truth.  At the threshold of the National Gallery of Canada’s contemporary department, a newly installed lodestone looms. It’s vast and furious, awash with crimson and ochre, blood and fire, centuries of trauma fastened tightly to the here and now.   The piece, by the late Anishinaabe artist Carl Beam, was the first work of contemporary art by an Indigenous artist ever acquired by the National Gallery — consciously, at least.   Toronto Star, June 5, 2017


This Work Is Not for You. “This is a love letter to all my fierce and fabulous relations—my NDN baby girls, women or otherwise—who ground their work in the kinship teachings that flow throughout our communities,” writes Indigenous editor-at-large Lindsay Nixon, about Canadian Art’s Summer 2017 issue.   Canadian Art, June 5, 2017


Murakami show at the MCA: East meets West.  The larger-than-life exhibition: Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg opens today, June 6th and runs through September 24, 2017 at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art before traveling to the Vancouver Art Gallery in Winter 2018 and to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Summer 2018.  Chicago Now, June 6, 2017

New York

Why Performance Has Become the Essential Art Medium of the 21st Century. The rise in events like Block Universe arguably stems from the original, mother-of-all performance festivals: Performa. Founded in 2004 by Roselee Goldberg, Performa is a biennial event centered around commissioned works that temporarily inhabit venues across New York City for a month-long celebration of the medium. Under Goldberg’s direction, artists working in various mediums are encouraged to strengthen their performance muscle—either by building upon an existing practice or experimenting with it for the first time. Artnet, June 5, 2017

‘People Are Too Stupid for Great Art’: Painter Markus Lüpertz on Why the Avant-Garde Will Always Fail.  Over the course of his five decade career, Markus Lüpertz has cultivated and embraced his public image as a modern-day dandy almost as much as his reputation as a highly divisive artist and serial provocateur. This, of course, has made him a star in his native Germany where the tabloid press regularly lauds him as a “lord of painting.”  It’s an important time in Lüpertz’s career, as he’s finally getting the recognition in America that he’s long enjoyed in Europe. The show at Michael Werner Gallery is one of three exhibitions currently on view, including two museum exhibitions: one at the Hirshhorn Museum and the other at the Phillips Collection.  Artnet, June 5, 2017


Art in conversation. “One can be taught—and one needs to be taught—how to look, how to put aside one’s prejudices, and one’s overly hasty negative reactions. For me, in some cases, it was a long learning process, and I have to imagine that for a majority of visitors it can’t be easy either. This is why I am so impatient with those who want to position their museum as a form of entertainment. The appreciation of art requires an engagement that is wholly different from the instant gratification provided by most forms of popular culture, and museums have a responsibility to help visitors achieve this.” — Philippe de Montebello New Criterion, June 2017





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