Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, April 26, 2018



Shigeru Ban exhibition opens at Vancouver Art Gallery in May.  This spring, the Vancouver Art Gallery presents Offsite: Shigeru Ban. This exhibition organized by the Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art features the full-scale version of renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s Kobe Paper Log House at the Gallery’s Offsite location (1100 West Georgia Street).  Under the direction of Shigeru Ban, the Gallery has built a version of his 15.8 square-meter Kobe Paper Log House utilizing readily sourced materials. Founder of the Voluntary Architects Network, Ban designed the Kobe Paper Log House as disaster relief shelter with his extensive knowledge of recyclable materials, particularly of paper and cardboard. This exhibition will also feature a large photomural documenting Ban’s ongoing design work on global disaster relief projects – work that in 2017 earned him the Mother Theresa Award.  Canadian Architect, April 25, 2018

Freeing the Spirit Behind Indigenous Art and Culture.  The curious life of objects is on full and glorious display in a number of exhibitions in Vancouver and Whistler at the moment, including the Museum of Vancouver’s Haida Now, the Museum of Anthropology’s Culture at the Centre, and the Audain Art Museum’s Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit.   All of these different shows have one thing in common: to make visible the extraordinary cultural and social history of Indigenous people in British Columbia.  The Tyee, April 6, 2018

Salvador Dali’s Women Aflame to light up downtown site.  A four-metre tall sculpture by Salvador Dali is headed for a site at West Hastings and Hornby streets in downtown Vancouver.  Called Women Aflame, the sculpture will be unveiled a week Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. at Lot 19 by Chali-Rosso Art Gallery. The sculpture will be on display until Sept. 1.  Vancouver Sun, April 25, 2018


Calgary water tower transforms into university art galleryAn iconic water tower on the campus of St. Mary’s University in Calgary has re-opened as an art gallery after a five-month renovation effort – and is set to host its first exhibit in June.  The almost 100-year-old building was full of “mud, bricks [and] broken down materials” before a roughly $500,000 donation was given to renovate its interior. Now that the work is done, The Mauro Gallery has officially opened its doors.  Global News, April 25, 2018


Five great exhibitions to check out at the Contact Photography Festival.  The embarrassment of riches that is the annual Contact Photography Festival only seems to get richer by the year, a testament to its public-first mandate and freewheeling ability to adapt on the fly. Twenty-two years since its first instalment debuted in cafes, laundromats — the “public” part is rooted that deeply — and the galleries run by its stalwart founders Stephen Bulger, Judith Tatar, Darren Alexander and Linda Book, Contact is a thoroughly bona fide affair with buy-in from all the major institutions in the city.  Toronto Star, April 25, 2018


New Ottawa Art Gallery opens this weekend: ‘It’s going to look amazing’  The grand opening of the $38-million Ottawa Art Gallery, a state-of-the-art facility that finally gives the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art a proper home — a provides plenty of space for other exhibits, along with areas to make art, discuss art, buy or rent art, store art, celebrate art and introduce children to art. Donated to the City of Ottawa in the early 1990s by the Firestone family, the collection comprises 1,600 works by artists from across Canada, including a significant number of pieces by the Group of Seven. Jackson’s work is well represented, thanks in part to his friendship with O.J. Firestone, a federal government economist, successful Ottawa businessman and passionate patron of the arts.   Ottawa Citizen, April 25, 2018

National Gallery preparing to cancel Chagall sale: sources.  The National Gallery of Canada is preparing to cancel its controversial sale of a Marc Chagall painting, sources tell The Globe and Mail.   The National Gallery had planned to sell the 1929 The Eiffel Tower canvas at a Christie’s auction house in New York City on May 15 for an estimated US$6-million to US$9-million. The painting left the country earlier this year with an export permit and has been touring Christie’s international showhouses, including in Hong Kong, to drum up buyer interest. Globe & Mail, April 26, 2018

Liberals threaten to hold back arts funding under new anti-harassment policy.  Arts groups that want funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage or the Canada Council will have to commit to keeping their workplaces free of harassment, abuse and discrimination as the government clamps down on sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.  Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced on Wednesday that Ottawa will no longer provide money to organizations, including those in the performing arts, that have failed to adopt a “no tolerance” policy toward sexual violence and harassment.  Globe & Mail, April 26, 2018

Los Angeles

Laura Aguilar, Compassionate Photographer of Marginalized Groups, Dies at 58.  Chicana photographer Laura Aguilar, whose stunning retrospective at the Vincent Price Museum of Art in Monterrey Park, California, now on view at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami, made her one of the breakout stars of the Getty Foundation’s recent Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, has died. She was 58.  Artnews, April 25, 2018


Can Art Lending Libraries Empower a New Generation of Collectors?  For centuries, those who lacked the space or resources to collect artworks really only had one option — experiencing whatever fine art they could find in public spaces like museums. But in many cities, it’s now possible to borrow art for free. All you need is a local “art lending library” — an innovation in art sharing that could, just maybe, help democratize an activity that was once considered inaccessible.  Recently, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver launched its own local take on the art lending library — the Octopus Initiative. Adam Lerner, the director of the museum, said that the goal was to support artists financially, while ensuring that their art finds an audience.”  Hyperallergic, April 19, 2018


