Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, February 15, 2018


Hottest tickets in Canada: Five things to do across the country. At Vancouver’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery,  we have an exhibition whose time has come, even if that time was four decades ago. Celebrating the art and activism of Vancouver’s 1970s, the multifaceted GLUT includes a reconfigured version of the Women’s Bookstore (opened in 1973), complete with 100 books from the era. Thirteen female artists, writers, theorists and researchers will occupy the installation and annotate the collection for visitors to discover.  Globe & Mail, February 13, 2018


Upcoming WAG exhibits sure to impress.  In June, Winnipeg Art Gallery will host two exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and drawings from some of the greatest Impressionists of the era. Works by famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Berthe Morisot will be part of the two exhibitions. The first exhibition, French Moderns: from Monet to Matisse, 1850 to 1950, will include more than 60 pieces — a mixture of works from before, during and after the Impressionist period of the 1870s and 1880s — on loan from the Brooklyn Museum, as well as works from the WAG’s collection. The second exhibition, titled The Impressionists on Paper, is more than 20 watercolours, pastels, drawings and prints on loan from Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, which will follow three decades of works from the 1870s, when Impressionist painters first made their mark on the Paris art scene.   Winnipeg Free Press, February 10, 2018


Figures of Sleep art exhibition asks: Is sleep in crisis?   Figures of Sleep arrives as a new awareness around self-care has many better attuned to – and worried about – the maintenance of our physical and mental wellbeing. Curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan has gathered artworks by an all-star group of Canadian and international talents, including Liz Magor, Louise Bourgeois and Bruce Nauman, for a State of the Nation on sleep. Here, sleep is a matter of politics. It is a symbolic last bastion, Robayo Sheridan explains, positioned against the ever-accelerating demands of a capitalist market. Sleep can be a form of protest. Globe & Mail, February 14, 2018

Surveillance Romance.   In their first major solo exhibition—and on the verge of a Berlinale spotlight—artist duo Bambitchell studies the aesthetics of camouflage.  The Gallery TPW show, also titled “Special Works School,” borrows its name from a secret unit of artists created by the British military to conceive and build camouflage technologies during the First World War. This most recent show finds Bambitchell, a collaboration between artists Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell, curiously studying the aesthete’s capacity for violence—which is to say, the state’s preoccupation with aesthetics to facilitate surveillance.  Canadian Art, February 14, 2018

In Kader Attia’s show at the Power Plant, tracks from colonialism’s bloody past lead to here and now.  The scent of creosote, faint but distinct, hangs in the air at the Power Plant.   It’s the whiff of progress, drenched in blood. Here, an angular sweep of crumbling railway ties lie neatly on the gallery floor, prodding you onward along a journey you might not otherwise be inclined to take.   Some Modernity’s Footprints is the anodyne title given to the work by its maker, the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, who is having his Canadian debut here. But depending less and less on your point of view, there’s nothing neutral about modernity’s whipsaw transformation of the planet over the past couple of hundred years and all the blood it’s spilled along the way.  Toronto Star, February 14, 2018


Maria Hupfield Returns to the Beginning.  Maria Hupfield is a Brooklyn-based artist from Wasauksing First Nation, an Anishinabek community on Parry Island, five hours north of Toronto along Georgian Bay. Hupfield’s exhibition The One Who Keeps on Giving, currently at Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal, launches from the same impulse: to get out to that timeless place between lake and sky – to return, in a sense, to the beginning.  Momus, February 13, 2018

Los Angeles

Reinvention is key to this artist’s professional survival.  Michael Obermeyer was a middle-aged artist working in a Laguna Beach Starbucks trying to make ends meet during the Great Recession.  Humbled and a little bitter, he did what he had to do for his wife and three children. But when he looked at his first paycheck he had to chuckle. “I could sell a 5-by-7 for that check,” he said…And if he ever doubts his path, he keeps his monogrammed Starbucks apron hanging in a corner of his studio as a reminder.  “Once I left there I realized there are no bad days in art anymore,” Obermeyer said. “Anything that involves art, I’m all in.”  Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2018


Newfields Director Charles Venable on Why Art Museums as We Know Them Cannot Survive  In the second installment of our two-part interview, artnet News’s Andrew Goldstein talks to Charles Venable, director of Newfields / Indianapolis Art Museum), about why Rembrandt is a hard sell these days, what he learned from shopping malls, and why museums should stop expanding—and instead, consider getting smaller.  Artnet News, February 14, 2018   See also:  Newfields Director Charles Venable on His Data-Driven (and Maybe Crazy) Quest to Save the Art Museum Artnet News, February 12, 2018


1000 Words: Howardena Pindell Dots, dots and more dots: Punched-out paper circles accumulate in dense, nearly geologic thickets, or scatter into coruscating, anti-optical arrays on the surfaces of Howardena Pindell’s paintings. With these signature dots, the New York–based artist flouts the stringent orthodoxies of vanguard painting that dominated art schools when she was a student at Yale University in the late 1960s, opting instead for an unapologetically unconventional mode that also includes glam sprays of glitter, exuberant color, and labyrinthine passages of stitching. Abstraction, for Pindell, is a mode of contemplation, but it is also a cri de coeur, a heartfelt yearning for cohesion or resolution that is constantly thwarted or denied.  Artforum, February 13, 2018

