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News in Brief: MOCA Receives $5 Million in Funding, Canadian Gallery Opens New York Post, Painting Returned After Nazi Pillage

Our editors’ weekly roundup of Canadian art news.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada announced on Wednesday, at a press event with the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, that it has been awarded $5.1 million from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The fund, organized by the Department of Canadian Heritage, focuses on cultural infrastructure. MOCA, which is currently without a physical space since moving from its Queen West location, is in the process of renovating the industrial Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road into a 55,000 square-foot gallery, which is slated to open in fall 2017.

In news from New York: Tomorrow Gallery, run by Canadian Tara Downs, will merge with nearby Hester Gallery, run by Downs’s partner, Alex Ross, to create the joint venture Downs and Ross, Artsy reports. The galleries will continue operating out of their two spaces, but merge their rosters and programming. The Lower East Side neighbourhood, where the two spaces are located, has gone through a period of change over the last six months, with many galleries opening, closing or expanding into larger spaces. One new opening in the area involves Canadian gallery Arsenal, which already has spaces in both Toronto and Montreal, is taking over the venue previously occupied by London’s Seventeen Gallery, on the Bowery. The first show at Downs and Ross, opening today, will see both spaces presenting large-scale work made between 1981 and 1983 by Canadian photographer Vikky Alexander.

A Dutch Golden Age painting looted by the Nazis during the Second World War was formally returned to Montreal’s Max and Iris Stern Foundation this week, at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. CBC reports that the FBI seized the 160 oil painting after it was spotted at an Italian gallery’s booth at an art fair in New York in May 2015. Max Stern, who died in 1987, ran a successful art gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany, but was forced to close it in 1937 after Nazis placed heavy restrictions on his business, forced him to sell his inventory and confiscated works owned by his family. Stern managed to get out of Germany before the war began and came to Montreal, where he was director of the Dominion Gallery of Fine Art. According to the Max Stern Art Restitution Project, there are hundreds of Stern’s paintings still missing, valued at between $50 and $100 million.

Vandana Taxali, art lawyer and agent, has joined the board of the Art Gallery of Mississauga as a director and board secretary, the gallery announced on Monday. Taxali, who lives in Mississauga, works on intellectual property, contract and entertainment law with her firm Entcounsel. She has been involved with several arts organization in the past, including acting as the Gala Committee chair for the Canadian Art Gala, and serving as a member of the Toronto Art Fair Committee and the Power Plant Gala Committee.

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