Visual Arts News Digest, Compiled by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, May 16, 2018


Vancouver Art Gallery Launches Summer 2018 Exhibition: Cabin Fever. The Vancouver Art Gallery is pleased to present Cabin Fever, a new exhibition tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view June 9 to September 30, 2018. Assembling renderings, artworks and commercial products as well as architectural models, plans and full-scale interventions, Cabin Fever surveys this iconic yet humble lodging’s utility, adulation and prevalence in Canada and the US.  Canadian Architect, May 15, 2018

Susan Point earns Audain Prize.  Renowned Musqueam artist Susan Point has earned yet another prestigious honour: the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, presented by Vancouver Art Gallery.  Point’s work is currently on display at Burnaby’s Deer Lake Gallery in Vue Point, ongoing until June 2.  Burnaby Now, May 14, 2018

Salvage Structures.  “We Built a House Out of the Things We Had Gathered” at Or Gallery locates us somewhere between paradise and desolation. Curated by Laurie White, the exhibition features artists Maggie Groat, Joar Nango and Leya Tess, whose skillful engineering holds together invention and necessity in tenuous circumstances.  Canadian Art, May 14, 2018


Something ‘Supernatural’ heads to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  A new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has created a world where nature and the scientific meet, in Supernatural: Art, Technology and the Forest.   Through photography, video and digital art, Supernatural explores how camera-based images shape our understanding of the forest.   Victoria News, May 15, 2018


Prominent Regina artist Jack Sures dies at 83. Celebrated Saskatchewan sculptor Jack Sures has died at the age of 83. Sures spent decades teaching at the University of Regina. He moved from Winnipeg to the Queen City in 1965 to launch the U of R’s ceramics and printmaking program.  Sures had previously been awarded the Saskatchewan Arts Board Lieutenant Governor’s Lifetime Achievement award and was recently given the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.   He had fallen ill after his trip to Ottawa to receive the award and died in hospital Saturday “on the stroke of noon,” according to his son.   CBC News, May 13, 2018


National Gallery widens its frame with Laurent Amiot silversmithing exhibition. On the cobblestone streets of Quebec City in the late 18th century, there were many smiths, but no one could do with silver what Laurent Amiot did.  The young man, recently returned from five years of training with Parisian masters, was making a name for himself as an entrepreneur who could take a simple commission and transform it into a work of art…Amiot is now the star of his first-ever national exhibition, Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master Silversmith, now on at the National Gallery of Canada. The exhibition is the latest in what the gallery says is an attempt to widen the frame of reference of what visual art can be, to encompass not just painting and sculpture but Indigenous work and decorative creations.  Globe & Mail, May 15, 2018

Ottawa Art Gallery’s smart new building marks the beginning of a fresh era. Emulation has been a thing in Ottawa architecture ever since a Gothic Revival parliament complex was built in a land where Gothic never existed. The new Ottawa Art Gallery must be the city’s first official building to riff on the design of a mid-century modernist house. The cool new elevated cube on Ottawa’s Mackenzie King Bridge road represents a triumphant reboot for a civic gallery that has till now lived in the shadow of Ottawa’s national collections of art and artifacts. Some of the building’s themes and materials allude to the former Rockcliffe home of local art collector O.J. Firestone, whose collection of 1,600 works has its own dedicated gallery in the new OAG.  Globe & Mail, May 15, 2018


Will Alsop: A crazy-brilliant creator of playful structures.   It’s got long steel legs, windows rimmed with hot pink and a skin that resembles a Cubist checker board. But for architect Will Alsop, his Sharp Centre for Design at Toronto’s OCAD University was missing one important thing. “I think what the school needs,” he told me a few years ago, “is a really good bar.” That was vintage Alsop. The London-based designer, who died on Saturday at age 70, was known equally as a bon vivant and as an architect who brought a sense of colour, literally and figuratively, to his profession. He also made an important mark on Toronto with the Sharp Centre, which is among the most distinctive buildings in the country.   Globe & Mail, May 14, 2018

Ai Weiwei exhibition coming to Gardiner Museum.  Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist whose provocative works engage fiery political and human rights issues, will bring a survey of his ceramic works to Toronto’s Gardiner Museum in February 2019.   Called Unbroken, the exhibition will present an array of Ai’s works in the medium, all of them charged with a favourite theme around the human costs of rapid modernization of the Chinese culture and economy. One set of works, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, was exactly that: A series of photos of Ai letting fall an ancient ceramic piece to shatter on the ground at his feet to register the country’s violent transformation from agrarian to urban, bulldozing ancient cities along the way.  Toronto Star, May 10, 2018

