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News / September 13, 2018

News in Brief: Public Art Galore and More

A massive shadow of a tree is now installed as art at UBC. Plus: six Canadians make the ArtNews Top 200 Collectors list and the Serpentine Pavilion is coming to Canada
An aerial view of Ester Shalev-Gerz's new public artwork <em>The Shadow</em> at UBC in Vancouver. The work is created with differently coloured paving stones, and is only visible in total from above. Photo: Hassan El-Sherbiny via Facebook. An aerial view of Ester Shalev-Gerz's new public artwork The Shadow at UBC in Vancouver. The work is created with differently coloured paving stones, and is only visible in total from above. Photo: Hassan El-Sherbiny via Facebook.
An aerial view of Ester Shalev-Gerz's new public artwork <em>The Shadow</em> at UBC in Vancouver. The work is created with differently coloured paving stones, and is only visible in total from above. Photo: Hassan El-Sherbiny via Facebook. An aerial view of Ester Shalev-Gerz's new public artwork The Shadow at UBC in Vancouver. The work is created with differently coloured paving stones, and is only visible in total from above. Photo: Hassan El-Sherbiny via Facebook.

Public Art

Esther Shalev-Gerz’s new outdoor artwork in Vancouver consists of a ghostly silhouette of a first-growth fir tree. Called The Shadow, the artwork will be launched with events on September 16. The Shadow, on the UBC campus, can only be grasped from a distance; it requires a view from higher ground to be complete. “As with most of what is now Vancouver, the old-growth forest on UBC’s Point Grey campus was logged heavily by settlers in the late 1800s,” a release states. “The Shadow reminds us of the scale of the trees that once existed on this site and speaks to the vast change that has taken place in a relatively short period of time.” (press release)

Four new public artworks by Indigenous artists are launching in Winnipeg. On September 28, the Winnipeg Arts Council will unveil four new public artworks by Indigenous artists at Air Canada Park on the corner of Portage Avenue and Carlton Street. The new artworks are by Kenneth Lavallee and Julie Nagam, as well as by Rolande Souliere and the team of Rebecca Belmore and Osvaldo Yero. The artists were asked “to respond to the idea of this place on Treaty 1 territory,” says a release. (press release)

Will Kwan is installing a new public artwork in the Don River Valley in Toronto. The half-kilometre text installation along the Lower Don, titled A Park For All, consists of 75 sentences painted in 30-inch high letters and will be on display for five years. “It is about the park as something that is seen as inherently good but also as something that can be exclusionary,” says Kwan in a release. “The point was that the development of this park and the experience of using this park is like the experience of living in a complex city.” (press release)

International Interactions

Six Canadians are on the ArtNews Top 200 Collectors list. They include Lonti Ebers, David Thomson, Steven Latner and Michael Latner, Bob Rennie and Guy Laliberté. The annual list is meant to index the top art collectors worldwide. (ArtNews)

“Maria Hupfield: The One Who Keeps On Giving” is opening soon in Paris. Hupfield, from the Wasauksing Nation, now works from Brooklyn. The show will take place at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris following its tour of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal; and Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax. The show opens to the public September 26. (e-flux)

The Vancouver gallery Catriona Jeffries will be part of Art 021 in Shanghai. The fair will return to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre for its sixth annual edition from November 8 to 11, including 103 galleries from 30 cities spanning 18 countries. Jeffries is in the DETOUR section of the fair curated by Cesar Garcia of the Mistake Room, Los Angeles. The DETOUR program, titled “Lived Worlds” promises to move “beyond the exhausted paradigms of trade and exchange that have come to shape our understanding of the Pacific Rim region and instead highlights the lived experiences of the peoples who reside there.” (press release)

Toronto curatorial firm NAMARA and artists Public Studio are at Paris Design Week. An exhibition commissioned by Canada Goose and curated by NAMARA is “presented in the observatory of BHV/Le Marais…titled ‘Weather Patterns,’ it is the design work of Public Studio, the collective art practices of filmmaker Elle Flanders and architect Tamira Sawatzky.” Both NAMARA and Public Studio are Toronto-based. “As visitors advance through the spiral-shaped shelter,” says the release, “they become immersed within an atmospheric audiovisual installation that offers a shifting Canadian weather experience.” (press release)

Of Art and Real Estate

A Serpentine Pavilion is coming to Canada—with a catch. A reconstructed version of the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion is beginning a multi-city tour in downtown Toronto on September 15. Designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the temporary structure will be located at King and Brant Streets in Toronto this fall. This is the first time, says a release, that a Serpentine Pavilion is making its way to North America. Real-estate developer Westbank is organizing and funding the tour, and is using the pavilion to house an exhibition it calls “Unzipped.” That exhibition, Westbank contends, will focus on collaboration between developer and architect—unlike “Fight for Beauty,” an art exhibition Westbank organized in Vancouver last year, and that was branded as “artwashing” by local artists and critics. BIG also designed Westbank’s Vancouver House development in 2011. (press release)

Hamilton’s arts renaissance isn’t working for everyone. That’s the headline on an in-depth CBC article that looks at the downsides of arts development as Supercrawl—one of the city’s signature large-scale arts events—hits its 10-year anniversary. Basically, rents and property prices are rising, which is bad news for a lot of artists being pushed to the margins of the city. “Take the building at 174 James Street North, near Cannon Street West,” reporter Adam Carter writes. “Back in 2005, it was sold for $254,500. Then in 2012, it sold again — this time for $730,000. It sold yet again in 2014 for $1.25 million. The building’s worth had more than quadrupled in under ten years without any major renovations. Similarly, rents jumped. Artist Tim Francis, who once had an art gallery in that building, was forced to leave in 2014 as he couldn’t afford it. Fabric Shop and creative workspace Needlework, which is housed in that same building, is also feeling the pressure. Needlework’s rent was $1,200 a month back in 2012. Now, it’s $2,400.” (CBC)

