Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, July 26, 2017


Vancouver’s Raymond Boisjoly shortlisted for $50,000 photography prize Indigenous artist Raymond Boisjoly is among the four finalists for the $50,000 Aimia/AGO Photography Prize. The Vancouver-based Boisjoly, who is of Haida and Quebecois descent, was selected from an initial long list of 30 artists. He specializes in photographic and text-based works, and was also shortlisted for the $50,000 Sobey Art Award last year. Rounding out the list of Aimia/AGO Photography Prize finalists are: Liz Johnson Artur, a Russian-Ghanaian photographer based in London; Japanese artist Taisuke Koyama; and African-American visual artist, photographer and arts educator Hank Willis Thomas. Toronto Star, July 25 2017

New Indigenous murals emblazon Queen E. Plaza, Vancouver Central Library, and more The City of Vancouver has unveiled the first four out of six of its new Indigenous murals downtown as part of the Canada 150+ celebrations. A total of six murals by First Nations artists were commissioned to promote reconciliation and relations between Vancouverites and Indigenous people. Artist Kelly Cannell has created a lightbox aptly titled Sea to Sky at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, with imagery of wildlife and natural landscapes, acknowledging Vancouver’s Coast Salish past. Georgia Straight, July 24, 2017


Syrian Symphony exhibit at Aga Khan Museum in Toronto Syrian Symphony, which has been at the Toronto museum since May 30, features multi-sensory pieces by Syrian artists in response to the current unfortunate state of their country. “In times of conflict or crisis, artists are implicated as our conscience,” says Amirali Alibhai, head of performing arts for the Aga Khan Museum. To put on this unique project, Alibhai and his team partnered with Silkroad, an organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, which uses art to promote global understanding. Canadian Immigrant, July 25, 2017

British artist Michael Landy to create ‘wall of protest’ at The Power Plant A British artist best known for destroying all of his personal belongings for a performance piece is creating a “wall of protest” at the Power Plant this fall. Michael Landy has put an open call to the public asking for contributions to Demonstration, a wall of words, texts, symbols and slogans that will “capture Canada’s social and political landscape,” the gallery said in a statement. With help from assistants, Landy will take the public submissions and translate them into red-and-white drawings of protest that will be pinned to the wall as part of the continually evolving installation. NOW, July 24, 2017


City reveals art concepts for LRT stations, total cost to exceed $7M The city has revealed concepts for $7.3-million worth of art pieces that will be installed in the 13 Confederation Line LRT stations, showcasing the works of local talent and internationally renowned artists. A municipal public art policy compels the city to contribute one per cent of hard construction costs to a public art account. [Chosen artists include Vancouver’s Douglas Coupland and Derek Root] Ottawa Sun, July 25, 2017

St. Louis

The Many Shades of Glenn Ligon’s Blue Black In the entrance gallery of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation are a series of figurative painting, sculpture, and a photographic print all staring at each other. This scene of interiority opens the group exhibition Blue Black curated by the artist Glenn Ligon. Kerry James Marshall’s central character in “Untitled (policeman)” (2015), wearing his standard issue, navy blue Chicago Police Department uniform, hand on his hip, looks out in a moment of reflection, at the boy on the other wall in Carrie Mae Weems’ “Blue Black Boy” (1997), whose eyes gape. The peering of the boy represents an image born out of black cultural looking and the white historical gaze. Hyperallergic, July 24, 2017

New York

The works of three generations of Inuit female artists “Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait,” a new exhibition on view at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian at the Heye Center in New York City, traces the art and influences of an Inuk grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona (1904–1983), a mother Napachie Pootoogook (1938–2002) and a daughter Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016). The show features just 18 works total from the three prolific artists, but conveys a vast range of styles and expressions of life in their remote Eastern Arctic community on Dorset Island, Nunavut, Canada. Smithsonian Magazine, July 24, 2017

Met Breuer exhibition contextualises Ettore Sottsass’ colourful designs Boldly shaped and coloured designs by Memphis group founder Ettore Sottsass are on display alongside some of the historic artefacts they reference, and contemporary objects they in turn influenced, at The Met Breuer museum in New York. Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical opened last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s satellite venue, taking over the brutalist building’s third-floor galleries. Dezeen, July 25, 2017

United Kingdom

Banksy’s balloon girl chosen as nation’s favourite artwork Banksy’s mural of a girl letting go of a heart-shaped balloon has been voted the nation’s favourite artwork. The image, which was daubed onto a London shop 15 years ago, was chosen above the likes of Constable’s Hay Wain and Jack Vettriano’s Singing Butler. Some 2,000 people chose their favourite artwork from a shortlist of 20 works drawn up by arts editors and writers. The Fighting Temeraire, by JMW Turner, and Antony Gormley’s The Angel Of The North sculpture completed the top five. BBC News, July 26, 2017


A guide to taking in Italy’s prestigious La Biennale di Venezia art show It has been called “the Olympics of modern art.” Every other year since La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895, the world’s oldest and still arguably most prestigious contemporary art show takes over the Floating City – mesmerizing, inspiring and often baffling audiences with its global showcase of significant new works. On until Nov. 26, the 2017 edition features artists representing more than 80 invited countries, including Canada’s official entrant, Vancouver artist Geoffrey Farmer. Each national entry features new work specifically commissioned for the Biennale, displayed in national pavilions and eclectic exhibition spaces. The Globe and Mail, July 25, 2017

Buenos Aires

BienalSur—a biennial without borders—launches this autumn The first International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South America (BienalSur) launches this September across 30 cities in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Aníbal Jozami, the director of the biennial, told The Art Newspaper that the inaugural edition aims to “establish a lasting institution that fosters cultural exchange and integration between countries”. “The biennials that we are now acquainted with were born at different historical times as a consequence of certain social groups attempting to boost their city or region, as was the case with the political leaders of northern Italy after reunification, when they established the Venice Biennale in the late-19th century”, Jozami says.  “In view of this context, together with [the artistic director of the biennial] Diana Wechsler and [the biennial’s advisor] Marlise Ilhesca, we felt the need to rethink the current formats—conversely, this biennial does not respond to any city in particular”. Although its main hub is in Buenos Aires, the show extends beyond Argentina—to Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo, among other cities. The Art Newspaper, July 26, 2017






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