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News / May 24, 2018

News in Brief: Canadian Museum Attendance Surges and More

More Canadians are visiting galleries and museums than ever, says a new study. Plus: treaty-based public art, lots of new curatorial hires and more.
More Canadians are visiting museums and galleries than ever, says a new study. This image shows Ian M. Thom, senior curator - historical of the Vancouver Art Gallery, at the media preview of the popular "Claude Monet's Secret Garden" exhibition in 2017. Photo: Pardeep Singh via Vancouver Art Gallery Facebook Page. More Canadians are visiting museums and galleries than ever, says a new study. This image shows Ian M. Thom, senior curator - historical of the Vancouver Art Gallery, at the media preview of the popular "Claude Monet's Secret Garden" exhibition in 2017. Photo: Pardeep Singh via Vancouver Art Gallery Facebook Page.

Museum Updates

More Canadians are visiting museums and galleries more than ever, survey shows. “Canadians are visiting museums, art galleries and historic sites more than ever, new government data show,” says the Globe. “A government survey of heritage institutions says there were 75 million total physical visits in 2015. That set a new record, and meant an increase of 34 per cent compared to two years earlier.” The Government of Canada Survey of Heritage Institutions also included demographic data about employees for the first time: “It showed that 66 per cent of workers in the field were women, but just 4 per cent self-identified as visible minorities.” (Globe and Mail)

Renovations are on tap for the Glenbow Museum this summer. The aim of the renovation, which will eliminate the museum’s 30-year installation “Many Faces, Many Paths: Art of Asia,” is to share more of Glenbow’s collection more frequently. The museum’s second floor will be sectioned into four new gallery spaces, which will feature exhibitions drawn from Glenbow’s art collection and a collaboration with the gallery’s latest artist in residence. After renovations are complete, the new galleries are slated to open in February 2019 and will include the work of 2018 artist in residence Albertine Crow Shoe; a major installation work by artist Kent Monkman acquired by Glenbow last year called The Rise and Fall of Civilization; and two exhibitions of modernist and contemporary artwork from the collection. Objects from “Many Faces, Many Paths” will be relocated to the fourth floor. (press release)

Of Power and Politics

Fogo Island director resigns from European post, citing nationalist politics concerns. German-born curator Nicolaus Schafhausen, who among other roles has been strategic director of Fogo Island Arts / Shorefast Foundation in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2012, is in the news: “Kunsthalle Wien director Nicolaus Schafhausen has reached an agreement with the city of Vienna for the early dissolution of his contract. Citing the ‘resurgence of nationalist politics in Austria,’ the museum professional announced that he will step down from his post in March 2019, three years before his tenure is supposed to end,” Artforum reports. “His current [Kunsthalle] show, “Ydessa Hendeles. Death to Pigs,” which closes on May 27, is the first European museum retrospective of Canadian artist Ydessa Hendeles, whose practice is rooted in her experiences growing up as the daughter of Holocaust survivors.” (Artforum)

Indigeneity in Art and Architecture

A new public art project is becoming part of the Regina skyline. Kâkikê / Forever by Omaskêko Ininiwak artist Duane Linklater will be installed on the facade of the MacKenzie Gallery in Wascana Park beginning on May 24. The gallery is situated within Treaty Four territory, and the work reproduces, in green lights, these unattributed Indigenous words spoken during the making of treaties: “As long as the sun shines, the river flows, and the grass grows.” The final version will be unveiled July 6. “What is suggested in this phrase is the passage of time, or the duration of how long these treaty agreements and relationships will last,” says Linklater in a release. “These words act as an entrance into the conceptual frameworks Indigenous people were/are using when articulating a new and potentially mutually beneficial relationship with settlers.” Linklater is contributing a portion of his fee to a local Indigenous women’s shelter, Wichihik Iswewak Safe House (W.I.S.H.) (press release)

A look inside “Unceded,” an unprecedented Indigenous architecture project at the Venice Biennale. Presented by Douglas Cardinal, “Unceded: Voices of the Land” is, namely, the first-ever Indigenous-led entry to be presented by Canada at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Find out more about it in our preview post. (Canadian Art)

Language Matters

Why the Art Gallery of Ontario removed “Indian” from the name of an Emily Carr painting. “The 1929 painting originally known as Indian Church was re-hung in the Toronto museum in early May under the new name Church at Yuquot Village, a nod to the B.C. Indigenous community where the church was located,” CBC’s As It Happens reports. The renaming is part of a global trend; the article notes that “the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam launched the Adjustment of Colonial Terminology project in 2015 with the goal of reviewing 220,000 titles and descriptions,” though not everyone agrees with such approaches. (CBC As It Happens)