New York

My Unexpected Valentine’s Day with Louise Bourgeois. Everyone has their own New York anniversary, and mine was the time in 1998 when I met Louise Bourgeois on Valentine’s Day. I was staying with my friend who lived on St. Mark’s Place, and one day, while walking down West 20th street in Chelsea, he pointed to a brownstone and said, with a little tremble in his voice, “That’s where Louise Bourgeois lives!”  Hyperallergic, February 11, 2018

Former Queens Museum Director Laura Raicovich “Misled the Board  An independent investigation ordered by the board of the Queens Museum in New York has found that former director Laura Raicovich and deputy director David Strauss “misled the board, and otherwise failed to comport themselves with the standards consistent with their positions.” The formal inquiry was launched after the institution came under fire for canceling, and then reinstating, an event sponsored by the Israeli government.  Artforum, February 14, 2018

The Making of Judy Chicago’s Feminist Masterpiece, The Dinner Party.  In 1974, artist Judy Chicago made a small, striking artwork titled Flesh Spreading Her Wings and Preparing to Fly. Chicago made the piece the same year that she began her most famous and perennially controversial artwork, The Dinner Party (1974–79).  Both artworks are currently on view in “Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making” at the Brooklyn Museum, where The Dinner Party has been on permanent view since 2007. Through a tantalizing array of ephemera, preparatory drawings, and early works by Chicago, it takes an in-depth look at the long, arduous development of the artwork, which took five years and countless volunteers to assemble—and has since become the poster child of the Feminist Art movement. Artsy, February 9, 2018


Hirshhorn cancels Krzysztof Wodiczko’s monumental projection after Florida school shooting.  The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC has cancelled a monumental projection across its façade by the Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko that included an image of a gun after a school shooting in Florida killed at least 17 people on Wednesday (14 February). The site-specific work, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988-2000, was restaged for the first time in 30 years on Tuesday and was meant to remain on display for three days to coincide with the opening of the exhibition Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s (until 13 May). The Art Newspaper, February 15, 2018


David Milne review – One of Canada’s greatest painters? Come off it!  This exhibition of a supposedly “great” Canadian artist who was unsuccessful in his own lifetime and is little-known outside his own country today is called David Milne: Modern Painting. I don’t know what definition of modern painting they used, but it isn’t in any of my books. Milne’s paintings are only modern if by that you mean a wishy-washy vagueness, depressed colours and complete lack of shock. This is the cough of the new, modern art with a yawn.  The Guardian, February 14, 2018  See also: The Radical and the Experimental in the Art of David MilneNational Gallery of Canada Magazine, February 14, 2018


Mark Dion review – a fabulous, fun-filled bestiary in the heart of the city. There is more to Mark Dion’s Theatre of the Natural World than birds, though they do show up everywhere. Dead mallard hang head down in a hunter’s corrugated iron hide, ready for the plucking. The interior is arranged for a meal. Fur and fowl decorate the crockery. Another hide is disguised as a giant hay bale, furnished with sofa and chairs, and decorated with antlers and a hunting horn. Another, looming above us like a forest watchtower, has camouflage-patterned walls and camo-covered furnishings. It is a wonder you can see it. The Guardian, February 14, 2018


UK museum collecting at risk from lack of funding, report warns.  Museum collections in the UK are at risk of becoming “inert and lifeless” unless more money is invested for them to buy objects, according to a report.  An investigation by the historian Sir David Cannadine, published on Thursday, looks at museum collecting from the 1830s to the present day and paints a “deeply depressing” and “shocking” picture of the current funding landscape.  The report says “the morale, the confidence and the numbers of curatorial staff” have been in “serious decline” for some time.  The report was commissioned by the Art Fund charity and the Wolfson Foundation to mark 40 years of collaboration between them to help bring art and objects in to public collections.  Cannadine’s report argues that not enough museums have any collecting strategy at all, and that they are reactive rather than proactive – only adding to collections when a gift or donation is made.  The Guardian, February 15, 2018


Backlash as Max Stern exhibit dubbed ‘Too Canadian’ for Dusseldorf. The exhibition “Max Stern: From Dusseldorf to Montreal,” was to open at his city’s Stadtmuseum before travelling to Haifa’s Museum of Art and Montreal’s McCord Museum this year—until Dusseldorf mayor, Thomas Geisel, pulled the plug on the show last November.  He then flip-flopped on his decision on Dec. 21 following an outpouring of international outage, including pressure from Germany’s culture minister Monika Grütters, who called the mayor’s actions “beyond regrettable” adding that exhibitions exposing Nazi wrongs “are more necessary than ever at the current time.” Dusseldorf’s cultural office then gave official world that the show would be revived.  However, recent events suggest that the real story, in which Canada plays a key role, is still unfolding. Despite Geisel’s recent promise to reinstate the exhibition, he has yet to fix a date for the show.  Maclean’s, February 14, 2018


A Lifetime of Making Art, but New to Selling It Online.  The move to online sales is happening as drawings and photos are more frequently shared on sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, whether by professional artists or hobbyists. “The growth of social media has made artists of us all,” said David Winton, the chief executive of Kalisher, a company outside Chapel Hill, N.C., that places original art in businesses and other commercial spaces…   Artists over the age of 50 make up a significant contingent of those represented by online galleries. estimates that nearly 50 percent of living artists represented on its site are older than 50, with similar proportions at and Ugallery.  New York Times, February 9, 2018




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