The Audain Prize redesigns for a crisis. On Tuesday, the prize announced that, rather than awarding one BC artist with $100,000, a dozen BC artist-run centres will be given $10,000 each. This includes 221A, Access Gallery, Artspeak Gallery, Grunt Gallery, Malaspina Printmakers Society, Or Gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, UNIT/PITT Society for Art & Critical Awareness, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Western Front, Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art and Open Space Arts Society. The aim is “to support as many artists as possible” in this pandemic year, Audain Foundation chair Michael Audain said in an emailed release.
Other awards news this week: Cheryl Mukherji won Capture Photography Festival’s Inaugural Writing Prize and will receive $2,000, with her writing appearing in next year’s festival catalogue. The 2020 SAAG Arts Writing Prizes, Sahar Te won the newly named Aruna D’Souza Arts Writing prize and will receive $1,000 as well as publication in Canadian Art, while Jenna Swift won the Arts Writing category, and will receive $250 and publication in Galleries West. Pamela Medland also won the Poetry & Prose category.
Controversies continue at several Canadian arts institutions. In an open letter, several artists say they have pulled work from a Contemporary Calgary exhibition, citing its lack of support for BIPOC and equity-seeking artists. The Canadian Museum of History’s president Mark O’Neill is on leave amid a harassment investigation, with Jean Giguère appointed as interim chair. Former Montreal Museum of Fine Arts board chair Michel de la Chenelière lost his board seat on September 29, soon after a provincial report was released pushing for governance reform at the institution. Ex-director of the MMFA, Nathalie Bondil, is also suing the museum for $2 million. And the NSCAD Alumni Association voted no confidence in its association president Cameron Jantzen after he voted for Aoife Mac Namara to be removed as NSCAD University president.
A Black Lives Matter–related mural has been completed in Calgary’s Chinatown following racist backlash. On September 27, artist and musician Jae Sterling finished the painting with a team of mostly racialized artists. As Vice and other outlets reported, Sterling, along with commissioning organization Pink Flamingo and other supporters, received many racist messages after the mural—referencing, in part, Black cowboy John Ware—was proposed earlier this year for a different location.
Three striking designs have been unveiled for new, waterfront-sited Art Gallery of Nova Scotia—with some proposals focused on local Indigenous knowledge. One design is by KPMB Architects with Omar Gandhi Architect, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman (NWAC), Public Work and Transsolar. Another is by Architecture49 with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hargreaves Jones. And the last is by DIALOG, Acre Architects, Brackish Design Studio and Shannon Webb-Campbell. The AGNS is welcoming public feedback online about all three proposals.
Staffing moves: Ebony L. Haynes, an alumni of OCAD University, has been appointed director of a new David Zwirner space in New York that will have an all-Black staff and offer Black students experience through an internship program. Clayton Windatt has been appointed director of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference. Emelie Chhangur is the new director and curator at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Alyssa Fearon has been appointed director and curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery. Melissa-Jo (MJ) Belcourt Moses has been appointed adjunct curator of Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Sara Knelman is now director of Two Rivers Art Gallery. And Sandra Margolian has become public art lead at Concordia University.
Closings and reopenings: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Darling Foundry and many other art galleries in parts of Quebec closed to the public this week as a result of pandemic restrictions. In Alberta, the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre reopened on September 26, after several months of closure. In Vancouver, Monte Clark Gallery and Equinox Gallery both recently relocated and reopened after the building in which they were housed was designated for a new Skytrain route.
The Witte de With in Rotterdam will be retitled, in part, after a work by Ken Lum. After extensive conversation about changing the institution’s colonial name—a name originally based on that of a Dutch naval officer who worked for the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company—it was decided that the new name Kunstinstituut Melly would honour Canadian artist Ken Lum’s 1990 artwork Melly Shum Hates Her Job, which is permanently installed on the gallery’s façade.