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News / July 17, 2020

News Roundup: National Gallery of Canada Shuts Down Canadian Photography Institute

Also, the Nova Scotia Art Educators Society calls for the reinstatement of former NSCAD president, and curators speak out at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
View of a walkway at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: <a href="">Richard Burger</a>. Creative Commons / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. View of a walkway at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Richard Burger. Creative Commons / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The National Gallery of Canada has shut down the Canadian Photography Institute (CPI). The Globe and Mail reports that the shut-down came “after art collector David Thomson stopped donating art for the project, to which he had already given $20-million worth of early photographs, daguerreotypes and cameras.” The National Gallery of Canada will re-open to the public this weekend with free admission on July 18 and 19.

The Nova Scotia Art Educators Society is calling for former NSCAD president Aoife Mac Namara to be reinstated. “The Board of Governors’ decision to remove President Aoife Mac Namara from her duties appears to deny her efforts to lead the University through systemic anti-racism changes. We believe this jeopardizes the future of the University’s reputation as a world leader in fine arts education,” said society spokesperson Robin Jensen in a release. Scott Stewart, president of the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers, representing 1,400 faculty and academic staff at eight universities in Nova Scotia, also writes in the Chronicle Herald that Mac Namara should be reinstated.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts board of directors dismissed general director and chief curator Nathalie Bondil on Monday. The dismissal came following an external review, initiated in October 2019, of multiple workplace complaints at the museum, says a release. On Wednesday, several museum curators have signed a statement in support of the museum’s new curatorial division director Mary Dailey-Desmarais—whose recent promotion to that post was a source of conflict between Bondil and the board. A petition signed by 2,400 people, and started by a former employee, is asking the board to be more transparent with members about the process behind Bondil’s dismissal, the Gazette reports. More details can be found in our updated recap of media coverage.

Three major funding announcements arrive. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received $40 million for an expansion and renovation. Canadian Heritage has released $7.8 million in new COVID-crisis relief funding for Indigenous and equity-seeking groups and organizations. And the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec announced a $2.5-million investment to rehabilitate the Gérard Morisset Pavilion.

“Colville masterpiece shatters artist record at Heffel’s virtual live auction” says a release.  Colville’s Dog and Bridge surpassed $2.4 million, doubling its estimate. Competition for Joan Mitchell’s oil on canvas triptych, Untitled, drove its sale price to $1.2 million (it had been estimated at $400,000 to $600,000) and Picasso’s 1939 Tête de femme went for $1.3 million, which was within estimate. (All prices noted include buyer’s premium.) Inuit Art Quarterly also reports that “the first major Canadian auction in Inuit art market since pandemic sees record sales” at First Arts.

At least two Canadian museums have stopped advertising on Facebook due to concerns about hate speech. La Presse reports that the Musée de la civilization in Quebec City and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal have ceased advertising on the social media platform until July 31, joining a variety of corporations and organizations worldwide. The MAC’s statement about the move also indicates it will not advertise on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Staff departures and arrivals: Rosemary Thompson has left the Banff Centre for the National Gallery of Canada, where she will be vice-president of corporate/public affairs and marketing. Kimberly Phillips is to become director at SFU Galleries; she was recently curator and interim director at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Nasrin Himada has been appointed interim executive director of Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg. And Dainesha Nugent-Palache has been appointed TD Assistant Curator of Education and Exhibitions at the Koffler Centre of the Arts.