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News / October 18, 2018

News in Brief: Vancouver Galleries at Risk and More

Plus: Canadian art and artists at FIAC, some big new shows and public art updates
So far, a campaign to save the building housing Monte Clark Gallery and Equinox Gallery has been unsuccessful. But some arts supporters remain hopeful. Photo: Google Street View. So far, a campaign to save the building housing Monte Clark Gallery and Equinox Gallery has been unsuccessful. But some arts supporters remain hopeful. Photo: Google Street View.
So far, a campaign to save the building housing Monte Clark Gallery and Equinox Gallery has been unsuccessful. But some arts supporters remain hopeful. Photo: Google Street View. So far, a campaign to save the building housing Monte Clark Gallery and Equinox Gallery has been unsuccessful. But some arts supporters remain hopeful. Photo: Google Street View.


The fate of two major Vancouver commercial galleries was discussed at a provincial election forum this week. For a few years now, Equinox Gallery and Monte Clark Gallery have been trying to petition the city to change its existing plans to turn their current site into part of the Broadway SkyTrain line. “If they bring in bulldozers to tear those buildings down, I feel like I’m going to lie down in front of them and not let those bulldozers tear those buildings down,” said Nancy Lanthier of the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture at an all-candidates meeting on Monday. The building formerly held a tractor-making enterprise, which was later repurposed by Monte Clark and Equinox years prior to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design moving in across the street. (CBC BC)

Five Calgary galleries are moving programming out of Arts Commons. The galleries leaving are all artist-run centres, and at least a few of them have programmed satellite spaces at the multipurpose facility for more than 20 years. But now, they have declined to renew exhibition partnership arrangements due to concerns about transparency, communication and shared values with Arts Commons. The decision comes a few weeks after an installation by trans artist B.G-Osborne, programmed by one of the New Gallery, was censored by Arts Commons. The New Gallery is departing, as is Stride Gallery, Marion Nicoll Gallery, Truck and Untitled Art Society. (Canadian Art)


There are some Canadian art and artists at FIAC in Paris this week. Artist Kapwani Kiwanga is part of the FIAC Films section, with her works also on view at the Galerie Jérome Poggi booth. Artist Vikky Alexander’s work will be featured in a solo booth organized by New York’s Downs & Ross. NSCAD and University of Toronto alum Luke Murphy will be featured in the FIAC Projects section courtesy of New York’s Canada gallery. Montreal-based Esse magazine will be in the publications section. (For those looking for something to do beyond the fair, Maria Hupfield’s “The One Who Keeps On Giving” is at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, too.) (FIAC, Canadian Cultural Centre Paris)

Two Canadian galleries are on the list for Independent New York 2019. The two galleries, Cooper Cole and MKG127, are from Toronto. The fair takes place at Spring Studios in Tribeca during Armory Week from March 8 to 10, with a preview on March 7. (Artnews)

Work by an Iranian-Canadian artist is among the 200 pieces being liquidated by Dubai’s Abraaj Art Group. “Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group is in the process of selling its art collection, consisting of around 200 works, at three Bonhams auctions on October 23 and 24 in London. The works are primarily by Arab, Iranian, and South Asian artists, some estimated at less than one-tenth the original price,” reports Hyperallergic. Among the works are Poet and the Bird (2006) by Vancouver-based Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli, “estimated at $66,000–$130,000 and purchased in 2008 for $480,000.” (Hyperallergic, Art Newspaper)

Andy Dixon’s latest Beers London solo show is sold out at opening. The LA-based Canadian artist opened his first solo show at Beers London October 13, with works already set to go to “a number of private and public collections throughout UK, Canada, US, and Asia,” says the gallery. (Beers London)

Big, Big Shows

The world’s biggest Indigenous screen-content festival has grown. This year, the Toronto festival imagineNATIVE features 153 individual media artworks, including 10 feature-length dramatic films—the most in imagineNATIVE history. Overall, works by 156 Indigenous artists will be seen, representing 109 Indigenous nations from Canada and across the world. (Canadian Art)

