Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 2, 2017

Vancouver

Vancouver Mural Festival Emphasizes First Nations and Female Artists in its Second Year “A vessel of culture.” This is how David Vertesi describes the murals in the streets of Vancouver. The young musician is the co-founder and executive director of the annual Vancouver Mural Festival, which is in its second year taking place from August 7 until 12. BeatRoute talked to Vertesi about this year’s celebrations, which will not only include the transformation of over 50 walls across Strathcona and Mount Pleasant into huge works of art, but also feature live music, walking tours, street parties, and a variety of artist-led talks. BeatRoute, August 1, 2017

Foster Kids Are ‘The Heart’ Of Vancouver’s 1st Indigenous Fashion Week  Four days of fashion shows — running from July 26 to 29 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre — feature many models who are Indigenous teens living in foster care. They’ll be wearing designs by Indigenous artists from across the continent. Huffpost, July 28, 2017

Artist Corey Bulpitt creates major new mural on Pigeon Park Savings at Vancouver Mural Festival Haida artist Corey Bulpitt is in the midst of emblazoning the entre Pigeon Park Savings building with—you guessed it—pigeons as part of the 2017 Vancouver Mural Festival. Create Vancouver Society, the organization behind the mural fest, has partnered with Hastings Crossing BIA, in partnership with BC Housing, Vancity, Pigeon Park Savings, PHS Community Services Society, and the DTES Market, for the major new Downtown Eastside public artwork. Named East Van Pigeon, the mural will be a full building wrap of the savings headquarters, featuring the urban birds scattered in traditional Haida formline style as a kind of crest for the DTES community. Georgia Straight, July 28, 2017

Victoria

Barry Till, Curator at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Retires  Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s longtime Asian arts curator Barry Till has announced he will step down after a thirty-six-year term. Till will be named as the gallery’s first curator emeritus when his retirement takes effect at the end of September… The gallery’s first director, Colin Graham, wanted the AGGV to stand out from other institutions in western Canada and began acquiring Asian art. Graham originally hired Till as a part-time Asian arts curator in 1981. Since then, Till has grown the gallery’s holdings to more than 10,000 works, which make up 50 percent of its total collection. Artforum, July 26, 2017

Calgary

Romancing the Canoe in Calgary Although we now consider canoes to be recreational vehicles, they have an age-old history that begins with the First Nations. Constructed from natural materials such as birch bark, canoes were a vital form of transportation as they were much faster than hiking through brush and clambering over rocks. They were quickly adopted by European explorers as far back as Samuel de Champlain… and also played a vital role in the subsequent fur trade and colonization of Canada. Thus, Romancing the Canoe, on view at the Glenbow in Calgary until Sept. 10, is timely, both as a summer show and as yet another marker of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Galleries West, July 28, 2017

Lambton

Art Gallery closing to prepare for upcoming exhibit  The Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery will be closed from Monday, August 7 until September 1 as it prepares for an upcoming exhibit highlighting Canada during the Great War. Witness: Canadian Art of the First World War, will encompass all of the gallery’s exhibition space and include a reformatted version of the Lambton Heritage Museum’s Lambton At War exhibit, which explores the contributions made by the men, women, and families of Lambton County who fought in or supported Canada’s war efforts… The exhibit, circulated by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, will be on display from September 1 until January 7, 2018 and features works from renowned artists A.Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, David Milne, Mabel May and others. Lambton Shield, August 1, 2017

Toronto

They gave her bad advice. Toronto artist Maria Qamar turned it into a book: ‘Trust No Aunty’ Posing for photos in her downtown apartment, surrounded by her artwork and a pile of yellow books at her feet, Maria Qamar seems effortlessly cool and collected. However, though she shot to popularity a couple years ago through her Instagram account, Hatecopy, which has 101,000 followers, the 26-year-old Toronto artist is the first to admit her life wasn’t always like this. Her struggle to free herself from her family’s expectations and become an artist was what inspired her book, Trust No Aunty, a survival guide for Desi women, which comes out Tuesday. Toronto Star, August 1, 2017

New York

The Met might return another ancient vase to Italy An ancient vase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been confiscated by the Manhattan district attorney’s office based on evidence that it was looted from Italy in the 1970s, the New York Times reports. Authorities were tipped off about the work’s provenance by the archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis, who identified it through his research into the files of the Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici. Medici, who was convicted in 2004 of conspiring to traffic antiquities, denies any connection to the vase. The Art Newspaper, August 1, 2017

London

Matisse in the Studio review – genius crowded out by bric-a-brac His studio, it seems from this exhibition, was a place where he could strip objects from all over the world of their original meanings, forget their contexts, and use them in his own fantasies of colour, sex, tranquility and freedom. It makes his enterprise appear oddly trivial. The curators get close to killing the god they love. Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy, London, runs from 5 August to 12 November. The Guardian, July 31, 2017

Warburg Institute appoints the V&A’s Bill Sherman as director Bill Sherman has been appointed director of the Warburg Institute at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Sherman, the director of research and collections at the V&A, replaces David Freedberg who stood down in April. The Warburg Institute grew out of the private library of the German art historian Aby Warburg (1866-1929) who amassed science, history and art history publications. Under threat from the Nazis, his 60,000-strong library was shipped to London in December 1933. The Art Newspaper, August 1, 2017

Florence

Want to try slow tourism? First give up your guidebook … Eike Schmidt, the director of the city’s Uffizi Gallery, wants to discourage the more superficial of its 2 million annual visitors, and, presumably, fill the city’s hospitals with exhausted aesthetes by changing how people visit Italy’s greatest art collection. He hopes to achieve this by changing ticket prices to reward repeat visits, including in the early mornings and off season, and punish people who “come in for a selfie in front of Botticelli’s Venus”, discouraging “hit-and-run tourism”. The Guardian, August 2, 2017

Shanghai

Budi Tek awarded French government’s highest honour  The Indonesian-Chinese collector Budi Tek is to be awarded France’s premier award, the Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour) at a ceremony at his Yuz Museum in Shanghai on 13 August. Tek, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around 18 months ago, is being commended for advancing cultural relations between China and France, as well as “his contributions to the development of human society”, according to a statement. As early as 2011, the Yuz Foundation has been responsible for several major gifts, loans and exhibitions in French institutions. The Art Newspaper, August 2, 2017

International

The First Photographs of a Solar Eclipse On this August 21, a total solar eclipse will be viewable across North America, a rare occurrence that will likely be greeted by a wave of iPhones and digital cameras raised to the sky. Although photographing an eclipse relies a bit on luck, timing, and preparation, our ability to document the celestial event is more accessible than ever. In the 19th century, it took years of experimentation with the newly invented photographic medium to successfully capture a fleeting eclipse. Hyperallergic, July 31, 2017

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