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


Millennium Line extension plan threatens Equinox and Monte Clark gallery spaces.  TransLink’s plan to extend the Millennium Line SkyTrain route along Broadway may result in the demolition of an industrial building holding two art galleries that have helped spur a thriving cultural district. The iconic orange building on Great Northern Way was built in 1964 for Finning Tractor Ltd. The Equinox and Monte Clark galleries renovated the space between 2011 and 2013 and have operated there since. Georgia Straight, July 18, 2017

His mother — ‘an amazing painter’ — told him to not get into art, but he couldn’t help it.  Justin Gradin is a painter, sculptor, musician and art director for the band White Lung. He collaborates with Ben Jacques as on half of the video art production team Exquisite Corps who have made videos for Converse Shoes, Domino Records and Jagjaguwar to name a few. Justin currently lives and works in East Vancouver.  Growing up, his mother warned him about the uncertainty of an art career — but he found himself compelled to create anyway. As he puts it: “Being creative is hard, but sometimes you just can’t help it.”  CBC News, July 20, 2017

Q&A: Bruce Thomas.  In his Season Cycle exhibit, Bruce Thomas reinvents the B.C. landscape by drawing upon the personal recollections and thoughts of Canadians. The Revelstoke-based artist has been interviewing people across the country for what he is calling the PULSE Landscape Project. Season Cycle is one aspect of the ongoing work, in which Thomas uses the data he collects to inspire large-scale media compositions as well as sculptures, books and videos. We talked to Thomas about his travels and his work. Vancouver Sun, July 19, 2017


Art helped her with depression and anxiety — and then it opened up a whole new career. In university, Nerissa Bradley was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Painting and music became a form of therapy for the 27-year-old, but as she explains in this video — the latest in our series, “Heartbreak to Art” — reconnecting with her creative side also revealed a brand new career path. CBC News, July 20, 2017

At the ROM, mapping out the monstrosity of Auschwitz.  Robert Jan van Pelt, an architectural historian, recreates details of the notorious Nazi death camp, giving known facts freshly evocative power… The Evidence Room, with its precise attention to the mechanics of atrocity, means to offer a different view.  “One of the problems in learning about anything, really, is that the eye objectifies things,” said Robert Jan van Pelt, the installation’s creator. “That is why it all becomes white. We want you to touch, to think with your fingertips. We do not stress the visual here.”  Toronto Star, July 20, 2017


Photographer portrays the spirit of Montreal in bus shelter exhibit.  A tribute to Montrealers who have shaped the city is coming to a place where many of its residents can be found — bus shelters.  From July 24 to Aug. 7, more than 200 STM bus shelters will display a series of portraits of inspiring Montrealers taken by photographer Monic Richard.  Montreal Gazette, July 19, 2017

St. John’s

‘She was a difference-maker:’ Mary MacDonald, celebrated artist, writer, and organizer dies at 32. Mary MacDonald, a pioneer in the St. John’s arts community, has died at the age of 32.  Her loss leaves the St. John’s and Atlantic Canadian arts communities shocked and deeply saddened. Her work leaves them strengthened, inspired, and grateful.  “She was a difference-maker,” said artist Joe Fowler, who worked with MacDonald at the Eastern Edge Gallery.  CBC News, July 19, 2017

Los Angeles

Keanu Reeves is a publisher of the new L.A. press X Artists’ Books.  What are books to you?” read a slide projected at the launch for X Artists’ Books as three of its founders — Alexandra Grant, Jessica Fleischmann and, yes, that Keanu Reeves — took the stage at NeueHouse Hollywood last week to discuss their new independent press, which publishes unconventional, interdisciplinary and collaborative artists’ books.  Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2017


Photographer Vivian Maier’s Archive Gifted to University of Chicago   Hundreds of photographs by artist Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny who constantly took photos in her spare time and was unknown until her negatives were found in the late 2000s, have been donated to the University of Chicago. Nearly 500 prints, which have never been exhibited or published, have been donated to the university along with one of the artist’s cameras. Even though Maier has had several exhibitions, gallery shows, and even a documentary made about her work, this is the first time her photos will be given to a research center.   The photos were donated by John Maloof who first discovered and bought the negatives and uploaded many online. Jezebel, July 19, 2017


Barnes Foundation’s big catch is lured back to Paris to re-join famed Musee d’Orsay Less than two years after arriving at the Barnes Foundation from Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, the Barnes’ chief curator Sylvie Patry, 48, is returning to France and to her erstwhile museum. It’s pretty much a dream job, she says. The Orsay, as she calls it, has carved out a position for her as deputy director for curatorial affairs and collections, giving her, essentially, the run of the place.  Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 2017


