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News / April 5, 2018

News in Brief: A Major Collections Re-Install at the AGO and More

Plus: Guggenheim Fellowship wins, and the first woman to direct a Pixar short is a Canadian art-school alum.
A staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Facebook. A staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Facebook.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is undertaking a massive re-envisioning and re-install of its Canadian, Indigenous and Inuit collections. Its new Department of Indigenous and Canadian Art will open the refreshed installation July 1 in what is being called the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art. Wanda Nanibush, curator, Indigenous art and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton curator, Canadian art, are leading the project. The gallery is also working on two major related exhibitions as well: “Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak” (opening June 16) and “Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental,” which will take over the entire fifth floor starting on July 12. (Art Gallery of Ontario press release)

The first woman to direct a Pixar short just happens to be a Canadian art-school grad. Sheridan College animation grad Domee Shi has been hard at work on the eight-minute film Bao, which will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this month. According to Huffington Post, the film is about “a Chinese-Canadian suffering from empty-nest loneliness. But then one of her dumplings comes to life.” And “The film is based loosely on her experiences as a child of Chinese immigrants in Canada.” (Huffington Post)

Some Canadian creators are among the latest Guggenheim Fellowship winners. Farangis Nurulla-Khoja is a Tajik-Canadian composer based in Longueuil; she has won multiple international prizes already and was recognized in the music composition category. Toronto-based filmmaker and Ryerson instructor Brett Story won a prize at Hot Docs in 2016 for her work The Prison in Twelve Landscapes; she got a fellowship in the Film-Video category. And renowned Canadian-born author Rachel Cusk won in the Fiction category. (Guggenheim Foundation website)

Canadian artists have also picked up Graham Foundation grants. The Graham Foundation, based in Chicago, is awarding $534,850 USD for 74 new grants to individuals. Among them are Montreal-based artist David K. Ross (for research and development) and Chicago-based Canadian artist Brendan Fernandes (for the foundation fellowship). (e-flux)

Five artists have been named finalists for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec Contemporary Art Award. Numa Amun, Nicolas Grenier, Jennifer Lefort, Geneviève and Matthieu, and Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn have been selected for consideration of the biannual prize. For the first time this year, the $10,000 cash grant previously awarded to the winner will be shared equally by the five finalists, each of whom will receive $2,000. The winner will also receive a purchase prize, exhibition and monograph. (press release)

Arts venue Harbourfront Centre is $1.4 million in debt—to the City of Toronto. Harbourfront is home to the internationally renowned Power Plant contemporary art gallery, as well as smaller visual-arts exhibition spaces. The Toronto Star reports: “The city shouldn’t expect to collect any of the nearly $1.4 million a top cultural hub owes in rent and property taxes, says Toronto’s treasurer. Despite attracting more than three million people a year to the city’s central waterfront, Harbourfront Centre faces rising operating costs, a $16 million repair backlog, no significant increases in support from public funders, declining corporate sponsorships and a lack of charitable donations.” (Toronto Star)

There’s a new venue for public art in Vancouver. grunt gallery has been given the reins to program content on a new non-commercial urban media screen over a five-year period in Mount Pleasant. The urban screen is being constructed on the second floor of the RIZE building on the western side of Kingsway Avenue facing the street. Videos, photography, and digital and interactive artworks are planned. The screen will launch in July 2018. (grunt gallery)

A permanent exhibition of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. is coming to Alberta. Portage College’s Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art & Artifacts in Lac La Biche is featuring works from the Indian Group of Seven: Daphne Odjig, Alex Janvier, Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray and Joseph Sanchez. “A permanent exhibition of these works not only recognizes the significant contribution the group has made to both Canadian and International art,” said Trent Keough, president and CEO of Portage College, in a release, “but the importance of Indigenous art and artists in the representation of Canada’s culture, Canadian history and contemporary Indigenous cultures.” The show opens April 13. (press release)

Early arts education is in crisis in Ontario schools, says a new study. According to the Toronto Star, the new People for Education report depicts “inequity in public education, particularly taking opportunity away from students at smaller rural schools, schools with higher levels of poverty and schools with lower levels of parental education.” “We were really struck by principals talking about difficulties having a big enough budget for musical instruments, relying on parents for fundraising, concerned about teachers not having enough specialized training to be able to deliver really good strong arts programs,” Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education, told the Star. (Toronto Star)

The man at the helm of Edmonton artist-run centre Latitude 53 is leaving after more than 20 years there. Todd Janes, according to Avenue, has been key in the city’s arts advocacy scene: “He was once president of the Alberta Association of Artist-Run Centres and advocacy chair for the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton. He is also co-founder of Exposure (Edmonton’s Queer Arts and Cultural Festival).” Janes is also a past recipient of CARFAC’s National Visual Arts Advocacy Award. (Latitude 53)

Toronto’s Gallery 44 has a new executive director. Alana Traficante has over 10 years experience in the non-profit arts sector as an administrator, curator, researcher and writer. She previously worked at Hamilton Artists Inc. and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. (Gallery 44)

And in case you missed it: The National Gallery of Canada is deaccessioning a Chagall, as well as eight other objects. One of its goals is to raise funds through sale proceeds that can be put back into acquiring an undisclosed work of national heritage value. (Canadian Art, with more from CBC News)