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News / November 9, 2017

News in Brief: A Record-Breaking Sale, and More

That rare quantity—a Canadiens painting signed by Ken Dryden—gets bids flowing in Montreal. Plus: Zacharias Kunuk is nominated for international prize,
Serge Lemoyne's <em>Le masque</em> (1975) broke a sales record for the artist at the ByDealers auction November 6. Photo: ByDealers via Facebook. Serge Lemoyne's Le masque (1975) broke a sales record for the artist at the ByDealers auction November 6. Photo: ByDealers via Facebook.

Our editors’ weekly roundup of art news.

A sales record has been broken for Quebec artist Serge Lemoyne. At the inaugural ByDealers auction on November 6 in Montreal, Lemoyne’s Le masque (1975) sold for $240,000 including buyer’s premium, breaking a world record for his work. (The estimate was $75,000 to $100,000.) Signed on the reverse by Ken Dryden, who at the time of the work’s creation was goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, the canvas is part of Lemoyne’s iconic series about the team titled Bleu Blanc Rouge. The auction featured 65 post-war Canadian artworks, and finished with a total of $2.9 million in sales. Canada’s fall auction season continues on the week of November 20 with auctions by Waddington’s, Heffel and Consignor. (press release)

Curator Greg Hill has been honoured with an Indspire Award for the Arts. Hill received the award for his work as Audain senior curator of Indigenous art and head of the department of Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada. Hill has held a variety of curatorial positions at the NGC since 2000, and he recently curated the NGC’s major retrospective of Alex Janvier. Indspire announced its 13 award recipients (in categories ranging from Arts to Health to Youth) in Ottawa on November 7, and the awards ceremony will be held in Winnipeg in March 2018. Indspire is a charity and the largest funder of Indigenous post-secondary education outside the federal government. It annually runs the awards as a “celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people.” (CBC Indigenous/press release)

Inuit artist and filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk has been shortlisted for the international Visible Award. The Visible Award (Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto and Fondazione Zegna) is the first European award that sustains socially engaged artistic practice in a global context, and seeks to offer a platform for innovative projects that have the potential to become visible in fields other than artistic ones. Kunuk was nominated in particular for the project IsumaTV, and was nominated by curator Candice Hopkins. Kunuk’s work will be screened and discussed on December 2 at the Queens Museum in New York, when the winner will be decided by open vote. Eight other projects were also shortlisted for this year’s prize, including The School of Engaged Art by Russian colletive Chto Delat and Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise by Renzo Martens. (e-flux)

Murray Koffler, founder of the Koffler Centre of the Arts and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, passed away on November 5. Known in business circles for being the founder of Shoppers Drug Mart, Koffler began the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 1961 in response to the removal of artists who had been trying to sell their art on city property around Toronto City Hall. With friends, Koffler closed off the parking lot of the then–Four Seasons Motor Hotel for an August weekend in 1961. The free public exhibition later moved to Nathan Phillips Square, where it has remained since 1966, showcasing works by more than 320 artists and attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year. The renowned philanthropist was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995, and is survived by his wife and children. (Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition website)

A new study is suggesting a fresh vision for public art in Toronto. The study is titled “Redefining Public Art in Toronto,” and it was jointly created by OCAD University and the University of Toronto, and authored by Sara Diamond and Daniel Silver. The study aims to target “underserved areas” to remedy the city’s neglect of inner suburbs, and it asks that all major municipal projects reserve a portion of funds for public art. It also demands more public art works by women and Indigenous artists, among other recommendations. (Toronto Star)

Winners of the 2017 William and Meredith Sauderson Prizes for Emerging Artists were announced. The $5,000 prizes, ditributed by the Hnatyshyn Foundation, are designated for emerging Canadian artistic talent. This year, they go to support Tau Lewis, Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik and Nicole Kelly Westman. The jurists were Andrea Fatona, curator and associate professor in graduate studies at OCADU; John Hampton, curator at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba; and Jinny Yu, Ottawa-based artist and educator. (press release)

International anticipation is growing for the Leonard Cohen exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain in Montreal. Opening this week, almost exactly a year after his death, “the show is the first major exhibition devoted to Cohen’s legacy, and while it seems like the type of show thrown together in the wake of an icon’s death, this exhibition was planned far in advance, securing Cohen’s blessing before he died on 7 November last year,” reports The Guardian. (The Guardian)

The City of Calgary is promising to post images of planned public art on its website. The decision follows public backlash against Calgary’s Bowfort Towers installation, which was criticized for appropriation and misuse of public funds. The backlash also initiated a freeze on any new public art projects while the city reviews its public art policy, which is expected to be done by the middle of 2018. (CBC Calgary)

And in case you missed it: Takashi Murakami is coming to Canada. The first retrospective in Canada for this influential Japanese artist (and Louis Vuitton collaborator) will open in February 2018 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The show is coming from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where it was the museum’s most popular exhibition ever. (Canadian Art)