Visual Arts News Digest, compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, September 13, 2017


Art Rapture Presents: Mark Ollinger’s math-influenced street art.  Art Rapture 2017  is right around the corner.  In what promises to be the most exhilarating urban art show you’ve ever seen in Vancouver, Art Rapture is bringing local and international artists works together for this year’s event on September 22 and 23.  Daily Hive, September 12, 2017


#Landmarks: Art Gallery of Alberta exhibits diverse array of visual art.  The AGA’s form is a stunning collaboration of graceful waves and majestic imagery. The landmark is the heartbeat of Edmonton’s arts and cultural community, positioning our city on a world-class stage.   “Approximately 100,000 people visit the AGA annually,” says Catherine Crowston, the gallery’s executive director and chief curator,  “and (for 2017) we are anticipating this number will increase to 110,000-115,000.”  Edmonton Journal, September 8, 2017


Tasting Fear in the Salt-Brined Sculptures of Elvira Finnigan.  Waking up after a raucous dinner party to a table strewn with half-cleaned plates and a sink filled with pots feels like a particular kind of penance. For most of us, there are few solutions beyond the obvious: start cleaning. Winnipeg artist Elvira Finnigan, though, has a different approach. Crystallize the entire thing, and turn it into an art installation. Canadian Art, September 12, 2017


Russell Smith: Getting to the art of Fogo Island.  Kosovo artist, Flaka Haliti, was talking on a panel in Toronto recently about her encounter with the foreign, the strange and the remote. She had been to Fogo Island off the north coast of Newfoundland as artist-in-residence at its Fogo Island Arts program, a retreat that has become internationally known. A bunch of recent participating artists were in Toronto to discuss their voyage to these exotic climes and the art they created there. A selection of their work is on display at Toronto’s Scrap Metal Gallery until Sept. 23; it was there that the panel took place.   Globe & Mail, September 12, 2017

Chinese artist weaves 10,000 hours of surveillance footage into feature film Dragonfly Eyes. Xu Bing is a Chinese artist famous for his printmaking skills and installations. But this year, he embarked on his most ambitious project yet: his first feature-length film.  The film is called Dragonfly Eyes. It’s about a young woman who undergoes a dramatic transformation after she leaves a Buddhist temple looking for a new life in the city. It’s already being described as a “cinema studies staple” because Xu managed to create the fictional film by only using real-life surveillance-camera recordings.   Dragonfly Eyes premieres on Tuesday at the Toronto International Film Festival. Ahead of the film’s screening, Xu joined Carol in the As It Happens studio for a feature interview.    CBC News, September 12, 2017


Borrow a pass to the museum using your Montreal library card.   Along with books, CDs and videos, there’s another item Montrealers can now take out from their local libraries: a free day at the museum. Starting Tuesday, Montreal’s 45 libraries and the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BanQ) are offering the service “Borrow a Museum” that allows members to borrow a pass for two to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the Centre d’histoire de Montréal.  Montreal Gazette, September 12, 2017

The Five Disappearances of Tammi Campbell.   In the description for Tammi Campbell’s self-titled exhibition at Division Gallery in Montreal (her first with the gallery, closing September 9), we are told that “she draws attention to the work of art as object and to the associated activity of an object’s contemplation.” The activity of an art object’s contemplation is usually a very brief affair. Some museum researchers put it between an average of fifteen and thirty seconds, though others say that’s too generous: seven seconds is more accurate.  Momus, September 6, 2017


We Lost an Entire Generation. Within the borders of Canada, Indigenous peoples are currently facing an AIDS crisis, and represent the highest statistics per capita of HIV-positive individuals and those experiencing low CD4 levels associated with AIDS. Yet Indigenous peoples remain ghettoized within, and largely absent from, what we consider to be AIDS art. The decimation of our communities experienced at the height of the AIDS crisis is a contributing factor to Indigenous erasure in AIDS art. Canadian Art, September 11, 2017

This Issue: The Idea of History.  Much has changed—and not changed—since the “Black”[artscanada] issue hit newsstands 50 years ago. (This particular issue came to our attention via Vancouver-based curator Denise Ryner, who is working on a research project that revisits the artscanada “Black” panel discussion.) In looking back, what becomes strikingly apparent, and important, is not the flawed history it contains, but the real stories that are glaringly absent from its pages. Canadian Art, September 12, 2017


Is This the World’s Most Interesting Art Gallery You’ve Never Heard Of?  Aspen is famous for its world-class skiing, but this gorgeous little space, newly re-imagined by Annabelle Selldorf, may be worth a trip on its own.  In addition to Aspen’s stringent building codes and budget-breaking construction costs, there is also a loud chorus of powerful locals who are still smarting from the Shigeru Ban-designed Aspen Art Museum, an enormous (by Aspen standards) structure just two blocks from the gallery. That project drew criticism for its lack of context both in its design as well as its programming, which many argue is geared to coastal and international artists and collectors.  Architectural Digest, September 12, 2017

Pittsfield, MA

Sotheby’s Releases Prices for Controversial Sale of Works from Berkshire Museum, Rockwell Estimated at $20 M. to $30 M.  Despite the protests of some museum professionals and activists, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is going ahead with a controversial plan to sell works from its collection. The museum’s leadership has said that proceeds from the deaccessioning will go toward growing the institution’s endowment, renovations on its building, and reorienting its mission toward the sciences.   Today, Sotheby’s announced the price estimates for the works.  ArtNews, September 6, 2017


More Than Half of London’s Galleries Are Failing and 5 Other Blunt Observations on the Art Market From Condo’s Founder.  Yesterday, as part of this year’s Art Business Conference in London, Georgina Adam hosted a panel called “The Gallery Think Tank: The Evolving Gallery Model.” That title may have been a little homely, but the sense of urgency was clear. And, in a season that has seen a drumbeat of high-profile gallery closures, all eyes were on panelist Vanessa Carlos.  Artnet News, September 7, 2017


Ren Hang exhibition shines new light on the late photographer.  When Ren Hang took his own life in February of this year, media reports were quick to depict him as a figure of controversy. The celebrated Chinese photographer was viewed not only through his work, but through the context in which it was created.  But the organizers of the first major posthumous exhibition of Ren’s work are hoping to present a more nuanced account. The collection is on display from Friday as part of the annual Photofairs Shanghai. It is intended to demonstrate the photographer’s technical and artistic prowess, according to co-curator Tim Crowley.  CNN News, September 5, 2017 

St. Petersburg

Firefighters save the Hermitage’s beloved feline guards.  A small fire on Friday at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg raised alarms about the fate of one of its greatest treasures: the beloved Hermitage cats that protect its Old Masters from mice and have become museum mascots. The Art Newspaper, September 8, 2017



Why museums need their own ethics departments. From the case of Python’s bell-krater to the Dana Schutz affair to the debate over Confederate monuments, recent events suggest that museums need to treat research on the ethics of art as integral to their work. These high-profile cases force museums to wade into complex ethical questions about cultural property, cultural appropriation, and legacies of injustice that they have not always adequately prepared for, and which often disappear from their agendas once the PR fires have been put out. Apollo, September 4, 2017




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