Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, August 8, 2017


In Vancouver, Elad Lassry Brims With Absurdity Two distinct interpretations of light vie for attention at the Vancouver Art Gallery. On the ground floor, “Claude Monet’s Secret Garden” treats light as ephemeral and amorous, while on the second floor, Los Angeles–based artist Elad Lassry is interested in light’s mischievous, manipulative and precise properties. Lassry’s first major Canadian exhibition showcases a decidedly popular aesthetic: the walls are lined with colours and poses more widely seen in marketing, advertising and documentary image-making than in fine art—but they are masterfully imbued with visual tension. Canadian Art, August 2, 2017

Vancouver Mural Festival an eye-opener for Mount Pleasant residents This is the festival’s second year. Last year 53 murals were painted in and around the Mount Pleasant area. This year’s festival will see 60 new murals created between Aug. 7-12. While artists are busy doing their thing, festival organizers will host evening events and will close with a big street party at Broadway and Main on Aug. 12… The festival is partly funded by a $100,000 grant from the city’s Public Art Boost fund. The whole budget is almost $750,000 and made up of monies from a combination of corporate sponsorship and auxiliary projects throughout the year. Vancouver Sun, August 4, 2017

Opinion: Vancouver gets a new town square Vancouver is finally getting the central square it deserves and has long lacked. The plaza between the Vancouver Art Gallery and Georgia Street has been under construction for almost a year. However, planning for this key public space, which had deteriorated into a clutter of crumbling elements and bark-mulch ground cover, has been ongoing for several years. When it’s fully completed, Vancouver will get its first truly urban square in many decades… Vancouver Sun, August 7, 2017

West Vancouver

Syrian photographer shows inside look at refugee camps at Harmony Arts Festival Hani Al Moulia knows what it’s like to live in a cozy house, to sleep in a warm bed, and to consider life in a refugee camp a far-off, unthinkable reality…. That idea plays directly into Home/Shelter/Belonging, put together by the West Vancouver Museum’s Darrin Morrison and guest curator Robin Laurence… Putting Al Moulia’s work alongside that of Sylvia Borda, Jim Breukelman, Germaine Koh, Annie Pootoogook, Itee Pootoogook, and Gu Xiong, the show encompasses themes of settlement and immigration, as well as diverse structural concepts of “home”. Georgia Straight, August 4, 2017


Montreal’s art biennale, unable to pay its debts, takes a hard fall The biennale owes about $200,000 to people who helped the 2016 event attract 92,000 visitors over three months. Most of the money is owed to artists, installers and other small suppliers who can ill afford to wait indefinitely for payment. Board chair Cédric Bisson said in a phone interview this week that everyone will be paid, but couldn’t say when. The 2016 biennale closed on Jan. 15, seven long months ago. Not surprisingly, the public bodies that funded the biennale have left the table for now. To accept a grant and not pay the artists is a cardinal sin in the eyes of every arts council that ever was. The 2018 biennale has been cancelled, and a 2020 version is no sure thing. The Globe and Mail, August 3, 2017

New York

How Jeffrey Deitch, Citibank, and Christo Created the Art Market as We Know It For as long as there’s been art, there’s been money nearby. The Medicis, Florentine bankers, supported Sandro Botticelli, Fra Filippo Lippi, and Michelangelo; Egyptian pharaohs commissioned statues, objects, and murals for their tombs; a rising number of Asian billionaires have jump-started an art market across that continent. But somehow—despite the fact that many of the most prominent collectors hail from the financial industry, works of art regularly command seven figures, and banks are lining up to lend against art—acknowledging the existence of an art market tends to make art world types shift uncomfortably in their seats… So when I learned about art dealer Jeffrey Deitch’s early career establishing an art services department at Citibank, where he seamlessly—but explicitly—brought together art and finance, I wanted to know more about how he bridged these two worlds. Artsy, July 30, 2017

Michelle Elligott Named Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections at MoMA Michelle Elligott has been appointed the chief of archives, library, and research collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In her new position, Elligott will manage the cataloguing and care of the museum’s records and oversee most matters relating to the library. Elligott has had a long career at MoMA, where she has worked for the past two decades. In 1999, she was named the museum’s Rona Roob Senior Museum Archivist. Then, in 2014, she was promoted to the museum’s chief of archives. Artnews, August 3, 2017


Former V&A director Martin Roth has died aged 62 Martin Roth died yesterday (6 August) in Berlin, aged 62. When he retired as director of the London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) last October he was in good health, but cancer was diagnosed immediately after he left…. Roth had served as director general of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections), overseeing 12 museums, from 2001 to 2011. He then moved to London to become director of the V&A, where visitor numbers soared with a series of major exhibitions. He oversaw the new extension which opened this June, played a key role in developing plans for V&A East on the former Olympic site and expanded the museum’s international links. The Art Newspaper, August 6, 2017

National Gallery in a dispute with its neighbour, the National Portrait gallery As two of London’s most prestigious art institutions, not to mention close neighbours, they have much in common. But the National Gallery has found itself at loggerheads with the National Portrait Gallery over its plans to build an extension that the latter argues will obscure views of the capital. The Telegraph, August 4, 2017

Vienne, France

Archaeologists Discover a “Little Pompeii” in Southern France Archaeologists in the city of Vienne in southern France have uncovered an entire ancient Roman neighborhood, including elegant private homes, a large public market square, and artisans’ workshops, some of which date back to the first century CE. The public square gave way to a large school of rhetoric or philosophy after a devastating fire ravaged the district in the early second century, leading the archaeologists to dub it “a veritable little Pompeii.” The district was largely abandoned in the fourth century, but its buildings and mosaics have remained in remarkably good condition. Hyperallergic, August 3, 2017


Works by Rachel Whiteread and Cornelia Parker to be shown for the first time in Saudi Arabia Works by leading UK artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Ryan Gander and Cornelia Parker will go on show for the first time later this year in Saudi Arabia in an exhibition at Athr Gallery in Jeddah. The show, titled We Are Not Alone (17 October-16 November), is organised by six Saudi women selected for a British Council study programme called Contemporary Collective. The initiative “aims to build the skills of a new generation of curators and arts managers in Saudi Arabia”, according to a press statement. The Art Newspaper, August 4, 2017


Centre Pompidou to open Shanghai outpost in David Chipperfield’s West Bund Art Museum Called the Centre Pompidou Shanghai, the new gallery will be installed as part of a long-term cultural cooperation project between France and China that will start in 2019 and run until 2025. The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Centre Pompidou and The West Bund Group – an entirely state-owned enterprise that is responsible for the comprehensive development, operation and management of the city’s 9.4-square-kilometere Xuhui Waterfront. Dezeen, August 8, 2017



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