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News / August 22, 2019

News Roundup: Emerging Digital Artists Award Finalists Announced

Also, Brian Jungen is creating a piece of public art for Toronto, Western Front in Vancouver is getting a new executive director, and an artist is attempting Canada's largest mural

Shortlists & Longlists

Five artists have been named as finalists for the 2019 Emerging Digital Artists Award. The finalists are Alyssa Bornn of Winnipeg; Colton Hash of Victoria; Ahreum Lee of Montreal; Claire Scherzinger of Victoria; and Jordyn Stewart of Beamsville. The winner will be announced September 20 at Trinity Square Video in Toronto, which will also feature an exhibition of the finalists from September 6 to 28. The award is presented by EQ Bank. (award website)

The Toronto Biennial has released an extensive list of programs. More than 70 local and international programs participants will lead talks, workshops, and performances that intersect and extend ideas emerging from the 2019 Biennial’s central question: “What does it mean to be in relation?” Highlights include Beach(fire) Blanket Bingo Biennale by BUSH Gallery (Peter Morin and Tania Willard), with guest artist Lisa Myers; Harbour Symphony by Delf Maria Hohmann and Raven Chacon with Allison Cameron; and Sinaaqpagiaqtuut/The Long-Cut, a procession that began in Kinngait in Nunavut this summer and continues in Toronto with Embassy of Imagination. (Toronto Biennial)

Staffing Changes

Susan Gibb is the new executive director at Western Front artist-run centre in Vancouver. Gibb comes to the position after six years as curator at If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, a curatorial production house for performance related art and research based in Amsterdam. Previously, Gibb ran the independent curatorial initiative Society, and held curatorial positions at the art centres Carriageworks and Campbelltown Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia. Gibb fills the gap left when Caitlin Jones stepped down earlier this year to lead Artscape BC after a decade at Western Front. Gibb will commence her appointment in late August 2019. (press release)

In other staffing updates, Nicholas Bell is the new president and CEO of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and Joy Xiang is the new assistant editor at Canadian Art. (Canadian Art)

Public Art

Brian Jungen is creating a new public art piece for Toronto. The Art Gallery of Ontario has commissioned Brian Jungen to create a large-scale work of public art for the south-west corner of Dundas and McCaul Streets. Funded with support of the Canada Council New Chapter program, the piece is scheduled to be unveiled in the fall of 2020. Jungen’s sculpture will go in the site where Henry Moore‘s Large Two Forms used to be installed until it was moved to Grange Park behind the gallery in 2017. (press release)

A Toronto artist and local residents are upset following cancellation of a planned public art project. The $4-million project with artist Alex McLeod had been announced 15 months ago, but was recently shut down. Community members who supported the project only found out when contacted by a reporter, says the Toronto Star. The art piece was to be part of a percent for art initiative adopted in 2016 by Greater Toronto and Hamilton transit agency Metrolinx. “The agency has now eliminated that policy,” the Star reports. McLeod is still seeking compensation, and other Metrolinx art projects may also be affected. (Toronto Star)

Artist attempts Canada’s largest mural in Sudbury. “The facade of the former St. Joseph’s hospital in Sudbury is now a vibrant display of vertical stripes of colour,” CBC Sudbury reports. “The Up Here festival commissioned the artist, known as RISK, to paint an 80,000 square foot mural on the old hospital on Paris Street. It will be Canada’s largest mural.” The six-storey painting is expected to be completed August 27. (CBC Sudbury)

The art at Gander Airport still matters, says curator. When the Gander Airport opened in 1959, it was a modernist masterpiece, some say. Now, with traffic there dropping for decades, some wonder if its Kenneth Lochhead mural and midcentury design needs to be maintained. Curator Mireille Eagan of the Rooms says yes: “That mural is a significant part of the history of this province and a significant part of the history of Canada,” she told CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. “It’s still accessible to researchers. It’s still being taken of, cared for and still a record of a place.” (CBC Newfoundland and Labrador)

Money Matters

A Caillebotte painting whose sale was contested at the Supreme Court of Canada is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. After three years of legal and procedural disputes between Heffel auction house and the Canadian Cultural Property Export and Review Board, as well as with the Attorney General of Canada, Iris Bleus, Jardin du Petit Gennevilliers by Gustave Caillebotte has been acquired by a Canadian museum. The Art Gallery of Ontario has paid more than $1 million for it, including a “$540,000 grant from the federal government toward the purchase,” the Globe reports. The painting had originally been sold by Heffel to a UK buyer for $678,500 at auction in 2016, but the Canadian Cultural Property Export and Review Board blocked its export on the basis of the painting’s possible national importance, and the Supreme Court of Canada supported that export decision on appeal in April 2019. (Globe and Mail)

The Canada Council wants more northerners to apply for arts funding. Council CEO Simon Brault has been on a tour of the Northwest Territories of late, telling the Yellowknifer, “What I want to see is how our new investment landed and what difference does it make,” Brault added, “But more than that we want to convey to the artists — please apply to the Canada Council because very few artists or festivals or organizations are applying. It is probably because they feel it is out of reach or too selective, but I think there is room for growth.” (Yellowknifer)


Butter sculpture process goes… national. Butter sculptures at the Canadian National Exhibition became a focus of national media this week when some viewers expressed shock that the sculptures were not, in fact, butter only. As butter sculptor Rebecca Hollett told the CBC, butter sculptures require armatures much like clay sculptures, or sculptures in other media, do. (CBC As It Happens)