NEA, NEH, and Smithsonian Would Lose Millions in Funding in House Appropriations Committee Bill  Last night, the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives approved the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018, earmarking $145 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). While this represents potential cuts of nearly $5 million compared to the $149,849,000 both agencies received for FY2017, it’s also a far cry from the complete de-funding called for by President Trump in his proposed federal budget for next year.  Hyperallergic, July 19, 2017


Stirling prize 2017 shortlist: from a cool crowdfunded pier to a giant hole in the ground. Hastings’ revived seaside pier will go head to head with a stealthy addition to the British Museum and a photographer’s concrete studio in west London in the race to win the RIBA Stirling prize for the UK’s best new building. They are joined on a diverse shortlist by a new visitor centre at Chatham’s historic naval dockyard, a little brick tower of six apartments in east London and a gargantuan complex for the City of Glasgow College – the second year running that the young institution has made the shortlist.  The Guardian, July 20, 2017


Violent Storms Invade the Louvre, Damaging Art by Poussin and Other Holdings. Louvre Museum officials have revealed the details of the artworks damaged by the violent storms that shook Paris on July 8-9.  Two works by Nicolas Poussin were among those damaged on Sunday July 9, as the French capital saw two inches of rainfall in just an hour, with the tempest flooding several metro stations and infiltrating the Louvre.   Artnet News, July 17, 2017


Christ & Gantenbein’s concrete extension to National Museum Zurich photographed by Rory Gardiner  British photographer Rory Gardiner took these shots of Christ & Gantenbein’s angular concrete extension to the National Museum Zurich when it was bathed in late winter sunlight.  The extension, which houses new galleries, an auditorium and a library, affixes to either end of the old stone building to enclose a courtyard.  Dezeen, July 19, 2017


Art for Athens: what Documenta left behind. “Learning from Athens” is the motto of Documenta 14, which concluded its program in the Greek capital on July 16. The show of contemporary art continues in Kassel, Germany, through September 17.  But just before the Athens portion came to an end, it seemed that many still didn’t know what “Learning from Athens” was supposed to mean.  Deutsche Welle, July 17, 2017


Beyond the dot: how Indigenous artists are shaking off stereotypes.  dot, dot, dot […], a new exhibition at Sydney College of the Arts, tackles some of the issues around the use of Papunya dots in paintings, but also looks at why so many artists – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – are attracted to using dots in their work. The Guardian, July 18, 2017

Biennale of Sydney 2018 Announces Artists and Theme The theme for the Biennale of Sydney 2018 has been announced. Titled “SUPERPOSITION: Art of Equilibrium and Engagement,” the exhibition will highlight “the concept of superposition in quantum mechanics as a metaphor to link the notions of equilibrium and engagement and provide us with insights into the world today. Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, director and CEO of the Biennale of Sydney, said, “[The biennale] encourages us to consider how all things of this world interact with each other. [It] promises to be an inspiring and important means for us to contemplate our place in the world.” The show will run from March 16 until June 11, 2018 at multiple locations throughout Sydney. Artforum, July 19, 2017

Hong Kong

Controversy and cutting-edge art in Hong Kong’s artist village.  The Cattle Depot Artist Village, in Kowloon’s backstreets, is a sprawling collection of listed red-brick industrial buildings that housed the city’s abattoir and cattle quarantine centre from 1908 to 1999.  It was reborn in 2001 as an avant-garde artists’ village with around 20 spaces taken over by an eclectic mix of painters and sculptors, video and multimedia creators and performers, theatre workshops and temporary exhibition spaces. The depot has had its ups and downs, with deliberately obstructive bureaucratic controls for the artists and a period when visitors were closely observed by the authorities. But today, the public can enter whenever they want, all but ignored by the security guards, with school groups and local art students regularly visiting. The Guardian, July 19, 2017


Paris’s Centre Pompidou to Open Satellite Branch in Shanghai.  A little bit of Paris is landing in Shanghai. The Centre Pompidou in Paris has just announced its long-awaited cultural partnership with Shanghai’s new West Bund Art Museum, which will host a satellite gallery for the Paris museum in the Chinese cultural capital. The wing is to be called the Centre Pompidou Shanghai (West Bund), and already has 20 exhibitions slated over the course of the initial five-year run. Architectural Digest, July 19, 2017



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