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News / July 11, 2019

News Roundup: Cindy Sherman Is Coming to Vancouver

Plus: Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a show of Hong Kong protest art continues, a blockchain project to benefit artists is announced, Alberta arts cuts draw concerns, and Canadian glass artists debut on Netflix
Cindy Sherman, <em>Untitled #66</em>, 1980. Chromogenic print. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Cindy Sherman, Untitled #66, 1980. Chromogenic print. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This week in Canadian art news so far, we covered the return of Sitting Bull’s only known painted hide robe to Saskatchewan; a new piece by a Canadian artist who was shot in the Paris terror attacks in 2015; and a hopeful turn in art museum Rodman Hall’s recent controversies. Read on for more.

Vancouver Special

Cindy Sherman is headed to Vancouver. The first retrospective of Cindy Sherman in Canada in 20 years comes to the Vancouver Art Gallery this fall. Running October 26 to March 8, the show will include the complete Untitled Film Stills. Organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, the show will head to the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris after its time in Vancouver. Also on the internationally linked front, other VAG shows this fall include “Transits and Returns,” on Indigenous contemporary art, and a new public art show by Erwin Wurm. (press release)

A Vancouver bookshop-gallery is exhibiting material related to the Hong Kong protests. “A small Vancouver bookshop-gallery is holding a tribute to Hong Kong’s illustrators, graphic artists and photographers for their involvement in the protests that galvanized the city and captured the attention of the world,” the Vancouver Sun reports. “The tribute includes some of the leaflets, flyers, posters and zines about the protests that have been collected by Ranee Ng, a 31-year-old artist from Hong Kong.” The art space where they are being displayed until July 20, Hotam Press, is owned by Ho Tam, an artist born in Hong Kong who moved to Canada with his family in his teens. (Vancouver Sun)

Indigenous Recognition

Ancient rock carvings made Alberta’s Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park one of the world’s newest UNESCO Heritage Sites. “According to the government, the park is home to the most significant concentration of rock carvings and paintings on the North American prairies, some of which date back 2,000 years,” CBC reports. Said Martin Heavy Head of Mookaakin Cultural and Heritage Society, “The designation of Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai’pi as a UNESCO World Heritage Site provides the Blackfoot Confederacy a basis for its future generations as to the strength and truth of our continuing relationship to this land and to our traditions, ceremonies and cultural practices.” (CBC)

Sovereign Words: Indigenous Art, Curation and Criticism is shortlisted for the UK’s Richard Schlagman Art Book Awards. Published by Office of Contemporary Art Norway, the book’s contributors include Montreal-based Léuli Eshrāghi and Regina-based David Garneau. (Whitechapel Gallery, e-flux)

Public Art

A new public art piece built from 105 dynamic hourglasses has debuted in Calgary. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow is built by Lane Shordee, Wayne Garrett and Caitlind Brown. It means to visualize “the complex passage of time as it relates to the historic King Edward School,” where it is installed. There is one hourglass for each year from the building’s construction in 1912 until it reopened as cSPACE King Edward in 2017, and each hourglass is filled with sand crushed from sandstone bricks during the building’s recent renovation. The time intervals at which they flip was determined by data gathered from the public. (press release)

A billboard art exchange is on course. AKA Artist-run, Hamilton Artists Inc., and PAVED Arts are collaborating to present three artists’ billboard installations across two cities: Hamilton and Saskatoon. The artists involved are Catherine Blackburn, Meghan Price and Janet Wang. (press release)

Money Talks

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts is switching up its granting in anticipation of possible government cuts. “As the Alberta government mulls its financial situation prior to an anticipated fall budget, at least one provincial body is taking pre-emptive steps to ensure it can deal with potential cuts,” CBC reports. “Until recently, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts doled out operating grants on a yearly basis… In June, the foundation notified arts groups those payments would come in quarterly chunks, instead of one lump sum, because there was uncertainty around the upcoming budget from Premier Jason Kenney and his recently elected United Conservative Party government.” (CBC News)

“In Toronto, an Industrial Stretch Has Its Breakout Moment.” That’s the headline on a recent New York Times story about the Sterling Road area of Toronto, home to the new Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto. The article addresses concerns by some locals about the nature of neighbourhood change afoot—and the way it’s affecting rents for creatives and others. (New York Times)

