Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 20, 2017


Ackery’s Alley in Downtown Vancouver slated for a makeover  A second downtown Vancouver alleyway is slated for a dramatic makeover. A Kickstarter campaign hopes to raise $35,000 for a new public art installation at Ackery’s Alley off Smithe Street, between Granville and Seymour Streets. International artist Alex Beim would transform the alley into an interactive light-and-sound installation called FIELD, where a field of sensors would detect a person’s presence, and change colours and emit sounds in reaction to the person’s movement, creating a unique composition every time someone moves through the space. Vancouver Sun, June 19, 2017


Hidden Group of Seven painting found on back of another art piece  Several years ago, Peter Wright, a self-proclaimed lover of the arts, bought A.Y. Jackson’s Onward Ranch. It was only after he purchased it that Wright discovered there was a second painting by the acclaimed Canadian artist hidden in the back, depicting the historic gold rush town of Barkerville, B.C… A. Y. Jackson’s Barkerville, B.C. is on display at the Barkerville Visitors’ Reception Centre and will be there for the rest of the year., June 18, 2017


‘A rejection of Canada’: Colonialism 150 sticker at Lethbridge art gallery draws ire The decision by a Lethbridge art gallery to post a sticker deriding the Canada’s 150th birthday as a celebration of First Nations oppression has stimulated controversy. Last week, the sign, which turns the sesquicentennial’s stylized maple leaf upside down with the words Colonialism 150, caught the eye of Calgary’s Paul Bakhmut, who said its presence on the front door of the publicly funded Southern Alberta Art Gallery is inappropriate… “I believe in freedom of speech, but this is a publicly funded institution, and it appears most people have no idea what these symbols stand for.” Calgary Herald, June 19, 2017


Toronto and the dilemma that is public art The idea of putting art in public is age-old — think of monuments to the various caesars in ancient Rome, or bronze sculptures glorifying everything from generals to politicians since the Renaissance at least. But the shift in thinking, from heroic memorials and monuments to meditations on site, place and culture, is relatively new and Toronto, generally, has not been swift to its embrace. Toronto Star, June 17, 2017


Paint the town: Montreal’s Mural Festival wraps up The fifth edition of Montreal’s Mural Festival finished Sunday, leaving more than a dozen new art pieces in its wake. The annual event runs from June 8 to 18 and brings street artists together from around the world. Some of the new pieces of art act as an homage to famous musicians and athletes who made a lasting impression on Montreal, namely baseball superstar Jackie Robinson and legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen., June 18, 2017

Nova Scotia

The Joyous World of Overlooked Canadian Folk Artist Maud Lewis Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis spent 32 years of her life in a one-room house on a secluded dirt road in Nova Scotia. By the time of her death in 1970, she’d covered nearly every surface of the little home with joyous paintings: Clusters of tulips filled the windows, birds and butterflies fluttered across the door. Even the dustpan was covered with daisies. “I paint all from memory, I don’t copy much,” Lewis says, smiling wide, in a 1965 television documentary about her life and work. “Because I don’t go nowhere, I just make my own designs up.”  Lewis is a cult figure in Canada. And the idiosyncratic painter’s reputation should be cemented beyond her native country with Maudie, a biopic released today starring Sally Hawkins in the title role, with Ethan Hawke as her husband Everett. Artsy, June 16, 2017

Buenos Aires

Anish Kapoor explores “urgent times” with Destierro installation Anish Kapoor has continued to explore the power of pigment by transforming a room into a bright red landscape based on the unseen borders that separate the modern world. The installation, titled ‘Destierro’, is on show at the Parque de la Memoria in Argentina – marking the first time that the British artist has put on a solo exhibition in the country. The Parque de la Memoria, also known simply as Remembrance Park, was created as a memorial to the victims of the military regime that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Dezeen, June 20, 2017


World refugee day: Teen refugees’ art put on display A patchwork lifejacket and a welcome mat bearing the message “not welcome” are among the artworks created by young refugees and asylum seekers on display at a new exhibition. ‘All I left behind. All I will discover’, is being held at London’s Oxo Tower as part of Refugee Week. More than 80 teens aged 15 to 19 from countries including Syria, Eritrea and Sudan have contributed to the project. They all separated from their families and now live in London or Kent. Each artist’s work is inspired by their memories of home, journey to the UK and hopes for the future. The British Red Cross, which is supporting the young artists, said many of them came to Europe during the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. BBC News, June 19, 2017

Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils Serpentine Pavilion containing a waterfall-cum-courtyard Burkinabe architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has unveiled this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, an indigo-blue structure with a latticed canopy and a courtyard at its centre that will be transformed into a waterfall when it rains. Kéré is the 17th architect to take on the annual commission for the pavilion, which is erected each summer outside the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens. Dezeen, June 20, 2017


Tehching Hsieh’s Art of Passing Time One of the most energizing and provocative contributions to the 2017 Venice Biennale is situated in a former prison, Palazzo delle Prigioni. Within the 16th- and 17th-century quarters of this palazzo, one can find the provisional Taiwan Pavilion, where Tehching Hsieh: Doing Time is currently on view. Despite the artist’s celebrated international reputation — which has grown steadily since he illegally jumped ship from an oil tanker anchored near Philadelphia in 1974 — the exhibition, commissioned by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, represents Hsieh’s first major, official recognition by his homeland. Hyperallergic, June 18, 2017


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