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News / June 7, 2018

News in Brief: Artists Get New National Gallery Agreement and More

Plus: a new director of visual arts at the Banff Centre, a new director and Aboriginal curator at Open Space, Contact Festival and Fogo Island award wins and more
A view of the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Facebook. A view of the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Facebook.

Money Matters

Artists have a new agreement with the National Gallery of Canada—and it means more money for temporary exhibitions. On May 28, visual artists from across Canada once again voted to approve a new scale agreement with the National Gallery of Canada. In January and March of 2018, negotiation teams from CARFAC, RAAV and the National Gallery of Canada met about the terms of that scale agreement, first signed in 2015. According to a CARFAC release, “The agreement includes significant increases in fees paid for temporary exhibitions (for example, $9,500 for a solo exhibition, and $17,500 to represent Canada in a solo show at the Venice Biennale)… All professional services fees have increased.” The agreement takes effect June 1. (press release)

Dateline: Picasso

Canadians have been helping to research the hidden images under some of Picasso’s paintings. The research is at the centre of a major exhibition of Picasso Blue Period works co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Phillips Collection coming in 2020. This week in Houston, at the American Institute for Conservation conference, Sandra Webster-Cook, senior painting conservator at the AGO, presented new research on La Soupe (1902–3), which is in the gallery’s collection. The visible surface of La Soupe depicts a child reaching toward a bowl that is held by a solemnly posed woman. Scans of La Soupe (1902-3) show that hidden beneath the painting is an outline of a woman shown from the back. Picasso blocked out this underlying figure, abandoned it, and then used its outer edges to form the contours of the child and the woman in the final composition. He also covered this original figure with the steam rising above the bowl of soup. The shape of this figure relates to several drawings and paintings made by Picasso in Barcelona in 1902, revealing aspects of his creative process while assisting curators to place La Soupe within the broader chronology of the Blue Period. (press release)

Comings & Goings

The Banff Centre has a new director of visual arts. It’s Brandy Dahrouge, who has been program manager of visual arts at Banff Centre since 2013. The promotion is effective immediately. As director she will be responsible for leading the vision and implementation of all visual arts programs at Banff Centre, including the overall direction of Walter Phillips Gallery. Prior to Banff Centre, Dahrouge worked with a number of organizations, including University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and the University of New South Wales. She holds an MFA (Media Arts) from the College of Art & Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and a BFA with distinction from the University of Calgary, as well as diplomas in classic piano performance and music pedagogy from Red Deer Collage and the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy (Hungary). (press release)

Open Space has made some new appointments. Thus, Lindsay Delaronde has been named acting Aboriginal curator, while Raj Sen has been named acting executive director. Both appointments were made by the interim board of directors of Open Space Arts Society this week. Sen has begun as of June 1 for a one-year term, while Delaronde’s term is due to run June 1 to October 1. Delaronde holds a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of Victoria. Recently, Delaronde completed her second master’s degree in Indigenous Communities Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. She is currently the City of Victoria Indigenous Artist in Residence. Sen has spent the last five years working in the international contemporary art world, most recently as director of the Singapore branch of Sundaram Tagore Gallery. He has worked as a project manager for exhibitions at the Bangkok Arts and the Ayala Museum in Manila and in 2015 helped realize a collateral event at the 56th Venice Biennale. Sen spent the majority of his youth in BC, including studying history in art at the University of Victoria. (press release)

Award News

The Contact Festival has revealed its annual award winners. The Gattuso Prize honouring an outstanding feature exhibition goes to Shadi Harouni and Elise Rasmussen for “With an instinct for justice,” on view at Doris McCarthy Gallery until June 30. The 2018 Burtynsky Grant is awarded to Birthe Piontek for Abendlied; the $5,000 annual grant supports Canadian artists and photographers who are at the advanced stages of developing a photobook for publication. (Akimbo)

The winners of the Barbara Spohr Memorial Award have been announced. The Walter Phillips Gallery has announced Lorna Bauer and Laurie Kang as the recipients of the 2018 award. Created by the friends and family of the late artist Barbara Spohr, the biennial award provides Canadian artists working in photography with a prize of $6,000 in value toward a residency in Visual + Digital Arts at Banff Centre. (press release)

The winner of a two-part residency between Toronto and Fogo Island has been appointed. Fogo Island Arts and Art Metropole have announced that Marion Coutts has been selected to participate in The Islands, a two-part residency that aims to encourage arts writing and criticism in contemporary art. Coutts is an artist and writer based in London, where she is a senior lecturer in art at Goldsmiths College. Coutts will spend a month on Fogo Island as part of Fogo Island Arts’ residency program, followed by two weeks on Toronto Island at Artscape Gibraltar Point. The residency will culminate in a small publication published and distributed by Art Metropole. (press release)

Public Art

Calgary public art program may stay frozen as committee approves overhaul. “Calgary’s public art program could remain suspended until next spring—until changes can be made to update how art is chosen,” the CBC reports. “The city’s community and protective services committee met Wednesday and agreed to recommendations made in a report from city administration to update the controversial program. The recommendations now move on to city council, which will discuss the report at a meeting later this month.” (CBC)

The Toronto Sculpture Garden is reopening. For the past three years, programming had been on hold at the space. Prior to that, it had been a venue for art for some 30 years. But this week, the City of Toronto’s Arts & Culture Services is re-initiating large-scale temporary art installations that will once again occupy the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The 2018 exhibition season will present solo projects by Karen Kraven opening June 7, followed by Tony Romano in September. (Akimbo)

On speaking up for unappreciated artworks in public space. Following media reports of local complaints about a new artwork by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux in Toronto, Sarah Ratzlaff writes a defence of the work: “Three Lines is exactly the kind of piece Toronto should be commissioning, as it is site-specific works such as these that contribute to the cultural identity of Toronto… instead of a ‘crane graveyard,’ let’s think of Three Lines Where Two Points Meet as a budding place of possibility, where we can re-imagine Toronto and our place in it.” (Spacing)

When Art Crime Does/Doesn’t Pay

More artwork recovered, but 10 items still missing in St. John’s heist. “Police have recovered two more pieces of stolen artwork, but there are still 10 pieces, including a bronze statue and a chandelier, unaccounted for in a heist at a St. John’s home,” the CBC reports. “More than 20 pieces of valuable art—including a soapstone statue—were reported stolen from a west end home in a break-in. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said the theft happened sometime between April 18 and May 17.” Among the artworks were pieces by David Blackwood and Luben Bokyov. (CBC)

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via