A Conversation with Tau Lewis.  Prolific Jamaican-Canadian, Toronto-based artist, Tau Lewis has been working non-stop and is breaking away from the Canadian art context. She currently has a solo exhibition at Jeffrey Stark in New York and a two-person exhibition with Cheyenne Julien at Chapter NY. Earlier this year she had a solo presentation at Atlanta Contemporary; last fall she participated in a show with the RAGGA NYC collective–of which she is also a member—at MoMA PS1, as well as the group show “TRUE LIES,” at Night Gallery in Los Angeles.  Canadian Art, May 10, 2018


A Rhythmic Call to Arms.  Rita McKeough’s immersive installation “Veins,” currently on view at Oboro in Montreal, is experienced via a central L-shaped road, a pre-ordained trajectory that is artificially smooth underfoot and hemmed in at both sides by small sandbags. Like walking into a supernatural toyshop at night, a flurry of rhythmic activity begins when you enter. Tree trunk drums fitted with twig-like drumsticks that beat out a staggered rhythm are set against an underlying soundtrack of urgent drumming, layered whispers, high-pitched humming, bird calls, growls, barks and the odd decipherable chant—“slow, slow, slow.Canadian Art, May 15, 2018

McCord Museum shocked park is going on site of its planned new home.  The McCord Museum says it was shocked to learn Mayor Valérie Plante plans to build a park on the site that has for years been reserved for the museum’s $150-million new home.  The museum says it has already spent $250,000 on studies related to the site and is expecting Premier Philippe Couillard to soon announce the government’s intention to help fund the project.  Montreal Gazette, May 15, 2018

Montreal-based Oji-Cree artist’s work confronts trauma of residential schools. The victimization of Indigenous women has been a theme in Lara Kramer’s artwork for years, and her latest piece, Phantom Stills & Vibrations, examines the pain and aftershock of the residential school experience.  Three generations of her family were forced to attend the Pelican Falls Indian Residential School in Sioux Lookout in northwestern Ontario.  CBC News, May 14, 2018


Study of Canadian Arts Worker Salaries Finds Stagnant Growth and Shrinking Benefits.  As most professionals in the arts sector know, love of the game can be one of the only benefits. As reported by the Canadian Art Foundation, a recent study (“2017 National Compensation Study – For Managerial and Administrative Positions in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations”) by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage — which followed up on data last collected for a 2008 survey — revealed very little in the way of salary growth within Canada’s professional arts sector, and an attendant shrinking of benefits, especially retirement savings plans.  Hyperallergic, May 15, 2018

Los Angeles

Inside Contemporary Native Artist Rick Bartow’s First Major Retrospective. When asked to describe the great Rick Bartow, gallerist and longtime friend Charles Froelick explains the contemporary Native artist didn’t see himself as a “conceptual artist” but rather as an interpreter who “tells stories through marks and images.”   His “stories” have gone on view everywhere from the Smithsonian to the White House. But it took until 2015—one year before he died of complications due to congestive heart failure— for Bartow to be honored with his first major retrospective. Over the weekend, the traveling show debuted at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles.  Smithsonian Magazine, May 15, 2018

Santa Fe

Here’s the Artist List for the 2018 Edition of SITElines. SITE Santa Fe has announced the 23 artists who will participate in the 2018 edition of its SITElines biennial, which opens August 3. The participating artists hail from eight countries, and this year’s biennial will feature ten new commissions.  ArtNews, May 14, 2018


Damaged art undergoes intensive care in Berlin’s Bode Museum.  With funding from the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation, Berlin’s state museums are restoring 59 works that have been so severely damaged they could no longer be exhibited. For Martin Hoernes, the foundation’s general secretary, “restoration is more important than acquisitions”. He says: “If we were to buy works of this quality on the art market, then we would have to pay several times more than the amount we are investing in restoration—if they were even available.” Hoernes declined to say how much money his foundation has allocated for the Berlin project, which is one of 240 programmes to receive funding from the Kunst auf Lager (Art in the Depot) initiative. Founded in 2014 and supported by 14 private and public foundations, the scheme has so far awarded more than €23m. The Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation is also funding a scholarly exchange between restorers in Berlin and their colleagues at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, who are facing many of the same problems with works that did not return to Berlin.   The Art Newspaper, May 11, 2018


Why We Still Romanticize Artists Who Behaved Terribly.  Some link the unhinged mind to creativity, as if chaotic living might be evidence of a gift. But chaos doesn’t make for great art. Rather, it sells the artist as great. The wildman is what we devour in artist bios, much as we admire mafiosi on-screen. We who submit to the rules of society, repressing natural selfishness, view outlaws with a shiver of admiration. They enact our fantasies, scoffing at rules, earning respect nonetheless. Nobody relishes a well-behaved artist. Artsy, May 15, 2018


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