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News in Brief: Biennale de Montréal Team Announced, St. John’s Funding Cuts Reversed, Western Front Building Secured

Our editors’ weekly roundup of Canadian art news.

The Biennale de Montréal announced the event’s 2016 title, “The Grand Balcony,” on Tuesday, and revealed that curators Corey McCorkle, Aseman Sabet and Kitty Scott would be joining Philippe Pirotte’s advisory team. The title references Jean Genets play The Balcony, which the Biennale selected for “the French dramatist’s concern with meta-theatricality and role-playing,” and the play’s illustration of “the liberating potential of artistic experiences.” The Biennale begins in October.

Marcel Barbeau, one of the first Canadian painters to embrace abstraction, died earlier this week at the age of 90 in Montreal. Barbeau was a student of Paul-Émile Borduas and a part of the Automatistes, and maintained an artistic practice for seven decades. His work was shown at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, among others.

After public outcry, St. John’s city councillors voted on Monday night to reverse their funding cuts to the arts, which had reduced the city’s $200,000 budget by 50%. The city will not reinstate their $20,000 art-procurement fund, which was also eliminated in the 2016 budget.

Vancouver artist-run centre the Western Front will be able to purchase its historic building through an agreement with the City of Vancouver. Working with a $1.5 million community-amenity contribution from property developers Rize, the Western Front will be able to permanently secure their space.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts established a chair for Quebec and Canadian contemporary art from 1945 to present on Thursday, after a $2-million endowment from the Jarislowsky Foundation. The position, the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art, will oversee acquisitions, research, education and promotion of the collection. Marie-Eve Beaupré is the first chairholder.

Julia Dault and Mia Feuer will be included in “Champagne Life,” an exhibition opening January 13 at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The show is the gallery’s first group show exclusively featuring women artists, aiming to “reflect on what it means to be a female artist working today.”

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