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News in Brief: Kingston Prize Wins and More

It's the first time a woman of colour has won the $20K Kingston Portrait Prize. Plus: a wheelchair-optimized art show, an Ottawa public-art spat and more

Our editors’ weekly roundup of art news.

For the first time, a woman artist of colour has won the $20,000 Kingston Portrait Prize. Emerging artist Christienne Cuevas of Ontario won the prize with a self-portrait done in graphite, carbon and sumi ink on paper. Classically trained in drawing and painting, Cuevas is interested in traditional methods and materials of the old masters. “The work combines excellence in techniques of both drawing and painting as well as minimalism and high realism to create a mesmerizing stare that captivates the viewer who is drawn into a profound consideration of the artist’s identity and her commentary on self representation,” wrote juror Sara Angel. Honourable mentions in this year’s competition went to Shaun Downey of Toronto and Daniel Hughes of Kingston. (press release)

Sexual harassment allegations are building against Montreal collector François Odermatt. On Wednesday, French-language newspaper La Presse published an in-depth exposé following interviews with a dozen women and men about Odermatt’s behaviour. Artists, collectors, gallerists and arts workers are all quoted in the story. Odermatt, who has lately become known for his collecting of large-scale Murakami works, maintains he has done nothing criminal. (See La Presse for the full story in French, or our own recap for English-language content)

Yukon-born curator Candice Hopkins has been named to a curatorial team for the 2018 SITE Santa Fe Biennial. Specifically, Hopkins will be working on SITElines, a biennial exhibition dedicated to new art from throughout the Americas. Titled “Casa tomada,” the exhibition will also be curated by José Luis Blondet, curator of special projects at LACMA and Ruba Katrib, curator at MoMA PS1. Questioning notions of private property—of the body, mind, land and culture—the exhibition will ask how boundaries are dissolved and/or violated. Hopkins, who is now based in Albequerque, was also recently part of the curatorial team for Documenta. (e-flux)

A new Vancouver exhibition has been installed to optimize the experience of visitors who use wheelchairs. “Can You See Us Vancouver” features only artists who are living with disabilities, and all the pieces are presented at the optimal height for people who use wheelchairs. “Standard height in museums and galleries is either a 56 or a 60 inch center, and we chose 48 as the rounded number for people who use wheelchairs, for the artist to come and see the show from an optimal point of view,” Yuri Arajs, one of the exhibition’s curators, told CBC Vancouver. (CBC Vancouver)

A big show on the Anthropocene is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada. In fall 2018, these galleries will co-present “Anthropocene,” a major new contemporary art exhibition that tells the story of human impact on the Earth through film, photography and new experiential technologies. Co-produced with Italy’s MAST Foundation, the exhibition is a component of the multi-disciplinary Anthropocene Project from the collective of photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. (press release)

White supremacists tried to intimidate artists and spectators at a recent monument-critiquing performance in Toronto. For four Sundays this fall, Toronto performance duo Life of a Craphead—consisting of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley—have been dumping a life-size replica of a 15-foot bronze statue of King Edward VII on horseback into the Don River, and letting it float down the river. This week, three white supremacists filmed the performance and attempted to put forward their views on “European-Canadian identity.” (Canadian Art)

Finalists have been announced for the City of Montreal’s Prix Pierre-Ayot and Prix Louis-Comtois. Sophie Jodoin, Dominique Pétrin and Karen Tam are nominated for the Prix Louis-Comtois for mid-career artists in the contemporary art scene. Simon Belleau, Andréanne Godin and Celia Perrin Sidarous are nominated for Prix Pierre-Ayot, which goes to an artist with less than 10 years of professional experience in the visual arts. Winners will be announced on December 7. (press release)

Xiao Xue of the University of Victoria has won this year’s BMO 1st Art! Award. As national winner of this prize for art school students, Xue takes home $15,000. Xue won with the works Something to Ponder On: A Walking Camper and Walking Camper Maquette. An exhibition featuring Xue’s work, and those of the regional winners, who each take home $7,500, will be on view at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto until December 16. (press release)

An artist has refused an award after the City of Ottawa moved his site-specific public artwork. Kingston artist Shayne Dark was commissioned to create a site-specific piece for the City of Ottawa’s Cardinal Creek Community Park. He created Erratic Field, a piece referencing erratic boulders in the area. Then the city moved the piece near a strip mall. “A jury selected Erratic Field for one of the city’s 2017 urban design awards,” the CBC reports, “But Dark said he can’t in good conscience accept the prize when the artwork is not the best it could be.” (CBC Ottawa)

Annie Leibovitz is promoting a new book—but she’s refusing comment on her ongoing troubles with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In a Globe and Mail feature about Leibovitz’s new book Portraits 2005–2016, writer Russell Smith describes meeting the artist on her current publicity tour: “When we arrive in her room with her publicist I notice that she has two dossiers of clippings on her bed: one about me, one about [Globe photographer] Fred [Lum]. She even knows that I am from Halifax, and so anticipates that I will ask her about a legal dispute involving a collection of her photos owned by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. (She declines comment on that, saying that the lawyers hope to meet in the new year.)” (Globe and Mail)

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