New Structures and Spaces

How will the newly restored Canada Pavilion change the Venice Giardini? “A $3 million project to restore the Canadian pavilion and its surrounding landscape could change the way Venice Biennale visitors navigate the entire Giardini complex,” the Art Newspaper reports. “The change of visitor flow through the park is an unexpected by-product of efforts to renovate the 1950s pavilion. The restored building and the exhibition, Canada Builds/Rebuilds a Pavilion in Venice, are due to be unveiled at the opening of the Venice Architecture Biennale on May 26.” (Art Newspaper)

A groundbreaking for the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre is happening this week. A special event on May 25 will mark the historic groundbreaking of the Inuit Art Centre. After years of planning, the gallery is creating a new home for the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, set to open for Manitoba’s 150th birthday in 2020. The evening following the groundbreaking is a the public opening of the touring exhibition “SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut,” the first major exhibition of the breathtaking and long-hidden art of Labrador Inuit. (press release)

Young Artist Support from the Stars

The manager for the Weeknd is partnering with Toronto Artscape on a new initiative for young artists. HXOUSE, co-founded by La Mar Taylor, creative director of XO Records and the Weeknd, and Ahmed Ismail, founder of Influencers PR, are creating HXOUSE@LAUNCHPAD, a multidisciplinary talent incubation space to be housed within Artscape Daniels Launchpad. They are also launching No More Dreams, a mentorship program that will support up-and-coming creative talent in the Greater Toronto Area. The program aims to accelerate the creative careers of 30 young artists a year, especially those in underserved communities, by providing access to learning, networking, funds, production and partnership opportunities. (press release)

Old Building Firsts and Fires

Khyber building sold to arts society for $1. “Members of the Halifax arts community erupted into cheers and applause Tuesday evening as Halifax regional council voted 14–1 to sell the historic Khyber building for $1,” the CBC reports. “For four years, the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society has been working to purchase and convert the now empty space into a community arts hub. ‘I’m feeling really excited. This is a really positive day,’ said society president Emily Davidson. The 130-year-old heritage building has been vacant since 2014 due to asbestos and building code violations.” (CBC)

Fire at Walnut Studios leaves dozens of Toronto artists devastated. “Dozens of Toronto artists have lost thousands of dollars worth of work after a weekend fire gutted a well-known west end studio,” the CBC reports. “Ilene Sova, the artistic director of Walnut Studios, says she sobbed when she heard the news about the fire, which broke out early on Saturday. The studios, located in a large warehouse at 83 Walnut Ave. that was once a canning factory, were home to a ‘family’ of some 45 artists, Sova said.” (CBC)

Lots of New Curatorial Hires

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection appoints Sarah Milroy as chief curator. From 1984 to 1996, Milroy worked with Canadian Art, latterly as editor and publisher, and she remains a board member. More recently, she co-curated three major international exhibitions for Dulwich Picture Gallery in London in collaboration with its then Sackler Director, Ian Dejardin (now executive director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection): “From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia” (which then travelled to the Art Gallery of Ontario, 2015); “Vanessa Bell” (2016) and “David Milne: Modern Painting” (2018, travelling to Vancouver Art Gallery and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection). She is currently co-curating an exhibition for the McMichael on the art of Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald for 2019 (in collaboration with Ian Dejardin), as well as the upcoming Stephen Andrews exhibition slated for November 2018. She will take up her post officially in September 2018, succeeding Sarah Stanners. (press release)

The McIntosh Gallery appoints Helen Gregory to the position of curator. Gregory also served as curator-in-residence at McIntosh Gallery between 2017 and 2018. She holds a BFA in painting and art history from Concordia University, an MPhil in humanities from Memorial University and a PhD in visual culture from the Department of Visual Arts at Western University. Gregory replaces Catherine Elliot Shaw, who recently retired after 35 years as McIntosh Gallery curator. (press release)

Leila Timmins joins the Robert McLaughlin Gallery as manager and curator, exhibitions and collections. In this new role, Timmins will be replacing Linda Jansma, who is retiring after 28 years at the gallery. Previously curator of exhibitions and public programming at Gallery 44 in Toronto, Timmins produced over 60 exhibitions and public programs with over 100 artists from across the country and abroad. (press release)

The University of Alberta Museums welcomes three new individuals to the curatorial team of the Mactaggart Art Collection and the University of Alberta Art Collection. Isabel (Pi-fen) Chueh joins as curator, Mactaggart Art Collection, Nadia Kurd as curator, University of Alberta Art Collection and Emerald Johnstone-Bedell as the assistant curator, University of Alberta Art Collection. Chueh arrived in Edmonton at the end of February 2018 from Taiwan where she has worked for the past seven years as the curator of textiles at the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum. Kurd has been curator of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery since 2010. Johnstone-Bedell has most recently been assistant curator at the University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries. (press release)