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News / May 31, 2018

News in Brief: Nova Scotia Offers $2 Million to Annie Leibovitz, and More

Also making news: a Vancouver Biennale lineup, celebrations at the Bill Reid Gallery, and multiple award wins
Annie Leibovitz at the US National Archives at College Park, Maryland, in February 2011. Leibovitz was photographing original Mathew Brady glass plate negatives of Abraham Lincoln for her book <em>Pilgrimage</em>. Photo: Earl McDonald, National Archives. Annie Leibovitz at the US National Archives at College Park, Maryland, in February 2011. Leibovitz was photographing original Mathew Brady glass plate negatives of Abraham Lincoln for her book Pilgrimage. Photo: Earl McDonald, National Archives.

Money Matters

Nova Scotia may pay $2.3 million to move stalled Annie Leibovitz photo exhibit ahead. “The Nova Scotia government appears ready to shell out more than $2 million to photographer Annie Leibovitz if that’s what it takes for her to agree to show her work in the province,” the CBC reports. The gallery and its donors of a Leibovitz collection, the Mintzes, have been turned down multiple times by the CPERB board in attempting to get a tax-deductible designation for the artwork. “The Mintz family didn’t get the tax break it sought because a federal board refused to certify the collection as having “outstanding significance and national importance.” As a result, Leibovitz got only about half of the nearly $5 million she was promised…[NS] Culture Minister Leo Glavine suggested the province might pay Leibovitz the remaining $2.3 million.” (CBC, Artforum)

Millions of dollars changed hands and multiple sales records were set at Canada’s spring auctions. Leading the pack at $3.6 million was Borduas‘ large canvas Figures Schématiques. But records for Jack Bush, Charles Comfort, Maud Lewis and Cornelius Kreighoff also fell at auctions by Heffel, Waddington’s and Consignor. Will more come at tonight’s ByDealers auction? Stay tuned. (Canadian Art)

Public Art Plus

The Vancouver Biennale has announced details for its fourth edition, titled “re-IMAGE-n”, launching June 2018. As in the past, the biennale’s artworks will evolve in freely accessible and often unexpected public locations throughout Vancouver over a two-year duration. Under the artistic direction of Barrie Mowatt and curatorial leadership of Marcello Dantas and Jeffrey Uslip, the Biennale will feature works by Yoko Ono (USA/Japan), Douglas Coupland (Canada), Maskull Lasserre (Squamish/Canada), Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Coast Salish/Okanagan), Geoffrey Farmer (Canada), General Idea (Canada), Dan Graham (USA), Jenny Holzer (USA), Alfredo Jaar (Chile), Paul Pfeiffer (USA/Philippines), Gary Simmons (USA) and Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole/Muscogee/Dine’), among others. Zarina Laalo, Vancouver Biennale curator of ancillary projects, and Michael Suh, executive director for the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing, will collaborate with the biennale’s curatorial team to award approximately 30 early career international artists with grants to reside, create and exhibit public artworks and interventions throughout the city over the next two years. Joella Cabalu, director of the Vancouver Biennale’s film program, CineFest LIVE, will focus on the significant contributions of women filmmakers in their commitment to exposing the gender, racial and social inequalities of women; Alanis Obomsawin in particular will be honoured. (press release)

Expansions and Renovations

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver is celebrating a recently completed $1.8 million renovation. The reno features a new mezzanine gallery, a new educational and social gathering place, and a covered pavilion which will be revealed at a later date. The aim is to enhance visitor experience and expands the available programmable space, while also reflecting the gallery’s dedication to contemporary Indigenous artists and preservation of the legacy of its renowned namesake, Haida master Bill Reid. Custom vitrines honouring Reid’s smaller works were created by award-winning Sholto Design Studio and were cut from eight 40-foot cedar logs, fitted with locally made curved glass cases that enable a 360-degree view, and hand-finished by carvers led by Haida artist and Bill Reid Foundation board member Corey Bulpitt. Anniversary celebrations on June 16 and 17 will unfold across the new 650-square-foot gathering space, where Allison Burns-Joseph (Squamish) will hold an open studio as artist-in-residence. (press release)

THEMUSEUM in Kitchener has announced its intention double in size. It hopes to acquire the neighbouring Bank of Montreal building at 2 King Street West. “We’re thrilled to announce this sole purchaser agreement with THEMUSEUM and be a part of this important campaign to help bolster the burgeoning arts and culture community of this growing region,” said Julie Barker-Mertz, a senior vice president at BMO said in a release. “And to further assist, BMO has pledged a $1,000,000 donation to help transform downtown Kitchener’s cultural connection to the community and be a catalyst for renewal of arts and culture in the heart of the city.” In 2017, the family of David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM, also donated $1,000,000 to the organization. Stakeholder consultation for the expansion is the next step, with the sale of the bank building expected to close by the end of the year. (press release)