Tech Talk

A new project is trying to use blockchain to help Canadian artists maintain copyright of their artworks online and elsewhere. “A partnership between Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC), Copyright Visual Arts, Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Quebec (RAAV), Access Copyright and its innovation lab, Prescient, has received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to foster and promote visual arts through a creator-focused technology,” says a release. “The $495K grant will support the creation of digital tools, built on blockchain technology, to establish a reliable and authoritative connection between a creative work (or its digital version), data related to the work, and the rightsholder – which will directly benefit Canadian visual artists.” (press release)

A chatbot can now help guide visitors through an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition. HARK (the Humanish Art Robot, ‘Kay?) is debuting now to help visitors learn more about the works in “Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre.” “We’re looking at our options to expand the use of chatbots across the AGO,” said the gallery’s lead interpretive planner Shiralee Hudson Hill in a release. “Museums all over the world are just starting to experiment with this technology, so we want to continue learning, improving and expanding HARK. We’re also looking at adding more images, videos and even GIFs into HARK’s responses.” (AGO website)

In Competition

Two Canadian artists have been nominated for the next Berlin Art Prize. Larissa Fassler and Joshua Schwebel are among the nine nominees. The award winner will be announced September 14. Fassler, Schwebel and the other nominees will all have solo shows in the Berlin area from August 30 to September 27. (website)

Some Canadian glass artists are among the contestants in the new Netflix series Blown Away. Premiering July 12, “the show follows a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America who as part of a weekly challenge have a limited time to each fabricate a work of art that is assessed by a panel of expert judges,” says a release. “One artist is eliminated in each 30-minute episode until a winner is announced in the tenth and final episode.” The artists involved include Benjamin Kikkert of Vancouver, ACAD-trained Leah Kudel and Patrick Proimeau of Montreal. There are also some Canadian jurors, including futurist Jesse Hirsh, Perry Tung of Bonhams Auction House, writer Catherine Osborne, Sheridan College’s Janet Morrison and Greta Hodgkinson of the National Ballet of Canada. (press release)

Sara-Jeanne Bourget has won the inaugural Griffin Art Projects studio residency award. The residency will offer one of the studio spaces above the GAP in North Vancouver for three months from August 1 to October 31, 2019. The residency is designed for Emily Carr University MFA grads. (release)

Collecting Updates

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts now owns a work by Elaine de Kooning. The late artist was a figure in the abstract expressionist movement as well as an art professor and critic. She was also married to Willem de Kooning. This acquisition was made possible by a monetary gift from philanthropist Roslyn Margles which allowed the museum to purchase Bill at St. Mark’s. It is now on display at the museum. (In its initial releases, the MMFA stated that this was the first Elaine de Kooning in a public museum collection in Canada. In fact, there is another at the Glenbow Museum, Elands and Bull (Cave #46) (1985), acquired in 2018.) (press releases)

How do you encourage young collectors—really, really young collectors? The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, running this weekend, is exploring that question seriously: one of the booths at the fair will feature works by fair artists all priced at $20 or less—but only collectors 14 years of age and younger will be able to buy them. There will also be a gallerist talk that is only open to visitors 14 years of age and younger. (press release)

Artistic Appointments

Henry Heng Lu is the new curator at Centre A in Vancouver. The appointment is effective July 18. Most recently Lu served as artistic director of Modern Fuel in Kingston. He is co-founder and curator of Call Again, a Toronto-based initiative/collective committed to creating space for contemporary diasporic artistic practices and to expanding the notion of Asian art in the context of North America and beyond. Centre A also has a new location at the Sun Wah Centre at 205-268 Keefer Street. (press release)

Three new part-time trustees have been appointed to the board of the National Gallery of Canada. Announced July 5, they include Brian McBay, co-founder of Vancouver’s 221A; Sara Stasiuk, vice-president of finance and operations at the Forks North Portage Partnership in Winnipeg; and artist Clayton Windatt of Sturgeon Falls, who is former director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. (press release)

This story was corrected on July 15, 2019. The original copy reproduced an error from a Montreal Museum of Fine Arts press release that asserted the MMFA had acquired the first Elaine de Kooning piece ever to enter a public museum collection in Canada. In fact, one was already acquired by the Glenbow Museum in 2018. We regret the error.