George Byrne’s best photograph: a courthouse drama in a ghost town.  “I took this in downtown Minneapolis, while on a road trip from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. I had just got my first car: an enormous 1999 Crown Victoria, an ex-police car I bought off a Russian cab-driver in North Hollywood for $900.   Why Philly? I had a mate living there, so with my new wheels I figured this was an ideal time to hit the road and see the country. It turned out to be fairly gruelling. I’d miscalculated the distance – and the quality of my vehicle – so what I thought would be a three-day drive was a solid five-day slog with little time for stopping. It was intense: a foot-down, white-knuckle, bald-tyres, 4,000-mile drive.” – George Byrne.  The Guardian, April 25, 2018

Brunswick, Maine

How Winslow Homer’s long-lost camera changed the way scholars see his paintings.  Little did the Bowdoin College Museum of Art know that an unsolicited phone call it received in 2014 would lead to an exhibition this summer that may change the way Winslow Homer is viewed in art history.   On the line that day was Neal Paulsen, who lived about five miles from Prouts Neck, Maine—Homer’s residence after he returned in 1884 from a two-year stay in Cullercoats, England. Paulsen, who said he had a camera once owned by Homer, met with skepticism.  The Art Newspaper, April 25, 2018

New York

How Adrian Piper Challenges Us to Change the Ways We Live.  In her Museum of Modern Art retrospective, Piper makes visible the ways in which we are held in place by other people and their perceptions, and how their perceptions lead to the politics and philosophies that make up our world.  Hyperallergic, April 22, 2018

Kerry James Marshall Painting Could Set Artist Record at Sotheby’s.  At its evening sale of contemporary art on May 16, Sotheby’s will offer Kerry James Marshall’s 1997 painting Past Times  with an estimate of $8 million to $12 million, and if the work reaches even the low end of that range, it will set a new record for the artist’s work at auction. Artnews, April 25, 2018

Buenos Aires

Here’s the Artist List for Art Basel’s Upcoming Buenos Aires Event.  Art Basel will continue its programming in Buenos Aires under the aegis of its Art Basel Cities program in September with a weeklong exhibition called Hopscotch (Rayuela) that will take place across three neighborhoods—La Boca, Puerto Madero, and Palermo. The event, which runs from September 6 through 12, will feature works by 16 Argentinian and international artists. Pieces for what the company is dubbing Art Basel Cities Week, will be situated in plazas, parks, and empty buildings, drawing connections between contemporary art, urban layouts and spaces, and the city’s history. Artnews, April 24, 2018


TED-style art history platform aims to promote arts education online. There was a national outcry in 2016 when the last exam board in England to offer A-level art history announced that it would drop the subject. Following a high-profile campaign by leading art world figures, including the Tate’s former director Nicholas Serota and the artists Anish Kapoor and Cornelia Parker, the exam board Pearson decided to plug the gap. But it was this rumble in art education that inspired Heni Talks, a new online platform for educational videos about art that launches today (25 April).  The Art Newspaper, April 25, 2018

‘Astonishing, ravishing, sublime’ – Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece review.  British Museum’s astonishing, ravishing, sublime new exhibition – I could add a lot more superlatives and still be understating it – brings you face to face with the most revolutionary sculptures ever created. It also has some fine works by Auguste Rodin.  The wonder hits you as soon as you enter and find yourself confronted by Rodin’s The Kiss sharing a pedestal with two goddesses carved two and a half millennia ago.  The Guardian, April 25, 2018


“Buildings are the most concrete clue to how tech giants are reshaping the world”  The biggest and most concrete ways that tech companies are reshaping the world are found not in any online platform, but in their buildings.  This is the contention of a timely exhibition at Ikon in Birmingham, UK by the British artists Langlands & Bell, whose practice has long been concerned with what architecture reveals about how people, societies and nations operate and see themselves. Entitled Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe, the exhibition focuses on the architectural creations – built, currently under construction, and soon to be – of Facebook, Google, Apple, and others, as well as two Chinese companies, Alibaba and Suning.  Dezeen, April 23, 2018


Here’s the Artist List for the 2018 Berlin Biennale.  The Berlin Biennale has released the artist list for its tenth edition, which opens on June 9 at various venues around the German capital. Curated by Gabi Ngcobo, this year’s Biennale is titled “We don’t need another hero” and focuses on artists who “confront the incessant anxieties perpetuated by a willful disregard for complex subjectivities.” Artnews, April 25, 2018

In Berlin, Artists Find a Home.  New York is the art world’s undeniable hub and certainly its commercial heart. London and Hong Kong rate partly because of strong auction scenes. For museums, we’ll always have Paris, and Italy has jaw-dropping art tucked away in seemingly every church.   But Berlin has artists.   No matter where they are from originally, they like to live and work in the German capital, producing art even if they don’t show it there.  Having solid galleries and museums certainly helps, but it may be more a function of cheap space, the city’s embrace of offbeat behavior and a hard-to-quantify ability to channel the creative spirit.  New York Times, April 24, 2018

Ai Weiwei Defends His Selfie with Right-Wing German Nationalist Politician Many an eyebrow was raised last week when the leader of the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany  party shared a selfie in which she poses with artist Ai Weiwei. Politician Alice Weidel originally posted the photograph on her Twitter account with the caption,” #AiWeiwei is in the capital!!!! I almost didn’t dare ask him for a selfie ;-).” In the image, the artist sidles up close on her right and grins for the camera.  Weidel is an openly lesbian, former investment banker who opposes same-sex marriage and once referred to immigrants in Germany as “illiterate people” who “don’t have any training.” Her party, founded in 2013, is known for its anti-Islam and anti-immigration positions.  Hyperallergic, April 22, 2018



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