Skip to content

May we suggest

News / October 19, 2017

News in Brief: A New CEO for MOCA, and More

The CEO spot was vacated by Chantal Pontbriand in 2016. Plus: Appropriation at the Power Plant, a $1.5-mil BC gallery reno and Nuit Blanche censorship

The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada has announced Heidi Reitmaier as its executive director and CEO. Reitmaier will begin her post in January 2018. She joins following her term as Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s director of learning and public programs. The CEO spot became available following Chantal Pontbriand’s departure in June 2016, after eight months on the job. Reitmaier’s work in arts and culture spans over 20 years, and she’s held curatorial and leadership roles with the Vancouver Art Gallery and Tate London. She is also an alumni of the Getty Leadership Institute Program. (press release)

In case you missed it: Ambera Wellmann has won this year’s RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Wellmann takes home $25,000, while runners-up Teto Elsiddique and Veronika Pausova each receive $15,000. The award was announced at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, where the paintings of the winner, runners-up and 12 additional finalists remain on view until October 22. (Canadian Art)

An exhibition by British artist Michael Landy at the Power Plant has sparked accusations of appropriation. Landy’s commissioned project at the Power Plant, which opened September 28, aimed to reproduce images of protest art in a uniform red-and-white style. As Maclean’s reports, “Some of the artists whose work was reproduced—many of whom work and live as activists, very close to the poverty line—have accused Landy of stealing their work, as the exhibition does not credit the original artists.” Among those whose work was reproduced is Lido Pimenta, who recently won the Polaris Prize, and Isaac Murdoch, a member of the Onaman Collective. “Paying a British artist to co-opt Indigenous voices marks a dismal failure on the part of the Power Plant to address the cultural needs of this country,” said one artist whose name was withheld by request. (Maclean’s)

Artists are accusing City of Toronto staff of trying to censor their work at Nuit Blanche. At Nathan Phillips Square, “Monument to the Century of Revolutions,” a series of interactive installations in 21 shipping containers, promised to highlight some of the major revolutions of centuries past, in addition to recent ones. NOW Toronto reports that Syed Hussan and Tings Chak contributed a mock-up of a prison cell to highlight the history of immigrant workers’ resistance. When they communicated specifics about the content—specifically, an image of Mew Sing, a Sikh lumber worker who “achieved martyr status for killing a murderous government agent in the service of Canada’s racist immigration policy of the day” and was hanged on January 11, 1915, in Vancouver—city officials told them it “doesn’t quite fit because of its ‘sensitive nature.’” The city also asked Russian collective Chto Delat to remove images of nudity and graphic video from the project. (NOW Toronto)

Artists in Vancouver are critiquing a real-estate developer’s new “Fight for Beauty” campaign and exhibition. On October 14, the real-estate developer Westbank launched an exhibition at the Fairmont Pacific Rim called “Fight for Beauty,” along with a related mural and campaign, stating that “Westbank has evolved into a cultural practice.” A group of local artists has since created a parody of Westbank’s mural and a website called “The Real Fight for Beauty.” As artist and publisher Kay Higgins argues in a video, “In my opinion they [Westbank] don’t create beauty. They create displacement. Displacement is not beautiful.” A local musician whose rehearsal space was destroyed for a condo development says Westbank “makes us think there is no place for us [artists] anymore in a city that is just a vertical filing cabinet for storing the investment portfolios of various billionaires.” (The Real Fight for Beauty)

Alex Colville’s studio will soon be unveiled at Mount Allison University. The family of the late Canadian artist donated the studio to the university last year. Mount Allison already ran Colville House, where the artist lived for decades early in his career. The studio donation meant a move of materials from his later-life home in Wolfville back to Sackville. The studio will be unveiled October 27, with a plan to put it on public view during the summer months, and possibly beyond. (Canadian Art)

The Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver is planning a $1.5 million renovation to present more First Nations art. The renovation will add more than 1,200 square feet of exhibition space to present North West Coast First Nations art in three additional focus exhibitions in its annual programming. It will also assist teachers delivering the new BC school curriculum’s Aboriginal focus with a dedicated program space. Renovations, led by local architect Mitch Sakumoto, will commence in December and will conclude in time for the Vancouver gallery’s 10th anniversary in June 2018. (press release)

There are four new faces on Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference board of directors. These include Tori Fleming, Caitlin Sutherland, Eddie Ayoub and newly appointed chair Tarin Dehod. Ayoub is a Winnipeg artist and is artistic director of Art City, the community art centre founded by artist Wanda Koop. Fleming is currently the programming director at the Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax, and her own films have screened at various venues. Sutherland is an independent curator and art writer based in Hamilton. Currently, she is programming director at Hamilton Artists Inc. Dehod is a curator based in Saskatoon, where she is currently the executive director of AKA. (l’ARCA in the Loop)

Artist-multiple hub Art Metropole has announced two new staff appointments. Cadence Planthara, an artist and NSCAD graduate, as the new associate, web and archives. Michael Pace, previously Art Met’s registrar and archivist is now associate, shop and inventory. (press release)

Oxygen Art Centre’s executive director Miriam Needoba will be leaving her role. Needoba has been in the role in Nelson for six years, and is planning to return to school to pursue graduate studies. One of her final projects includes a group exhibition co-produced with Touchstones Nelson titled “Upstream Benefits: Rural Artist Run Culture in the Kootenays,” which opens November 17. It is accompanied by a rural art symposium at Oxygen Art Centre running November 23 to 26, which will explore and celebrate the role and impact that the arts have in rural communities. (press release)

Artcite, Windsor’s only artist-run centre for contemporary art, has announced the retirement of Christine Burchnall. Burchnall was Artcite’s executive director since 1994. In the 1980s, she was instrumental in guiding the growth and development of Artcite from a modest regional centre exhibiting primarily visual art produced mainly by its 16 founding members, to a cultural organization presenting works by Canadian and international contemporary artists exploring various social and cultural issues. (l’ARCA in the Loop)