Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 28, 2017


Reclaiming Indigenous Territories, Bead by Bead. As a member of Curve Lake First Nation, roughly 25 kilometres northeast of Peterborough, Olivia Whetung makes work that takes root in the lands and waters of her ancestors. “tibewh” is a stunning beadwork re-orientation of the Trent-Severn Waterway, while also being more than that: namely, an exhibition that charts an Indigenous relationship to colonized waters.  Canadian Art, June 27, 2017


AGO acquires 522 photographs by Diane Arbus. With the addition of 522 photos from the estate of Diane Arbus, the AGO now holds the largest Arbus collection in Canada and the second largest in the world after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the AGO said in a news release.   Toronto Star, June 27, 2017

Toronto still can’t decide if it likes the ROM Crystal. It’s been 10 years exactly since the ROM unveiled the ambitious, pugnacious five-point structure from Studio Daniel Libeskind and, with unapologetic panache, transformed a landmark intersection and institution while touching off one of the city’s fiercest and most enduring architectural debates. Still, no consensus has crystallized.  Toronto Star, June 27, 2017

Tau Lewis: Of roots, and uprooting. Blink and you’ll miss Tau Lewis’s studio, tucked into a below-ground grotto on Niagara Street in Toronto’s west end. Lewis is in Los Angeles, anxiously cobbling together new work for a show at the Night Gallery there; on Sunday, another show of her work at Downs & RossDowns & Ross in New York will close after a month-long run.  In between, she’s been at New York’s New Museum, making new work for the cutting-edge contemporary institution’s Ragga NYC exhibition, a gathering of artists exploring their Afro-Caribbean roots.   Toronto Star, June 27, 2017

San Francisco

The Most Famous Artist: Art Meets AI. Going by the name, The Most Famous Artist he has partnered with a group of anonymous hackers to build a proprietary artificial intelligence powered by big data capable of emulating and breeding art styles to produce high-quality original artworks… This exhibition serves as starting point for a discussion about the challenges facing humanity in light of big data, AI and robots. Everyone from the art dealer to the artist will experience some form of functional paralysis as a result of artificial intelligence, removing the human touch from the artistic process.  Forbes, June 27, 2017

Los Angeles

In This LA Neighborhood, Protest Art Is A Verb.  For a first time visitor, Anderson Street in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood looks pretty gritty and industrial: old brick workshops, small factories, and a steady rumble of delivery trucks driving by.  But step inside some of the old, soot-stained buildings and you’re in a world of high-end art, with paintings worth thousands of dollars on the walls.  NPR, June 27, 2017


Walker faces new Native art controversy. “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World” features work from the 40-year career of an internationally lauded American sculptor. He identifies as Cherokee. But his critics say he is not Native, and is hurting artists who are.  Minnesota Public Radio, June 23, 2017

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

Brandywine explores Andrew Wyeth’s oft-overlooked role as chronicler of black life in Chadds Ford.  To most, Wyeth is known as a painter of weathered farmers, stubbled Chester County fields, curtains blowing in the breeze, a woman crawling toward a house on a hill in Cushing, Maine.  Yet the retrospective that opened Saturday at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, “Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect,” may force some reconsideration. The exhibition of more than 100 works spanning Wyeth’s entire career runs through Sept. 17. It is the first retrospective since his death in 2009, and it marks the centenary of his birth in 1917.  Philadelphia Inquirer, June 26, 2017


Watch the Human Brain Come to Life in This Stunning Piece of Art.  Sometimes neuroscientist Greg Dunn finds his field tedious. Working at a lab bench can make you forget how beautifully ornate the human brain is, he says. To reinspire himself, his colleagues and the public, Dunn makes art. Most recently he made an eight- by 11-foot gilded engraving of the human brain.  Scientific American, June 21, 2017

New York

Michelangelo’s Anxious, Modern Faces, at the Sistine Chapel in the Oculus.  As any American visiting Rome quickly learns, Michelangelo’s frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling have been so murdered by mass tourism that going to look at them is an exhausting, not to mention occasionally frightening, experience. The guards shout, with very non-Italian urgency, for the visitors to be silent, and, after a fifteen-minute neck-craning exercise in mostly futile inspection, the crowd is forcibly moved on so that the next one can come in.  o when news came that the neighbor of this magazine’s headquarters—the Westfield, the no-it’s-not-really-a-mall located in the Oculus, Santiago Calatrava’s winged hall—was putting up a near-life-size exhibition of choice photographs of the chapel ceiling that were taken not long ago, it supplied both a chance to look again at the Sistine figures, and, not incidentally, to revive this magazine’s ancient first-person plural: for we hied ourselves over to the hall to see what had been wrought.  New Yorker, June 27, 2017

United States

Art Gallery Closures Grow for Small and Midsize Dealers.  Midsize galleries have long struggled to compete in a field increasingly dominated by mega-galleries with multiple locations, like Gagosian, David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth. But lately the trend toward an intensely commercial and competitive art market has resulted in a critical mass of galleries folding, moving or merging.  New York Times, June 25, 2017

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