The world’s first major Oscar Gustaf Rejlander show is opening this week in Ottawa. “Oscar G. Rejlander: Artist Photographer” opens October 19 at the National Gallery of Canada where it will be on view until February 3, 2019, before travelling to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. “The exhibition features 140 of Rejlander’s photographs, paintings, drawings and prints,” says a release. It notes: “Rejlander was a Victorian artist whose innovations in both the production and conceptual aspects of photography have secured him a place within the history of the medium.” The Swedish-born Brit has sometimes been called “the father of art photography.” (press release, National Gallery of Canada)

Guo Pei, the designer behind Rihanna’s big 2015 Met Gala dress, has a solo survey up at the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Guo Pei: Couture Beyond” contains more than 40 looks by the designer—including, yes, the Rihanna dress with the five-metre train and at least 55 pounds of silk. It’s the designer’s first museum show in Canada, and is on until January 20. (CBC BC, Vancouver Art Gallery)

For the first time, Willam Van Horne’s collection is reunited in a show. “The Gardiner Museum has partnered with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and private collectors to reunite for the first time what survives of the collection of Sir William Van Horne, the American-born builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway who became one of Canada’s foremost art collectors,” says a release. “Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics” opens October 20 at the Gardiner Museum, featuring more than 350 works of Japanese pottery alongside Van Horne’s own watercolours and letters  to offer a “case study of collecting in Canada and its imperialist roots.” (Gardiner Museum)

The Fair of Alternative Art in Sudbury is on the horizon, with a record number of guest artists. The biannual event is hosting artists from France, Finland and Cameroon this year, among others, with 32 guest artists slated altogether. The artists will install in the former Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague elementary school, with the completed installations debuting October 27. (FAAS)

It’s almost time for Vancouver Independent Archives Week. “Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week 2018 is a series of free public events, panels, conversations, and screenings that highlight artist-run centre archives, artists working with archives, and the intersections between contemporary art practices and social movements in Vancouver,” says a release. The events run November 2 to 13, with more speakers to be booked on the topic through 2019. (press release)

Shifting Positions

The West Vancouver Museum has hired a new assistant curator. Joining from the Burnaby Art Gallery, where she worked as collections assistant, Hilary Letwin holds a PhD in art history from Johns Hopkins University. She has also worked as a guest curator at Gordon Smith Gallery and Richmond Art Gallery. (emailed press release)

The New Gallery in Calgary has a new programming coordinator. The new hire is Brittany Nickerson, who recently completed her MFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with a BDes in 2014. In the past, she has been a teaching fellow and research assistant at Emily Carr. (emailed press release)

Public Art

“Take a Selfie Here if You are a Water Protector.” That’s the message on a new mural by Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch at the Gordon Oakes Student Centre of the University of Saskatchewan. A different artwork by Belcourt is also due to become a mural on the side of a church in Picton, Ontario.
(@christi_belcourt, the Intelligencer)

More thoughts and pictures from the Vancouver Biennale. “I think it extends the places where we can discover art, beyond the predictable and into the surprising,” curator Marcello Dantas tells Galleries West. “The biennale is all about discovering artistic potentials within the city. Essentially it is a dialogue between city, landscape and art, a very powerful combination.” (Galleries West)

A Fredericton art installation has been modified to mark a devastating spring flood.Gerald Beaulieu was commissioned by the city in 2016 to create a piece that serves as a measuring stick but also functions as art. He installed a series of 11 wooden posts of different heights along a riverside walking path near the Westmorland Street Bridge,” the CBC reports. But he had to modify the posts, which reflect high-water levels, following the recent large-scale flood there. (CBC New Brunswick)

The renewed Toronto Sculpture Garden has debuted its latest installation. The installation is Tony Romano’s Pigro. “Working within a family tradition of carpentry and metal work,” says a release, “Romano uses sculpture to explore the possibilities of everyday materials and, in doing so, to bridge the disparate worlds of daily working class labour with the more rarified atmosphere of the high art object.” (Akimbo, @engclau)

In Case You Missed It

Canada’s art scene is still sexist. A new study commissioned by the Ontario Arts Council synthesizes years of previous studies to confirm that men make more money than women do in the culture sector, even when differences in education and training are accounted for. And women receive less recognition for their creative work than men do. (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