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News / December 20, 2018

News Roundup: Date Set for Big Art Law Appeal, and More

Museums have been granted intervenor status in the upcoming appeal, too. Plus: lots of job shifts, and a complaint (as well as compliments) about the National Gallery
A view of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton. The Beaverbrook is one of several Canadian museums intervening in a federal court appeal this coming year. Photo: Facebook / Beaverbrook Art Gallery. A view of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton. The Beaverbrook is one of several Canadian museums intervening in a federal court appeal this coming year. Photo: Facebook / Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

In Court

A date has been set for Attorney General of Canada vs. Heffel Gallery Limited. The ruling Heffel got in its favour in federal court last June has led to interpretations of cultural property law that have severely reduced art-donation levers for Canadian museums. So an appeal is coming—specifically, says Globe reporter Chris Hannay, on the week of February 4, 2019. (Twitter)

And we now know which museums have been granted the right to intervene in the upcoming appeal. Listed in court documents (so far) are the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum, the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the Remai Modern, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. (Federal Court of Canada)

Shifting Positions

Open Space in Victoria has has hired Eli Hirtle as its new Aboriginal curator. The hire became effective December 1. “Eli Hirtle’s mandate will be to support Indigenous arts, community, and programming within the organization,” says a release. It adds: “Hirtle is a Nêhiyaw/British/German filmmaker, beadworker, visual artist, and curator born and raised on Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC)…Past curatorial projects include the Sacred Indigenous art exhibit at Victoria City Hall (assistant curator), Pretty Good Not Bad music festival (Indigenous programmer), and the IndigeVision Film Showcase (curator).” (press release)

Art Metropole in Toronto has appointed Jonathan Middleton as its next director. Middleton comes from Vancouver, where he has worked as curator at Western Front, director/curator at Or Gallery, as well as at design and publishing collaborative Information Office. (press release)

Whippersnapper in Toronto has hired Alica Hall as project manager, and it is saying goodbye to two staff members. Says a release, “As project manager, Alica will support Whippersnapper’s partnership with the Black Artists Union (BAU), a collective of 10 Toronto-based emerging Black artists formed in 2016. During the 2018-2019 year, Whippersnapper has partnered with BAU to support the presentation and programming of Black artists.” The two departing staff members are executive director Anique Jordan and director of programming Joshua Vettivelu. (press release)

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver has announced the departure of interim executive director Roxanne Duncan. Duncan has worked at the festival for five years, mainly as managing director but also assisting with transition following the departure of PuSH founder Norman Armour. (press release)

MOCA Toronto CEO Heidi Reitmaier is heading to the Art Gallery of Ontario as deputy director and chief, public programming and learning. Reitmaier will have been on the job at MOCA for 12 months when she departs—four months longer than the organization’s last CEO, Chantal Pontbriand. MOCA was Reitmaier’s first CEO job following many years in adult learning and public programming positions. After January 25, MOCA will be led by November Paynter as artistic director and Rachel Hilton as managing director. (Canadian Art)

Gregory Burke resigns at Executive Director and CEO at Remai Modern. Burke, who was appointed in 2013, “worked tirelessly to successfully open Remai Modern in October 2017,” says a December 19 press release. Burke will remain in Saskatoon over the next few months to continue supporting the new museum through the final stages of its transition before returning to New Zealand to take up the role of director at the Auckland Art Gallery. The Remai board will begin its recruitment process for new leadership. (press release)

National Gallery of Canada

A complaint and concern about the National Gallery of Canada. In an Ottawa Citizen op-ed this week, uOttawa professor Michael Orsini asks that the gallery “move beyond facile notions of diversity and inclusion” and consider that “accessibility extends beyond the physical gallery space.” Overall, he says, “The National Gallery of Canada is overdue for change. Big, cataclysmic change.” (Ottawa Citizen)

A new acquisition goes on view, in a new gallery.The Partie Carée (1870), by renowned French artist James Tissot (1836–1902) joins two other Tissot works in the collection, enriching the gallery’s important holdings from the French Second Empire period (1852–70),” says a press release. “Purchased privately from the Estate of David R. Graham, The Partie Carée has been exhibited publicly only twice—including its world premiere at the Paris Salon in 1870.” The piece went public this week in the re-opening of the newly refurbished and installed NGC 19th-century galleries. (Canada NewsWire)

A summary of who was at Marc Mayer’s farewell gala. The Ottawa Business Journal posts lots of pics and names from the event. On the list: former GG Adrienne Clarkson, former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, former prime minister Joe Clark, Fogo Island Arts leader Zita Cobb, patron and art award founder Rob Sobey, collector David Mirvish, French ambassador Kareen Rispal, and former US ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, among others. (Ottawa Business Journal)

Art, Art and More Art (and Less Funding)

The Vancouver Art Gallery has added 334 more artworks to its collection. These include artworks by Brian Jungen, Ian Wallace, Sarah Anne Johnson, Fred Herzog, Stephen Waddell and Sonny Assu, among others. Several were donations from the collection of Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft. (Canadian Art)

The City of Moncton now has 13 new public artworks. The artworks are part of Images Rémanentes, a special project aiming to connect with, honour and question Acadie’s artistic past. (Canadian Art)

Artists and allies are organizing against cuts to the Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Culture Fund. Petitions are circulating, supporters are encouraged to communicate with their MPPs (in person, if possible, or by letter), opposition MPPs are assisting and resistance is building on social media. (Canadian Art)