Carleton University has concluded negotiations to purchase Dominion-Chalmers United Church and create a new cultural and community hub. The university’s acquisition of the historic 37,000-square-foot church—which was recently approved by the United Church of Canada and supported by a $5-million contribution from Ontario’s Ministry of Infrastructure—will provide a multi-purpose downtown performance space for students and faculty. A due diligence process completed before Carleton’s Board of Governors voted to negotiate a final purchase determined that the heritage building’s physical structure is in very good shape. Limited renovations will be undertaken to ensure that the Romanesque Revival building meets code requirements, and to create high-quality recording spaces and make the facility more attractive as a rental venue for community and arts groups. (press release)

Damaged Art Distress

A mysterious case of destroyed art has come to light. “Two Inuit sculptures intended as Canada’s gifts to New Zealand’s prime minister and attorney general mysteriously arrived in that country smashed to bits,” the CBC reports. The damage occurred in 2016 but only recently came to light. Though the sculptures have been replaced, the culprits and motive are still unknown. “Due to the long distance travelled, including transit points in three countries, it was not possible to determine where or when the damage to the sculptures occurred or to assign blame to any one person,” said Angela Savard, spokesperson for the Department of Justice Canada to CBC. “No police authorities were contacted in the three countries as there was no clear crime to report.” (CBC)

Awards Galore

The new Sobey shortlist is unprecedented in nature. For the first time ever, three out of the five finalists are Indigenous. All five finalists are in the running for a newly augmented $100,000 first prize spot to be announced in November. (Canadian Art)

An accessibility-oriented dancer is the recipient of the $25,000 Michael J. Fox Award. The Canada Council for the Arts prize is recognizing the work of France Geoffroy, a dancer and educator who also campaigns for the recognition of integrated dance and who has made a name for herself in the arts practiced by people who are Deaf or with other disabilities. And yes, that Michael J. Fox is the one the award is named for: when Fox received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards in 2017, he chose to give back the accompanying cheque to the Canada Council, which subsequently used the money to create the Michael J. Fox Award, a one-time prize of $25,000. (press release)

The third MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award has been handed out. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, in collaboration with its financial partner RBC, announced artist Numa Amun as recipient of the prize. The award includes the organization of a solo show at the MNBAQ, a publication, and the acquisition of works by the artist worth $50,000. Also for the first time this year, the $10,000 winner’s grant was shared by five finalists, including Amun. (press release)

The Art Dealers Association of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award has been named. Paul Wildridge, owner of Roberts Gallery in Toronto, won the award this year. ADAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2001. This honour is given to an ADAC member “who has, in the span of their career thus far, shaped the Canadian art world, and beyond.” (press release)

The recipient of the 2018 Sylvie and Simon Blais Award for Emerging Visual Artists has been announced. Eugene Park, who is pursuing an MFA degree with a concentration in Sculpture and Ceramics at Concordia University, took the prize. The Sylvie and Simon Blais Foundation also noted Marko Tonich (Université Laval) and Isabelle Duchesne (UQAC) as finalists. An exhibition of works by Park will be held at Galerie Simon Blais in August 2018. (press release)

The Art of Fashion

Toronto’s Indigenous Fashion Week is here—and Vogue is taking notice. “Indigenous fashion is finally gaining some ground,” Vogue notes. “This week, Toronto will follow in the footsteps of Australia and Vancouver, British Columbia, by hosting its first-ever Indigenous Fashion Week. This four-day initiative will give designers a much-needed platform and serves as a promising counterpoint to the pervasive appropriation still found on today’s runways.” Among the designers Vogue takes note of are Toronto-based Curtis Oland and Vancouver-based Evan Ducharme. The CBC also observes that Chippewar, an artist who more often works in public art, is part of the week’s events. It all runs May 31 to June 4 in Toronto. (Vogue, CBC, Indigenous Fashion Week)

Appointments Update

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery has a new executive director. The SAAG has announced that Kristy Trinier will step into the role beginning June 18. She replaces Ryan Doherty, who has occupied the role of director/curator since 2013. Trinier’s previous roles include director of visual, digital and media arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; curator at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in which she curated “Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art,” as well as exhibitions at the AGA and Enterprise Square Galleries. Trinier studied at the University of Victoria, and holds a master’s degree in Public Art from the Dutch Art Institute as a Huygens scholar in the Netherlands. She is currently pursuing PhD studies in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at European Graduate School based in Switzerland. (press release)