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News / September 5, 2019

News Roundup: Canadian Art-School Prof Released from Jail Following Pipeline Protest Arrest

Poet and activist Rita Wong is now free. Plus: A new CEO for the Ontario Arts Council, a world-premiere documentary about Robert Davidson, Consignor auction house rebrands as Cowley Abbott and more
Rita Wong while being arrested at a Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in Burnaby in August 2018. Photo: GoFundMe. Rita Wong while being arrested at a Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in Burnaby in August 2018. Photo: GoFundMe.
Rita Wong while being arrested at a Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in Burnaby in August 2018. Photo: GoFundMe. Rita Wong while being arrested at a Trans Mountain Pipeline protest in Burnaby in August 2018. Photo: GoFundMe.

It’s been a busy week for art news in Canada. An Ontario Court of Appeal decision was issued that may change art dealing and art buying in Canada. Millions of dollars were announced in federal funding for two Calgary arts organizations—but not everyone in the city is happy about it. And Canadian artists are among those featured in a new international book of women artists spanning 500 years and 50 countries. Here at Canadian Art, Tess Edmonson was appointed managing editor. And there’s more:

Rita Wong, an associate professor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, has been released from jail. On August 16, 2019, the award-winning poet was sentenced to 28 days in prison for participating in a 2018 protest against the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Burnaby. (A judge had previously forbidden protestors from obstructing certain areas of that site.) According to some media reports, Wong’s was the longest sentence ordered yet for pipeline protestors there. Released recently from the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, Wong spent 18 days total in jail. During her court battle, a GoFundMe was set up to aid with her legal fees. (The Straight, The Straight, Vancouver is Awesome, GoFundMe, PEN Canada)

Festival Updates

The documentary Haida Modern, about artist Robert Davidson, will have its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival this year. That info comes from a Globe roundup about VIFF offerings, which will also include the North American premieres of Gu Xiaogang’s Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Tom Waller’s The Cave and Lou Ye’s The Shadow Play. (Globe and Mail)

Momenta has opened in Montreal. The official opening took place last night at Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX. Formerly known as Mois de la Photo à Montréal, it is an international contemporary art biennial devoted to the image. Artists featured this year include Laura Aguilar, Kader Attia, Patricia Domínguez, Chun Hua Catherine Dong and Jeneen Frei Njootli, among others. Watch for Canadian Art’s own report on the opening next week. (e-flux)

New Names

Carolyn Vesely is the new CEO of the Ontario Arts Council. Vesely succeeds Peter Caldwell, who is stepping down in December 2019 after eight years there. Vesely, who is has been the director of granting at OAC since 2013, officially starts her new job on January 2. Prior to her time at the OAC, Vesely was executive director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and executive director of the Kelowna Art Gallery. (emailed release)

Consignor auction house is rebranding as Cowley Abbott. “The branding adjustment provides a more ‘human’ face to our auction company, identifying the two managing partners and owners, Rob and Lydia, both veterans of the Toronto auction industry,” says the organization’s website. “Our structure, management and services remain the same, with more exciting changes to come.” The auction house was founded in 2013, and holds semi-annual live auctions as well as monthly online auctions. (Cowley Abbott website)

Money Matters

The Government of Canada has given $585,863 to the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre in Medicine Hat. Through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Canadian Heritage is providing $285,863 for new specialized LED lighting and controls for the Centre’s theatre, as well as renovations to a collections storage facility to house and preserve heritage artifacts from the Centre’s museum. Infrastructure Canada is providing $300,000 through the federal Gas Tax Fund. This funding will also support the new LED lighting, as well as protective storage of archival materials and a portable wall system for use in the Centre’s galleries. (press release)

More than $8.3 million in funding is being provided to 22 different organizations through the Creative Export Canada Program. This funding will support exporting artistic projects to international markets. Among the organizations receiving funding are Cavalia, Screen Nova Scotia and Peggy Baker Dance Projects. (press release)

Awards and Honours

Jumana Emil Abboud has received a Pernod Ricard Fellowship. The fellowship is a residency program founded in 2016 that allows for an extensive research period without any obligation for the creation of artwork. It also offers residents tailored appointments in the major Parisian cultural institutions. Abboud, who grew up in Canada and trained at the Ontario College of Art, plans to “expand on her research on the place of water as a source of story, past and present, fable and real,” says a release. (e-flux)

Gallerist News

Birch Contemporary is looking back over 30 years. “Our September exhibition is a look back at the first 30 years of the gallery’s history. The show illustrates the evolution of the gallery’s passion for contemporary visual arts,” writes Robert Birch, director, in an announcement. “You may notice that some works predate the gallery’s opening. These seminal pieces shaped my thinking about what contemporary art could be, and what was possible. Newer and older works are juxtaposed, representing the gallery’s aesthetic development over three decades.” The show runs September 5 to 28. (emailed announcement)

Barbara Edwards Contemporary is celebrating 10 years. Its 10th anniversary exhibition, “Abstract Border,” runs September 25 to November 2, featuring art by Jack Bush, Sorel Etrog, Lawren S. Harris, Ray Mead, Guido Molinari, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and William Perehudoff. (emailed announcement)