On the Horizon

A new Winnipeg exhibition about the Indian Act has been co-created with First Nations Elders. The exhibition, on until Summer 2019 at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, includes “Elijah Harper‘s eagle feather, a wampum belt made by a Haudenosaunee faith keeper and a Cree artist’s cradleboard “float” above handwritten excerpts from the Indian Act,” says a release. “The way these items are presented, as if floating above the Act, speaks to the resilience and survival of Indigenous traditions,” said Dana Soonias of Red Pheasant First Nation in that release. “It reflects the ongoing fight against the original goal of the Indian Act to assimilate and eradicate First Nations in Canada.” (press release)

Calgary Public Library has announced the six artists who are creating Indigenous art installations for the new Central Library. The artists and their installations are: Keegan Starlight, Kalum Teke Dan and Roland Rollinmud, who are collaborating on a mural in the new Central Library’s main entrance; Lionel Peyachew, who is creating a life-size buffalo sculpture made up of metal letters spelling various words in Indigenous languages, located on the feature stairs leading to the mezzanine level; Glenna Cardinal, who is creating a table and furniture; and Brittney Bear Hat, who is creating a text-based piece, for the Elders’ Guidance Circle on Level 4. The project is due to open with the new library in November. (press release)

imagineNATIVE—the world’s largest Indigenous screen-media festival—has announced its visual arts programming. At A Space Gallery, in partnership with Vtape and Native Women in the Arts, will be “Current Terrain,” curated by Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective and showcasing Indigenous artists currently living in Alberta including Bruno Canadien, Brenda Draney, Jessie Ray Short, Adrian Stimson and Alberta Rose Williams. It opens with a new world premiere live performance by Stimson on September 18. Lisa Jackson’s virtual reality work Biidaaban: First Light will be at Nathan Phillips Square and on the main floor of TIFF Bell Lightbox. At Trinity Square Video will be “Toolkit for Revolution” with Suohpanterror, Jay Soule and Jenni Laiti. “Passages” featuring the work of Olivia Whetung curated by Tania Willard will be at Gallery 44, “On Being Illiberal” featuring the work of Carl Beam, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Merritt Johnson and Fallon Simard, curated by Suzanne Morrissette, will be at Prefix, and “Trialogue” featuring the work of Simon M. Benedict and Sonia Robertson curated by Guy Sioui Durand will be at YYZ. The annual imagineNATIVE art crawl will happen October 19. “Coney Island Baby” features the work of Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Chandra Melting Tallow and Tania Willard at Gallery TPW, with Melting Tallow performing a live score on October 18. “Loner Culture” featuring the work of Thirza Cuthand, KITE and Fallon Simard is curated by Lindsay Nixon at InterAccess. (press release)

The first large-scale solo show for Micklaene Thomas is coming to Canada. The show will land in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario on November 29, and continue to March 24. It will then travel to Contemporary Arts Centre, New Orleans, which is co-producing the exhibition. The exhibition, titled “Femmes Noires,” explores Black celebrity culture and Western art history through a queer feminist lens. It is curated by Julie Crooks, the AGO’s assistant curator of photography, in collaboration with Andrea Andersson, the chief curator of visual arts at the CACNO. (press release)

Curatorial and Editorial Confirmations

Sarah Todd is the new art curator at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Todd has been at Glenbow in other positions since 2015, developing adult education programs and curating exhibitions including “First Person: Contemporary Indigenous Portraiture”; “Karilynn Ming Ho: For the Left Alone”; “Adad Hannah: The Raft of the Medusa (Saint Louis)” and “The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits.” Todd holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from UBC and previously worked at Western Front in Vancouver. She is also vice-president of the board of directors at the New Gallery in Calgary. (press release)

Shannon Webb-Campbell is the new editor of Visual Arts News. She will begin work as editor with the Spring 2019 issue. The magazine, based in Halifax, focuses on art of the Atlantic region. “Webb-Campbell is a mixed Indigenous (Mi’kmaq) settler poet, writer, and critic,” says a release. “She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia, a BA from Dalhousie University, and is currently completing a MA in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, and currently lives in Montréal.” (press release)

It’s official: a team of five curators is organizing Isuma’s show at the Venice Biennale Canada Pavilion. This week, the National Gallery of Canada confirmed that Asinnajaq, Catherine Crowston, Barbara Fischer, Candice Hopkins and Josée Drouin-Brisebois will curate the next official Canadian project at the Venice Biennale as a team. This is the first time that a team of curators will be working on a project for the Canada Pavilion in Venice. The team was previously announced with an e-flux release in March 2018, but was not official at that time. (press release)

Naomi Campbell is Luminato’s new artistic director. Campbell was first hired by Luminato in 2011 and produced pieces including The Life and Death of Marina Abramović and Apocalypsis. Campbell takes over from Josephine Ridge who stepped down as Luminato’s artistic director in August after programming the 2017 and 2018 festivals. (press release)


Siassie Kenneally has died. “Visionary artist Siassie Kenneally from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, passed away recently in Iqaluit, NU,” John Geoghegan writes in Inuit Art Quarterly. “Over the course of her career, Kenneally produced an incredibly personal body of work that examined modern and traditional life from her own unique perspective. Kenneally was part of a new generation of Kinngait artists that emerged in the early 2000s. The group, which included her cousins Annie Pootoogook and Shuvinai Ashoona, sought to express the concerns of daily life using contemporary aesthetics and media, namely coloured-pencil drawings.” (Inuit Art Quarterly)

In Case You Missed It

Censorship issues have surfaced at Arts Commons in Calgary. Read the full story here. (Canadian Art)

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