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News in Brief: VAG’s Chief Curator Departs, Executive/Artistic Director Leaves BNL MTL, Emily Carr Alumnus Gets Oscar Nod, MOCA Announces New Director of Programs

Our editors’ weekly roundup of Canadian art news. 

Long-time chief curator and associate director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Daina Augaitis, is stepping down in December 2017. Augaitis has worked at the gallery for 20 years, and during this time curated solo exhibitions by artists including Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen, Marianne Nicolson and Ann Hamilton. She won the 2014 Canadian Museum Association award for outstanding achievement in research for her exhibition of Charles Edenshaw’s work, and the 2014 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. The gallery noted in a press release that an international search for Augaitis’s successor will start soon.

The Biennale de Montréal confirmed on Wednesday that Sylvie Fortin, executive/artistic director since 2013, will vacate her position as of January 31, Le Devoir reports. Before joining the Biennale de Montréal, Fortin was executive director and editor of Atlanta-based journal Art Papers from 2007 to 2012 and curator of contemporary art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston. Fortin oversaw two editions of the Biennale. During the first, in 2014, which saw the Biennale partner with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal and absorb the museum’s Québec Triennial, the Biennale was taken to small-claims court by Isabelle Hayeur after a projection work by the artist was pulled from the exhibition earlier than expected. The 2016 edition of the Biennale, which closed on January 15, saw 92,000 visitors, an increase from the 85,000 that attended the 2014 edition, and was widely reviewed, but concluded without its publication being released. Cédric Bisson, chairman of the board at the Biennale de Montréal, told Le Devoir that the search for someone to run the 2018 edition will commence immediately.

British Columbia–based sculptor and art patron Jeffrey Rubinoff has died. Born in London, Ontario, in 1945, Rubinoff relocated to Hornby Island, where he created an outdoor sculpture museum. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Marsha Lederman recounted that Rubinoff created “an outdoor art experience with more than 100 sculptures and one fascinating backstory: a Canadian who was emerging as a major North American sculptor in the 1980s but left it behind for a quiet, prolific life on a remote Gulf Island, far away from the art market.” Rubinoff also established a recurring doctoral endowment at the University of Victoria.

November Paynter has been announced as the new director of programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada. MOCA is in the process of preparing to open its new space in the Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road in fall 2017. Paynter was most recently the associate director of research and programs at SALT, Istanbul and Ankara. Born in the UK, she holds an MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art in London. Paynter will oversee the Toronto institution’s programming, and be responsible for collaborations between MOCA and other organizations.

Robert Valley, alumnus of Emily Carr University of Art and Design has been nominated for an Oscar at the 2017 Academy Awards for his animated short, Pear Cider and Cigarettes. The short recounts Valley’s tumultuous relationship with a “self-destructive, yet charismatic friend from childhood.” Valley graduate from ECUAD in 1992, and has since done animation work for the band Gorillaz, and the TV series Tron: Uprising. The Academy Awards will air on February 26.

TIFF has announced that Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s documentary Angry Inuk has won Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival People’s Choice Award. Arnaquq-Baril is based in Iqaluit, where she runs Unikkaat Studios Inc. She studied at the Sheridan Institute in Ontario, and her career has focused on producing Inuit cultural documentaries and Inuktitut language productions. Angry Inuk focused on the ant-sealing movement and the ramifications of these protests in Inuit communities. The film will make its European and American premieres in the coming weeks.

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